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Tourism stories

Family ties at historic mansion

Edition 200_Corinda

A grand Hobart mansion – famous for its magnificent garden – is back in the family fold after 99 years, and the doors have been thrown open to guests.

Corinda has been described as ‘Tasmania’s Eden’.

The imposing Victorian era home was built in 1878 for the wealthy timber merchant, and Hobart Lord Mayor, Alfred Crisp, who had 11 children. He sold the house in 1917.

However, two years ago, Corinda was acquired by Crisp’s great-great-grandson, Julian Roberts, and, in a twist of fate, it has been returned to the family nearly a century later.

Roberts now runs his ancestral home as luxury boutique accommodation.

“Corinda left our family 99 years ago, and it is an amazing feeling to have it back,” Roberts says.

“Every morning as I walk through the garden, and up the steps to the house, I feel the family history.

“You think about when the first brick was laid, and you think about all your relatives running around in the garden, just like my kids do every day.

“There is a real sense of belonging.”

It was a phone call out of the blue that changed Roberts’ life forever.

He was living on the East Coast, with his Spanish wife Chaxiraxi and two young children, and running another boutique hotel, Brockley Estate, when his mother called with some surprising news.

“Mum phoned us from Hobart to tell me that Corinda was up for sale, and that was it,” Roberts explained.

“One way or another we had to have it.

“It’s our ancestral home, so it was wonderful to be able to buy it and bring it back into the family.

“We had been wanting to return home to Hobart for some time, and the timing was perfect.”

Corinda is perched high on a hill overlooking Hobart and is widely recognised as having one of the city’s most stunning gardens.

Its magnificent grounds are spread over a quarter hectare in the inner city suburb of Glebe.

The focal point is a European-style parterre garden featuring intricate box hedging shaded by a 100-year-old magnolia tree.

Overlooking this stunning garden is the beautifully restored two storey house, Corinda, which boasts eight bedrooms.

The mansion is also a showcase of exquisite Tasmanian joinery, centred around a sweeping grand staircase handcrafted from blackwood.

Corinda is furnished with comfortable antiques and historic family portraits line the walls.

There are also old photographs – one featuring Alfred Crisp proudly holding court with his own private fire brigade employed at the timber yard – dotted throughout.

“We have a genuine Victorian era house,” Roberts says.

“It is luxurious, but it is also real, and when you are here you don’t feel like you are staying in a hotel, but rather in the home of a friend.

“Most importantly, everyone wants a story these days, and we have a real one – the story of our family history.”

Both Roberts and his wife Chaxiraxi come to Corinda with extensive backgrounds in hospitality, including running overseas restaurants and hotels.

They are also in partnership with Roberts’ uncle, Douglas Blain, who owns three small boutique hotels in London.

Since opening the doors to guests last August, business has been booming, and Roberts is getting ready for a bumper summer tourist season.

The six beautifully restored state rooms in the main house are filling up fast, as are the five self-contained cottages in the expansive grounds.

Guests are a mix of locals, mainlanders, and international visitors, all eager to experience historic Tasmania at Corinda.

And to be part of a wonderful family story.

Image courtesy of Impressions Marketing Communications

9 November 2018, Edition 200

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