The prominent hill situated just east of the Sheffield town boundary is Vinegar Hill. It is accessed off Kermode St, along Vinegar Hill Rd, and provides spectacular elavated views of Mt Roland. This well-watered land just east of Sheffield consists of rich chocolate soil and over the years have produced some fine farms.

About 1864 John Strawberry from Westbury purchased land close to the Sheffield town boundary, Wm Greenhill also from Westbury purchased 151 acres of flat land on the top of Vinegar Hill. Isaac Tyler from Exton also bought 2 blocks that ran from the Sheffield-Railton Rd up to the top of Vinegar Hill to adjoin Wm Greenhill property on the north side. The Tylers were Catholics, the first Catholics to buy land on the Kentish Plains, which was almost entirely occupied by English and Scottish Protestant settlers. In the early 1870s three more Irish families purchased land along Vinegar Hill Rd. They were Ed Sullivan from Westbury, Thomas Wilson from Latrobe and the Kelly family from Sassafras, who eventually bought Greenhill’s hilltop farm. It was Thomas Wilson who rather provocatively named his property Vinegar Hill. In early colonial times, several places across the British empire were named Vinegar Hill by patriotic Irish settlers when they wanted to have their Irishness recognised in the midst of predomantedly English/Scottish settlements. The original Vinegar Hill in County Wexford, was the site of the last big battle waged by thousands of Irish rebels against the British Army in June 1798. The name Vinegar Hill became a symbol for Irish patriotism and thats what appears to have happened here on the Kentish Plains. The Tylers, the Sullivans and the Kellys were at the forefront of advancing the Catholic cause in Kentish and building the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Sheffield in 1922.

What follows is a brief overview of the early families that farmed along the Vinegar Hill Rd.

39 Vinegar Hill Rd Strawberry’s and Newman’s Fairview farm
Born in Wales in 1817, John Strawberry (24) married Sussanah Cox (17) in Launceston in 1841. Some twenty years later they arrived at Vinegar Hill with their 9 children and called their property Fairview. In the following year Nov 1965, a tragic accident befell John Strawberry when he drowned in fast-flowing Mersey River at Kimberley Ford while trying to bring a bullock to Sheffield. This was the first tragic death of a Kentish pioneer. His wife Sussanah was made of stern stuff. With her three growing boys they cleared the land and 10 years later had a working farm, which she ran for nearly 30 years. In her home in May 1873,
3rd daughter Maria Strawberry (21) married Walter Butler (21) who became one of Kentish early leaders. In May 1885 youngest son Edwin Strawberry (24) married Elizabeth McCoy daughter of William McCoy who had been one of Field’s stockmen and with her McCoy brothers became the pioneer settlers at Claude Road. Edwin & Elizabeth Strawberry lived with his aging mother Sussanah at Fairview until she died in July 1898 aged 74 and buried by the local Captain of the Salvation Army. Edwin was an active farmer and liked trialing experimental potatoe crops and testing new machines. They had one son John and two daughters: Maude Strawberry who married Henry Newman in 1920 and Eva Strawberry who married Oscar Tyler in 1923. After Edwin Strawberry (71) died in April, 1933, Henry & Maude (Strawberry) Newman moved from Paradise to Fairview to help run the farm. Henry Newman was a WW1 veteran who had been shot in the left thigh and right leg and spent two years rehabilitation in hospital in England. Henry and Maude were married in June 1920 and had two children, Ken and Rennie Newman. Although Henry farmed Fairview for over twenty years, he was never a well man, constantly needing treatment for his war injuries in Hobart’s Repatriation hospital. Rennie Newman spent all her teenage years at Fairview Vinegar Hill where the musical talent inherited from her great grandmother became apparent. Born 1925, Rennie has had a stellar career as a music teacher, spanning almost 70 years – first at Sheffield, then Devonport, where she dominated the music scene for decades. Rennie led her own group, the Renae Singers, for 40 years. In 1996, Mrs Rennie (Newman) Herbert was awarded the OAM. She still lives quietly in Devonport aged 98.

