With the news of Frescati’s shed being burnt down and the constant vandalism of the oval precinct wards it’s only a matter of time before we lose one or more ward on the site.
I know a lot of people feel that these Wards are an eyesore or worthless but I tend to disagree. I believe that they represent an important reminder and example of growth, change and expansion of Willow Court. To see these buildings lost to vandalism or arson would be a stab through the heart of Willow Court and would tarnish the site’s historical and architectural integrity.
The Committee is unable to action the protection of the Precinct as it is not in their Terms of Reference. However if we all act as individuals we can try and do something for this fragile piece of Willow Court.
If you want to do something I suggest writing a letter to the General Manager of the Derwent Valley Council. PO Box 595, NEW NORFOLK TAS 7140My recommendations would be
DVC to regularly inspect and replace the boards that cover windows and door ways
Close and chain the red metal gates that surround the front of the oval precinct which will at least restrict entry on that side.
Open day was a great success and I really enjoyed it. I wasn’t expecting such a great turn out considering it wasn’t well advertised. It was great interacting with people who had an interest in the site and people who once worked at Willow Court and hand. We took down the names of some people so that we can follow up and hopefully record some oral history for future projects.
We hope to have a spring festival with more wards open for touring and maybe some catering and amenities.
I was very annoyed that some dickheads were in some of the oval precent wards with bats smashing every window that could find. What Nerve of these kids and doing in the middle of the day where there were heaps of car and people walking around the site. Just goes to show what we are up against and how much we need all the support we can get to protect these buildings before they are destroyed.
As you know we are very interested into the Paranormal and one lady had something very exciting to tell us. She stated that someone she knows used to Work in Ward C and they claimed to have had some form of experience with paranormal activity whilst in the Ward. The lady said she was going to contact me, hopefully she does.
After the Open Day finished on Sunday 30/5/10 myself, Glenn and Aiden had the opportunity to inspect a few of the Wards within the Barracks Precinct. The first Ward we entered was the Occupation/Industrial Therapy buildings which sit between C Ward and Alonnah.
It was our first time inside the therapy building and I wasn’t really expecting a great deal, however I was wrong. It actually a really great useful space! The general condition was pretty good with only really a tidy up needed initially.
The Therapy building actually has a mini stage and a projector room which will be excellent for future open days to show Willow Court related videos etc. I was really impressed by this. The whole building has this really stark, cold ambience which will create a great atmosphere!! On the right hand site of the Therapy building it has several small rooms that over looks C Ward Exercise Yard. What an asset it’s a little gem!
The next ward we entered was Bronte; this Ward has a lot of smashed windows and frames, with a bit of graffiti and vandalism in places. Generally not too bad, nothing that a good tidy up and some TLC won’t fix.
Next we went down to have a look at Alonnah. We had trouble opening the lock mechanism but when we finally got the door open it was like opening the door to a freezer, I reckon in was about 15 degrees cooler in there than the outside temperature, it was weird you could actually feel the freezing cold air pour out as soon as the door opened.
We walked in to a very dark room and once again we felt a lot of tension within the building similar to the last time we entered. This Ward is also in fairly good condition I guess given that its built like a prison helps. The kitchen probably needs a bit of attention and the windows that over look Alonnah airing year, however apart from that it was in good condition.
The last Ward we went in was Ward C; it was my first time inside this Ward so I was pretty excited. We only had a few minutes so we rushed around having a look up and down stairs. It’s a great looking Ward, and has heaps of staircases. It seemed like every 4th door was a stair case. I’m actually looking forward to the next time I get inside this Ward so I can take the time to really soak up its features and rooms.
Hopefully during the Spring Festival these wards which I mentioned above could be opened up in some capacity even if the unsafe arrears are taped off, I can’t see why not!
I took some photos during the event and some video which I hope to upload soon, so stay tuned.
