Quamby Homestead was the ancestral home of Tasmania’s first-born Premier, Sir Richard Dry and has been lovingly restored offering extensive entertaining areas, a dining room, lounge rooms, a library and a dinner menu showcasing Tasmania’s gourmet local produce. Its charming Anglo-Indian designed architecture and period antiques and fireplaces combine modern luxuries to offer a cosy and quiet country getaway.
Whilst on the Estate, enjoy a walk down the original tree-lined laneway, explore by bike, play a lawn game such as croquette or have a round of golf on the course in which Sir Richard Branson holds the Number 1 Membership.
Guests can enjoy a stay in their own luxurious room or hire the whole house exclusively for a special event. The estate is open to in-house guests and the public.
Quamby's rich history
Quamby Estate is steeped in Tasmanian history as the home of Sir Richard Dry - the first Tasmanian born premier of the State. During his time as Premier, Quamby Homestead became known as the “Government House of the North”. Here eminent colonial grandees gathered to campaign for an end to convict transportation to Tasmania, to debate and draft the Tasmanian constitution and to plan the expansion of the State’s rail transport system.
Sir Richard’s portrait currently hangs in the pre-eminent position in the long Room of Tasmania’s House of Parliament in Hobart. The hey-days of Quamby coincided with the peak of his political career. Today, walking around the grounds with its wonderful old English elms and poplars, it is not a stretch of the imagination to visualise the peacocks that once strutted the front lawns and deer that graced the parklands. Twelve gardeners were employed in the ornamental sunken garden and a large part of the Estate was put aside for tenant farmers based on the English tradition of the time. An Estate office of classical Georgian design with a front gabled porch was constructed as a residence for the estate manager.
Sir Richard Dry had no heirs and just prior to his death in 1868 he had begun to shed the vast acreage of Quamby Estate. Sir Richard was buried beneath the chancery in the Church he founded, St Mary’s at Hagley. Soon after Lady Dry sold Quamby and sailed for England. Today Quamby’s wealth of mature trees remains a lasting tribute to the foresight of the remarkable Dry family.
About the owners
Sir Richard Dry, Son of a convict, was the Estate’s first owner of note. His achievements in serving Tasmania are plenty and included:
- The first native-born knight of the Australian realm (knighted by Queen Victoria, May 1858);
- The first native-born Premier and Speaker of the House of Assembly in the Tasmanian Parliament;
- The first Australian-born Premier of any State in Australia;
- A member of the “patriotic six” - a committee of eminent colonial persons influential in initiating the cessation of convict transportation to Tasmania;
- A member of the ‘select committee’ appointed to draft the Tasmanian Constitution.
Current owners, Brett Godfrey and Rob Sherrard conceptualised what became Virgin Australia in 1993 on the back of a dozen beer coasters while enjoying a pint or two in a London pub. Together they spent the next five years refining the business plan and looking for investors. They found their white knight in the form of a British Knight; Sir Richard Branson and convinced him to back their plan. Together as the CEO and Deputy CEO respectively and with just $10m in seed capital they took Virgin Blue from two aircraft and 2 routes at launch in August 2000, to an IPO in late 2003 valuing the airline at $2.5B, operating over 60 aircraft and 5,000 staff. Together they have also invested in several other Tourism assets including Tasmanian Walking Company, Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk, Entally Estate, and Low Head in Tasmania and Makepeace Island in Queensland.