Home page

Click here to edit subtitle

History of Cluan

The last of the 1st New Norfolk coach that ran between Hobart Town and New Norfolk.Taken at the old Charlie's Hope, Plenty.  source:catalogue.statelibrary.tas.gov.au 

The property Cluan, formerly known as Charlie’s Hope, has quite an interesting history that contains elements of a washed away bridge, romance and a Hollywood connection. 

The original land grant of what is now known as Cluan, was allocated to George Thomson (1756 - 1833) who arrived as a free settler on the 'Medway'.  To build the homestead Thomson was assigned a convict by the name of George Ransley.  Ransley was a well known rum and tobacco smuggler who was transported to Van Diemens Land (Tasmania) as a convict in 1827.  Ransley was also an infamous character back in his homeland as the leader of the Aldington Gang in Kent, England during the 1820's.  Later, Ransley was immortalised in the Walt Disney movie 'The Scarecrow' which is based on his life and smuggling activities.  Ransley maintained a strong connection to the homestead of Cluan with many of his descendents over the years using the land for residence and livelihood. 

The romance of Cluan's story begins with the tale of how Cluan was orignally given the name 'Charlie's Hope'.   It is rumoured that the original name ‘Charlie’s Hope’ was given to the property by the pioneer Ebenezer Shoobridge when he took his bride, Charlotte Giblin, to live there when they married. ‘Charlie’, being short for Charlotte and the ‘Hope’ was for their new future life together. ‘Charlie’s Hope’ remained their home until 1843.

The property name was changed to ‘Cluan’ in 1927.  The homestead was aptly named as Cluan meaning ‘Retreat’, in the monastical sense.  A sense how beautiful a retreat Cluan is can be quickly appreciated by any visitor.

A number of the Derwent Valley’s historic homes are hidden from the view of the traveller and Cluan is one of those homes.  The Cluan homestead sits on the banks of the Derwent River and is constantly bathed in the sound of the rushing waters.  Its sitting was astute, for it is above the old flood-line in a part of the river which was particularly prone to overflowing.  Nearby are the remnants of the piers of the old Plenty Bridge  which was washed away in 1960 when, it is postulated, a particularly big tree smashed into it with the full force of the flood waters.  Other houses on the flat adjacent to Cluan had nine feet of water up the walls. Cluan escaped unscathed.

Cluan is a fine brick residence built on land that was an originally assigned grant of 1000 acres, with the first part of the homestead being completed circa 1837.  Over the years, Cluan has been well cared for with interesting features such as in the original part of the house, an unusual curved wall and fireplace.  There was a barn and hayloft attached to the house with it being said that the idea behind this was to give the domestic livestock, like the house cow, a greater degree of security against bush rangers.  Over the years the barn and loft have been integrated into the house as living rooms and additions to the house made in the 1880’s and the 1920’s.

Modern renovations have been made to Cluan that include an indoor swimming pool attached to the house and accessible from the guest quarters and living areas.  The home contains an open kitchen and living area, with recent renovations to the kitchen providing a well spaced and thoroughly modern cooking and entertaining area.