190 years and counting…

Unlike other country houses of the time, the house and outbuildings of Prospect House appear to be the result of a single building program incorporating a consistent high quality of construction. It was not designed as the homestead of a large rural estate, such as those found in the Tasmanian Midlands, but rather as a smart country villa suitable for a professional man and his family.

James Buscombe commissioned Prospect House in 1830, its construction most likely the work of Buscombe’s younger brother Henry. James arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (as Tasmania was then known) in 1822. In 1827, together with his new wife Elizabeth, he moved to Richmond where he commissioned the Lennox Arms Inn, among other buildings in Richmond.

We have little information on what prompted their move to Richmond from Hobart Town but it proved to be a prosperous one, resulting in the construction of Prospect House, or Prospect Villa as it was then known. By 1835 Richmond was the third largest town in Tasmania and the Coal River Valley was known as the granary of Australia. A growing market town, it was a convenient place to stop when travelling to the east coast or to Port Arthur.

As a free immigrant with some capital behind him, James Buscombe was assigned a number of convicts who assisted with the construction of Prospect House. The land on which Prospect House was built was part of a land grant originally given to Lieutenant Governor Sorell.  Surrounding the house was approximately 40 acres of land, most probably planted with crops such as wheat and oats, with a garden and orchard near the house.

Following the death of Buscombe in 1851, the house was home to agriculturalists, a retired army colonel, a horse racer, restaurateurs and hoteliers. In 2018, the house was purchased by the Pooley family, restored and developed into a 5-star private hotel.

The appearance of the village of Richmond today is shaped more by the ventures of two brothers, James Kestall and Henry Buscombe, than any other individuals.

– Peter Macfie, A Social History of Richmond

Where past meets present

Convicts, servants, settlers, entrepreneurs, chefs and artists have come and gone leaving a legacy and stories told only through the building that remains. Having been closed as a private residency between 2011 and 2019, present day owners John and Libby Pooley have lovingly restored Prospect House to be once again enjoyed by those near and far.

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