The Original South Arm School
The first school in South Arm was built in Bezzants Rd in 1854.
(Original school 1855 - photo c/- Ted Bezzant)
Now it is a private house and has been looked after very well. More rooms have been added.
Before the original school closed there were lots of children going to the school, so they needed a new school.
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Sketches by Ms. Jo Bateman
An interview with David Calvert
When David Calvert was at school there was only 1 classroom with 25 pupils from grades 1-6.
The school building that he went to has been pulled down.
The teacher had a desk with a blackboard behind it. At the back of school there was another black board that the younger children copied letters on to. Children sat in rows of desks with the small desks at the front. Most children walked to school and some had bikes or a pony.
They did reading, writing, mathematics and wrote compositions. They had to copy work off the board or the teacher dictated work for them to write down.
At the beginning of the day the teacher blew a whistle and inspected their hands and arms. After they had made sure that their hands and arms were clean they had p.e and marched into class and sat at a desk.
They played cricket, football and rounders, which is like baseball.
School Concert 1932 South Arm School 1919 (used until 1978) Photos c/- Ted Bezzant
South Arm Primary over the years
The Classrooms and students
- In the earlier years there was no technology and the kids were kept warm by an open fire (that none of the children were allowed near) in the classroom.
- In 1971 and 1972 there was 1 main classroom that had 22 children from grade 1 to grade 6, and there was only 1 teacher teaching all the children different things all at the same time. There was a small enclosed porch at the side of the school and sometimes grades 5 and 6 worked in there. Each child was given a small bottle of milk each day. These were left at the end of Harmony Lane and two children had to walk down to the end of the lane to carry the crate back to the school. Each child was also given goitre tablet every week. In the classroom, Mrs Prior (the teacher) spent the first half an hour of each day with the grade ones and twos. The grades 3 - 6 students were given their work assignments at the beginning of each week and they could do the work whenever they liked and in any order, as long as it was their best and completed by Friday. Everyone helped each other. Some parents also helped. "The school was like a large family" (June Prior). Many of the children were related to each other. In the summer one mother would arrive at the school door collecting a number of students whose parents were at the beach. At least half of the children would spend lunchtime down at the beach.
- In 1982 sport was an important aspect of school life. There were teams that competed against other schools, and there was also a "small schools carnival" each year. There was an activity day once a fortnight. Activities included going horse riding, playing indoor bowls and going walking.
- In 1992 there were 2 classrooms. One of the classrooms was from grade prep to grade 2. The other classroom was from grade 3 to grade 6. Because there were so many grades in one class they all had to sit in different places in the classroom. In 1992 the children started to wear school uniform.
- In 2006 there are a lot more teachers and students. There are 110 students now and 6 grades including kinder. Fifteen years ago there was only one computer in each classroom. Now each classroom has 6 computers which are networked, as well as electronic white boards, digital cameras, scanners and other technologies.
The School grounds
In 1971 Harmony Lane was just a sandy narrow driveway. The school grounds were also sandy, but every Spring hundreds of freezias would appear and smell lovely. There was school house where the teacher lived on the school grounds (almost opposite the A frame house).
Mrs Prior lived there for a while. There was an apricot orchard and lots of blackberries in the yard. There was also a very large pear tree, two peach trees, a two storey cubby house and the outdoor toilet. Mrs Prior never locked the house door and everyday someone would put a bowl of milk straight from their cow in her kitchen. By the time she got home the cream had risen to the top, so she would scoop it off and have fresh cream as well. Parents also brought her potatoes, fresh fish and rabbits, and occasionally crayfish and mutton birds when they were in season. The school oval used to be an orchard.
The playground has changed a lot over the past few years. It now has a lot more things like a stage and different play equipment.
The original building at Harmony Lane
South Arm Primary has always been a small school.
The original South Arm school building on Harmony lane was constructed in 1920. The building was wooden and was roughly where the Grade 1/2 is now. The toilets were outside and did not flush. They were emptied once a week.
In 1978 this building was removed, and new classrooms were built. The ceilings and windows in the classrooms were a lot higher than they are now.
In 2003 the current school was renovated. The classrooms were made bigger, the outside of the school was painted and a veranda area was added to the front of the classrooms.
