Tranby House lies on the banks of the Swan River in Maylands, Western Australia. The house was built by Joseph Hardey, a Methodist Lay preacher and farmer,
who travelled from England with his family, to join the newly established Swan River Colony in 1830. Joseph
and his wife Ann, sailed from England on the brig 'Tranby' which he would later name his house . Also joining
Joseph and his wife were Joseph's brothers John and William. The journey took over five months and on the
journey Joseph's younger brother, William, died under mysterious circumstances. He was found on his bunk with
a silk handkerchief wrapped around his neck and tied in a knot. He was buried at sea.
Not Exactly ParadiseLike many settlers who ventured to the new colony, the family camped near
Fremantle, waiting to be allocated land. Many had travelled from the modern cities of England to find
themselves camping on the beach, where, during the day, all their valuable possessions were left out in the
harsh sun and at night creepy crawlie wildlife came out to play. To make matters worse, many settlers
discovered that most of the best land had already been taken, leaving them disgruntled and angry. As a result
many packed up what was left of their goods and headed to Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania). Fortunately for
Joseph he was able to persuade Governor Stirling to grant his family land along the banks of the Swan River,
known as the Peninsula. Stirling had originally intended the land to become a racecourse but Joseph must have
had a very persuasive manner to convince him otherwise. The family camped on their new property, whilst the
land was cleared and fenced, with the help of their Methodist friends.
The Houses Joseph Built Once the land was cleared, Joseph's first priority was to build a house
for his family. As building materials were scarce, Joseph used wattle and daub ( a popular choice of the day
for new settlers). The house wasn't to last very long, during a heavy rainfall the river rose and washed it
away. A second house was constructed soon after, only to share the same fate. Three times lucky and a little
further away from the river, Tranby House was completed in 1839. The house was built from mud bricks, which
were made on the property. Joseph (obviously not happy with wattle and daub) constructed a kiln to make his
own bricks. In fact, Joseph also made the roof shingles for the house, using Jarrah wood.The house was built
in a typical English farmhouse style, described as "colonial domestic" and featured a loft and wide
Life Was SweetAnn was to bear Joseph 6 daughters and a long awaited son, Richard.
Though life was tough for the family they managed to develop the Peninsula farm into a profitable venture,
growing wheat , barley, oats and rye. Joseph even tried his hand at breeding horses and producing wine. The
property also boasted a flour mill which was built by James Lockyer. The four sailed wind mill was called a
post mill as it utilised a large tree trunk. Joseph later added a six horse power steam engine to it, in the
1850's, to make it the most modern in the area. Life became somewhat easier for the family, when in the
1850's, the State introduced convict labour for the first time, which solved the labour shortage. Joseph also
planted many fruit trees and eventually received prizes at the Perth Agricultural show for his produce.
Richard, having spent his younger years in England (attending boarding school), returned to the family home
and business in 1866. He eventually took over the running of the farm in the late 1860's, but his interests
lay elsewhere (politics and viticulture), so the farm was leased out for grazing. Following his
father's death in 1875, Richard was at last able to follow his own dreams. Of Joseph's six daughters only one
was to marry (Mary Jane). He would accept no one less than a Wesleyan minister for a son-in-law, which meant
slim pickings for the girls. Mary Jane eventually found one Reverend William Lowe and promptly married
Tranby ParkIn 1903 the property was subdivided into smaller lots, with Richard
retaining the original river frontage lot, which he named Tranby Park. Following his death in 1910, Richards
widow sold the property to Henry Baker, who retained it as a farm. On his death the property was sold to
Harold Cheshire who used the property to train his horses. In 1967 the property was all but in ruins and it
looked like it was set for certain demolition when the Bond Corporation and Everyready Finance purchased the
land to develop into high density housing. Fortunately the property had been recognised as a historical site
and conditions were imposed on the developers before approval would be given for housing. One of the
conditions was the developers had to work with National Trust to ensure the protection and restoration of
Tranby House. Sadly the workers cottage and the timber barn were demolished prior to the agreement. Tranby
House was finally classified by the National Trust in 1973.
Tranby TodayToday, Tranby House is open to the public and is run by a group of
enthusiastic and knowledgeable women, who are more than happy to take you on a tour of the house. Each room
is full of memorabilia from the Hardey family's past, including letters, diaries and furniture. The Warden's
Cottage (constructed in 1984) is now a tearoom. Throughout the year Tranby House hold various functions and
the year ends with a fantastic Carols by Candlelight on the lawn by the river. For more information.
Trees of Significance The two oak trees outside Tranby House were believed to be planted by
the Hardey Family around the same time as Tranby House was built in the 1830's. The two oak trees were listed
on the National Trust's Register of Significant Trees in 1984. The acorns (seeds) were believed to have been
brought from England by the family on their journey to the Swan River Colony . There is a patch of trees
(mainly fruit) in the park near the river and these trees are believed to have been planted by the Hardey's
Interesting Facts About The HardeysWines from Joseph Hardey's estate were the first to win a
gold medal in Paris, in 1878.
Joseph's son Richard ran the successful Glen Hardey Estate winery in the
Joseph was known for his outspoken ways and was constantly criticising the government of the day.
He was appalled at the governments role in the Pinjarra Massacre (1834) and in the treatment of aboriginals in
general and wasn't afraid to express his views.
Sarah Hardey (Joseph's daughter) established Hardey Lodge in 1917 as a home for wayward girls and
donated substantial money for the building of Wesley college.
Many roads in the Perth suburbs were named in honour of the pioneering family. Hardey Road in
Maylands, Glen Forest, Belmont and Serpentine, Hardey Avenue in Claremont and Mt Hardey in York. There are parks
too, Tranby Park in Maylands, Belmont and Serpentine. The Tranby Primary School is also named in their honour.
Wednesday - Sunday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Enquires (08) 9272 2630
Important Links To Tranby House
National Trust (WA)