What is shell lime and why would the government be needing this in December 1820? Was this shell lime to be used in building the new school house? How much is 400 bushels in modern terms?
Oyster shells were very good to create lime. The area around Pittwater was very suited to this as many aboriginal middens were located there and the bay was very shallow near the shore so convict workers could be sent out in the water to collect other shells suitable for lime making. But this could be dangerous as noted in this newspaper article of 1842. According to Peter MacFie’s research, in the late 1830s, Henry Cooper had lime kilns on his property and it is supposed to be near Pitt Water. Could these be at the end of Shark Point Road? Or could they be the lime kilns mentioned in this advertisement of 1829 by Robert Garrett, a surgeon at Sorell.
The steps to create usable lime:
Collect shells and put in lime kiln
Heat and burn the shells
Slake the lime with water
Many of the kilns were inverted bell types shown in photo from Norfolk Island. This is the same as the one at Port Arthur. But the very earliest ways to make lime was to build up a pile of wood, put shells on top and burn quickly to collect the lime.
I put a question to the Sorell Historical Society Facebook page asking about buildings in the district with shell lime in the mortar and where might the earliest lime kilns in the district be. I then visited a few of these places to take some photos.
Shell lime used as a whitewash on the old barn built in 1826 with convict labour. Originally owned by Captain William Henry Glover, an officer in the 31st Regiment of Foot, who had been appointed Police Magistrate of the Sorell District. Talking to the present day owners, there is also a lime kiln on the property at the top of the hill.
Lime was used in mortars and plaster in early colonial buildings. When mixed with sand, it produced a type of cement. In brick buildings, walls were often covered with a lime plaster and outside fences and walls were whitewashed with a lime solution. But for agricultural purposes, it could be mixed with clayey soil to improve the texture for crops.
Readers: Do you have any shell lime used as mortar or whitewash on your property? If you live locally, you might be able to send me a photo to include in this post. My email is on the sidebar of this blog.
As this blog is now part of the world wide One Place Studies, I thought I would join in their #oneplaceWednesday activity. Every Wednesday I will write a post relating to something found in the newspapers on Trove. I will try to make it close to the date 200 years ago.
The area now known as Sorell was once called the District of Pitt Water.
When teaching at Sorell School, we told the students the school was opened in 1821. According to this article in the newspaper, tenders were being called for erecting a school house or perhaps a place of confinement or maybe both. Looks like they had very little time to contact Major Bell, the acting engineer, to say they would be interested in getting the tender. I wonder how much red tape they had 200 years ago compared to today?
The Sorell to Bellerive Railway operated between May 1892-June 1926 but before it started there were a lot of arguments about building it. People thought it was unnecessary and too expensive they also thought the ground was either too soft, too stony or too hilly and bridges needed to be built.
The railway was as long as 22km but needed a tunnel, a causeway and a bridge before the railway was finished. This made the railway quite expensive at the time (37,800 pounds). The railway was built by nine men and one boy each day! (there were no women building the railway)
The Public Works Department was responsible for building of the railways. When built they were handed over to the Tasmanian Government Railways.
When constructing the line six major tasks were involved:
Bellerive Railway pier with its causeway (100 metres) and a wharf (80 metres)
Mornington Bridge the tunnel (164 metres)
Pittwater Crossing with its causeway (256 metres) and viaduct (582 metres)
Shark Point Cutting (400 metres)
When Tasmanian Government Railways compared construction costs of different lines Sorell came in as one of the most expensive.
Documents listing 261 items were ready in July and in the late 1889 the tenders were called for the construction of the line. R.C. Patterson was the tender chosen out of the ten.
Rails were ordered from England; they were produced in Middlesbrough and stamped “ 1888 STEEL T.G.R-SL” (Tasmanian Government Railways- Sorell Line) These rails and fastenings were already there waiting for the contractor.
By 1889 expenditure had been:
Compensation for land
Plans supervisions and office charges and party cost of survey
In February 1891 an extra 70 tons of rails were brought from the Zeehan stock. In the same month the inspector requested a tricycle presumably to travel the track.
