I have a few favourite things… amongst them, historical buildings and gin. There is something old world and romantic about the two combined. Well, in my mind there is.
That is what I love about Tasmania, you don’t have to look too hard to discover this old world romance, it pretty much surrounds you, especially when it comes to Shene Estate.
The other thing I love about Tasmania is its distilling industry, especially that of gin.
Shene Estate is old but new to the Tassy touring scene. Old as in it has been there since 1819. New, because it has only just started offering private tours of the estate, of which has undergone quite the transformation, by new owners, Anne and David Kernke, who purchased the property in 2007. Located in Pontville, it is just a short drive from Hobart.
Upon our arrival, we are greeted by Anne and David’s daughter, Myfawny, who has made Shene Estate her personal joy and project. You are immediately swept up in Myfawny’s enthusiasm and quite obvious passion for the estate, it’s history and restorations, and most importantly, its conservation.
To say they have breathed life into the old building would be an understatement. They have done so much more than that. They have given the building – no, the property – life yes, but they have added to that spirit (literally), soul, heart and integrity and I can’t help but be insanely envious of the incredible great fortune of Myfanwy and her family that resulted in the estate being in their charge. After listening to Myfawny narrate the mystical tale of Shene’s convict built origin, as she leads you in and out of the beautiful gothic structures, you can’t help but be enchanted by her passion and dedication to its authentic restoration.
What an epic undertaking!
The story of Shene Estate began in 1819 with a Gamaliel Butler, who Myfawny temporarily brings to life; links with royalty (King George III) and Governor Lachlan Macquarie, ocean travels, sixteen children(!) and who planted the roots of the estate and its incredible historical buildings.
The estate itself, originally encompassing 22,000 acres, grazed sheep and cattle, and cultivated wheat and barley which gave inspiration to the creation of the distillery.
The buildings were built in 1851, largely by convict labour and included a gothic stable for 13 horses, of which the family has taken great care to ensure that the building’s original purpose is reflected in the restoration. Hence, the Hobart Polo Club taking up residence at the estate.