"Many years ago the school, the church and the shop were the focal points of the district. Most people worked in the area and everyone knew each other. The school was well supported by the people in the district. Today it still receives amazing support but there are many people who work in town and have little, if any, contact with the school." (June Prior)
Contructing the current school building in 1978 South Arm Primary in 1991
South Arm Primary in 2006
The Iron Pot was the first lighthouse built in Tasmania.
- It was built in 1832, making it Australia’s second oldest lighthouse.
- It was also the first lighthouse to be converted to solar power in Australia.
- It is situated on a small island in the Derwent River that covers about 0.4 hectares.
- A few of the boats ship wrecked there include Bombay (1830), SS Lintrose (1832), and the Princess Royal (1832).
- Nobody knows where the name Iron Pot originated from. Some people believe that it comes from the whalers' pots left on the island from the early eighteenth century. Another theory is that the name comes from the strangely formed pot-like holes in the island.
Keepers of the Iron Pot
John Booth 1832-1841
John Pocke 1841-1843
Henry Douglas 1843-1858
William Johnson 1858-1863
A.C. Rockwell 1863-1864
Joseph Oliver 1864-1874
J.C. Parkinson 1874-1887
E.J. Howard 1887-1891
R. Roberts 1891-1896
C. Hemsley 1896-1897
H. Nas 1897-1899
S. Grundy 1999 (April-December)
H. Boon 1899-1903
H. Boon 1904-1913
E.G. Roberts 1913-1916
H.G. Jacobs 1916-1918
R.J. Johnston 1918-1920
The Iron Pot was first built because of the shipwrecking of the Princess Royal (1832), carrying three hundred women settlers.
The first keepers of the Iron Pot were mostly convicts who had received a pardon. They were assisted by convicts working for a pardon. They lived in tents until a two room cottage was built.
In 1882, because of limited space on the island, the marine board arranged an agreement for some land on the mainland to be used for a garden for many years.
In 1884, a new chance bros. colza burning apparatus was installed
The Iron Pot was renamed the Derwent Lighthouse, though it is still widely know as the Iron Pot.
Because of the lack of accommodation, in 1885 a new two story house designed by Mr. R.H. Stabb was built. It was very rare to have to have a two story house with a lighthouse but it was needed because of the lack of space.
In 1862 an unexpected episode came when one of the lighthouse keeper’s children apparently found a high grade gold bearing quartz nugget. Two hundred diggers came for the Iron Pot gold rush in a matter of hours but no more gold was found.
1895 - 1915
In 1895, the only baby born on the island, Elsie Roberts was born. Later that year a huge storm washed the island, the assistants took shelter in the main house when the large waves began to hit their houses. A large wooden storage shed and five of the seven full water tanks were swept away as well as the tall wall which surrounded the front of the lighthouse. .
In 1903 it was decided to install an incandescent petroleum burner which reduced the oil consumption and improved the light.
In 1915, the commonwealth officer recommended that a revolving cylinder activated by clockwork mechanism be installed, which changed the light from fixed to flashing.
Picture by Molly MacDonald
In 1920, the light was changed to automatic and the eighty eight years of keepers ended.
The house was no longer needed so around the end of 1921 it was dismantled and the materials were used in buildings around Hobart.
In 1925 the control of the Iron Pot was handed over to the marine board and they serviced it from 1925-1926.
In 1978 the light was changed and became powered by solar energy.
Acknowledgements (References and Pictures)
www.outimage.net, www.lecalehistory.co.uk, www.lighthouse.net.au
The History of the Iron Pot Lighthouse by Marilyn Bryan
The Tasmanian Aborigines were divided into nine hearth groups of about 250 to 700. A hearth group is made of Aborigines that camped and cooked around a single fire. On the West coast they also shared a hut. The group was usually made up of a family of husband, wife and children, and sometimes included relations and friends.
A band is a number of hearth groups joined together. It usually has about 40-50 people. A band was led by an older man who was a good hunter or warrior.
A language group was a group of a number of bands that had the same way of life (culture) and spoke the same language. The language band met often to share food, to have ceremonies or to organise people’s weddings and to share stories.
A group of Aborigines lived in the Oyster Bay region (the Hobart area). The aborigines living near and within the South Arm area were part of the Oyster Bay tribe. The band that controlled access to, and looked after the Tasman peninsula were the Pyadirerme, and the Moomairemener looked after the Pitt Water-Risdon areas. The Oyster Bay leader was called Tongerlongerter.
