In 1858, when Surveyor Dooley set out to carve up the Kentish Plains, he drew a straight line from the township reserve of Sheffield without a bend directly to the Dasher River Crossing at the base of Mt Roland. The first mile was known as Spring St, but today it is renamed Claude Rd commences from its Main St junction. Let’s follow this road out from Sheffield, find out who the first settlers were, and why such a drastic detour was made to the road.
43 Claude Rd, Sheffield. This first farm on the left originally stretched from Spring St to Old Paradise Rd but was later cut in half. In 1902 James & Isabella Morse sold it to well-known Launceston doctor Wm Cotterell, who retired from his large medical practice in St John St. for health reasons. He called it Chingford but died 4 years later, leaving it to his two sons. George Wright sold it to Roelof de Boer in 1959, followed by George & Ariena (de Boer) Duff.
83 Claude Rd Sheffield. In 1898 Hugh & Margaret Powell bought this second farm on the left, which they named Wivenhoe. Born to British colonial settlers in NW India, Hugh was a gentlemen farmer who had James Kirkcaldy as a hired worker living on his property. Hugh owned the racehorse Ally Sloper, and in February 1906 became the first person in Sheffield to purchase a motor car. Shortly afterwards he knocked down the only lamp post on the corner of Main & High St and had horses tow his damaged vehicle home. About 1944, this farm was bought by Laurie Duff.
158 Claude Rd, Sheffield. In 1870 George & Elizabeth (Morse) Whiley, from Deloraine, purchased this prime property at the top end of Spring St. George’s parents Wm & Pamela Whiley, as well as other siblings, had preceded him to Kentish. But after 14 years, Whiley sold it to Jimmy & Ida Jones, parents of Wes & Lance Jones. Jimmy was active in community and Methodist church affairs. Later this property was owned by Jack Duff, Laurie Duff, and Dennis Duff.
179 Claude Rd, Highfield. The original owners James & Sarah Duggan built up on the crest of the hill overlooking Sheffield. As early members of the Kentish Gospel Hall, they offered their big barn as the venue for the first ever Annual Bible Conference on Christmas & Boxing Day 1874, commencing a tradition that continued elsewhere in Kentish for well over 100 years. In May 1885, Robert & Cecilia Rouse (5 sons) from Deloraine purchased this property from Duggan’s estate. While the straight road to Claude Road neatly divided Whiley’s block (west-side) & Rouse’s block (east-side), it led directly down into a steep and slippery gully containing a spring. After 30 years of treacherous travelling, in 1891, an extensive deviation rerouted the road further east, down through the centre of Rouse’s Highfield property to avoid this hazard. Robert Rouse was a hardworking man, an active Wesleyan Methodist lay-preacher who died December 1898 of hydatid disease from drinking contaminated water from a roadside ditch. He left his wife with five sons, aged 7 to 16 years. Afterwards, the Robert Eagling family lived there, and later Dennis Duff.
349 Claude Rd, Burnside, Roland Vale, Glen Lea. In 1866, David & Janet Hope (ex-Lanarkshire Scotland) came from Deloraine to settle onto this property he had chosen five years earlier. Sadly, David Hope, true pioneer, and father of 10 children, developed a liver complaint, dying on Oct 1868, aged 50. Upon learning of his father’s unexpected death, eldest son John Hope returned from travelling the mainland to manage the farm. He married local girl Elizabeth Wilson and had 11 children. The Hon John Hope became Kentish’s 2nd great leader, spending over 30 years in local government and 27 years in parliament. To do justice to his vast contribution to Kentish, our next article will feature his life story.
Upon John Hope’s death his Burnside property was sold to V Ray Padman, later Arthur Woods, who renamed it Roland Vale, then to the Hirsts, followed in 1959 by Noel & Dawn Woolley from Franklin who built the present brick house closer to the road. In July 1977 Robert & Georgina Binny from Derwent Valley took it over renaming it Glen Lea. Shortly after their arrival, their 3½ year child Clinton Binny was killed in a farming accident. Robert ran a Charolais cattle stud and was a member of the School Farm Advisory Committee. In 1989 the family purchased Binny’s Store at 76 Main St, Sheffield, where Georgina and son Roderick developed a thriving business.