52 Vinegar Hill Rd Mason’s and Sullivan’s Burnside
In 1874 Edward Sullivan from Westbury bought land along Vinegar Hill Rd which included a sawmill. Born in County Limerick, Ireland in 1836, Sullivan came to Tasmania aged 19 and married Mary Ann Molley. Arriving in Kentish with his teenage family, he and his sons turned the virgin forest into a workable farm. Sullivan‘s neighbour on the south side was John B Mason, son of Archdeacon Alfred Mason of the Hobart. Mason called his property Burnside, served on Kentish Road Trust and as a JP. In July 1901 Mason sold his Burnside property to Edward Sullivan and moved to King Is. Sullivan accepted Burnside as the name of all his properies and its homestead became his main abode. Edward died in March 1909 aged 73 and was buried at Latrobe Catholic Cemetery. His son Henry Sullivan (32) took over Burnside from his father about 1902. Henry with wife Mary Ann Sullivan were committed Catholics and active supporters during the construction of the Church of the Holy Cross in High St Sheffield in 1922. Both Mary Ann Sullivan (d 1948) and Henry Sullivan (d 1951) were buried in the Catholic section of the Sheffield Cemetery. Their only son Aubrey Sullivan who married Mary McQuire from Stanley were good farmers and extended their holdings up Vinegar Hill Road. Mary d 1966 (54) and Aubrey d 1991 (82). In the 1980s Burnside’s new owners Henry & Marjorie Burrows from Queensland spent big money upgrading the property and erecting a modern two-storey homestead.

101 Vinegar Hill Rd Wilson’s 32-acre Vinegar Hill
About the same time as Sullivan came, another Irishman Thomas Wilson obtained two blocks of land that ran up the slopes of Vinegar Hill between Sullivans & Wm Greenhill’s property. He occupied the northern 32-acre block for more than a decade and gave it the Irish patriotic name Vinegar Hill, which ended up becoming the local placename. This property has not always had a house on it, but in the 1980s Theodore & Margaret Ey lived there. Thomas Wilson‘s adjoining 50 acres block on the south side, he on sold to James Manning Jrn in May 1879.

139 Vinegar Hill Rd Manning’s 50-acre Mayrise
Two years before James Manning bought Wilson‘s 50-acre block on Vinegar Hill, his son John & Alice Manning had married in Evandale had two children. When they moved to Vinegar Hill in 1879, they called it Mayrise and had 11 more children.After St Barnabas Anglican Church, Sheffield was open in Jun 1891, the last six Manning children were baptized there. After John Manning d Sept 1914 (59), his son Sam & Myrle Manning carried on the farm for nearly 40 years. Sam’s youngest brother Ray Manning (23) was killed in a motorbike accident on Christmas morning, 1930 when he rode to Latrobe to bring his sister home for Christmas.

When the Manning‘s property was sold to Aub Sullivan, their 1920 Manning homestead, surrounded by fir trees, located on the left side of the entrance gate to 141 Vinegar Hill, was subdivided off on to a .68hectare block of land. Sam & Mytrle died there in the early 1960s and Henry & Lynette Barham live there in the 1980s. In the late 1990s Nicola & Jill Sallese bought this small homestead block at 139 Vinegar Hill Rd after retiring from being an electrician with the HEC. Born in Italy in 1939, Nick Sallese came to Tasmania aged 21 and following his marriage to Jill, had two sons Jason & Nickolas. Jill’s death in 2000 greatly impacted Nicola, who a couple of years later was diagnosed with dementia. On 17 Nov 2008, Nicola Sallese (69) was seen driving his 2005 silver Toyota sedan along Sheffield Main Road. This was the last confirmed sighting of him. Unable to contact him, his sons reported missing next day. Over the last sixteen years, sons Jason & Nickolas along with the appropriate authorities, have extensively used ground, aerial and underwater searching, but have failed to find him or his car.

141 Vinegar Hill Rd Greenhill’s, Kelly and Sherriff’s Vallance
In 1864 Wm & Mary Greenhill with 10 children moved from Westbury onto this elevated 151-acre property on top of Vinegar Hill. They had migrated from Plymouth England in 1861. All the family worked hard, building a seven-room homestead called Vallance and a smaller house for oldest son John Greenhill was recently married. Sadly in Nov 1875 Wm Greenhill (66) died of heart disease and six months later in April 1876 Mary Greenhill (52) died of breast cancer. Most of the children had little interest in the farm, and they scattered far and wide. Oldest son John Greenhill bought land within the township of Sheffield, still owned today by his great grandson Frank Atkins. Third son Frank & Janet (Turnbull) Greenhill remained at Vallance to work the farm.

