Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Save the Golden Fleece Inn … and they have

1 Victoria Esplanade, Bellerive, Tasmania
Peter MacFie Jan 2011

One of the Eastern Shore’s earliest buildings is threatened with demolition under a proposal before the Clarence City Council. The threat highlights severe limitations of heritage protection for Tasmania historic structures not listed under the weak legislation at both state and local government level.

Demolition of the large historic inn is intended by an interstate developer who bought the property with the intention of erecting a two storeyed French style villa.

The proposal will:

• Destroy one of Tasmania’s earliest inns
• Destroy the heritage streetscape of the Bellerive Esplanade
• Destroy a unique intersection of the former Kangaroo Point ferry station which focused on the 3 inns which once operated at the Esplanade intersection.

Historical Background

Established as the Golden Fleece Inn in 1823 by John McCormack, a sale notice in January 1825 advertised:

A truly valuable and well-frequented premises consisting of two large, well-proportioned sitting rooms, bar, tap room, four bedrooms and other conveniences, with a large granary, together with a skeleton of a large weatherboard house with a good oven. Brick parting walls with an excellent garden fenced in.

The inn was a regular meeting place for travellers and settlers from the EasternSshore, who frequented the inns of Kangaroo Point , while waiting for the ferries heading to Hobart Town. A regular ferry passenger, and visitor to the Golden Fleece Inn, was Rev Robert Knopwood who recorded his visits in his diary in the 1820s. Kangaroo Point Court records also reveal constant activity around the once busy harbour port of Kangaroo Point, including this inn.

The Golden Fleece Inn operated as such until c 1880 when it was converted to a private residence and known as Belle Vue. See attached image. During the first half of the 20thC the building was occupied by former Clarence Councillor and farmer, Albert Free.

In the 1950s the building was renovated by new owners and English immigrants who tiled the original steep pitched roof and replaced the shingle roof with tiles. The large windows, still in the same space, were replaced with metal framed windows. During adaptation, the Oakes found several old coins under the floorboards, including a Spanish silver dollar, indicating its age.

Heritage and conservation non-status

The precarious potion of the former inn indicates a major weakness in state and heritage planning. This appears to have occurred for the following reasons:

• The former Golden Fleece Inn is not listed in any state or local heritage register
• Although listed in the 1995 Clarence City Council Heritage Study by Scrips and Hudpseth, the Golden Fleece Inn ins not register as a heritage study.
• The inn was not listed on the National Trusts Heritage Register.
• The Trusts listing became the basis of the State’s heritage Register
• As a result , the structure is not listed in the State Heritage Register
• The Trust and the State Heritage bodies are grossly underfunded, so very few buildings are being added to or cases reviewed.

The cutbacks to the heritage unit of PW&H at the last state election by former Premier, David Bartlett, have added to the backlog of registration work for staff, and added to the list of threatened buildings and sites in the so-called heritage island.

The way it was …




The failure to protect Tasmania’s Heritage has been highlighted regularly by Tasmanian Times’ contributors (a selection):

John Hawkins:
It cost $27,500 to fell Westbury’s trees. Why?
Westbury: It is a criminal act
Heritage Council is a disgrace to Tasmania
One of the great criminal acts
John Hawkins, Heritage landscapes, , Scott Gadd, Graham Corney, Peter James and David Bedford


Gwenda Sheridan:
One minute to midnight: the Brighton bypass
Tasmania’s landscape: Planning, heritage and forestry
Heritage: The forgotten election issue


Peter Freeman:
Everybody loses

First published: 2011-02-02 03:07 AM

Mercury, Thursday, Feb 24:

CLARENCE City Council has rejected a development application to demolish a former inn on Bellerive Bluff and build a two-storey villa.

The Bellerive Historical Society strongly opposed the development, which would have resulted in the demolition of what was originally the Golden Fleece Inn, built about 1823.

The pub in Victoria Esplanade operated until about 1880, when it was converted to a private house.

A planner’s report said the proposed house would be incompatible with nearby buildings, particularly in scale and design, and the existing house was an integral part of “the interpretative process of historic development” in the area.

Historical society member Peter MacFie said only one of the 10 aldermen present voted against the report’s recommendation.

Mr MacFie said he, fellow society member John Sargent and Bellerive businessman Ken Vance spoke against the demolition of the former inn and its replacement by a “so-called French villa”.

“All three of us highlighted the inn’s significance, its pivotal position in a major heritage area, and the effects its loss would have on the foreshore streetscape,” Mr MacFie said.

Full Mercury story HERE

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Candida Doyle

    February 24, 2011 at 12:32 am

    Sam, your comments provide ample evidence of the need for heritage protection. For too long you and your ilk have been trashing our built heritage under the guise of `it’s old crap, let’s put in aluminium windows.’ I assume you inherited the property. If not, why the fuck did you buy it? Why not sell to somebody with an interest in protecting our shared heritage? It sounds to me like you’d be happier in a nice new Jennings home in Blackmans Bay.

  2. Kim Peart

    February 24, 2011 at 12:16 am

    This is excellent news, that the Council has said no, though a Tribunal appeal could turn matters over. Hopefully now heritage listing will be sought as a matter of urgency, by the Council with the support of all who care about heritage values and the treasures of history.

    Kim Peart

  3. Sam

    February 1, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    Just because something is old, does not make it needing to be saved for christ sake, my shirty little north hobart cottage is rotten, small, cramped, one half of the building is falling down the roof never had anyone plumbing for years and if I had a spare $200,000 in the bank I would have no hesitation in bull dozing it and building something new, solid, proper and safe. But due to ‘heritage’ laws I cant touch a thing. Look I am not against everything old, but surely there has to be a point, where enough is enough and just do it. I dont care what you do with your house, paint it pink I dont care, but what I do you shouldn’t care about either.

  4. Kim Peart

    February 1, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Has the fight for Bellerive’s unique heritage values been lost?

    Bellerive could have been a boutique version of Salamanca Place and a humming little tourist destination, but this potential was overlooked and never happened, as the Town Hall was demolished in the early 1970s and replaced by the Quay Building.

    Rather than see the value of heritage fabric, piece by piece it had been demolished in preference to a global vision of progress.

    The development of the Bellerive Oval into an international class stadium certainly follows suite with the Quay Building.

    Old shops in Cambridge Road were restored into complete replacements, with a few bricks left in place as a token of history.

    Other shops in Cambridge Road were demolished completely and even a recognised site for an archaeological dig on a neighbouring address, which was not part of the demolition approval, excavated entirely and carted off to the tip.

    Proposals for a museum of local history in the old Police Station met with a luke warm reception and never happened.

    What fate awaits the Golden Fleece Inn?

    With too many denizens of the Eastern Shore blind to history, heritage and the economic benefits of tourism and no vision in place that has already identified the preservation future of each building and structure, the demolition derby will most likely reign again.

    With so much lost, what is left to fight for?

    Kim Peart

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