Alexander North's honeymoon cottage

RELICS: An old chimney sits in the yard of "honeymoon cottage". It is believed that this is the original chimney from the home's outdoor kitchen. Pictures: Zona Black

RELICS: An old chimney sits in the yard of "honeymoon cottage". It is believed that this is the original chimney from the home's outdoor kitchen. Pictures: Zona Black

In its early years, it was known as the honeymoon cottage.

DISCOVERY: An internal view of the "crude concrete" that Alexander North used in his buildings.

DISCOVERY: An internal view of the "crude concrete" that Alexander North used in his buildings.

And to some Rowella folk, it still is.

NEW LIFE: Iron Pot Bay Vineyard owner Julieanne Mani is transforming the honeymoon cottage into a cellar door and tasting room.

NEW LIFE: Iron Pot Bay Vineyard owner Julieanne Mani is transforming the honeymoon cottage into a cellar door and tasting room.

The cottage, on Rowella Road in the West Tamar, was built in 1907 by well-known architect Alexander North.

North was born in England in 1858, and in 1883, moved to Hobart., married, and made his way to Launceston about a year later.

LANDMARK: The neighbouring estate of Holm Lea, which Alexander North built and lived in.

LANDMARK: The neighbouring estate of Holm Lea, which Alexander North built and lived in.

North lived out of the cottage while he built the neighbouring Holm Lea.

The cottage got its nickname as North bequeathed it to his son and new daughter-in-law for the first home of their marriage.

Today it falls under the ownership of the Mani family, who are in the final stages of renovating it to become a new cellar door and tasting room for their winery, Iron Pot Bay Vineyard.

Julieanne Mani said the family bought the vineyard about three years ago, and the cottage followed (by accident) soon after.

Mrs Mani said through the development of the building, they had mostly left the original cottage untouched, and just added bits here and there.

Hallmarks of North’s architectural skills are dotted throughout the cottage, with fireplaces in every room and ornate finishings.

Mrs Mani has kept a piece of window sill that showcases a technique that North became known for.

“It’s like a primitive concrete. In what I’ve read about him, he came up with this formula for what I refer to as ‘crude concrete’,” she said.

North was known throughout Tasmania and Victoria for his church architecture, and played a part in designing Launceston’s Holy Trinity Church, the post officer, and parts of the St John Anglican Church and Church of Apostles.

After he built and moved into Holm Lea, he turned his hand to apple farming, and planted many orchards around the property, which he maintained with his son.

In the property grounds are towering trees, which Mrs Mani estimated to be more than 100 years old.

Old apple sheds face the road, but Mrs Mani isn’t sure if they are from North’s time at the property, or another era.

An old chimney sits not too far from the main building.

“I think that’s the original chimney from their kitchen – in those days they always had outdoor kitchens,” Mrs Mani said.

Mrs Mani said honeymoon cottage had woven itself into the fabric of the river-side community.

Before its current life, it operated for a long time as a rental house.

“While we were renovating we would invite people walking or driving past to come in and have a look,” she said.

“They’d always say ‘It’s OK, I know it – my uncle/sister/cousin/best friend used to live there’.”

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