Home Hill

Home Hill Exterior
Home Hill
Home Hill © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Minister Joseph and Dame Enid Lyons were a unique couple. Joseph, the only Tasmanian to become Prime Minister of Australia, wrote a love letter to Enid as his first act as Prime Minister. He also placed all of their property in her name as he believed in equality between men and women. Their love story is told through Home Hill, the homestead built for the couple in 1916 on property that Joseph gifted to Enid.

Reclaimed Doorway, Home Hill
Reclaimed Doorway, Home Hill © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The couple lovingly crafted, adapted and furnished the property, The property is testament to their tenacity and ingenuity. As the family grew (to an eventual eleven children), they expanded the house. Enid found creative ways to block off entries, turning former doorways into display cabinets. Enid’s work decorating the homestead is astonishing.

Bedroom, Home Hill
Bedroom, Home Hill © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

She made lamp-shades, lovingly restored and upholstered furniture, and hung and hand-painted wallpaper, all with her trademark elegant and eccentric style. One of the bedrooms has been hand-painted by Dame Enid with branches to hide cracks in the wall; a tendril from an outside plant had, rather appropriately, wound its way into the room, matching the wall paper beautifully.

 

Joseph Lyons, Home Hill
Joseph Lyons, Home Hill © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Home Hill also houses the political and social memorabilia of the Lyons. Official photographs of members of the royal family, formal invitation plaques, royal crockery, a one-of-a-kind Royal Doulton figurine and the hansard files for both Joseph and Enid, who was the first woman elected to the Australian Parliament, are tastefully displayed throughout the house. It is a fascinating collection and speaks to the popularity of the couple.

Joseph Lyon's Desk, Home Hill
Joseph Lyon’s Desk, Home Hill © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Sadly, Joseph Lyons also has the honour of being the first Australian Prime Minister to die in office. He passed away at the age of 59 on Good Friday, 1939. Dame Enid Lyons’s ongoing care of Home Hill, her meticulous preservation of Joseph’s political memorabilia and her subsequent political career all honour him and speak to the couple’s unshakable love.

Getting There

Home Hill is a mere two minute drive from the centre of Devonport. Located just off the Bass Highway (heading towards Burnie) on busy Middle Road, it is no longer the secluded retreat that the Lyons once thought it. However, as you can see in the photos that you will be shown as part of the tour, it once was a good distance from the town of Devonport and it still has the airs and graces of a stately home.

Cost

Home Hill Entrance
Home Hill Entrance © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Home Hill is open for guided tours at 2pm from Wednesday to Sunday and it is best to book your place, which can be done via the National Trust’s Home Hill webpage. Tours cost $15 for adults, $10 for concession and $40 for families. Upcoming events include the very romantic Valentine’s Day drinks and nibbles, a High Tea, an Easter Egg hunt and a film night; keep an eye on Home Hill Devonport’s Facebook page for more details. Enjoy your visit to a truly one-of-a-kind property, crafted by a remarkable couple.

For more posts about Tasmania’s north-west, click here.

Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory

The Conservatory, Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory
Grand Piano, Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory
Grand Piano, Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Built to house a local gentleman’s beloved grand piano, the conservatory next to the Parramatta Creek Rest Area has always been enigmatic. I have been meaning to stop there for quite some time, on the advice of a friend, to visit what is now The Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory. I’m glad that we did.

The building is spectacular, as is the grand piano inside it. The interior of the Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory is generously filled with pot plants, rustic wooden tables and Tasmanian produce. When we arrived, it was also packed full of happy customers.

Mains, Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory
Mains, Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Our meals were sensational. It is clear that using local produce is a priority, as is friendly, efficient service. Although we were pressed for time before heading to Home Hill, we were able to enjoy a main and a drink. I had the pork belly with Vietnamese noodles and I highly recommend it. There are options for those with dietary requirements, including several gluten-free desserts.

Getting There

Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory
Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory is located 15 minutes from Devonport and 50 minutes from Launceston, just off the Bass Highway at Sassafras. Look for blue road signs for Parramatta Creek Rest Area. If you are travelling from Devonport, you’ll see the conservatory but it’s harder to spot when travelling from Launceston due to the trees. The Parramatta Creek Rest Area consists of a car park, amenities block and BBQ area (including sheltered tables)  surrounded by stately trees. There is also further parking at the Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory.

Cost

Parramatta Creek Rest Area
Parramatta Creek Rest Area © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Main meals at the Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory cost approximately $25+ for lunch and the conservatory is open Tuesday – Sunday from 9am to 4pm. I recommend making a booking; we were very lucky to get a table inside (due to a cancellation). For up to date information about the Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory, see their Facebook page. If you don’t want to buy lunch, you could have a picnic at the Parramatta Creek Rest Area before stopping for a drink at the conservatory; it’s well worth seeing the interior of the building (and the piano).

On the same day, I visited Home Hill for the very first time! For other posts about Tasmania’s north-west, click here.