APIU, DVC may approve tour of “Satan’s House”!

Last night the Derwent Valley Council (DVC) discussed a proposal for the (APIU) Australian Paranormal Investigation Unit (collection of friends) to conduct After Dark Tours (Paranormal Tours) of Frascati House. Previously the Group have referred to the house as Satan’s House in a podcast interview with Naked Zombie TV.

They also have told the interviewer about their experiences of “mild possession, unexplained scratches, evil presences, ghosts following people home”

While the group say they are not prone to over exaggeration or being disrespectful the above comments and naming of the place as “Satan’s House” would have to be questioned.

Frascati has a wonderful and long history starting with it’s construction in 1834, later it was the home of the many Medical Superintendents and then a Training Centre for some of the Residents.

“This request comes about as a result of the APIU recognising that Frascati House plays an important role in the history of the Willow Court precinct.
The APIU has indicated that they have had a discussion with a member of Friends of Frascati and at the time of writing was intending to attend a committee meeting of that group to discuss the After Dark Tours.

The APIU has advised that if the Council approves its request the use of Frascati House will not be advertised in its promotional material, rather it will be referred to as a ‘secret location’.

This will assist in preventing unwanted attempts to access the building prior to the tours. Further to this the APIU will ensure that the area will be patrolled during the tour operations to ensure that the site is kept secure.
All profits made from the tour will be donated to the Council for use in restoration activities on the site.

Should the APIU wish to conduct additional tours on any part of the Willow Court site a further report will be presented to the Council.”

Item 10.7 DVC agenda



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Lachlan Park Hospital circa 1960.

Lachlan Park Hospital circa 1950-60.

This footage shows the Barracks from the rear enclosed yard which was demolished in the early 1960’s, H Ward and I Ward which were both female Wards, the old clock tower and accommodation rooms on the west side of the hospital including the old metal fold up bed which came from Port Arthur. Black & White silent footage.

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Friends groups after same thing

A passion, willing to put in loads of volunteer work, learn new skills, travel, gain certificates, fund raise and bend the ear of the Local, State and Federal Politicians.

If this sounds like the thing you wish to do after a full working live, then you are in good company.

The Friends of Willow Court Annual General Meeting was held Wednesday night last week and Guest Speaker, Dallas Baker OAM from the Friends of Deal Island told us about the restoration works that they are doing and showed many pictures of the impressive works so far. Dallas has also served as caretaker on the island four time totalling 12 months of full time occupation of the light house and homestead areas.

The connection between Friends of Deal Island and the Friends of Willow Court is Mark Woodley the heritage plasterer who gave tours at Willow Court during a Heritage Month activity in 2016.

Mark has reported that one of the old homesteads on Deal Island is the best house in Tasmania, due to the fact that there was never any late alterations of plumbing or electricity, so the structure remained as it was first built.

It was clear that Heritage is very much an over looked and under funded area, but also an area that is in high demand through tourism.

Dallas informed us about the great history of the area, the need for the light house after the shipwrecks. The lighthouse is one of the highest and during fog is too high for ships to see. It has suffered the same fate as many light houses with the advanced navigational equipment available to ships today and sits as a reminder of the harder and dangerous times of sailing.

What is clear is that there are Friends Groups throughout Tasmania all full of active citizens working hard to preserve our heritage. Also in attendance was Ian Lacey who was the Tidy Towns representative. The two groups have recently announced a joint partnership with the conservation of the Willow Court perimeter wall. The job was stopped in 2015 due to the lack of funding but the joint partners have received  a small grant to purchase some scaffolding to continue the job.

Below is the Chair person’s report for the 2016-17 year from the Friends of Willow Court.