Jeffries Rd was home to two early pioneering families: Joseph & Eliza (Connelly) Harman (5 chn) and Henry & Sophia (Manning) Overton (5 chn). A son from each family married Ridge sisters from Launceston and took over their parents’ farms. They were Henry & Ada Harman (5 chn) and Charles & Lillian Overton (4 chn). Each day at noon, to announce the time, Ada blew a ram’s horn that echoed all over the valley.
Paradise Rd Corner
This formed the southern boundary of John Hope’s property, where he built a long lane into a cottage erected close to the Dasher River, probably for one of the many Hope families. It was up this same lane that John Hope provided a flat paddock for the early cricket matches to be played after the Paradise Union Jack Cricket Club was formed on 3 Sept 1900. In December 1914, to the great relief of the Paradise people, the Dasher River was bridged, and a new 1½ mile outlet road was constructed by Walter Butler. This revolutionised travel between Paradise and Sheffield with its new railway station.
Paradise Corner to the Dasher Bridge, Claude Road. All the land on both sides of this road was owned by Foster Brothers of Campbell Town, being part of the original Government grant of 15,549 acres given to the Deloraine & Mersey Tramway Co. When Foster Bros auctioned off 16 blocks in this Paradise/Claude Rd area in April 1887, only about half of them sold. So John Hope leased the 100 acre block over the lane from his property and used it as a cattle run for over 30 years. In February 1911, the Government bought it back as a soldier settlement block for Albert (Dick) W Abbott, who established a sawmill back on the Minnow River and a small sawmill on his new Paradise corner property. In 1926, Dick Abbott became licensee of J T Wilson’s Sheffield Hotel until he died in 1938, aged 60. His son Crofton (Top) Abbott became Sheffield’s bookmaker.
In 1929 Stewart Rouse began renting Dick Abbott’s corner property, but upon Abbott’s early death, purchased it. Stewart had been born 2 km closer to Sheffield, up at Highfield – the youngest of Robert & Cecilia Rouse’s five boys. In his youth ‘Stewy’ was a bit of a sportsman, playing with both Sheffield Cricket and Football teams, and becoming Ulverstone’s Road Cycling Champion in 1917. After several working trips to New Zealand, Stewy bought his first chaff-cutter from Sam Cope of Ulverstone to start out on his own. After he married Nina Tuthill in 1929, they moved onto their new Paradise corner property. For the next few decades, it was called ‘Rouse’s Corner’. Mrs Nina Rouse was an excellent dressmaker, making many anniversary dresses and wedding gowns, as well as being a great cook and a regular exhibitor of daffodils at the Spring Flower shows.
On their property Stewart kept steam engines, threshing machines, binders, and a straw press. During harvest seasons, with a gang of eight that included his two sons Vic and Don, Stewy Rouse moved from farm to farm contracting to cut chaff, thresh grain, and press hay. At nights his gang slept in the nearest barn or on occasions outdoors, which they dubbed The Stars Hotel. Between seasons, Stewart operated a couple of sawmills, including one at Cradle Mountain on Connell’s land where the airstrip is now; but after three years Rouse sold it to Ez Connell. Stewart & Nina built their house in 1941, Victor & Faith’s in 1945, and Don & Fay’s in 1960. When Stewart retired, his two sons subdivided off their houses and sold the remainder of this big corner block to Cliff Treloar.
Victor and Don continued their harvesting business, operating as Rouse Brothers. Like his father, Vic also showed sporting prowess. In 1936 he started racing on his father’s old push-bike and won the schoolboys championship. Leaving school the following year, he bought a racing bike., At the Devonport Cycling Carnival in 1938, he won the first road race he entered. It was to Ulverstone and back, 22 miles long, and he won by a mile. Vic set a course record at Latrobe where he became their most consistent rider. When the Sheffield District High School Fun Day held the Australian Rabbit Trap Setting Championship, Vic and Don Rouse acted as judges.
