Claremont is located about 23 km to the north of the Hobart CBD and lies along the Derwent River. To the south of the suburb is Berriedale, where you’ll find MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art. Just north of Claremont is Austins Ferry, so named because of Tasmania’s first ferry service across the Derwent, run by James Austin.
The area where Claremont is today has a similar early history to that of many other Hobart suburbs. Originally the Mouheneener people lived here but once the British moved in, land grants were given to the settlers and farms were established.
The suburb was named after Claremont House, an elegant mansion that still overlooks Claremont today. One of the founders of Melbourne, John Pascoe Faulkner, originally acquired the land here as part of a grant of 90 acres. In 1826, Henry Bilton, who had recently settled in Van Diemen’s Land, bought the property and ran a successful farm. One of Bilton’s claims to fame was that he was the first to import Leicester sheep to Tasmania. He later also became a politician.
Bilton built himself a house which he named after a royal home in England. He moved in during the late 1840s and started to increase the size of his property. By the time of his death in 1889, Claremont House stood on an estate of 734 acres, which included the land where the Cadbury’s factory is today.
Bank merchant Frank Bond bought Bilton’s property and extended the house, adding details such as the Italianate tower. The next owner, Albert Flexmore, started subdividing the land and gave a section for the construction of St Alban’s Church. In 1911, he sold the house and remaining property, which then covered 51 acres, to 21-year-old Kathleen Brock, who was quite the socialite. During the time she lived here, she made more structural changes and hosted lavish social events.
After World War I, the land was subdivided further and Claremont started becoming a suburb with houses and shops. Things changed even more when, in 1922, Cadbury’s built their first chocolate factory in Australia on an outcrop of land between Bilton Bay and Windermere Bay. Along with the factory, they built an entire village complete with shops and sporting facilities which became the Cadbury’s Estate. Today there are still many heritage buildings here but the main draw for tourists is the chocolate factory itself, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and definitely Hobart’s sweetest attraction.