In February 1892 Seabrooks listed their work force in the preceding three weeks:
In February, March and April Inspector TF Rigby complained of poor materials and poor workmanship. Mr Seabrook’s reply in his defence he pointed out that the materials had been inspected and approved by the authorities.
On the 23rd of April 1890 Lady Hamilton the Governor’s wife turned the first sod (the first shovel of dirt to start construction) at Sorell.
A locomotive was moved from the Hobart Railway Station to Bellerive on Wednesday for the Sorell Line. The engine weighed about 12 tons and was placed minus the wheels on a substantial wagon prepared for the occasion and drawn by nine horses to the PS Kangaroo Wharf.
THE FIRST TRIP
The railway was opened on Monday May 2, 1892. There were two trains running every day leaving Bellerive at 10am and 5.30pm and left Sorell at 7.50am and 3.20pm. All trains stopped at Cambridge and the journey was timed to take one hour.
Very few people took advantage of the first trip. On the 10am trip that left from Bellerive Mr Back, Mr McCormick and Mr Lamb made an inspection of the line and were very satisfied with the result. All the track needed now was the traffic to keep it going.
There was a banquet for 35 people put on at the at the Pembroke Hotel after many photographs had been taken.
When the railway was first built there was no tunnel in the hill now called tunnel hill after Cambridge so the train had to travel up the hill and it was very slow on the way up and the children used to jump off the train and race it up to the top.
BELLERIVE TO SORELL
The train left Bellerive at 10am and made its way to Cambridge. After crossing the north western part of Pittwater the train would stop at Shark Point as this was a very popular picnic spot. On some trips many people would get off the train to spend the day’s picnicking and fishing before catching the train back to Bellerive. At Shark Point two major constructions had to be done to allow the railway to proceed to Sorell.
A stone causeway was built to link Cambridge end with the Sorell end.
Then a timber viaduct with 20 metre pilings was built to connect the causeway to Shark Point.
Deep cuttings were necessary at Shark Point in “extremely tough rock”. A cottage was erected at Shark Point in 1893. From Shark Point the railway travelled across two of the major properties of the district. These were: Flexmore and Frogmore. In 1896 a short siding was built at Frogmore and by 1920 this was known as Penna, and a goods shed was built here. At Coopers Crossing, a small shelter shed and platform were provided in 1920-1921.
At Shark Point the train was signalled across the bridge as people used to fish from it.
White flag- clear.
After another crossing over the Cambridge road near an inn called the Three Trunks Inn, an impressive and still standing two metre high stone faced tunnel was built. Another level crossing was then built east of the train station then, they then wound up with two level crossings down to Cambridge on the south side of the Barilla Rivulet.
At Cambridge they had three tracks. A railway cottage, cart dock and a small stable was later built. At the Cambridge office there was a ticket booth with a waiting room and fireplace. The post office, ladies toilets and male toilets where located out the back.
When arriving at Sorell, travellers alighted at the station which is now a private home and used as an antiques store. They found Sorell was a substantial town with a council, two hotels, three churches and five stores. There was plenty to do before catching the train back.The train used to carry grain,chaff,wood, wool and cream from Hanslow’s. This was loaded at Johnson’s crossing which was half way between Bellerive and Sorell, just out of Cambridge. The cream was reputed to be the best in the district.
The people used to drive their produce to the train for carting to Bellerive. Most of the wool, chaff, wood, etc came to Cambridge from Acton.
Researched by Scott R using book about the railway published by the Bellerive Historical Society in 2005.
The present Sorell library opened 17th of December 1988. Before that it was at the Sorell Council Chambers and before that it was at the Sorell Memorial Hall. The piano at the Sorell library was donated by the Rotary Club, Lions Club and the Sorell Council on the 22nd of March 1991. Some of the pictures were donated when it was first opened.
