Monday, July 31, 2017

Wirksworth House, Bellerive

Wirksworth House, some time between 1960 –1971.  [State Library of Tasmania]
 Marcus and I went to the footy at Bellerive Oval the other day. We parked along the beach to the east a little near the South St reserve. Getting away after the game with 14,000 other people was a bit of a business, and as we sat in motionless traffic for a while we observed a grand old house with spacious grounds which I have never laid eyes on before.

It is called Wirksworth House, and it belongs to the Education Department. It is opposite Clarence High school. In the news last month there were plans to turn the site into an early-aged care facility.

The fence and trees shown in the old pic above are gone now, so the house is easy to see from the street. In the last few years it has been extensively renovated and returned to its earlier glory, without its 1960s-era weatherboard additions.

Guilty admission: I love the weatherboard additions. I have no building engineering, architecture or history qualifications at all; but I actually love to see how a building has been adapted, sometimes misguidedly, through its lifetime.

Dining room [State Library of Tasmania]
The dining room appears to be within the extension shown above. Possibly because I am the son of a state school teacher I have a distant fondness for the sheer Education Department-ness of it all. Those chairs were ubiquitous in the days when I tagged along with Dad to Burnie High. By the time I was a student there it was all blow-moulded plastics.

From the photos online it was used for Phys Ed camps, and training Phys Ed teachers.

Photo from Miss Chicken on Flickr
Above is how it appears now, and I am sure it is a very fine restoration by BPSM (more photos on their site here). I don't really like the garish stone central tower. And I do miss the weatherboard add on.

Let's just go back to a simpler (and more glarey) time shall we?

Dover school group [State Library of Tasmania]

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