Friends of Willow Court
Chairpersons Report
Annual General Meeting
13 September 2017
It is with pleasure that I present this, the fifth report for the Friends of Willow Court special committee of the Derwent Valley Council.
Activities undertaken by the committee over the last 12 months include the following:
* Reviewed and accepted the revised Terms of Reference
* Three committee members participated in the Willow Court Access Working Group to
determine a cost structure and terms of access to the council owned part of Willow
* Held a BBQ at Woolworths to raise funds for Willow Court and to promote the work of
the committee to the public
* Liaised with Assoc Prof Heather Burke on working together to host the open day in
* Liaised with the DVC on conducting history walks during the open day at Willow Court in February
* Liaised with DVC to waive access fees to WC Barracks precinct for the open day tours
and Heritage Month Fiddle Excursion
* Visited Willow Court on two occasions to conduct onsite historical research of the
buildings and related social history to assist in the development of walking tour
information guides
* Conducted history walks during the open day that attracted 300-400 people to the site
* Co hosted the open day High Tea with Derwent Valley Players. This event was a huge
success with many compliment on both the play and the sumptuous high tea
* Hosted a BBQ for Associate Professor Heather Burke and her archaeology students
* Liaise with historian Peter MacFie to develop the Heritage Month Fiddle Excursion
* Hosted the Fiddle Excursion in May, which was an outstanding success and a real credit
to the committee, with many compliments from participants on the excellent
organisation of the event, and the wonderful exposure of a unique part of the Derwent
Valley’s history.
* Represented FoWC at the Built Heritage seminar at Parliament House. The seminar was
an outcome of the Legislative Council Built Heritage Report which identified that more
input in specific areas was needed.
* Met with representatives of Tasmania’s Most Haunted to discuss concerns with their
proposed project in the Willow Court Barracks precinct
* Successfully applied for a DVC Community Grant for the purchase of scaffolding that will
enable FoWC and Derwent Valley Tidy Towns to progress the lime washing of the Willow
Court perimeter wall that was started in 2015
* Unsuccessfully applied for a grant from the DVC Works budget to fund safety equipment
needed for the WC wall lime washing project
* Two committee members participated in the Oral History workshop to develop technical
skills and understanding of the procedures involved in recording oral histories. It is the
committees intention to continue to record histories to preserve the living history of
Willow Court for future generations

In closing I would like to take this opportunity to thank committee members for their ongoing support and enthusiasm for the projects we have undertaken this year.
I would also like to acknowledge the wonderful support provided by DVC staff to assist FoWC with the organization of the open day and Fiddle Excursion.
Thank you also to Councilor Pearce for his support of the committee throughout the last year.
Again, while we are a small committee we can be proud of what we have achieved for Willow Court in the past year.
Thank you
Anne Salt

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Linc Tasmania search family history

I have many requests from people who are searching for Patient file of their family member. There are complications when searching, one of those is to know what the Hospital was called during the time your family member was a Patient, because the institution had many names during it’s 174 year history.

At this stage we can’t offer a search facility or assistance because of the groups limitations. People can always post on the Facebook Group to see if there is anyone who would know your family member.

Its also great to see the Tasmanian Government recommending the Willow Court Tasmania History Group’s website as a credible place for information about the hospital and it’s history.

Search Family History

Below is one of a number of replies I received from this article and is the often untold message from families. Thank you Lauren for allowing me to share this.

Image may contain: plant, flower, outdoor and nature

Hi Mark, you directed me to the Linc a few weeks ago, I was looking for my mum’s long lost brother who died as a boy at New Norfolk, all we knew was his name and a very rough timeline of when he was born and admitted to RDH. Our trip to Linc recovered the details of his condition, admittance, birth and death dates, who admitted him…and best of all, we found his unmarked grave at Malbina Cemetery.

Here he is, finally he has a name and a resting place!

Thanks Mark!

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Friends to continue preservation

Image result for Deal island lighthouse

The Friends of Willow Court announced in partnership with the Derwent Valley Tidy Towns group, that work to preserve the outer perimeter wall at Willow Court will continue.

Thanks to some funding from the owners, the Derwent Valley Council the limewash and restoration will continue. The works to preserve the wall stopped in December 2015, two months after restoration work on the whole site ground to a stopped in November of the same year. No funding has been forthcoming for the site through either State of Federal Governments and almost appears to be off the agenda again.

