When I was growing up on a farm in north-west Tasmania our fences were mainly barbed wire, supported by blackberries. I loved seeing the English style hawthorn hedges when we ventured further south, especially driving through sheep country in the Midlands.

The English style countryside of Tasmania with its hawthorn hedging.

Here is an account of hawthorn hedging from Tasmanian historian Peter Mercer;

Many of the early hawthorn plants were propagated by John Osborne and his family, who established an eleven acre nursery in Hobart’s Sandy Bay in the 1840s. Just look at the astonishing number of young trees available in the following advertisement;

The Osborne  nursery sold many thousands of hawthorn plants to farmers.

By the end of the 19th century parts of Tasmania looked very much like rural England. A visitor from the mainland published an account of his tour in the Victorian Mercury and Weekly Courier in May 1891

‘The English looking hedge rows in many parts have bright green patches of lateral shoots, surrounded by some of darker hue, and others wear the sere and yellow leaf of autumn, enriched, as many of the roadside hedges are, with clusters of hawthorn berries.

Bright red hawthorn berries.

In springtime the frothy white flowers appear, as baby birds chirp from beautifully protected nests.

When hedges become old, gaps appear and they no longer fill the original purpose of enclosing livestock. A technique called hegelaying can solve the problem and is being revived in Tasmania.

HAWTHORN INNOVATORS

Tasmanians Jason and Mary Henderson have created a boutique, gourmet food business using the hedgerow berries to create a paste. It’s perfect for the cheese platter. The couple moved from NSW to enjoy a simpler life and after moving onto their property they discovered a large copse of hawthorn. When the bright red, autumn berries appeared, Mary experimented in her kitchen. The result was something pretty special; sugar free as Mary’s father was diabetic.

For more on the couple’s innovative use of Tassie’s Hawthorn berries and other fruit products…. CLCK HERE https://www.hawthornehillfarm.com.au/about-us

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