Hop kiln fire investigation continues

Before-and-after image of the Hopgrove Kiln.

INVESTIGATIONS are continuing into the fire that destroyed a historic hop kiln at Lachlan on Sunday.

Crews from multiple Derwent Valley fire brigades were called to the fire yesterday afternoon to find the three-storey oast house well alight. It took crews several hours to completely extinguish the fire and they remained on scene overnight to extinguish any flare ups.

The fire investigator is continuing inquiries into the cause of the fire, which completely destroyed the century-old three-storey Hopgrove kiln.

The building was on property owned by long-term Lachlan residents Jack and Christine Lomax. It was covered by insurance and was being renovated for sale, Mr Lomax told the Mercury.

Local landscape photographer Lynette Graham has shared a photo of the oast house prior to its destruction and it has been paired with a photo taken from almost the exact same angle yesterday (above).

The kiln is believed to have been rebuilt in the 1920s and while there are much earlier references to a hop garden named Hop Grove, that farm appears to have been at Plenty.

In June 1934, R. Triffitt placed a notice in the Mercury, seeking to hire a 15-year-old boy, able to milk a cow, for a small wage and board, at Hopgrove, Lachlan.

In the 1940s the Hopgrove Estate was being managed by Mr B. Triffitt and the farm was supplying hops to Henry Jones and Co. In February 1942, the company advertised in the Launceston Examiner for a limited number of good hop-pickers at Hopgrove, with an excellent crop and good accommodation.

In a notice to hop-pickers, published in the Mercury in December 1944, H. Jones and Co advised intending applicants for hop-picking that electric light had been installed in all hut accommodation at Hopgrove, as well as Belmont and Shooters Hill at Plenty, and they should apply early for bins and reservation of huts.

A 1934 Morris truck was advertised for sale in May 1946, with good tyres and in reasonably good order. Inspection could be arranged by seeing Bartle Triffitt at Hopgrove.

In December 1951 Mr D.E. Geard advertised for fruit pickers to help harvest an “excellent crop [of] irrigated  raspberries, while two years later F.C. Geard advertised for eight fruit pickers to start after Christmas. The estate also had a long connection to the Gleeson family.

Google Maps image of the Hopgrove Kiln in 2009.

A series of photos follows from the fire that destroyed Hopgrove, one of
the last remaining hop kilns in the Lachlan area. 

Add caption

A firefighter damping down hotspots.

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