Brief Outline of Oak Lodge’s History
1831 – 1842: Built by Henry Buscombe. It appears to have been built in two parts as the back is on different levels to the front. Henry and his brother James built some of the early Richmond buildings (Prospect House, one of the three flour mills and miller’s cottage, general store which was the first post office).
1843: Purchased by Capt. James Booth who named the property Basing Lodge after his family’s home near Old Basingstoke near Southampton. Booth was a magistrate (Richmond Court House later became the Council Chambers). Richmond at the time was the centre of a Police District – hence the Gaol, Court House and barracks , the last being mostly demolished at the beginning of the 20th Century. James Booth put up the wallpaper which has been reproduced in the hallway.
1846: James Booth returned to England and the house was leased to Rev. Tancred of St. Luke’s Church.
1852: House sold to Thomas Burgess, licensee of the Star and Garter Inn further east along Bridge Street.
1855 – 1880: Rev. David Galer, another rector of St. Luke’s lived here. He moved in 1872 to Perth TAS and rented the house to Rev. Fookes until 1880. St. Luke’s was built in 1834 but the Church did not purchase a rectory for their rectors until 1906.
1880 -1909: House purchased by William Stevens and his sister Mrs. Mary Bedggood, a widow. Mrs. Bedggood ran a school here in the 1880s. Mr. Stevens died in 1903 and his wife in 1909. In that year his sister sold the property.
1909 – 1920: Arthur James Ogilvy bought the property. He was a prominent farmer.
1920 – 1925: The Ogilvy family sold the property to Mrs. Mary Ryly, a widow.
1925 : Mrs. Ryly gifted the house to her adopted son, Trevor Barwick.
The property was sold for financial reasons, with lawyer James Butler being the purchaser.
From 1909 to around 1947, Dr. William Clark, a Harvard graduate, leased the house and conducted a General Practice from the property. He reared his five children here. He was the first American doctor to practise in Tasmania. As a descendant of William Brewster, one of the Pilgrim Fathers on the Mayflower, he was a distant cousin of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The timber addition on the side of the building was added as a waiting room and dispensary for Dr. Clark.
1949-1950: Basil Rait, journalist and historian, rented the house.
1950 – 1962: The Williams family rented the property. The Horsfall sisters bought the house but rented it until 1967, when they moved into the house.
1967 – 1998: Margaret, Muriel and Constance Horsfall were all teachers and artists. They opened a gallery and museum in the Granary, also in Bridge Street, being the second gallery to open after Alice Krongard opened Saddlers Court. By 1998, Muriel was the only surviving sister and being aged 92, she carried out her sisters’ wishes that the house become a community museum by gifting the house to the National Trust.
1998 – 2001: The National Trust financed a conservation plan for Oak Lodge and painted three rooms but left the property empty.
2001 – Present:
The Coal River Valley Historical Society Inc. has managed the property for the National Trust, developing various various displays to reflect the history of the house and of Richmond.