Sunday, 7 July 2013

Sepia Saturday – Henry Condell was here!

When I went to Tasmania a couple of years ago, I was determined to find some places where my ancestors had been.

I knew that my 4x great grandfather Henry CONDELL (1797-1871) had arrived in Hobart in 1822, had been employed on Maria Island and had a brewery in New Town Road, Hobart, before moving to Melbourne around 1839. 
I’ve written a little about his time in Melbourne before.

This is a bit of the story of the brewery.

I had phoned ahead and so spent a few productive hours with the very helpful people at the Tasmanian Family History Society.
Unfortunately the brewery had not survived, being knocked down for a shopping centre, and New Town Road had been renamed – to Elizabeth Street.
The volunteers were able to show me a book with a photo of the Dallas Arms Inn that was across directly across the road from the original Condell’s Brewery in North Hobart. But, it was now a house not an Inn, and the trees had grown – a lot.

So, armed with a photocopy of the page containing a photo of the Dallas Arms, I headed off to North Hobart.

Determined not to miss ‘the spot’, I walked the full length of Elizabeth Street – I didn’t realise how far it was!
So here I was, scanning the sides of the road for the Dallas Arms Inn building and not looking down – I almost missed it – a heritage paver with the closest to ‘Henry was here’ on it.
There is a wonderful trail of shapes and colours in the North Hobart precinct and you can read more about that here.
And I looked across the road, and there was the Dallas Arms Inn building.

I walked down the “lane that led to Condell’s brewery” and found a car park, and a street sign – one of the few indications of one of the best brewers in the land (at the time).

As I walked back to the main street, I saw a coffee shop with lots of old photos on the walls. I decided I’d earned a coffee and cake and a closer look at those photos.
Alas, no photo of the brewery but the barista noticed me looking carefully at each one and asked me what I was looking for.
He then pointed me in the direction of an old brewery building back down the street that had been built shortly after Condell’s brewery and would look similar.

So, another walk back down the street.
The building was huge and now housed a couple of antique stores so I was able to go in and walk around. The store on the bottom had old pianos, including one very similar to the one I have from my great grandmother. I got chatting to the owners and they then showed me out the back where the huge supporting beams were and the huge openings where carriages would have transported barrels of ale.

It really pays to chat to people.

I thought the Sepia Saturday prompt this week (my second post to this theme) worked in nicely with the little plaque I found.


  1. Isn't it surprising what you can unearth with a little patience and lateral thinking. Great detective work.

  2. Well done with that determined search, and yes it fits perfectly.

  3. Quite wonderful to go sleuthing and discover more than you expected.

  4. I suppose if you had not included your convincing story with the photos I may have thought they were all 1820s England. Was the Dallas Arms built as a chapel?

  5. You must have been delighted with your search. Well done.

  6. I love that you looked down and spotted that plaque. You probably came very close to missing it. Lovely story.