Cawood Property

The old Marzetti property now owned by Robert D Paton, was for many years the property of George Clarence Nicholas, a son of Henric Nicholas. Henric was the son of Edward Nicholas who with 3 children, his brother William and three children emigrated to Van Diemen’s Land from Wales per Grace in 1821.

They were granted 1800 acres on the Clyde River which was named Nant (Bothwell) after their farm in Wales. Edward’s son Henry or Henric (1807-1887) managed Sandhill at Jericho for WJT Clarke and then Cawood. He married Sarah Gatenby of Barton near Campbell Town in 1833. The couple had 7 children, five girls to start with and then two boys one of whom died young. Cawood was purchased from the Marzetti’s in 1844 by the mortgagor WJT Clarke.

It is interesting to note that Henric Nicholas had commanded a company in the Black Line of 1830. By 1871 Henric Nicholas had acquired Cawood, Springvale and Hunter’s Hill. and when Mr Nicholas died it was inherited by his son George Clarence, who was born there in 1851. G.C. Nicholas married Miss Minnie Pennefather-Latham, and their family consisted of two sons and five daughters – one of whom, Mrs Grace Nicholas who owned Lachlan Vale. (and now has a recreational park named in Honour of her in the small country town of Ouse), Both the sons, Henric and Basil, were educated first at Hutchins and then at Harrow; later they were at Cambridge.

At the beginning of the century the Cawood Estate covered about 75,000 acres, being one of the largest and best in the state; 30,000 sheep were shorn every year, and there 2,500 head of cattle. All the sheep in those days were shorn at TOR HILL in one of the largest sheds in the country, the wool being sent for sale to England, as was then so often the case. Fat stock in great numbers was sent to supply the hungry miners at Mount Lyell, generally over the Linda Track.

The other properties owned by Mr. G. C. Nicholas were – Millbrook (where he generally lived, his mother at Cawood), Watson’s Marsh, Hunter’s Hill, Tor Hill, Guilford Hills, McGuire’s Marsh, Victoria Valley, Triangle Marsh, a large property at Lake Echo, Macclesfield, Bronte and Marlborough, as well as Meadow Bank across the Derwent from Glenelg.

During the war of 1914-18, the first of the male heirs of his old family was killed in action, when Henric Clarence lost his life in 1916 at El Romani, Palestine. The second heir, Basil Gordon Nicholas, a Major in the Imperial Army, joined the 12th Royal Lancers and served in India as sub-lieutenant. He was mentioned in despatches and wounded in the Retreat from Mons (1914).

He married Miss Geraldine Frazebrook (1915) and died at The Lowe, Warwickshire in 1922, leaving a son Peter Anthony, and a daughter. Peter Anthony died a fortnight later. Cawood House is beautifully built of stone and stands by the Ouse River, with rich irrigated flats and fine stone outbuildings. For some reason the walls of two of the outbuildings, the stables and barn, are out of square by about a foot. Perhaps it was to give more clearance for passing wheels, or because the effect was rather pleasant, Whatever reasons, it was done intentionally and is unique as far as Tasmania is concerned. During maintenance work carried out by the Johnston family in the late 1960’s onward, two fully-lined rooms were discovered in the attic which were previously unknown to the family.

Who knows what other secrets Cawood keeps?

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