Gilbert Street Historic Walk:
Gilbert Street, Latrobe TAS 7307
Walk from the Mersey Bridge to the Roman Catholic Church (1.25 kms, return 2.5 kms), enjoying the Heritage Streetscape and National Trust buildings along Gilbert Street then turn onto Hamilton Street to enjoy the Anglican Church and historic buildings from early times in tranquil country settings.
Notable buildings in Gilbert Street and Hamilton Street:
This is the site of the original port and wharf on the Mersey River and was only abandoned when ships became too large to traverse the relatively shallow Mersey River this far upriver.
In its heyday, Latrobe port was the key staging point for the transport of timber that built early Melbourne, and for coal and wool that was transported as far as England. The thriving industrial hub had many stores, a slipyard and a ship building industry, from where many ships were made that plied the seas between Tasmania and Melbourne.
The “Henley-on-the-Mersey” carnival is held at Bells Parade annually on Australia Day, 26 January, and has been a major social and sporting event for in excess of 85 years.
Old English trees thrive along the Parade adding natural beauty to the tranquillity and the barbecue facilities available make it an ideal location for a picnic. It is also a popular spot for wedding ceremonies and photo opportunities.
After its demise, the wharf was renamed Bells Parade after Robert Bell who, in 1855 with Henry Bentinck, built a store and wharf nearby.
Built in 1850 for Thomas Johnson and his wife Dolly Dalrymple, two of the most prominent people in that era in Tasmania and the subject of historic events still taught in Tasmanian schools today.
Sherwood Hall was relocated to its present site in 1993 from its original site on Railton Road because it was threatened with collapse by long term erosion from the nearby Mersey River. This building is open most days as a museum.
Mersey Main Road, Tarleton
In 1863 Miss Lucinda Moriarty lived here on 200 acres granted to her brother William Moriarty. Miss Moriarty first lived in a slab hut, which was the first building in the district. The present building was built in 1890 for George Atkinson. A feature is the observation tower which enabled Mr Atkinson, who owned a shipping service, to see the port at Bells Parade from his house.
20 Gilbert Street:
Built in 1886 by prominent local landholder and coal miner Stephen Kelcey as premises for the local brewer and milliner.
36 Gilbert Street:
Built in 1863 and used as the office of the Devon Herald, the first newspaper in the region.
37-39 Gilbert Street (Claren Antiques)
Built in the 1870s for Henry Phillips, this originally functioned as Phillips Store and as an ironmongers with a blacksmith shop at the rear. It was later a Green Coach depot.
40 Gilbert Street:
Built in 1866 for Mr and Mrs Samuel Ready. Mrs Ready sold drapery from one side and Mr Ready operated a saddlery from the other. From 1872 to 1876, it was also Latrobe’s first Post Office and Mr Ready was the postmaster. Mr Ready also obtained the first musical instruments for the Latrobe Federal Band, which is now the oldest continuously operating band in Australia.
41 Gilbert Street:
This was Nathan’s Store and residence built in 1865. The store was once Mistletoe Lodge – United Order of the Druids.
43 Gilbert Street:
Built by Mr JH Bellion, the building opened in 1876 as the Bank of Australasia and operated as such until 1942. It is named Urquhart Keep as the first manager was Donald Urquhart and a “keep’’ is a secure stronghold.
14 Victor Street:
Bonegilla is an aboriginal word that means “place of rest’’. Also known in its history as “The Oaks’’, the Gothic Revival style cottage was completed in 1879 as a congregational manse.
48 Gilbert Street:
Built by George Atkinson around 1876 to replace the wooden “Royal Charter Inn’’ built in 1858 but destroyed by fire, it was renamed Lucas’ Hotel after the first publican of the newer building. At the back is “The Sampling Room’’, where travelling salesmen displayed their wares.
Travellers arrived by train and were transported to the hotel by horse and float – except when the circus came to town because the regular horse was frightened of the elephants and prone to bolting.
Also at the rear of The Lucas is an iron shed which is a pre-fabricated iron-framed shed that was made in Scotland and transported to Tasmania. It may have been erected in the 1860s and is the first pre-fabricated shed in the district.
52 Gilbert Street:
George Atkinson’s auction mart built in 1889.
Odd Fellows Hall
54 Gilbert Street:
Built in 1882 and extended in 1888, it has been a public hall, theatre, cinema and until the 1980s a roller skating rink.
56-58 Gilbert Street:
This was built around 1890 as Whitaker’s Federal Stationery Depot. William Whitaker was the publisher of the Devon Herald – the first newspaper in the region.
60 Gilbert Street:
Built around 1890 in the same Georgian style as the building next door, at no. 56-58, it was Mrs Williams’ lolly shop – reported to be one of about 14 lolly shops in Latrobe during the 1920s. It was also believed to be, at one point in its history, a house of ill repute. The current business owner reports occasional ghost encounters involving a woman who taps him on the shoulder in what was believed to be the reception parlour.
62 Gilbert Street:
Built in 1884 as Hatton and Laws’ Pharmacy, this is Latrobe’s only three-storey building. It was a bakery for many years and the original brick oven remains in use.