Because the Aborigines lived near the coast, they ate what they could catch. They ate seals, and crayfish and other shell fish, and sea birds and their eggs. They also ate land animals like kangaroos, echidnas, some kinds of lizards and mutton birds.
The oyster shells were put into piles that are called middens. These are very fragile and can break very easily so when you see one be careful. There are a number of middens around the South Arm area.
The Aborigines made a special ointment to cover their body. This ointment was to keep them warm. It was made of a mixture of fat, ochre and natural charcoal. This is clever because the Aborigines wore little clothing. Female aborigines wore kangaroo skins and the children wore nothing at all, but the men wore different furs like possum skins and sometimes kangaroo skins. The only way in which they dressed differently was in how they wore the skins.
The Aborigines were really creative with making tools. They used sticks, rocks, grass, bones and many other natural materials that they could use. Many kinds of tools were made on the spot and were only used once before being thrown out. This made travelling much lighter and they could make the tools as they went. The Pyadirerme and Moomairemener people used materials in their area to make tools, spears and shelter and any personal ornaments.
If an Aboriginal group didn’t have material that they needed, they would barter (trade) with other tribes, or the other tribe might share the resource with the other tribe, whether it was food, plants or natural resources and tools.
Tasmanian State Library archives
William Gellibrand came out to Van Diemens Land in 1824 and was granted 2000 acres of land at South Arm. Gellibrand lived on his grant at South Arm, but was often in town to attend meetings. He was rowed up by boat from South Arm. In 1831 Gellibrand applied for an additional grant, getting the rest of South Arm to Calvert Lagoon.
He had 20 convicts to help him develop the farm and he lived on the farm until 1840 when he died. He exported gum, planks, bricks, bacon, hams, sheep skins, bran, oats, barley and hay, horses, cattle and sheep in the 1820s. William Gellibrand died in Hobart in 1840, and was buried in a vault built on his property at South Arm.
His grandson, Thomas Lloyd Gellibrand, inherited the property and lived at Terra Linna. He divided the property into sections and leased it to different people to farm. These people later bought sections and became the pioneers of South Arm.
(photo c/- Maurice Potter CD)
Thomas Potter landed in Van Diemens Land in 1823.
His son Edward, and his family, lived in a cottage at the foot of Goat Hill, and together with his brother farmed a property at the South Arm Neck.
In 1938 the Bill Potter owned a boat called the Vamp which he later sold. In 1945 he bought a motor boat which he used to going fishing in and to deliver fish to the locals.
(photos c/- Maurice Potter CD)
Robert bezzant and his wife arrived in Hobart on the ship Orleana in 1842.
Their surname was originally spelt Bezant but later changed in the register of births as Bezzant.
Ron Bezzant arrived in South Arm in 1912 to work on an orchard property owned by Mister Gellibrand. Four of his brothers also worked at different times for Mr Gellibrand.
Ron Bezzant (Ted Bezzant's father) later bought a property of 150 acres on Bezzant Rd. and became a farmer.
Mr and Mrs Ron Bezzant (photo c/- Maurice Potter CD)
The Calverts arrived in South Arm in the year 1832.
They bought land and called it Seacroft. It is still owned by John Calvert. He also owned Fort Direction.
William Calvert bought property along Roaring Beach Rd. He had the most extensive orchard of the orchards at South Arm.
David Calvert's mum played the organ at church and his Dad played cricket each year in Hobart against other districts.
During the 1930s, 40s and 50s there were regular dances at the Calverton Hall.
There were Calverts at South Arm Primary until 2001.
Maurice Potter, SOUTH ARM HISTORY
The State Library Archives
Farming (By Harry, Darcy, Aden and Jake)
An interview with Joan Griffiths
Mrs Griffiths came here in 1951 from England and married George Griffiths who had a property with an orchard called Corallite. It was at the end of South Arm where you pass the shop to go to Hobart.
All the area was orchard from the neck right through all the area. September to October the sight was wonderful because all the apples were blossoming.
We think that a box of apples back then would have been about $2.00 now days. Mrs Griffiths thinks that there were 5 orchards in the area when she was helping on the family orchard.