After Cliff & Jenny Treloar purchased Rouse’s property in 1960, Cliff completed clearing it and excavated three large ponds, affectionately known as ‘the Paradise Ponds.’ He soon had a fine property for running stock. For about 20 years he also had a cattle run out on the Mersey River beyond the Garden of Eden, where the access to this area is now known as Treloars Road. Cliff and Jenny decided to operate a dairy, with Jenny taking the responsibility of milking 80 cows, while Cliff continued contract carting for the Forestry Dept. When his oldest son John left school, he joined his father. They purchased a five-yard truck and tendered for more Forestry work. When the new Cradle Mt link road to the West Coast commenced, Cliff and John won some large contracts with Dept of Main Roads. In 1972 Cliff & Jenny built a new brick home, where four years later a tragic accident occurred when one of two hitchhikers they brought in from Cradle Mt was accidentally killed in Cliff’s yard.
In about 1984, Cliff and John bought Sheffield’s old railway yards in Spring St, where John opened Kentish Engineering to service their trucks. Later, when Cliff & Jenny Treloar and John & Ann Treloar formed Treloar Transport, Kentish Engineering became part of it.
495 Claude Rd, The Rock. John & Anne (Braid) Treloar built their house here in 1986. Since Cliff’s heart by-pass operation in 1993, most of the business has fallen to John who has been managing director of Treloar Transport for 40 years. Under John’s direction, the Company has expanded state-wide and now employs 55 permanent and casual staff.
Between John Treloar’s house and the Dasher Bridge, land was initially leased to George Lord, then divided into two blocks. Donald McClean, a bachelor, bought the first 50 acres, later Bert Murfet. The house erected on the second block had many occupants, including Os George, Ben Perkins, Jack Cock, Peter Bell, and Jim McCoy. Much later, Ron Murfet bought the end block that straddled the Dasher River and included Wm Lockett’s original house.
On the western side of the road between Paradise Corner and Claude Road bridge, Foster Bros subdivided this land into three oblong 130 acre blocks, that ran length-ways up over the hill towards Lockwoods Rd. The first block sold to Robert Manning, the second to James Manning (both Paradise pioneers), and the third block closest to the Dasher river was leased to Robert B Charleston.
478 Claude Rd Homeleigh. In 1887 Robert Manning let his son Leonard Manning have this property until his marriage in 1902. Later it was purchased by Llewellyn Irby, Tasmania’s first Conservator of Forests, charged with testing the various species of trees planted at Stoodley’s pine plantations. Irby’s findings resulted in the large-scale post-war pine plantations throughout our island. Irby kept an old Brenn gun-carrier on his Claude Road property to pull up stumps in his paddocks. Later he became the first settler at Sisters Beach.
In about 1950, returned serviceman Ron Murfet & wife Jean (2 chn), bought the property from his brother Arn, built a new house, and took up dairy farming. When they retired to Sheffield in 1971, their son Allen & Cathy Murfet took over their farm and established Cathnal Santa Gertrudis stud. In 2007 they moved to Nook Rd, Sheffield, where they continued breeding their prize-winning cattle taking them to most Tasmanian shows as well as to Melbourne, Sydney & Brisbane.
510/526 Claude Rd. Various members of the James Manning family lived here for the first 30 years. In 1919 this property was sold jointly to H (Bert) Murfet & Clive Morse, who married sisters Rosy & Nelly Kirkcaldy. When Clive & Nelly Morse moved to Riverside, Bert Murfet bought out Clive’s share. In 1944 Bert Murfet established “Green Glades” Tamworth stud and for more than 20 years became a prominent figure around all Tasmanian showgrounds, accumulating over 200 championship ribbons. Bert helped set up many of the Tamworth breeders in the State and sent stock to commercial piggeries across Australia, and even to Singapore. In 1950 Bert Murfet sold out to Arthur Flemming, ex-policeman and fisheries inspector.
Hampson’s Lane led into Rob & Lyn Hampson’s property, but has since been extended up and over the hill to several properties with magnificent views of the mountain. The last big oblong block initially leased to Robert Charleston was later divided into three soldier settlement blocks. Ex-WW1 serviceman David & Kathleen (Mainwaring) Steers (8 chn) initially lived in the last house on the right before the Dasher River bridge.