Friday, June 15, 2007
By the 1830's landscapers, such as Repton and Loudon promoted a more naturalistic landscape, which soon became the fashion amongst the new English gentry migrants. Northern estates such as "Malahide", "Killymoon" and "Quorn Hall" reflected the fashions of the day with their romantic parklike landscapes.
In these landscapes, it was fashionable to introduce collections of new European, New Zealand, South American and South African plants. Most of these species such as the "Monkey Puzzle Tree" Araucaria araucania, "Silver Fir" Abies sp., "Buddleia" Buddleia globosa, drifts of "Love in the Mist" Nigella damascens, hellebores and various arrays of different mints and salvias proved to be non invasive.
However, some of these newly collected plants eg "Holly" Ilex aquifolia, "Mirror Bush" Coprosma repens, "Spanish Genista" Genista hispanica, "Spanish Heath" Erica lusitanica, "Pittosporum" Pittosporum undulatum, "Tree of Heaven" Ailanthes altissima, "Cherry Laurel" Prunus laurocerasus, "Myrtle leaved Milkwort" Polygala myrtlifolia, "Arum Lily" Zantedeschia aethiopica and "Watsonia" Watsonia meriana provided the seed and/or propagule source, for the future, rural weed infestations of today.
The east coast estate "Kelvedon" owned by Francis Cotton was reported in Louisa Meredith's diaries, in 1830s, as being the first to succeed in naturalising many plants of weed potential including Solanum nigra, "Castor Oil Plant", Ricinus communis, and "Convolulus" Ipomea pendula.
The owners of these country estates, made conspicuous attempts to change the face of Van Diemen's Land, by replacing the native pasture species such as "Kangaroo" and "Tussock" grasses. They cropped the land and sowed pasture with English grasses and clover. Joseph Dalton Hooker referred to the consequences of this importation and use of English grasses after observing how they had "overrun the countryside with incredible ease". He reported the influx of the many troublesome exotic grasses and herbaceous weeds, "which intruded over the land assisted by the human invaders". Most originated as contaminants in the imported bags of English pasture and crop seed. Examples of these weeds that persist today include cocksfoot, fescue, ryes, clovers, dandelion, docks, thistles and vetches.
Saturday, June 9, 2007
In 1802 the family moved from Pilsen, Bavaria, to a property known as Lewis Hill in Ireland and after nine years to Cookstown, County Tyrone. When the baron's death in 1824 left the family of six sons and two daughters poorly provided for, they decided to emigrate to Van Diemen's Land. Frederick Lewis, Francis Walter and Robert William von Stieglitz arrived at Hobart Town in the Lion on 7 August 1829.
Frederick, an active and intelligent young man in the lieutenant-governor's opinion, received 2000 acres (809 ha), which he took up near Fingal and named Killymoon. In 1830 he married Catherine Christiana McNally, who owned an inn at Kempton*. He bought a further 3000 acres (1214 ha) near Fingal and in the next decade built Killymoon House in stone in the style of Killymoon Castle, County Tyrone.
Killymoon Castle, Cookstown - County Tyrone
In 1841 he was appointed a justice of the peace and in 1846 became a nominee in the Legislative Council on the resignation of the Patriotic Six. For some years he was a member of the Avoca Road Trust and in 1856 was elected to represent Fingal in the first elective assembly. After his wife's death in 1857 he sold Killymoon to Thomas Ransom, his stepson, returned to Ireland, assumed the title of baron, and became a justice of the peace for the Counties of Armagh and Down. In 1859 he married Hester Anna, the daughter of George Blacker and Anne, née Sloane. He died without issue on 14 May 1866.
Killymoon remained in the Ransom family ownership until early 1990's, although sub divided in to several properties.
The house is reputed to have been constructed by the builders of 'Clarendon'. Special features of the building include a two storey three sided bay with portico, projecting end bays, unique central stair-hall and raised terrace. It is complemented by a unique coach house and fine stables and has a powerful setting in the landscape. The building is essential to the heritage of Tasmania.
*RANSOM, THOMAS (1759-1829), boat builder and publican, was convicted at Middlesex England, on 9 September 1789 and sentenced to transportation for life. Ransom moved to Green Ponds where he had been granted 400 acres (162 ha) in 1817. He spent some £1500 improving this property and in building the Royal Oak Inn. Ransom died at his inn on 6 February 1829 and was buried at Green Ponds. His property was bequeathed to his friend, Catherine Christiana McNally, who married Frederick von Stieglitz on 22 January 1830 and died in 1857 at Killymoon.