Around 1986-1987 the library was too small for the amount of people using it. Eileen Brooker circulated a petition amongst the community proposing that a library be built to commemorate Australia’s bicentenary. This is the building they’re in now. It was built through funding from the local government and the state library. This year 2008 they celebrate their 20th birthday. It was purposely built for a library. Before it was built on, the land was part of the saleyards.
Every now and again they have authors speak at the library. People who have spoken there are Roy Bridges, Neil Davis and some local authors. For 138 years the Sorell library was moved around until it reached the place it’s in now. Until 1978 the libraries were run by the council or the Red Cross. In 1978, it started being run by the state library.
An early record of another library was where the antiques shop use to be, then it moved to the cottage on the corner where Mitre Ten is, then it moved to the memorial hall in the ladies cloakroom, then it was moved to the old Sorell Council Chambers. The children from Sorell School use to go down to the cottage and pick books. During the second World War the librarian use to take the books up to the school in boxes for the children to choose their books.
Around 1980 the library moved back to the Magistrates Court behind the council chambers.
The Sorell Saleyards were first opened in 1876. Brohde’s great Grandparents Faye and Jabez Little with their four children who lived in Forcett attended the Sales for three decades and also in the Seventies with their grandson Jerry (my dad.) They spent many happy times at the Sorell Saleyards.
Everyone that attended the Sales (every second Monday) found it a time to catch up with family and friends. The day the Sales closed for good was in 1984 and everything was dismantled. The Sorell Sales were right in the centre of Sorell, and the purpose of the Sales was like a Market. At the Saleyards they sold things such as cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens, and vegetables.
The Auctioneer in the fifties, sixties and seventies and up to 1982 when the Sales were finally closed down was David Stringer. He was also accompanied by auctioneers John Denholm and Geoff Brown. Lots of people went to the Sales. About 300!
The Sales would get their animals transported in a cart. The Saleyards were set out in pens, there was a big shed for poultry sales and stock yards for cattle and sheep, there was also another big shed to keep vegetables in. Farmers used to bring their vegetables that they had grown and they sold the fresh produce to all residents of the local municipality and beyond. It was also very good for the local business people, the hotels would do a roaring trade and the local takeaway shops and bakeries also benefited. The Sales ran for about 50 years but now, there are know remains of the Sorell Saleyards. But then they wanted bigger and better that’s why they wanted to build Woolworths.
In our days these would be the costings of their products:
Over time, many country saleyards have gone by the wayside, but many of the memories attached to them live on.
Dal Hyland was born at Sorell, but lived at Cambridge, and spent many happy times as a child at the Sorell saleyards in the late 1940’s. The saleyard was smack bang in the heart of Sorell, the post and rail fences are long gone and the site asphalted over, for a supermarket car park.
Dal Hyland can remember regular extended family gatherings on sale days with his grandparents, retired farmers who had moved to Sorell.
“The saleyards were all set out in pens, all post and rail fences; there was a big shed for poultry sales. Another shed for veggie sales and different farmers would bring in their vegetables for sale, market gardeners. I remember Mr Bresnehan from out the back of Forcett driving in with his vegetables with his horse and buggy.”
“There was a gentlemen from Bellerive that had a corner shop, he used to go down every sale day, he would stand up on a platform and he would cut the potatoes or the turnips in half and hold them up, so people could see what they were bidding for, the quality of them.”
Dal says the day was more than just a day to buy and sell; it was also a day to catch up on news and renew friendships.
“It was very good for the local business people; farmers wives would come in and buy their groceries, the hotels would do a roaring trade. I had a wag of a cousin he used to call it handshake day.”
Sources We interviewed a couple of people: Mary Thornberry and my nan Zelda
Members of the Paynter and Green family gave us most of our information.
The Sorell School Motto: “Respecting our past, creating our future.”
In 1821 Governor Macquarie chose the site to build Sorell School.
The first building at Sorell School was made of stone and was built where the secondary school library currently is. In November 1888 it was made into a school residence when the original part of the school was completed. The original stone building was used up until 1921 when it got demolished. The school had two rooms and in 1926 whilst the school was being reconstructed an iron roof was put on to replace the old one which was made of shingle.