The fruit that were growing were apples, pears, plums; green gages and cherries, but there weren’t many cherries because the birds used to get them before you could.
There were Golden Delicious, Cox Orange Pippins, Red Delicious, Granny Smiths, Worcester Permian’s and Democrat’s.
All these apples as well as pears were shipped to Britain. They were shipped in boxes made out of wood. They made the boxes during the winter when there was nothing else to do. When the apple season came they wrapped the apples in paper so they didn’t get damaged. The apples were put on to trucks and taken to then shipped off.
In the old days farms didn’t have their own cool stores so the fruit they grew went to a big cool store in town, nowadays farms have their own cool stores.
The farms weren’t big enough so they weren’t viable and the orchardists weren’t getting enough money so a lot of the orchards closed. Then there were too many apples being grown in Tasmania so the government brought in the tree pull scheme which meant that they would pay you to pull out your apple trees
Mr Griffiths had 4 people working on their orchard including themselves.
They put labels on the side of the apple boxes to tell the customers what type the apples were and where they were grown and harvested.
They also had a stamp to show how many apples were in each box.
Apple and Pear labels (provided by Joan Griffiths
An interview with David Calvert
David Calvert’s grandfather started the family orchards and he split them up in to 3 parts because his sons wanted to farm.
Then when David Calvert’s Dad died, later on Dave Calvert got married and took over his father’s farm.
He wanted to farm because he loved the open air and his parents farmed. He first owned the farm when he was 24. He and his wife worked the farm by themselves. His farm was 106 hectares. His orchard was along Roaring beach near the sand dunes.
They had horses to the work on the farm. They spayed all the of the orchard to get rid of the bugs .
There were about 600 pear trees on David Calvert's farm, and they grew a lot of pears in the orchard. He produced 2000 cases of pears each year. Each case contained 40 pounds of pears. Some of his pears went to ISL which were then put in cans and sent to England.
David Calvert also sold milk and had sheep.
An interview with Ian Grubb
The farm used to have cherries and other fruit.
Ian Grubb grows pinkeye potatoes and other types of potatoes to sell.
He also grows cauliflowers for their seeds so they can ship them off to Europe.
The farm grows various types of flowers including proteas, irises and chrysanthemums. Some of these flowers are shipped off to Japan. Others are sold locally and at the Salamanca market.
They are breeding goldfish to sell at the local market.
In the early years there were lots of jetties around Ralphs Bay and Opossum bay. They included jetties at Shelly beach, at Gorringes Point, at Dixon Point, near the end of Bezzants Road, at Musk Beach, at Seacroft and at Gellibrand beach. The tide and years have taken most of them away but people still remember them.
Most of the people that owned farms had sailing boats which they took to Hobart. There was also a lot of freighting using the boats.
The first South Arm jetty was made in 1918. Mr Griffins was the first official owner of the jetty. The jetties at South Arm and Opossum Bay have been rebuilt a few times because the piles and decking become eaten and weathered. It's also had construction work done because of the rough water, a fire, a boat accident and cars parking on it.
Ferries took people, livestock, hardware and other items around the South Arm peninsula and to Hobart. The name of the main ferries were the Cartela, Carsella, Toco and Tirana. Other ferries were Orleana and Seabird. Seabird was owned by the Calvert's and the Orleana was owned the Alhomes and Gellibrands. If the weather conditions were bad they would throw all the livestock overboard. All animals would swim ashore except for the sheep. Because the wool is like a sponge, it would absorb the water and they would drown. They would send the stock from South Arm to the city to sell.
The jetty at South Arm was lengthened so that the bigger steamers could get in. As the volume of fruit built up they had to use steamers to freight the fruit and also to unload horses and cattle. Special trolleys would run on little railway tracks and run the items to a shed. The old steam ships used to do runs to Woodbridge, Channel Court, Kettering, Franklin and Huonville.
The Opossum Bay Jetty is currently under construction, as it is being fitted with concrete slabs and metal retainers. Its reconstruction was organised by the Ralph’s Bay Association. The old jetty was wrecked in late January 2006.
Before people had cars, they used the river steamer to travel to and from Hobart. On Thursdays the locals went to Hobart to do their shopping and on the weekends people would come down to South Arm to spend time at the beaches and to visit friends. The schools (e.g. Hobart High) would come down to South Arm to have picnics.
