Haughton Forrest (1826 – 1925)

Haughton Forrest (1826 – 1925)
(The Old Mill at New Town Creek)
Oil on board
31 x 47 cm
Signed lower left: ‘H Forrest’

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By the end of the 19th century, the mills and farmhouses of the New Town area were a favourite subject among local and visiting artists. Built in the early days of the colony, many of these buildings exhibited a rustic charm which no doubt appealed to the English sensibilities of the colonists.

The mill depicted in this work by Forrest was, during Forrest’s time, known simply as ‘The Old Mill’, however is believed to be the building used by the short-lived Constantia Distillery, which opened in 1824, advertising ‘a good, wholesome and pure spirit’ in The Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser that year.1 In January 1825, Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane raised the excise on locally produced spirits and the distillery subsequently closed.

The building was then used to house orphans prior to the completion of the orphanage at St. John’s New Town, while the proprietor, William de Gillern (1787 – 1857) relocated, eventually to Longford, where he acted as a justice of the peace before returning to Hobart in 1857.

1. Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser (24 September 1824, Hobart), p. 2