When Sorell School first opened a total of 57 students were enrolled. Sorell School’s first Headmaster was Charles Edward Hippesley Cox. He was paid £20 a year along with a convict for a servant and he was fed a ration and a half of food. Throughout the years Sorell School has had a total of twenty-nine headmasters and principals.
Now we have so many students I am unsure on the number. We also have both a primary and secondary side. But a long time ago they would put all the people in the one class. They would give you different work depending on your age, but that’s all different now. Our school goes from Kinder – Gr 10 and then you can go on to college.
Before Sorell School’s bell was burnt in a fire, it was rang when a convict was escaping.
Interviews with teachers about memories of Sorell School
Mrs Hansen has been going to Sorell all her life and she has been teaching for 14 years so since 1994! She began in kinder at age 5. She lived in the area she was in Lewisham until she turned 11 and then they moved house. There was no school at all seeing that Dodges did not exist yet so Sorell School was built. They used the cane until Mrs Hansen was in grade six! She said that it hurt. Mrs Hansen loved school and her favourite subjects consist of Music, Cooking and Social Studies. She loved helping other people and that’s why she became a teacher but she didn’t decide on this career until uni. Before then she always wanted to become a journalist and wondered what her life might have been like if she had done that! She began by teaching grade 3 but as the years went on she progressed her way up to grade 12 before stopping and teaching grade 6/7. She is very proud of where she is today but she could have never done it without the help of her fellow teachers and family.
From Mr Morley we got some old yearbooks and we read through them and they were very interesting; how much it has changed in so many years. Fashion was a big difference since when we went to school. In the yearbooks they didn’t have much colour because of the cost, but there was a double page of the day that they had the sports carnival, similar to what we have today. Ye old shotput and tugga war all the things that make the day. The clothes so different to what people wear now, like as we call them ” Harry high pants ” being worn it made us laugh. Sorry if you used to wear them but i know you probably think the same. Also looking back to the leavers dinners, we still have them but they are just so different. But I must say some of the dresses they wore back then were beautiful! with the puffy sleeves and everything. The school back then was just one small house type building located where the school library is located now. It was white in colour and very small, but as the years went on we built and eventually this building became what we know it as today!
This report was made by two groups of students: Maddi and Emily, Jenna and Shannan
Building the church:
St George’s Church provide a link with the past that we cannot ignore. British settlers began to farm in the area (originally know as Pittwater) in 1808. The first service at Sorell is recorded that the famous Reverend Robert Knopwood nicknamed Bobby at an enquiry conducted by Thomas Bigge. The first headquarters meeting was held in a barn. Many people attended, both free and convict as well as a few children. This was in 1820 in the following year the church was completed they decided to use it as a school house. But in 1823 when the report was submitted it was found that the recommendation had been omitted.
Everyone who died at Sorell prior to 1823 were taken to the St Davids cemetery in Hobart. On the 7th of March 1823 the Reverend Samuel Marsden under the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury consecrated a parcel of land and set it aside for ever as a cemetery.
In the month of April of that year the Reverend Knopwood had retired after 19 years to live on his farm at Clarence Plains but he also continued to serve faithfully the church.
The St Georges Church commenced in 1826 at the request of the Reverend William Garrard to rebuild the Church because of its dangers. The builders were set off to do this job and the cost of it all amounted to 800 shillings and 108 shillings for the carpentry work. In 1827 the church was completed all the masonry and materials being furnished by convict labour. The ultimate price of the building was £1,450. The church was built for 600 people, having galleries on three sides to accommodate convicts on muster days.
The first churchwardens were Mr James Gordon P.M of Forcett House and Captain W.H Glover J.P of Horsecroft, Sorell. Mr Gordon and his wife are buried at St Georges cemetery. The year 1832 saw the departure of the Reverend Garrard and the arrival of the Reverend James Norman who served the parish faithfully and well for 35 years. A letter written to J.Morgan, Esq police magistrate dated 9th of April 1835 is continued in the parish file and is in a good site of preservation.