During the war, the boats brought water down to pump to tanks on Fort Direction.
As the roads improved, freight was transported on lorries, and the steamers were only used to transport visitors to South Arm on weekends.
Old South Arm Jetty (Maurice Potter CD) A shortened South Arm Jetty The new Opossum Bay Jetty is currently being constructed
The South Arm Jetty was quite long so that ferries could unload. (Google Earth )
The South Arm sub-branch of returned service men was first formed in 1952. It was first formed in a meeting that was arranged by the late Mr F.C George on July 20th 1952 which was a meeting with the ex-servicemen. There weren’t many members of the South Arm R.S.L & sub branch. The club was first a sub section of the Clarence R.S.L . In September 1953 the required number was finally reached and South Arm had an official sub branch.
The membership increased slowly over the next two years. There was an approach made to the licensing branch for the club to operate as a registered club. In August 1955 a license was granted. From the Calverton hall the R.S.L sub branch was operated under agreement from Mr. Alma Calvert until such time as a club house could be built. During the next seven years the club was opened to Associate members. The membership got bigger. Responsibility for management decided that they should find land to build a clubhouse.
After a while they decided to buy some land that was owned by the late Mr. Les Alomes who lived in Blessington street. The finances were arranged and they drew up the plans. At first the members of the working bee did the early work, but after they laid the concrete slab the rest of the work was done by the building contractor. It was opened in October 1967. Over the next couple of the years the club was successfully operated and there were changes made to allow the membership to grow.
The first name for the R.S.L was Returned Serviceman's League .They called it that because it meant that they came back. Now they call it the R.S.L & community club. When the soldiers returned they were given a returned service mans badge. The badge was in shape of a boomerang because it meant they came back. That was the only badge that bosses would let them wear to work .The R.S.L was formed 90 years ago in 1916.
In the year 1914, World War 1 started & they were guaranteed that they would get war pensions & if they died their widows & children would be looked after.
They raise money at the R.S.L for people fighting overseas & they send over cricket gear & other things. The R.S.L does the Anzac day lunches. They did Anzac day sports in 1922 and they also give out poppies and talk sometimes on Remembrance day at the South Arm school.
The Bruce Service tradition South Arm students painting a mural on the old RSL building in 1984
The new RSL
St Barnabas Church, South Arm was dedicated on 27th July, 1892 and consecrated by Bishop Montgomery in April, 1893. It is an Anglican church, but it is open to everyone. Before it was built, they used to have church in the old school house.
The church has a congregation of around 20 people now. The thing that attracts people to the church is that they want to worship God and it’s a nice place to get together. Years ago, the church had lots of families who would attend the service. Each family had its own pew: Calvert’s, Potters, Alomes, Musks, and Gellibrands were some of the families that attended the church. Basically every family owned a farm or orchard. Ted Bezzant’s wife, Val, is the church organist and has been for more than 43 years. She plays every week unless she is sick.
The cemetery is as old as the church. The old gravestones were made from sandstone so they are difficult to read now. Sometimes people drowned in boats when they were travelling to or from South Arm.
When you enter the church there is a font. This is where people are baptised. When you are getting baptised they put a cross on your forehead with holy water. People get baptised at any age.
There are lots of pews which are not the originals. These pews came from Lauderdale. On the wall hangs the embroidered centre piece of the cloth which were used to cover the long table in front of stained glass windows. The pulpit is where people can stand to read the bible or to preach. Children would go up there to be heard well. The priest now uses the lectern to read his service as now not a lot of people attend and the pulpit is not used so much.
The stained glass windows tell the story of the ascension. But Mary is there instead of Judas. The windows are in memory of Alf and Hannah Calvert.
The vestory is where the minister gets changed before each service begins. In there is stored the book of all the baptism and deaths recorded from 1911. In the vestory there is also the wedding pillow which they use to kneel on in the ceremony.
The brass vase was put in memory of Brian Samuel Calvert who was churchwarden for 40 years and the same with his father whom was also churchwarden for 40 years. The bookcase was put in memory of Alma Calvert who was people’s warden for 40 years.
Gellibrand hall was completed in 1987.
The Old South Arm Store
Alanta was a cottage built in 1912 (located at the current war memorial site) which was used by Mr Rose to sell cordials and hot water before the South Arm store was built .
