Back to New Norfolk for Shoobridge family bicentenary

A REUNION of one of the most significant families in the development of the Derwent Valley will be held at New Norfolk next week. The May 22 gathering at the Derwent Valley Boathouse will mark the 200th anniversary of the arrival of William Shoobridge and family in Tasmania.

Shoobridge came from a long line of farmers and hop-growers and he pursued these activities after arriving in Tasmania in 1822, initially in North Hobart. In 1848, his son Ebenezer leased Turriff Lodge at New Norfolk and grew hops there. In 1852, the family moved to Valleyfield and in 1860, they began buying farms at Bushy Park. Ebenezer’s sons William, Robert and Louis formed Shoobridge Bros to develop and grow the family business.

They developed flood irrigation at Bushy Park and worked on improved hop kiln design and new varieties of hops. They also diversified into apple growing and were exporting to England in the 1880s. In the mid-20th century they also grew tobacco. The economic depression of the 1890s and the introduction of heavy import duties on hops into Victoria led to Shoobridge Bros selling its business to Henry Jones. Family members continued to grow hops for some time. The last family hop property at Bushy Park was sold to Elders IXL in 1977 but hops were grown at Glenora until 1987.

The Shoobridges had a strong community focus and provided practical and financial support for projects including the construction of churches, the New Norfolk Cottage Hospital, and the New Norfolk Child Welfare Clinic. They were also involved in the building of the Upper Derwent United Hall at Bushy Park and a social club for young men at New Norfolk, and family members served their community as members of the then New Norfolk Council and the Tasmanian Parliament. Rupert Shoobridge was elected president of the Legislative Council in 1946 and was knighted in 1947.

Picture: In June 1922 the family assembled at Hobart for the centenary of the landing of William Shoobridge and family on May 18, 1822. A service of thanksgiving was held in St James’ Church, New Town, followed by a gathering of more than 60 of the family at Sunnyside, the home of L.M. Shoobridge.

Anyone interested in attending the reunion is asked to send an email to shoobridgebicentenary@gmail.com

Picture: In June 1922 the family assembled at Sunnyside, New Town, for the centenary of the landing of William Shoobridge and family on May 18, 1822.

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