Huonville, Australia

Huonville, Tasmania 1910.
Publisher: McVilly & Little

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Huonville is a town on the Huon River, in the south-east of Tasmania, Australia. It is the seat of the Huon Valley Council area and lies 38 km south of Hobart on the Huon Highway. . . . The first Europeans to set eyes on the Huon River were the crew commanded by Admiral Bruni d’Entrecasteaux. The river was named by him in honour of his second in command, Captain Huon de Kermadec. The name is preserved today in many features: the town, the river, the district and so on. The first European settlers were William and Thomas Walton in 1840. Huonville was not originally intended as the site of a town. Nearby Ranelagh was laid out as the town of Victoria in colonial days. Huonville grew around the bridge crossing the Huon River and hotels at the bridge. It was officially declared a town in 1891.

Huonville is a centre for the Huon District which services the local timber, paper mill and fruit growing industries as well as tourism. It is the gateway to the beautiful Huon Valley. It was the apple orchards of the valley that gave Tasmania the name ‘The Apple Isle’ in the 1960s. . . The Huon River and the nearby D’Entrecasteaux Channel are popular fishing and boating areas. The Channel is sheltered from the wrath of the Southern Ocean by the bulk of Bruny Island to the east. The drive from Huonville to D’Entrecasteaux Channel via Cygnet is particulary scenic; the still waters of the river offer spectacular photo opportunities. . . . Huonville was not originally intended as the site of a town. Nearby Ranelagh was laid out as the town of Victoria in colonial days. Huonville grew around the bridge crossing the Huon River and hotels at the bridge. Today the Huon Valley is best known as one of Tasmania’s primary apple growing areas. Once enormous in its extent, the significance of the industry has declined steadily since the 1950s and today cherries and fish farming are the rising commercial stars of the district. Tourism is an important part of Huonville and the surrounding Huon Valley. The area is renowned for its scenic beauty and history as one of Australia s biggest apple producers.
Our Tasmania

Huonville, 2016 More photos

Since the land on which Huonville is now located was originally privately owned the early buildings in the town were built along Glen Road and past Ironstone Creek. The construction of the bridge in 1876 (it cost £4400 and was a toll bridge charging 2 pence for walkers and 6 pence for horses) ensured that a town would eventually grow up where the road crossed the river. In the early days the ‘town’ was nothing more than the Picnic Hotel and a shop or two along the river. The Picnic Hotel was burnt down and subsequently rebuilt as the Grand Hotel which still stands near the bridge. It wasn’t until 1889 that the town became known as Huonville.

The first bridge was timber with blackwood arches and had a lift span on the northwest end to let sailing ships through. Unfortunately the animals which were driven across the bridge tended to leave dirt and the lift span was notorious for not working properly. The original bridge was eventually replaced in 1926 and in 1959 the present steel and concrete structure was completed.
Sydney Morning Herald (requires login)

(From Our Huon Reporter.) HUONVILLE, March 23.
The most disastrous fire that has ever occurred in the Huon broke out in the early hours of this morning, and in a very short space of time accounted for damage in the neighbourhood of £2,000. The fine business premises of Messrs S Marchi and Co of Huonville, comprising two spacious stores and a dwelling house have been completely gutted and their contents destroyed. About 4.30 this morning Trooper Turn-bull who lives almost immediately opposite the destroyed property, was awakened by a loud report, followed instantly by another. He jumped out of bed and looked out of the window. Just then he heard another explosion, and saw a quantity of smoke coming from the direction of Messrs. Marsh and Co acetylene gas generator, which was situated about 18ft, from the main store. It would be about five minutes from the time he heard the first explosion until the last one occurred. The concussion from the third explosion broke the pane of glass in the window through which he was looking.

The first explosion was the loudest of all and was heard miles away. As the trooper hurriedly dressed himself he could hear people calling out “Fire”, and, leaning out of the window he could see flames coming out of the centre of the main store. As he was leaving the house he met Mr Alex Robertson, baker to Marsh and Co., who informed him that he had discovered the premises to be on fire. By this time a number of residents had appeared on the scene, half-dressed, and were work-ing hard saving all they could in the adjoining outbuildings as well as playing water on the Picnic Hotel and on buildings which adjoined the property of the company. It was not more than an hour from the time the fire was discovered until the complete collapse of the whole block of buildings, and through the totally inadequate supply of water it was impossible to save anything from them, although there were scores of indefatigable workers on the spot.
The Mercury, 24 March 1916

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