Less than thirty minutes, but a world away from Port Arthur, Spreydon Park farm is located on the shores of Norfolk Bay at Saltwater River on the beautiful Tasman Peninsula. It commands views of picturesque landscapes, stunning seascapes, interesting built heritage and romantic ruins.


convict history
Settled in 1841, eleven years after Port Arthur, Saltwater River was the first and largest of the many probation stations established in Tasmania to deal with transported convicts. Recognised for its rich basalt soils, it was classed as an agricultural station for much of its operation.

At its peak in 1846 close to 600 convicts laboured at the station, with 240 acres under cultivation growing cereals, vegetables, hops and livestock. Roads and wharves had been built, brick and lime kilns constructed, and a tramway built across the river mouth to service a sandstone quarry. However, low rainfall, lack of fresh water, and the strong prevailing wind were always a challenge and the place became a sheep and cattle station in an attempt to make it profitable.


private ownership
Finally abandoned in 1877 it was subdivided and sold off to free settlers. 155 acres including the Superintendent's House, the Catechist's House and the Semaphore site was granted to Herbert Smith and named Spreydon. It then passed to a succession of owners including Messrs. Perkins, Rigby, Jenkins, Burden and McWilliams. Most persevered for only a few short years, defeated by the prevailing dry conditions.


a focal point
The presence of the convict built jetty ensured that Saltwater River became a focal point for the scattered farming community in the area. From convict times the road journey to Hobart had been long and arduous and most passenger and freight transport was by trading ketch and steamer. It was only in 1940s that road transport became economically viable and finally put an end to the steamers.

broken up
The property was purchased in 1931 by Mr. Stephen Bresnehan and became one of the largest farms on the Tasman Peninsula, comprising some 4500 acres running sheep and cattle. It remained in the Bresnehan family until 1972 when it was sold to Glenila Orchards, subdivided into small lots and sold off.


rebuilding the farm
The Superintendent's House on 1 acre was purchased by us in 1990. Wherever possible we have purchased additional adjoining land and consolidated titles. We conserved the built heritage and raised a family here. The property is now listed on the Tasmanian heritage register in order to protect the historic cultural landscape that we value above all else. We run a prime lamb enterprise on the farm and now produce exceptional cool climate wines.