63-65 Gilbert Street:
This building has been a continuously operating jewellery shop since it was built in 1881 for John Matthews, who began a family jewellery dynasty that lasted until 2012 and the family name remains on a jewellery shop in Devonport. The left half of the shop was also a tailor’s shop and a bootmaker at various times in its history.
64-66 Gilbert Street:
Built in 1879 as Oppenheim’s Store and was a pharmacy from 1901 until the 1990s.
68 Gilbert Street:
Built about 1887, it was first a drapery then a boot business and later hosted a dressmaker and milliner.
70 Gilbert Street:
Built in 1876 as a mart for George Atkinson who owned saleyards behind the building. Barclay Street was built as access to his yards. Mr Atkinson built a new mart at 52 Gilbert St and this building at number 70 became a chemist and later a boarding house.
71-77 Gilbert Street:
Built in 1870 for the merchant Robert Bauld, it has also been a florist shop, a lolly shop, a barber shop and tea rooms.
78 Gilbert Street:
Built in 1886 as the Commercial bank of Tasmania, it was the ES&A bank until 1976.
82-84 Gilbert Street:
Jabez White had this built in 1891 as the “Book Arcade’’ and also operated a watchmaker business from the premises. Two years later, it was bought by JP Kenworthy and with the clever change of just one letter in the name on the front of the store, it became the “Boot Arcade’’. Mr Kenworthy operated a notable emporium from this site. The second storey clearly shows this is two buildings constructed at different times but it has operated as one store on the ground floor from its early beginnings.
86-90 Gilbert Street:
Known to have existed in the 1890s, the construction date of this building is unclear. It was a dressmaker and milliner’s shop, later a drapery, and then a lolly shop.
Wells & Sons Store
110-14 Gilbert Street:
Built around 1885 by Samuel Sternberg, who hit on hard times in the depression of the 1890s, and the building was bought by notable Don businessman William L. Wells and re-opened in 1893. It remained in the family until William’s great grandson Garth Wells sold it just after 2000. The Wells stores have sold food, haberdashery, drapery, outdoor equipment and hardware for generations and this is the most prominent and long-standing store in Latrobe.
120 Gilbert Street:
This building was registered as a medical practice in 1897, making it the oldest accredited medical practice in Australia. Henry Biggins built the house in 1897 and it served as a doctor’s residence and surgery until 1968.
113-117 Gilbert Street:
Built between 1879 and 1883 with additions and extensions from 1910 to 1913. The central portion of the building was built as a courthouse, and the west wing was added as a post office in 1883. Council chambers were added to the eastern side to match the western wing and later became a library when the council moved into the central courthouse portion. The central portion is now a museum. This section of the building retains the original dock, public gallery and seating for police watching the prisoners.
121 Gilbert Street:
Built in 1892, the church was a gift from Mr William Gibson, of Scone (Eskleigh) as services had previously been held in the Odd Fellows Hall at 54 Gilbert Street. The manse at the rear was built in 1897.
133 Gilbert Street:
This brick and timber Georgian residence was built in the 1870s and used as a police court for many years.
145 Gilbert Street:
This is one of the orginal houses from Forbes St in Devonport where it was built for a pioneering sailor. It was relocated in 1987.
193-195 Gilbert Street:
A small church was built on this site in 1862 and the present church built in 1873. In 1892 a convent was built and opened the following year, when some Sisters of Mercy nuns arrived and took up operation of the school. The presbytery was erected in 1880.
194 Gilbert Street:
Built as a cobbler’s cottage in 1870.
17 Forth Street:
Built in Victorian style in 1891 for Dr William Stewart who was a doctor at the nearby Devon hospital. It was acquired by the government in 1950 and used as a home for girls but is now a B&B named Lucinda’s after Lucinda Moriarty, one of Latrobe’s earliest settlers.
9 Hamilton Street
The original Uniting Church for the district was a wooden construction at Sherwood, on the other side of the Mersey River, in the 1850s. Great expense and manpower were involved in the shifting of that wooden construction and subsequent significant renovation, only for the committee to discover it was too small for the congregation that gathered. So it was shifted again to make way for the present church which was built 1879-81 and a grand Sunday school building, which was burnt down by an arsonist in 1997.
10 Hamilton Street:
Built in 1880 for one of the most popular men in Latrobe; the brewer, George Rudge.
11 Hamilton Street:
Built around 1876 for one of Latrobe’s most high-profile families; the Wells.
Latrobe Courthouse Museum (National Trust Property)
113-115 Gilbert Street, Latrobe TAS 7307
(03) 6426 1289
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Friday 1:00pm to 4:00pm; Other times by appointment. Closed June, July and Public Holidays.
Entry fee: gold coin donation.
The Courthouse Museum tells the story of Latrobe and its surrounding areas since European settlement began in the mid nineteenth century.
The Tasmanian Family History Society Inc.
117 Gilbert Street, Latrobe TAS 7307
(03) 6426 2257
Opening Hours: Tuesday and Friday 11.00am-3.00pm; 2nd Saturday of the month 11.00am-3.00pm.
The Tasmanian Family History Society Inc. promote the study and research of the science of genealogy and family history through education, preservation and transcribing relevant family records, and the writing and publishing of appropriate literature.