Building History

Fingal Valley Neighbourhood House resides in the Old Tasmanian Hotel, built by Daniel Pestell.

On 30th November 1827, Roderick O’Connor (Land Commissioner) wrote in a letter to the Acting Surveyor General:

The township which we have selected between Talbots and Grants is an admirable one, as it embraces all the points from the South Esk to the St Pauls rivers. “We have called the township ‘Fingal’ in honour of Mr Talbot whose family rank high in Ireland”.

In the Field Plan of Movements of the Military (23.9.1982) Fingal is the only settlement named East of Campbell town and North of Little Swanport.

In the late 1830’s and early 1940’s Fingal Township was the site for a Probation Station where up to 400 convicts were sheltered whilst they workd on roads in the district for local landholders.

The earliest licence to sell alcohol in Fingal was registered to William Allen in 1844 for ‘The Highlander’. In addition a licence was granted for 1 year only to John Dryden of the St Andrews Inn, Fingal in 1844. This licence transferred to Charles Peters early in 1845. This then became the ‘Talbot Arms’. The first mentioned licence was taken over by George Robinson in 1845 and then by Henry Smith in 1847 and later by Daniel Pestell in 1851.

The year Van Diemens Land became Tasmania, 1856, this licence was transferred to the Tasmanian Hotel, owned and built by Daniel Pestell.

Daniel Pestell had been transported as a lad of 17 for stealing one handkerchief of the worth 4 shillings (Surrey Larcenies, Seventh Session 1836). His wife Margaret was also transported in 1835 for stealing and they were married in Evandale in 1841. There were three children of the marriage – Sarah, Harriet and Daniel.
Sarah Pestell married Robert Peters the licencee of the ‘Talbot Arms’ Fingal.
Harriet Pestell married Robert Viney who became the owner/licencee of the ‘Tasmanian Hotel’, Fingal.

The Tasmanian Hotel was constructed of stone previously used to provide a wall around the prison barracks which held 400 men.
By 1858 the property is listed as an Hotel and Brewery with a store and Blacksmith’s shop in Fingal.

Daniel Pestell’s obituaries say:
“He built the Tasmanian Hotel in the palmy days of the old Mangana goldfields, when labour and materials were dear and suffered by the decadence of the district that followed the collapse of the goldfields”.

However, prior to this, Robert Viney had taken a financial interest in the ‘Tasmanian Hotel’ in fact in 1864 the land was mortgaged to Robert Viney for 800 pounds. When the hotel finally reached auction in January 1879 the notice read:

“1 acre 1 rood…. together with the messuages, tenements, cottages or dwelling houses theron”.
As well moveable assets”
1 first class heavy cart horse
3 new drays
1 chaise cart
1 covered hawkers cart
1 spring cart
1 superior rollert etc
The Brewery plant with Malt Mill

Robert Viney brought the rights to the Tasmanian Hotel and continued to add to the area around the Hotel. By 1884 he owned the Hotel and 10 lots of agricultural land in Fingal. He was also advancing a prosperous ‘Fernhill’ as well as publice life. He owned the Tasmanian Hotel until his death in 1900. This was a period of 36 years.

The earliest description of the Tasmanian Hotel was recorded in an advertisement in The Examiner in May 1862. This was at the time of Margret’s death when Daniel needed a new lessee.

The establishment had 21 rooms, a kitchen, dairy, laundry and outhouses. There was stabling for 20 horses, coach houses and granaries plus 21 acres of cleared land in 3 paddocks. As well but separately a new Brewery comprising an 8 hogshead barrel, a 50 foot long malt floor with malt kiln, offices and store room.

Information gathered from the Fingal Valley Neighbourhood House History Group