Hunter’s Hill

Now incorporated into the Cawood property, Hunter’s Hill was settled by Captain John Young, who arrived in Tasmania the same year as Marzetti: 1824. His wife’s maiden name was Hunter, which is a pretty strong clue as to the source of the nomenclature. Young had a fine dairy, which developed a reputation for excellence far and wide.

A cluster of three buildings, still in quite good condition, is evidence of that prosperous dairy and of the strategic location that Hunter’s Hill occupied. The main building is a large stone, barn, suitably fortified to withstand the dangers inherent in outlying settlements of the early 1800’s. It has narrow shooting-slits around its wall, strong doors and barred windows overlooking the Ouse River.

Beside the barn is a good an example of a split-slab building as you could ever wish to encounter. It conjures up every image of the rigours of a pioneering life that words so inadequately portray: the knarled, calloused hands that selected and felled the tree, split the slabs, laid the stone foundations, sited and built the structure. Is it possible to fail to admire the bush skills that those new chums so rapidly acquired?

The other dwelling is a very early, low, stone, three-roomed cottage. Probably starting as two separate units of one and two rooms, it appears to have been later modified into one dwelling. It almost seems as though someone could still occupy the place. The many layers of wallpaper have well and truly peeled but the cooking-bar still swings freely over the fireplace with barely a squeak. footsteps, loud and clear, disturb the silence of the moment and give an eerie life to the place. Possums, of course!

Hunter’s Hill also served as a post office. In the days before the hydro-electricity schemes, when the River Ouse was a much more substantial affair, the mail would be ferried across to Rotherwood and the ‘New Country’ beyond.

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