Henry and Sarah Hopkins sailed from Gravesend on the Heroine on the 17th April in 1822. Almost five months later on the 10th of September they arrived at Hobart in Tasmania on the other side of the world. It had been a difficult passage, bad weather forcing the passengers below deck for three months, some were very seasick. Under these conditions strong friendships were formed with other passengers. George and Martha Clarke remained close friends for life even though the Clarke’s continued on to Sydney and then New Zealand. Four days out of Hobart Sarah gave birth to a son, they called him Henry.

In 1804 Lieutenant Colonel David Colllins chose Sullivans Cove as the location for Tasmania’s first permanent European settlement. The cove had a narrow sandy beach with a rivulet flowing into the north east end. There was also a small island connected to the beach with a sandy spit at low tide. The new settlement was named Hobart Town.

By the time Sarah and Henry  with their new born son arrived at Hobart Town in 1822 the island was connected to the mainland by a causeway. Further reclamation meant that by the mid 1820’s substantial stone warehouses for merchants had been built. These beautiful sandstone buildings can still be seen on Hunter Street, we will point them out to you when you join one of our colonial house and garden tours.
Learn more of this interesting family history on a Summerhome Heritage House and Garden tour in Hobart. Meet Henry and Sarah’s great great great granddaughter as she guides you through her beautiful private house and garden.

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In the center of the garden is this large specimen of Cupressus funebris, commonly called the chinese weeping cypress. Planted trees which are said to be 800 years old grow at Black Dragon Pool Mountain Temple near Kunming, Yunnan, China. It’s conservation status is listed as vulnerable to threatened. Cupressus funebris is generally regarded as the botanical source of Chinese cedarwood oil and is highly regarded for furniture makeing.

Early plant collectors in China observed it to be a noble looking fir-tree with weeping branches. It’s long and slender branches hanging down perpendicularly and giving the whole tree a weeping and graceful form.

It is reputed that the ‘willow pattern’ tableware we all know so well originates from this beautiful weeping cypress.

We have three Cupressus funebris growing at Summerhome, the largest is situated right in the middle of the garden. There have always been gardeners working in Summerhome garden and for many years they sat under the weeping cypress for their breaks.

Mr Seager was the main gardener when I was a child. My grandmother would make up a tray with teapot, small jug of milk, cup and saucer and a plate of food. I would be asked to take it down to Seager’s tree. I must admit that for many years I thought the cypress was called a ‘seagers tree. Or was it named after the Seager family who lived in Deptford England where Henry and Sarah Hopkins lived before they moved to Tasmania in 1822 .

The family also called this Cupressus funebris the ‘gardeners tree’. If you join a Summerhome house and garden tour you will see why the gardeners liked to sit there for their breaks. It’s a lovely sunny dry spot in the winter, cool and shady in the heat of summer.

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The Well

December 22, 2008

When I was a child this small back gate led to a very exciting area. The pathway is steep and the cobbles can be slippery when wet so we take care . This gate from the cobbled yard leads to what is left of the farmyard. The stable is still there but some of it […]

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The Pump

December 21, 2008

The cobbled yard is very sheltered with a tall stone wall on the southern side. The garden plants which grow against the wall are hardy so they can cope with the heat and dry through the summer. There has always been a lemon tree and a very old pale pink rose which somehow survives the […]

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A happy discovery

December 19, 2008

This is a beautiful specimen of Cantua buxifolia the sacred flower of the Incas. The flowers are full of nectar and hang pendulously waiting for a hummingbird to pollinate them. Visitors to the garden are quite often intrigued by this unusual shrub. One day in Spring we had visitors coming for a guided tour of […]

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Early Spring

December 18, 2008

This photo was taken on a lovely clear Spring day. The bare branches in the foreground are Lindens, quite often called Limes. Their leaves are very slow to appear, they must wait for the warmer weather.

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From the lower drive

September 14, 2008

This is a vista of Summerhome which is only available for a short time of the year. Usually from here it is obscured by roses and deciduous shrubs which grow in the middle of the garden. The lower drive this time of the year reveals masses of white blossom and the soft pink new leaves […]

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Spring blossom

September 14, 2008

We had just enjoyed the first day of Spring. Dusk had settled over the garden when Tiggy came rushing into the kitchen demanding our immediate attention in the cobbled yard. I thought she must want us to admire the moon. As we wandered out into the dark we discovered it was the perfume from the […]

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Autumn 2008

July 10, 2008

The leaves are glowing in the garden as the weather gets colder and the days become shorter. These Golden Delicious apples are small but very sweet to eat. It’s a lovely time of the year, clear blue skies and crisp nights. Some rain would be nice, the ground is incredibly dry. However dry leaves are […]

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Our Christmas tree

February 6, 2008

Each Christmas we search the Summerhome wilderness for a pretty pine tree small enough to sit on the big chest in the dining room. It’s not easy because the self seeded pines grow quickly. One year it is too small and the next it has shot up and become long and lanky.Tasmania has a reasonably […]

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