Sometimes, we forget the treasures that lie in our own backyard. Today, I visited Entally House in Hadspen for the first time. There was only one other couple there while we were visiting the homestead. It was nice to have the place to ourselves but it was also astonishing to hear the other couple say that they, visitors from mainland Australia, had been trying to visit Entally House for five years. Tasmania is a treasure trove.
Entally House is a museum and function venue. I attended a wedding at Entally many years ago and was excited to finally view the interior of the homestead for the first time. Inside the house, you’ll find a tasteful array of Victorian furniture. A few pieces of furniture are associated with Entally’s original occupants and many pieces have a connection with the local area. The volunteers have gone to a lot of trouble to produce information sheets for each room. Read the fact sheet on women’s clothing in Victorian times (in the upstairs Governor’s Wing). It’s fascinating!
Entally House has many claims to fame. Its cricket pitch is perhaps the oldest in Australia. Entally also hosted the first known match between an English team and a team of convicts. Unsurprisingly, the convicts won. Further, the homestead also has what is perhaps the oldest surviving Victorian conservatory in Australia. It is a beautiful spot for a photo!
When the volunteer offers you an introductory speech about the family who built Entally, say yes. You’ll hear many interesting stories! Three generations of the Reibey family lived at Entally. First of all, Thomas Haydock Reibey II built Entally House in 1819 and named it after Entally in India. Thomas II was the son of shipping magnets Thomas and Mary Reibey. Mary Reibey is the only convicted felon featured on a country’s currency (our $20 note). The family disgraced themselves in many ways. This said, Thomas II’s son became a respected member of parliament. He even became premier of Tasmania for a year (1876 – 1877) and Entally House therefore had its share of famous visitors.
Entally also had its share of infamous visitors. Convicts lived and worked at the homestead. Have a look at the convict bricks in the kitchen, noting the marks on them. In one of the back sitting rooms, you can view the cellar, visible through a glass panel in the floor. The convicts were locked up here overnight.
Currently, the only occupant of Entally House is Ginge the cat. We were shocked when he bounded up the stairs to join us in the nursery! He’s a friendly cat. Unlike our cat, he doesn’t scratch the furniture. You can see the tide mark (of orange cat fur!) on the library door though.
To reach Entally House, drive 15 minutes from Launceston towards Devonport. On the Bass Highway, follow signs for Hadspen and then for Entally House. You can visit the homestead from 10am – 4pm everyday except Tuesday and Wednesday and some public holidays. For up to date opening hours, check out Entally’s website. Please be aware that the property can be closed during the winter months for restorations.
You’ll pay $15 per adult, $12 per concession and $35 per family (unlimited children!!) to view Entally House. To see where your money goes, head upstairs to the nursery. On display are several chairs in desperate need of restoration, which is an example of one of 25 restoration projects currently underway. If you’d like to give more towards these, make a donation or buy a cup of tea, biscuit or cold drink from the humble tea room. It has a beautiful view of the conservatory!
A walk through the gorgeous gardens (without viewing the homestead) will cost you $7. If you’re pressed for time, or the homestead is closed for renovations, do the garden tour. You’ll get to see the famous cricket pitch and Victorian conservatory, as well as being able to admire the exteriors of the buildings and the carefully manicured gardens.
To read more of my journeys in northern Tasmania, click here.