Bushy Park is north of Hobart reached by means of a scenic 40 minute drive along the Derwent Valley passing through New Norfolk. From Launceston the 198 km drive takes about 2 and half hours. For those exploring Mt Field and the Derwent Valley or in transit to Strahan or Queenstown Bushy Park is an excellent place for accommodation.
The small rural village of Bushy Park, the birthplace of Australian hops, with its traditional farm buildings and old houses gives an insight into early Tasmanian farming. The trees, landscape and hop vines climbing tall wooden frames and impressive oast houses present a European feel.
Bushy Park is the ideal starting point to explore the scenic delights of Mt Field National Park with one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Australia, the Southwest National Park reached by one of the world’s most stunning drives and the Styx Forest with the tallest hardwood trees in the world.
New Norfolk, is gaining a reputation for its antique shops is 10 minutes’ drive along the Derwent River.
Bushy Park is home to much wonderful produce, fruit farms, wineries and a cider farm. Produce we make use of at Hawthorn Lodge and much locally processed and sold at the Salamanca Market.
The Styx and Derwent Rivers are popular for kayaks and fishing, border the village.
The very first person to locate here was A.W.H. Humphrey who following a controversial marriage too Harriett Sutton the daughter of a convict Sydney storekeeper was given land in the Derwent Valley in 1812. This he named Humphreyville.
In 1814 Humphrey had been designated a magistrate, and subsequently Superintendent of police leaving Harriett to manage the land. When Humphrey past away in 1829, Harriett inherited Humphreyville and efficiently farmed the land.
In 1850, Elizabeth and William Blyth with their 14 children, 8 daughters and 6 sons that Eliza taught herself, settled into Humphreyville altering its title to Bushy Park in memory of Bushy Park in England, where there is also a Hawthorn Lodge.
Ebenezer Shoobridge purchased Bushy Park in 1867 with his brother RobertShoobridge and introduced hops which his father William Shoobridge first brought to Tasmania from Kent in 1822.
Shoobridge created an irrigation system for hops and apples that altered the dryness of the deep porous soil. By 1879, hops and apples were being exported from Bushy Park to London making use of the cool chamber fitted on the Warwickshire.
Shoobridge is acknowledged with developing the ‘cup’ pattern technique of pruning. In 1892, he became the first president of the Tasmanian Agricultural Council and his knowledge as an irrigation engineer was in big demand. His weather keeping records that began in 1873 and continued for 50 years gained him a place in the International Scientists’ Directory.
The distinguished octagonal ‘Text Kiln’ designed by Shoobridge was finished in 1867. The Text Kiln was also used for Sunday church services with stone tablets in the brickwork displaying biblical texts. Shoobridge attracted inspiration from the scriptures and a keen educator of others in the value of religion. When you visit it is well worth having a read of those chosen.
Shoobridge conducted each year a strawberry banquet at the Bushy Park for his workers at the hopbarn. The end of the hop picking finished with a Kentish hop festival with poles garlanded with hops and bedecked with colorful laces and ribbons carried about in a procession in the middle of chaotic cheering. A meal, with singing and music brought the night to its close.
Most hop pickers were ladies who could earn equal pay to men.
Robert Shoobridgethe son of Ebenezerworked with his father and built Hawthorn Lodge in 1869.
Together they made Bushy Parkthe biggest producer of hops in Australia and Hawthorn Lodge a place where much of the early Tasmanian agricultural ideas were discussed amongst the innovative farmers.
The Shoobridge family farmed the area until 1970 when overproduction caused problems and by 1980 all the established Hop properties were joined as one to create the Bushy ParkEstates In 1988 the current proprietors of the property, Haas Investments bought the property from Elders IXL.
At the rear of Bushy Park is a 3 km water race made by William Shoobridgeanother of Ebenezer son’s that takes water from a dam on the Styx River to the Oast House past the back of Hawthorn Lodge. The water was utilized to move a big waterwheel that produced electricity to dry the hops. It is reported that Bushy Park had electricity before Hobart.
The Bushy Park Estates now cover over 200 hectares and expect to expand in coming years. The research station is a leading hop research station and at the forefront of new variety breeding.
Bushy Park now boasts the largest hop processing plant in the southern hemisphere and HPA exports hops to 25 countries.
Local brewer Cascade takes the first harvest hops to craft a unique tasting full-flavoured beer each year.
If in Bushy Park on a Saturday morning the Bushy Park Community Market is held with stalls selling second hand clothes, arts and crafts and bric-a-brac, as well as fresh, locally produced fruits and vegetables.
The Text Kiln can be visited when you stay at Hawthorn Lodge and just a short walk. The text kiln was built in 1867 by William and Ebenezer Shoobridge. In the 1920’s three new drying floors were added. It took 12 men to manage the hop drying and load all the floors. At night the hops had to be turned every six hours. The Test Kiln was used until the early 1990’s.
The Revolving Kiln seen on Glenora Road before you reach Hawthorn Lodge was built in 1883 by William Shoobridge. The drying floor rotated powered by the water wheel. The heating was provided from outside rather than the traditional idea of inside. The Revolving Kiln was located where it is today to take water from the irrigation race that runs behind Hawthorn Lodge and along to the Revolving Kiln. A big advantage of the revolving kiln was the reduction in fire risk. When not being used to dry hops the waterwheel powered a saw mill and generated electricity for Bushy Park.