Clarendon Colonial Agricultural Heritage: outcomes

Benefits of project

The project will provide employment benefits as all elements of the project have a high labour component. All work is being undertaken by small locally-based businesses and contractors so that there will be an immediate benefit to the local economy.

Clarendon is considered by the Tasmanian community to be one of the state's most iconic early colonial houses. The value placed on it by the community is evidenced by the sustained level of volunteer support. The project will enable increased community involvement.

The works to be done will enable Clarendon to improve its sustainability, and will increase its visitor appeal through expanded exhibition and event programming.

Clarendon Jobs Fund story

Clarendon House, in the Tasmanian town of Evandale, is one of Australia's most significant colonial houses. Set in seven hectares on the banks of the South Esk River, Clarendon was the centre of a large pastoral enterprise developed by James Cox. The grand colonial house, built in 1838, is beautifully designed with Roman columns at the entrance and grand hallways. Complete with servants wing and many farm buildings, the House is surrounded by extensive gardens and parklands. Clarendon provides an insight into the lifestyle of the 19th century, as the increasingly prosperous settlers recreated the lifestyle of the English country gentlemen.

Thanks to $796,000 from the heritage component of the Australian Government's Jobs Fund, the most significant of these out buildings are now being restored.

Managing Director of the National Trust of Australia (Tasmania), Chris Tassell, explained that the work being done through this project shifts the focus from the house itself to its role in Tasmania's history.

"As grand as the house is, we are now highlighting that James Cox was able to build the house because of the wealth he generated from this huge agricultural empire - all within 40 years of European settlement of Tasmania," he said.

"We are enabling visitors to have a much more balanced understanding of Clarendon and its history."

Restoration activities include completion of urgent outstanding building works, conservation and interpretation of the assigned convict quarters, coach house, barn and shearing shed, repair of water damaged ceilings, walls and woodwork, and repainting.

The funding has also enabled restoration of the house itself, with painting of both interior and exterior walls, repairing roof guttering and sandstone steps, and improved interpretation of the house and gardens.

The project has provided a significant boost to local employment.

"At this stage between 30 to 40 people have been engaged in the project," Chris said. "We've had a whole range of skills, whether it be stonemasons, brick layers, plumbers, electricians, people who can lay slate, even an arborist.

"We've been able to employ the services of highly skilled craftsmen, for example specialist painters who are familiar with lime wash.

"I think for a number of tradesmen it's the type of project that's good to have in your CV. The painters were particularly pleased to be involved as it's a spectacular demonstration of their work.

"We have also had amazing volunteer support. As a consequence of this project we now have some very skilled textile workers making rugs and a whole range of other soft furnishings that reflect how the property was furnished in the 1850s and 60s.

"The work on these outbuildings makes them more viable in their own right. This will strengthen their capacity to generate more income towards their maintenance rather than being dependant on additional support," Chris said.