Land and Coast Care
14. Historic Drive - Rural Area
The Hawthorn Hedges on the land alongside St. Matthew's are of historic value, being originally planted to define both the internal fields and the outer boundaries of the Rokeby House property. The fields bear names such as Rectory Field, Free's Field, Mangold etc.
A splendid farm-house, built with two contrasting tones of local sandstone, Rokeby House has not only a unique feature in its carriage-wash, but also it has extensive convict built outbuildings including a blacksmith's shop, cobblestone lanes, and stone walls. Owner George Stokell I, was a builder, storekeeper and timber merchant, who later devoted himself to farming pursuits. Records available suggest the building was completed in 1834-5.
Although the building was seriously damaged during the 1967 bushfires, it was skilfully restored, much as it was formerly.
The top of Skillion Hill, (South Arm Rd.) near the Fire Station provides the best view of the fields defined with the trimmed hawthorn hedges, which also occur untrimmed along the rivulet.
Clarendon Vale House in Goodwins Rd. is part of the original 75 acres grant to ex Norfolk Island convict Joseph Chipman, and was farmed by his descendants until 1927. The original 4 roomed single storey red brick building is believed to be Tasmania's oldest existing residence. The imposing 1820s Georgian stone two storey extension was built from stone quarried on site.
Clarendon Vale, with its sheep and wheat, was an important part of the food producing community of Clarence Plains and set out the first orchard (10ac.) in the district, adjacent to the Rivulet. It specialised in pears.