The AGM of the Friends of Willow Court will also be held tomorrow night and Guest Speaker, Dallas Baker OAM will present his experience as a conservation volunteer at Deal Island.


Friends of Willow Court
Annual General Meeting
13 September 2017
Derwent Valley Community House
Guest Speaker Dallas Baker OAM
Dallas will talk about his experience as a volunteer on the maintenance of the Deal Island convict built (1848) lighthouse.
Members of the public are very welcome to attend the meeting.
The Friends of Willow Court together with DV Tidy Towns will commence a project this year to continue lime washing of the entire Willow Court perimeter wall after receiving a DVC Community Grant to purchase scaffolding for the project. Anyone interested in this project can contact Friends of Willow Court via friendsofwillowcourt@gmail.com

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New map shows all the land managed by the hospital

Click image above to open as PDF.

This 1988 colour coded map, shows how much land was owned and operated by the hospital. 333.6ha of land was managed by the administrators of the hospital, some land was farmed and the remaining either housing patients, staff or administration and support services for the hospital.

The hospital was ready for major expansion with all the land it managed, but due to the change of philosophy in care provision, the hospital started down sizing in the early to mid 1970’s.

The purple dot is the Derwent Valley Council Building in Circle Street which gives the viewer an idea of the scale of land under management.

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1947 Position Descriptions book

A wonderful read, especially the farm trade workers position description for 1947, the milkman not only had to deliver the fresh milk to the wards and kitchen, he was also responsible for milking the cows, only after cleaning their udders.

With the expansion of the hospital in the 1950 and 60s farming on the east side of the Lachlan River deceased although the Government land that once was Turriff Lodge had  fertile soils and provided many hours for work for patients. After the Turriff Lodge buildings were demolished the bricks were used for the foundation on the fowl sheds on the hospital farm. Will get a scan copy onto the documents tab soon.


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Asbestos photos

The location of the asbestos dump site was photographed in a 1996 report and was the result of a massive job to remove as much asbestos from the wards on both sides of the Lachlan River. The exact where about of the dump site has been a mystery according to Derwent Valley Council documents, but this report locates the site with a number of photos. The low quality photocopies make it hard to identify the location without some local knowledge. The only indication is that the site was part of the old tip site which was on the south side of Glebe Road, once a site used for grazing cattle.

Can you help identify the area?

The Derwent Valley Council reported that they knew that asbestos was dumped on the site, but didn’t know where in the last plans for the area. 

Related stories:

Site still unsafe?

New Norfolk Structure Plan (Draft)

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Defiant Lives

Great news for people interested in the Disability Rights Movement in Tasmania. If there is enough people committed to buying a ticket the Documentary “Defiant Lives” will screen in Tasmania at the State Cinema in North Hobart.

All companion card holders can get in for free. Limited wheelchair spaces are available (2 only).

It will screen with open captions, and audience members can also download the MovieReader app, which syncs to an audio description.

Date: Mon, Aug 21, 2017 6:15 PM
Where: State Cinema
375 Elizabeth St, , North Hobart, Tasmania, 7000, Australia
Adult: $20.00
Additional booking fee of $1.65 per ticket.
There are 2 wheelchair spaces available.


Ticket Sales Here


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Leenowwenne people occupied site before Barracks

The Leenowwenne people were one of five Aboriginal tribes in the Big River district and lived on the lands that New Norfolk is currently sited. The Barracks replaced the older wooden structures that housed invalid convicts and most of the building material were sourced from the Lachlan River, which, on the map below is considered to have potential Aboriginal heritage significance.

Possible Aboriginal Heritage significance areas are marked out below and are the river flats including the market gardens and the hill country east of Glebe Road.

Indigenous WC map

Click link above or map below to open a full page version.

The Aboriginal history about that time (1800-20’s) called for the Military presence in the area as the British expansion continued throughout the valley using convict labor.

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