In 1879 the church was pronounced unsafe and the Presbyterians most graciously offered the use of their church in which Anglicans worshipped until 1884 when the new one was built on the same site. It was built to accommodate 215 people at the same time. Reverend C.J Brammel was in charge of the parish. Services were held at Orielton, Wattle hill, Nugent, Kellevie, Bream Creek, Dunalley, Carlton, Forcett, Green Hill, Port Arthur, Cascades, Impression Bay and Wedge bay. Mr Brammell resigned in 1894 after 26 years of service.
On Tuesday 23rd of October 1883 the foundation stone of the new church of St George at Sorell was laid by Bishop Sandford. The bishop celebrated assisted by the Reverend C.J Brammell and Canon Mason and Mr Woolnough who walked from Bellerive and arrived a little after 12:30pm. The proceedings commenced with the 100th psalm, the bishop then standing on the stone delivered an impressive address founded on the words (Do all in the name of lord Jesus). The sum of forty pounds was laid on the stone.
The land and its rectors:
The land grant for the Church consisted of four acres, three roods relating to the area generally know as St George’s Square. The Church is surrounded by Gordon Street, Fitzroy Place, Parsonage Place and Sorell Rivulet. There was also a further eight acres and eight perches surrounded by Pelham Street, Cole Street and the Sorell Rivulet. From speaking to a man with a lot of information, we found out that the Church used to own from the creek near Coles to the hall in Gordon Street.
The original parish took into Coal Valley and the East Coast as far as Bicheno. It was reduced by the formation of the Parishes of Richmond in 1835 and Buckland in 1846. From 1950 the rector also looked after the Parish of Richmond. The Longest serving Rector was the Reverend James Norman from 1832 until 1867.
Conserving the church:
The Church is made out of Stone, corrugated iron and has a gothic style according to some. In the last five years it has had conservation work done with the foundations, and replastering costing around $44,000. The condition is fair and the integrity is intact. The dimensions of the church are 34ft with a depth of 64ft and a height of 18ft.
St.Georges church has a high pitched roof, the windows are tall and multi-paned. There are some structural difficulty and has bad stone deterioration around the base.
Interviewing Andrew Lake
At the moment there is one minister by the name of Andrew Lake. We interviewed Andrew Lake and found out this information:the busiest days of the year are Christmas and Easter, the church is always open on Christmas and Easter day. They have one church bell, which is rang so people know church is starting. The church has about two weddings and seven funerals a year. The decision to build a church probably came from Governor Arthur. He designed it to be big enough to fit everyone in the area including the convicts. The main feature of the church is probably the large Amber windows. There is more than one St. Georges church in Tasmania. Roughly 100 people are buried in the cemetery and about 100 in the columbarium. A Columbarium is place where ashes are placed. Andrew Lake has been the minister for four years.
This report was by two different groups of students: Maddi and Sam, Nicola and Bronte.
SOURCES: Andrew Lake – Phone Interview- 9/7/08
I found the information in a book called ‘Sorell Heritage Study Site Inventory Volume 5’
There is a book called The Shocking history of Sorell by Robert Cox, Sorell Library has a copy for reference but no borrowing.
Sorell was the eighth municipality created in Tasmania.
Sorell was lucky to have some important men with great ideas and good visions for the future. They believed they could do something with the place and had a pretty good view of it all and what it would be like. Some of these men were Mr. Alec Hean, Mr. William Dunbabin, Col. A. C. Blacklow and the president Warden, Mr. E. C. Iles.
The first council was elected on 30th June 1862 and they had their first meeting on the 1st of July 1862.
The first councillors were Messrs. John Dunbabin, Robert Blyth, Francis Allison, Edward Moore, Robert Doctor and Charles Hazell. Dr.Robert Blyth was elected warden and Mr.R.Fitzsimmins was the first council clerk. They were paid a salary of $150 a year.