Friday, June 15, 2018

Foggy conditions in historic precinct

Woodbridge House seen through the fog yesterday morning.
GRAND old Woodbridge on the Derwent will have seen thousands of foggy mornings since it was built on the bank of the river at New Norfolk in 1825. A location with a rich history, this area is often blanketed in fog at this time of year.

The big house would have dominated the local landscape when built. Its original name is not known (if there was one) but for a time it was called the Richmond Hill Academy when it operated as a school.

Perhaps the house took its present name from the first wooden bridge that was constructed across the river in 1840-41 after many years of debate.  This was the first permanent crossing over the Derwent at any location and more than 100 years ahead of floating Hobart bridge that opened in 1943. A timber structure at Bridgewater opened in 1849.

The present owners of Woodbridge added a pavilion - seen here
through the fog from the far side of the river  
The first three bridges over the Derwent at New Norfolk were accessed via Bridge St. The original structure was replaced by another timber bridge in 1880 and this remained in place until a new concrete and steel bridge opened in 1931.

Construction of the present bridge in a new location on the upstream side of Woodbridge cost $900,000 (more than $7 million today) and resulted in the demolition of the property known as Alloway Banks which had originally been the outbuildings of Woodbridge House but had been converted into residences. This bridge, just under 200m long, opened in 1974 and by this time the house had long been divided into a number of flats.

The present bridge is the fourth to be built across the river
at New Norfolk since 1840.
The present owners restored the house and converted it into a boutique luxury hotel, adding a pavilion on the downstream side to serve as a guest dining room.

Across the river, the building that once served as the toll-house for the original bridge still stands up by Rocks Rd. The company that built the first bridge was granted the right to charge a toll for 30 years.

The toll-keeper's house was demolished after suffering flood damage in 1960 and a public toilet block stands in its place.

The open space opposite the toll house was once suggested as a possible location for the New Norfolk caravan park but it was eventually developed into a park in memory of a long-serving warden (mayor) of New Norfolk, Clyde Fitzgerald, who operated a general store across the road on the corner of Rocks Rd and Station St (now a private residence).

Isn't it amazing where a few photos of the fog can take you.

Looking through the fog over the River Derwent yesterday.

In finer weather you would see both Woodbridge and the New Norfolk Bridge
from this vantage point at the rowing ways below Rocks Rd.

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