Kelly Family from Sassafras
James & Mary Kelly from Sassafras purchased the original Greenhill’s farm in late 1880s but prior to moving James was thrown from his horse and died of a fractured skull. Sometime afterwards Mary Kelly (44) with her 4 sons and 3 girls settled at Vallance where they worked hard and married – three Kellys marrying three Sullivans. Two oldest sons John & Charles Kelly owned it for the first 20 years, then in 1909 sold it to their two younger brothers James (33) & Alf Kelly (31) took it over. They changed the name from Vallance to Vinegar Hill. In 1910 it was reported the younger Kelly brothers had the best crops in the district. James never married and died young in 1926. Alf Kelly married Mabel Hancox in 1912 and continued farming for many years. They had one daughter and three sons, the latter being among the best pupils at St Virgils school, Hobart. Alfred died in 1954 (75) and Mabel Kelly died in 1974 (88). The distinguishing and enduring feature of the Kelly families ownership of this hilltop property are its many stone fences. Scattered over an area of 150 acres, there are 21 separate stone fences varying in height from 1-2 metres and in length 60-400 metres – in all totalling about 3 kilometres long. Using horses and sleds, it is hard to image the back breaking work that the Kelly family put into his tremendous task some 100-120 years ago.

Cliff & May Sherriff purchased this property from Stuart Page about 1959. But when their son Wayne & Kaye Sherriff married in 1964, they took over the farm and Cliff & May Sherriff retired to Sheffield. In 1977 Wayne & Kaye completely remodeled the whole house tand bricked it. Thirty years later in 2007 Wayne sold off this property to Gunns for pine plantations. Since then the trees has been harvest several times; their harvesting machinery wrecking some stone fences and destroying others. Their brick homestead was divided off from the plantation and has now become 141 Vinegar Hill Rd. Two year ago Wayne & Kaye’s son Craig Sherriff purchased back from the forestry this property his parents and grandparents had farmed. He plans ????

Albert Wyatt‘s Dasher River property
Shortly after Albert Wyatt (25) married Adeline Ada Spicer (23) in her father John Spicers Saddlers Arm Hotel, Elizabeth Town in 1883, they moved to an isolated bush flats south of Vinegar Hill, where the Dodder and Dasher Rivers converge. It was only accessable by opening a south-bound track from near the end of Vinegar Hill Rd. Adeline’s sister was Amelia Morse who with her husband George Morse had recently settled at Paradise. The Wyatts lived there for nearly 40 years and had seven children, the last three baptized at the newly opened St Barnabas church in Sheffield. Twice the house was almost destroyed by bushfires. In 1910 oldest son Calvert Wyatt (26) married Mary Ann Butler, daughter of Tom Butler and had two daughters Doris Wyatt (Mrs Vic Phair) and Freda Wyatt (Mrs Reg Bramich). Their oldest daughter Vanda Wyatt (18) married George Smith in 1904 who purchased the last property in Vinegar Hill Rd. Their fourth son Leslie Horace Wyatt was killed in France in June 1917 aged 21. Albert and Ada Wyatt left Vinegar Hill in the 1922 to live in Steele St, Devonport where he died in Aug 1923 aged 64. The isolated riverside property and the track down to have reverted to bush.

180 Vinegar Hill Rd Peter Bell & George Smith
Vinegar Hill Rd ends at this 32-acre property that borders the SE corner of Greenhill’s original hilltop property, with superb views of Mt Roland. After Peter & Mary (Reardon) Bell married in 1880 at Latrobe, this is the property they farmed and raised their 12 children. Twenty-three years later, Peter Bell bought a larger farm at Claude Road and sold this farm to George Charles Smith (23) just prior to his marriage in Dec 1904 to Vanda Gwendoline Wyatt (18), daughter of Albert & Ada Wyatt who lived on an adjacent farm. In 1920 George built a very large substantial house, which remains. George Smith died following an accident in April, 1938, the funeral taken by Sheffield Baptist minister Rev Belot. The farm was taken over by George‘s son Reg & Edna (Cock) Smith who raised their family there. In 2013 Bill & Kathy Gibson from NSW doubled the size of the existing house, turning everything externally and internally into a very stylish 1920-period 5-bedroom homestead.