Colonial Gardens of Port Arthur

Citation

Colonial Gardens of Port Arthur: an archival survey: Peter H. MacFie, 1983, Port Arthur Conservation Project, National Parks and Wildlife Service (157 pp)

Outline

An archival study of the colonial gardens of Port Arthur, carried out in 1983.
Appendices: leaves 82-157 are photocopies of the catalogues of “Plants in the Royal Society Gardens, Queens Park, Hobart Town” between 1857 and 1870.Bibliography: leaves 74-79.

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Excerpt

Phase 1. Settlement Hill. 1830-40.
The Commandant’s House is all that remains intact of the original settlement that extended above Champ Street, from the Commandant’s to the first prisoner’s barracks at Settlement Creek. The garden around the Commandant’s House, although added to, is the most described historically, while the adjacent cottage garden, the Subaltern’s House, was also decorative. Lempriere’s home, the first Accountant’s House, also had a decorative garden, and – with a large family – functional. Both are now ruins only.
The most significant landscaping features from this period are;
i) Terracing of Settlement Hill.
ii) The reclaimed foreshore below Champ Street (but not the oval) where the first Workshops and Commissariat Store were located.
iii) Church and the oak avenue leading from the then foreshore.
The oak avenues are the first step in a deliberate policy of landscaping the settlement, and appears likely to have been instigated by T. J. Lempriere, who with Booth, exchanged acorns with Lady Jane Franklin.
Phase 2. Officer’s Row & Ornamental Garden 1840-50.
Construction of a second, more substantial row of stone houses for officers began in 1842, initiated by Booth. These extended from the church over a period of 6 years. Each had an ornamental as well as productive private garden.
The major landscaping features of this era – apart from the houses – were;
i) The flour mill and granary built on the reclaimed foreshore.
ii) The Ornamental Gardens. These gardens were developed by the next Commandant W.T.N. Champ and were apparently laid out without official sanction, as was so much of Champ’s administration.

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