Bushy Park

Bushy Park is a quaint town of old houses, deciduous trees, moral fervour, and hop fields which seem to envelop every building and road. The tall wooden and metal frames holding up the hop vines are broken by lines of Lombardy Poplars, with neat and unusually shaped oast houses scattered in the fields away from the road.

Events

The Derwent Valley Community Market operates on the 3rd Sunday of each month in the old hospital grounds - lots of bric-a-brac, fresh produce and crafts.


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Where Is it?

58 km from Hobart on the Lyell Highway between Hobart and Queenstown.

Things To See And Do

Text Kiln

Text Kiln constructed by Ebeneezer Shoobridge in 1867. On the walls of the Text Kiln are quotations from the Bible, such as 'And these words that I command thee this day shall be in thine heart and thy shall write them on the posts of thine house and on thine gate'. Inspection by appointment only.

Hawthorn Lodge (1869), the original home of Robert Shoobridge (son of Ebenezer) and his family. It has been turned into a guest house.


Water Race (3km) built by William Shoobridge, son of Ebenezer, which takes water from a dam on the Styx River and runs it to the Oast House.


About Bushy Park

The first person to settle in the dramatically named Styx valley was AWH Humphrey who arrived in the area as early as 1812. The tiny settlement which grew up at this time was named Humphreyville but this was later changed to Bushy Park. In 1822 William Shoobridge arrived in Van Diemen's Land with some hops. He is credited with being the first person to grow hops in Tasmania although there are other claims. In 1824 a bushranger, John Logan, shot at Shoobridge as he tended his hops. In a stroke of good fortune, the bullet was deflected off a metal object in the pocket of Shoobridge - the event was put down to providence and hence the name of the valley.

In 1867 William Shoobridge's son, Ebenezer, came to the Styx valley and began growing and processing hops. He was, by any definition, a remarkable man who, with a combination of religious zeal and hard nosed capitalism, managed to make Bushy Park the largest producer of hops in both Australia and, that dubious accolade, the Southern Hemisphere. He built the iconic Bushy Park Text Kiln.

Behind the town is a 3 km water race (built by William Shoobridge - son of Ebenezer) which takes water from a dam on the Styx River and runs it to the Oast House. The water was used to drive a huge waterwheel which generated electricity to dry the hops. It is claimed that Bushy Park had electricity before Hobart. The hop industry flourished over the proceeding years with 2,600 people making the journey to Bushy Park to harvest the crop. Henry Jones of IXL Jam fame became involved in the hop industry in the early 1900's by becoming a hop trader.

In 1970 the first signs of over production became apparent in the markets. This led to smaller producers leaving the industry and by 1980 all the existing Hop properties were amalgamated at Bushy Park. In 1988 the present owners of the property, Haas Investments purchased the property from Elders IXL. The new owners began a period of upgrade including the present harvest complex that was built in 1992.

The harvest complex is one of the largest and most modern in the world with a capacity to pick 35-40 tons of dry hops per day. The two picking machines will pick 80 vines (max) per minute and dryers dry a floor in 8 hours.

The present area of hops being grown at Bushy Park Estates is 227 hectares. From this area we expect a yield of 650 tons of dry hops. With new varieties bred from the research station at Bushy Park Estates this yield is expected to increase. Sheep are grazed in the hop growing areas to eat the base growth from the hop plant before harvest.

Surrounding Area

New Norfolk

A picturesque Georgian town (19km south east) set idylically on the banks of the River Derwent. New Norfolk is centrally located and is a perfect base from which to explore the surrounding areas. Mount Field National Park with its rugged beauty and seclusion is only 30 minutes away. New Norfolk is a recommended day trip destination from Hobart. The stretch of Lyell Highway between Bridgewater and New Norfolk is particulary pretty, especially in the early morning with the river is calm and the reflection on the water of the hills is mirror-like.


Mt Field National Park

Mt Field National Park (16km west) is one of Tasmania’s most loved national parks. The park has a wide variety of scenic features and wildlife and offers a great range of facilities for day visitors. Few other national parks in Australia offer such a diversity in vegetation, ranging from tall swamp gum forests and massive tree ferns at the base of the mountain, through rainforest along the Lake Dobson Road, to alpine vegetation at the higher elevations.

Features: Russell Falls, Marriotts Falls; Lady Barron Falls; Horseshoe Falls; Lake Dobson, Tarn Shelf walk, Wylds Craig walk; Florentine Valley walk; Tall Trees walk.


Magra

A town of just under 1,000 people, situated in the Derwent Valley a few kilometres north of new Norfolk. It consists mainly of dwelling houses and farmland. Accommodation is also available as the area is popular with tourists. Notable features of Magra itself include the surrounding hills and the plantation of Lombardy Poplars. In the graveyard of the Methodist Church at Magra (22km south east) is the grave of Betty King, the first white woman to set foot on Australian soil.


Plenty

Plenty (11km south east), situated on the main road between New Norfolk and Bushy Park, is a small village, formely a location of hop growing. Plenty Salmon Ponds is the oldest trout hatchery in the Southern Hemisphere - in operation since 1864. It includes Museum of Trout Fishing and Hall of Fame.


Redlands Estate

Redlands, on the banks of the Plenty River alongside the plenty Salmon Ponds, is one of Tasmania’s most well-known rural estates. Once a thriving hop and grain farm, the estate contains an astonishing collection of heritage buildings and magnificent gardens featuring some of Australia’s oldest European trees.
The property has a remarkable history, with many overlays of stories from its convict past to modern times. There are intriguing links to the royal family and the emergence of colonial Tasmania’s new-landed elite, our first banks, the development of trout fisheries and irrigation, and the property also holds a primary place in Tasmania’s hop farming history.
At its peak the farm employed as many as 200 hop pickers with their families living on the estate, and many Tasmanians still hold fond memories of working at picking hops. In those days there were pickers’ huts, a bakehouse, general store and even a butcher’s shop. Only one of the pickers’ huts has survived but most of the other buildings are intact, though in disrepair. Now, after years of decline and neglect, the property is undergoing a modern transformation as a family residence, working farm, whisky distillery and tourism development. Website

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