The first South Arm store was built in 1914 by George Ardy Griffiths (senior), and was operated by Bill Ritchie.
When the telephone service came to South Arm, calls went through the switchboard at the Post Office. Sometimes people had to wait a long time for their call to be connected.
The building has been sold about 7 times since it was opened and the building has changed alot.
It is now owned by Mark and Jacquie Sephens, and is still a post office and petrol station. It is situated on South Arm road, near the war memorial.
The shop has had a large impact on South Arm life. It has enabled people who live here to just go down the street to get petrol or food instead of going so far away. It also enabled the people in the early years to get fresh food. It helped the people of South Arm so they didn’t have to catch the ferry to Hobart unless they really needed to.
During the second world war, Calverton hall was used for dances and was also used as a movie theatre for the soldiers and the public.
The Calverton hall has made a huge difference to life in South Arm, used as a place for Piggery, Carols by candlelight and many other things that involve the school and community.
Since about 1980, members of the school and local community have raised considerable funds for South Arm Primary School by presenting an annual stage production under the banner of Piggery. This production is presented on stage at the Calverton Hall.
Terra Linna is the oldest building in South Arm. It has a wooden sign on the fence that says “Terra Linna”, Terra Linna was also listed on the National Trust Heritage list.
It has made an impact on the community, because by getting on the Heritage list it has made people more aware of South Arm's history and old buildings.
The Bungalow is quite old, and is made out of shingles on the corner of Harmony lane. It was built in 1917 by the Tolman family.
Errol Flynn had a friend who used to live at the Bungalow and he often used to visit him there.
Mr Ted Bezzant
Mr David Calvert
Maurice Potter, SOUTH ARM HISTORY
There's been a great demand for sand in the last 50 years, as there has been a need in Hobart to find sand to make concrete for building.
They took sand from the Calvert's beach for a long time, but they were stopped because sand was being mined past the high tide mark. Then they started to mine on the neck at South Arm. Mr Males owns the land on one end of the neck and David Calvert’s family owns most of the rest of the land on the neck.
It started off with the people buying just a bit of sand in small truck loads, and then as Hobart grew and the demand for sand grew the people who made Ready Mix cement approached David Calvert to buy sand. Because more sand was been taken away it had to be done through the mines department, and they had to get a mining licence. Boral now buy the sand on David Calverts property. On the Calvert property sand resources were 1.16 million tonnes in 2000 and are now approximately one million tonnes. Production is approximately 20,000 tonnes per year and is mainly used for Boral concrete. David Calvert's sand pit has about 10 years left.
The mining on Mr Males' land on the South Arm neck is scheduled to be finished soon. The sand there is nearly exhausted as they're not allowed to mine within 300 feet of the beach. Most of the sand used in making concrete in Southern Tasmania came from the Males' dry sand pit. Sand resources were 615 000 tonnes in 2000, and are now less than 100 000 tonnes.
When you’re mining sand you push the top soil away so that you can get to the sand underneath. The sand pits look a bit messy for a few years, but the mine rehabilitates the area.
On David Calvert's property when they've mined down to fresh water (any deeper becomes salt water), they've used the land as pasture for cattle.
The Fort Direction Ammunition Storage Facility includes Fort Hill, Cape Direction, Pot Bay, Cape Deliverance and part of Seacroft Bay.
The site covers an area of about 105 acres and was acquired by the Commonwealth in 1938.
From Cape Direction it is possible to see the Iron Pot lighthouse.
Fort Direction was used as a fort to protect the entrance to the Derwent River.
It has also been used as an Army training camp.
The camp and houses are now also used for recreational purposes.
The Lone Pine Memorial commemorates soldiers from World Wars 1 and 11.
On top of one of the columns is a map of the Gallipoli landing area. On the other columns are names of the soldiers who died.
Muttonbirds (short-tailed shearwaters) nest on the headlands during summer time.
Females lay one egg during November and the egg hatches during January.
Between 27 March and 30 April Aborigines may harvest the chicks under strict controls. This is an important part of Tasmanian Aboriginal culture.
Grade 5/6 at South Arm Primary (2006) would like to thank local South Arm residents for their assistance in researching South Arm's history. The time that the local residents spent speaking with students and answering their questions was greatly appreciated, and was essential in compiling valid information for this site.