Fern Tree

Howard Haywood In his "Visitors' and Colonists' Guide," of 1885, gave an interesting description of the journey through the Huon. Concerning the trip from Hobart to Huonville, he wrote: -

At a distance of five miles from the city is the Fern Tree Inn, a, favourite house of call for colonials and tourists, where refreshments can be obtained at moderate rates. This inn is kept by Mrs. Harriet Hall, who endeavours to do her best for the public, and Is willing at all times, to prepare meals for those who may so desire. Longley Is next passed through: the population Is scattered, consisting chiefly of small farmers, who have had hard work to contend with In getting their lands cleared, and under cultivation. About two miles further on is the Mountain River, which flows into the Huon. A short stay is made for the purpose of changing horses, when the passengers get a chance of stretching their limbs. A real need If the coach should happen to be crowded, which is not unlikely during the summer months.

All aboard! Another start Is made towards Victoria (now Huonville), a small township on the Mountain River, at its junction with the Huon, a mile off the main line of road, bridge, and Picnic Hotel. This last-mentioned place is 23 miles from Hobart: the hotel faces the Huon River. Many visitors, finding this an easy distance from the city, make It their halting place. Here sportsmen can enjoy them selves shooting, fishing, boating, and bathing, and be sure of comfortable quarters during their sojourn A stroll round and about the district would give the visitor a good Idea of the produce that is sent to market yearly from this important district The orchards are under good management and reflect great credit upon the thrifty sons of the soil, who have for years shown a spirit of determination to overcome all difficulties and face manfully the hard ships so common to those who, as pioneers, undertake to clear the densely timbered lands of the Huon. It Is not my wish Just now to name anyone in particular, for all have done solid work in trying to accomplish their object viz, to clear the forest, and make the wilderness rejoice and blossom as the rose .

Whilst In this locality, the upper portion of the Huon River should be inspected, for, without so doing, it Is impossible to thoroughly understand what the settlers have been doing. To look at the country from a distance one can scarcely credit that so many have taken up land, and for a number of years sent tons of produce to market. Victoria is the only township of note that Is passed since leaving Hobart and where there is a telegraph office. 1

Five miles from Hobart, along the Huon Road, is Fern Tree, one of the most favoured tourist resorts and weekend places in Southern Tasmania. Where in the whole length and breadth of the State can more delightful panoramic views be obtained than from High Peak, Springs Hotel, and other vantage points in the immediate locality ?. In Fern Glade, Fern Tree Bower, along Strickland Avenue, Pillinger Drive, Huon, and Summerleas roads and Ridgeway by road, what a plethora of scenic attraction is opened to view, picturing the infinite grandeur and sublimity of some of the choicest of Nature's handiwork, that would take a cinematograph film to adequately portray to the uninitiated. All my life I have looked for the quiet, restful beauty spots, such as are to be found at the Fern Tree.

Everywhere one looks the eye is enchanted by a delightful combination of woodland, hill, and water, and at the Fern Tree especially does the sun's rays seem to fall more gently and beneficially over all, and appear to lend more enchantment to the distant view of the winding River Derwent and D'Entrecasteaux Channel, of picturesque hillsides and cultivated areas, and of the natural and artificial beauties of Hobart and suburbs. By the wayside one notices the names of Linga-Longa and Bide-a Wee given to Fern Tree cottages, and appropriately expressive of one's sentiments when visiting this neighbourhood, where good accommodation is afforded the traveller in hotel or boarding-house. Fern Tree and Springs hotels, the Homestead, Leslie Farm, Fern Tree Villa, Mountside, and Papoinya have all been associated with many happy visits to the Fern Tree by pleasure and health
seekers alike.

St. Raphael's Church and parish hall are attractive little edifices, of pretty design, and centrally situated. From the Fern Tree Hotel, along a narrow winding pathway, about a quarter of a mile in length, the visitor reaches Fern Tree Bower, about which we read as follows in Walch's "Tasmanian Guide Book" of 1871:-

If you, kind reader, are a visitor to our island, you are certain to be asked by some Hobartonian if you have seen Cook's Monument, straightway your eye brightens, a
pleased alacrity takes possession of your mind, and you feel ready to step away at your best speed, and visit the memorial, which patriotic pride has dedicated to the immortal navigator. Your friend will then tell you that you overrate Tasmanian enthusiasm, that the great Captain Cook has no better memorial here, as yet, than the admiring veneration of a few loyal hearts, and he will also explain that at the time the present system of water supply for Hobart was inaugurated, Mr. Henry Cook, M.H.A., our respected fellow-townsman, was Mayor, and his name thus appearing in the inscription placed upon the filter at the head of the stream, the said filter has absurdly enough acquired the name of 'Cook's monument.' It is placed at the foot of a most picturesque ferny glen, and the spot has been so much resorted to by picnic parties that some long, rough tables and benches have been placed there for the better accommodation of guests. Numerous fern trees grow around, and others were planted beside the seats, to give shade over them. Some portions of even these have been cut down, and carried away for the decoration of some town ball or feast, and may no longer minister to the harmless pleasure of the happy groups who have so often sat beneath their shade. 2

  • 1. KNOW TASMANIA - The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) 21 September 1929: p 6
  • 2. KNOW TASMANIA - The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) 16 November 1929: p 16