This article taken from MacFarlane's History of the North East published by the North Eastern Advertiser 2007

The Lilydale District

(Further notes on Scottsdale Railway and Other Matters)

(Tuesday May 6, 1958)

A Launceston friend who has been reading the recently published articles on the building of the Scottsdale  railway line has sent a couple of interesting items given to him by Mr. James Maumill, who worked o the track.  He says:

“Mr. Bardenhagen, of Lilydale, had the contract to supply the sleepers for the line, and Mr. Fred Boland was paymaster.  6/- a 12 hour day being the rate.  A common advertisement in the daily paper at the time was:

“Wanted, two good hammer and drill men”.

No doubt these would be required for work on the cuttings.  But the workmen would not have had much spare time for recreation in a 12 hour day! Times have changed indeed!

Lilydale District

It is time for us now to go across and have a look at the Lilydale area of the North East.

Invariably, when the name of a town or place of geographical interest is mentioned, someone wants to know the origin of the name.  In the case of Lilydale, enquiries have the choice of several answers to the question.

Mr. W. Wilson, Council Clerk of the Municipality of Lilydale. who takes a great interest in local history, and has made contributions to these columns on various occasions on historical matter, supplied available information which he collected some time ago from the Secretary for Lands, the Government Archivist, the Postal Department and also from former residents.  Summarised statements he has received say that

(1)   the name of Lilydale was changed from Upper Piper by the Road Trust

(2)   the name was changed to Lilydale at a public meeting

(3)   Two Justices of the Peace were responsible for the change

(4)   Mr. J. Crompton suggested the change to the Postal Department owing to the similarity in the names of Upper Piper and Lower Piper

(5)   Mrs. J.G. Mather, wife of the Presbyterian Minister, suggested the name owing to the number of wild lilies growing in the district.

Mr. Wilson states that the only definite information available at the time of writing is a notice published in the Hobart Gazette on November 1, 1887, as follows:

“It is hereby notified for public information the the Post Office at Upper Piper’s River will in future by known as Lilydale. By His Excellency’s Command, B. Stafford Bird”.

…………………..Reference to  Walsh’s Almanac for 1883 shows a post office at Piper’s River was then in the Police District of George Town with C. Adams in charge, and there was a public school at Upper Piper’s River with Mr. Martin Cheek as teacher.  Lilydale is not mentioned.

In 1888, Lilydale appears among the post offices in the Police District of Selby, postmaster G. Sulzberger, but the school is still shown as at Upper Piper’s River, although with a different teacher, Mrs. Mary Rees.

Turning to the Almanac of the following year, we discover that the Upper Piper School has given place to Lilydale, Mrs. Rees still being in charge, while in the Lilydale post office, Mr. Sulzberger continued to perform his duties.

Some Lilydale Pioneers

(Tuesday May 2nd, 1958)

Just how some of the roving military or other members of the settlement at George Town may have travelled into the interior of the North East is impossible to say.

Governer Lachlan Macquarie, on his inspection of Launceston and George Town, in 1821, would undoubtedly have been delighted had there been time to ride out along the Piper with his cavalcade and mark out prospective town sites here and there which would go down into his journal as ‘so named by me’.

Bit it was left to other pioneers with Scottish blood in their veins, of whom one was James Scott, to traverse paths of future name-board fixing.

According to the Cyclopedia of Australia one of those who settled very early in the Lilydale district was John Campbell, who came to the Colony in 1855.  Before settling in Lilydale he had been engaged by David Taylor, at Winton.

Another in the line of pioneers was W. Somerville, who also travelled out from Scotland in 1855, in the Kathleen Sheerer, which was unfortunate enough to blow herself up while waiting for a Pilot at Hope Island, thereby causing her passengers to lose all their effects.  Mr. Somerville came to Lilydale from the Midlands in 1862.

Loone, in his Tasmania’s North East, says that the date of John Campbell’s arrival was 1860, and that just a little before that, in 1859, Michael Shea had taken up his abode as the first settler in the Lilydale district.

Other early settlers were John Power, Jacob Sulzberger, J.J. Marx, A. Dollery, W. Wilson, Samuel and Frederick Proctor.  We find the names of these early founders of the district coming up in the old records in association with the establishment of the first school, the first Road Trust, and other institutions.

Pioneering Days

…………………..Loone reminds us of various aspects of life in the pioneering days of Lilydale.  “When the first settlers arrived,” he says, “the bush was full of all kinds of Tasmanian animals, such as kangaroos, wallabies and native birds – jays and parrots – which were often welcomed as good food for the early settlers.

“As soon as the selectors could cut down and burn off, and sow down with grass seed enough land to keep one or two cows, and a few fowls, the pioneer carried his products upon his back along the bush track into Launceston and sold them, as there was no cart road in the forest in those early days”.

……………a picture of the household equipment of the slab huts – a camp oven, a couple of billies and a frying pan, with tin plates and mugs, iron knives, forks and spoons, and kerosene tins to serve as boilers and containers; and we see the men in flannel shirts, moleskin trousers and heavy boots, tramping through the bush in their work of bringing the land into submission and reproduction.

…….It was in 1860 that the first sawmill to be erected on this part of the coast was put up on the bank of the Piper, at Underwood.  According to Loone, it was driven by water power, and was the project of an American firm.  It was later sold to Messrs. Grubb and Tyson.

……………………A tramway from the mill joined the George Town Road where the Mowbray Hotel stands today. 


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