S for Surf Life Saving

Thanks to Amanda Mackinnon for writing this post for the A-Z challenge.

Thanks to the Carlton Park Surf Life Saving Club archives for the use of the image.

The day the roof blew off

Carlton Park Surf Life Saving Club draws its local community close. The clubhouse and its adjoining storage and rescue facilities are nestled in the dunes at glorious Carlton Beach, one of the most popular beaches in the Sorell municipality. The 2.7km stretch of white sand faces the entrance of Frederick Henry Bay, being bound by the Carlton River mouth to the east and Spectacle Head to the west. It’s an idyllic location to say the least, and one that’s been home to the iconic red and yellow flags for over 60 years. 

Carlton Park was officially established in 1975 following the merger of Hobart Carlton (affiliated in 1957) and Park Beach (affiliated in 1959) Surf Life Saving Clubs. Both Hobart Carlton and Park Beach made significant and colourful contributions to surf lifesaving in Tasmania and original members of both clubs can still be found at Carlton Park today. The fact that an interstate carnival attracted more than 20,000 competitors to the beach in the 1960s provides an indication of just how popular the sport has proven over the years. 

Carlton Park’s facilities are currently undergoing an exciting redevelopment to cater for the growing population of the Southern Beaches region. However, it’s not the first time club members have banded together to reinvigorate this valued community resource. 

In March 1989, a freak gust of wind in the form of a spiral travelled across the bay towards the Carlton Park clubhouse. It wreaked havoc. The roof was torn off and much of the block work was torn down by the effect of the roof twisting about the rear wall. The result was the complete destruction of the entire first floor. 

Residents at the time recall a still afternoon and an almost eerie silence up until the time when the gust approached. The wind continued inland for some distance, reportedly breaking limbs from trees but causing only minor damage to a few other buildings in the area. 

Even more heartbreaking for members was the fact that the facility has only just been renovated and the interior repainted – courtesy of countless hours of volunteer work. In the weeks that followed, members spent hours clearing away debris and salvaging materials. 

Fingers crossed history doesn’t repeat itself once the new clubhouse is completed in 2022!

M for McGinnis family

Thanks to Judy Pearson (nee Dodge) for writing this post for the A-Z challenge.

Blue links will take you to the digitized images  from Libraries Tasmania website. Clicking on image in post will take you to the original at Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office (TAHO).

The McGinnis (McGeniss McGuinness) family of The Carlton began their lives in Van Diemens Land at Clarence Plains having been part of the exodus from Norfolk Island when that early convict settlement was closed down by the authorities in 1807/08. The promise of land equal to 4 times that which they had left was not properly fulfilled when they arrived at the struggling settlement in Hobart Town. Many of these new arrivals were in time located in Clarence Plains on small plots of land. One of these families was Hugh McGinnis’s with his partner Charlotte Simpson/Hall who had until 1795 been partner of William Dodge, Superintendent of Convicts on Norfolk Island, and her living children Ralph and Sarah Dodge). Hugh and Charlotte had another 5 children all born on Norfolk Island, Hugh Jnr., Rebecca, Andrew, John Hall, William Daniel Simpson, and Elizabeth. Sarah Dodge was baptised Sarah McGinnis in Hobart Town where Hugh and Charlotte were married in 1810.

Within a few years the whole family chose to move on to more suitable and fertile land and Hugh, his 3 sons and step-son Ralph Dodge all received grants at The Carlton where they became farmers and  significant pioneers of a settlement near Chaseys Creek. They increased their holdings in the area, Ralph Dodge having more land further to the north and from there he operated a packhorse mail run, and in 1841 he established the Carlton Post Office and was the first Postmaster. This served the community until 1949 with many family members working as Postmaster, including John Hall McGinnis.

Carlton Post Office
TAHO, NS1029/1/129

Hugh McGinnis farmed his land but owned a schooner and a whale boat at Marion Bay. He pioneered the work of the Congregational Church in the district and prayer meetings were held in his home. He died in 1841 and is buried at St. Davids, Hobart.

John Hall McGinnis married Mary Smith in 1822. In 1837 he owned several properties and donated land for the Carlton Congregational Church, burial ground, school and playground. He was a lay reader and superintendent of the Sunday School for considerable years. The Chapel has a long history and on the 180th anniversary of the first Public Worship held there on 10th January 1841 the owners held a celebratory High Tea on their recently acquired property. John McGinnis also owned and was licensee of the Carlton Inn and Store (also known as the Prospect Inn).

His brother Hugh took over the license when John died in 1854 and changed the name to Carlton Arms. Hugh McGinnis Jnr. married Elizabeth Thomas. In 1828 he became a Division Constable. He was recorded as a Publican and owned land in a number of other areas. He died at his home ‘Bay View’ Carlton in 1884 and is buried in the Chapel Churchyard in McGuinness Road.

The Carlton River Cemetery is at the top of McGuinness Rd. and is accessible to the public but there are few headstones still showing. None show the name McGinnis (McGuinness) but relatives would have been buried there and many descendants still live throughout the area.

Kath Lonergan has written the story of the McGuinness family at Carlton in her book entitled ‘Kindred Connections’. She is a descendant of both Dodge and McGuinness families.

C for Carlton River area

Carlton is a locality about 15 kms south east of Sorell. It is actually the name for an area which includes Carlton River, Carlton Beach, Carlton Chapel and Carlton Cemetery. It is on the northern side of the Carlton River.

Carlton River was actually named River Brue by sea explorer Baudin in 1802. It was named after one of his officers on the expedition.

According to Peter Macfie’s research,

The name ‘Carlton’ was given by a whaler who visited the Derwent River in 1806, fishing in Frederick Henry Bay for 3 months that year. After British settlement in 1803, “The Carlton,” as it was always referred to, was settled by 1820, with early settlers being McGinnis, Joseph, Quinton and Steele.

A town was supposed to be built on land owned by Steele but this did not eventuate. In the early days of settlement in the municipality, bush rangers were often found in the area as were convicts escaping from Port Arthur.

Bushrangers at Carlton River

In bad weather, the river was often impassable and would stop travellers crossing and continuing their journey south towards Port Arthur. It was not until 1865 that a contract was accepted to improve the crossing.

Fording the Carlton River

But of course there were accidents crossing the river before an actual bridge was built. It was not until 1882 that a passable bridge was built and opened in 1883.

Death crossing the river

The mouth of the Carlton River was often a hive of industry including growing brown trout and oyster fisheries. In 1878, salmon were also caught near Carlton River.

In October 1874, a meeting was held to form a cricket ground on the property of James and Frederick Steele with magnificent views of the river.

The obituary for William Morriss in 1888, describes the Carlton River area very fully. William arrived with his parents when aged 6 and had lived at the Carlton for 75 years.

Other posts mentioning places in the Carlton:

Readers: What are your memories of living in or visiting the Carlton area of Sorell municipality?