Open was a great success we had over 500 people thru the gates, 30 people enlisted as volunteers and rasied over $300 !!!!!!!!!!!!
Next step is a Spring festival where we hope to have parts of Bronte, Allonah, C Ward, OT and the Baracks open for touring.
Some pics I found from the Derwent Valley Players website in refards to the Women of the Willow play that was held in the Barracks in 2007 and 2008.
Willow Court Barracks Open Day
|Date:||Saturday 29 May & Sunday 30 May|
Self-guided tours of Australia’s oldest recently operating mental health site. It began as a convict hospital and the original 1830 building remains intact. Consider also a drive to the nearby Back River Chapel, burial site of several First Fleeters including Betty King, the first white woman to set foot in Australia.
|Venue:||Willow Court, The Avenue, New Norfolk|
|Time:||From 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.|
|Admission:||Bookings not required. Entry by gold coin donation to restoration|
|Contact:||Damian Bester: 6230 0736|
Please Visit our Facebook Event for the Heritage Festival: http://www.facebook.com/photo_search.php?oid=276914622727&view=user#!/event.php?eid=276914622727
Historic New Norfolk, Tasmania, Australia 1808 a Major Investment Opportunity
On behalf of the DERWENT VALLEY COUNCIL, written tenders are sought for the sale and redevelopment of Land and Buildings that once formed part of the Historic Willow Court (1827) precinct.
Proposals in sympathy with the heritage values and approved Conservation Management Plan will be assessed first; however interested parties may also lodge proposals that are at variance with the Conservation Management plan and the permitted uses.
Land Area: 2.5 Hectares
Buildings: 4 Large Buildings, approximately 1,000 sq metres each, Glenora House, Franklin House, Esperence House, Derwent House all circa late 1930’s, and the Change rooms.
Access: Street access from The Avenue and George St.
The Barracks was designed by Colonial Architect John Lee Archer and was built in 1830 -1833. The Barracks main purpose initially was a Convict Hospital it was later expanded to accommodate the mentally ill.
APIU Co-founders Nick Jarvis and Aiden Sullivan met with Team Members Drew, Mike and Justin from Team Strigoi who are a Launceston based paranormal team on Saturday night to explore and investigate Willow Court and Royal Derwent Hospital.
The night started around 8:00pm where we met with Team Strigoi and Bridgewater McDonald’s to escort them to New Norfolk and Willow Court. We parked at the Willow Court Motel and Nick Jarvis spoke with the private owner Haydn Pearce who allowed us access to his buildings which was a real bonus, because we hadn’t planned to explore these Wards.
After getting the keys we decided to tour Team Strigoi through the nurse’s cottage and shortly after J Ward. It was near dark when we went into Lyprenny to have a look around.
After exiting Lyprenny we took Strigoi down and showed them the rear of Admin building, Barracks, Bronte and Ward C. As we stood there by the fence at the rear of Admin, the new owner Mario came out to investigate who we were and what we were doing. We spoke to Mario for a bit and he informed us that he plans to use the bulk of the building for a private residence and hire the hall/stage area for public functions.
Our next move was to return the keys to Haydn then tour team Strigoi around the Council owned buildings on Willow Court then over to the privately owned Royal Derwent Hospital.
During the course of the night both APIU and Team Strigoi was conducting investigations in the various wards that we were exploring at the time. It was a good opportunity for APIU to test out some new equipment that had been purchased recently.
At around 1:30pm whilst in Lyprenny we decided to call it a night. Team Strigoi planned to stay there until morning the drive back up to Launceston.
It was a great night and APIU made some handy contacts especially with Investigations in Northern Tasmania. APIU stated that they were happy to invite Team Strigoi back to Willow Court when we have planned an official Investigation Organised. Team Strigoi stated that they would also extend and invite to an Entally House Investigation.
Hopefully over the next few days we will go through the footage and recordings that were collected. We will post any paranormal findings on the website.
Lead Investigator & Co-Founder