Narryna Heritage Museum
Exhibitions & Events
Tue., 3 Sep. 201910:00 Sat., 1 Feb. 202016:30
Frederick Mackie, Quaker Plantsman
An Exhibition of Plants recorded in Frederick Mackie’s Journal, written during his visits to Narryna (1852 1854). This exhibition will include artwork by Botaniko.
Thu., 7 Nov. 201918:00 Sun., 10 Nov. 201917:00
Markets & Fairs
Narryna Art & Antique Fair
Australia’s leading art and antique dealers restyle Narryna, an elegant Georgian merchant’s house in Battery Point. On exhibition will be an eclectic mix of the opulent and rustic, classic and contemporary. You will find plenty of ideas for your country estate or city pied-à-terre. All items are guaranteed genuine.
What to See
The Merchant’s House
Narryna is an 1830s merchant’s house linked to the origins of Salamanca Place and Battery Point. The fine Georgian town house was built by Captain Andrew Haig between 1835-40. Haig was originally a Calcutta-based merchant licensed by the British East India Company to trade with China through Canton (Guangzhou). Haig purchased the land holding in 1824 when he sailed into Hobart to have his ship repaired ahead of crossing the Pacific to sell the remainder of his China Trade cargo in Valparaiso. In 1834 Haig built two of the earliest warehouses on Salamanca Place and set up as a merchant, shipbuilder and whaler. He later built Narryna, completing the house in 1840.
Following Haig’s tenure, Narryna was the residence of Hobart businessmen and women, lawyers, politicians and bankers. In 1955 it became Australia’s first folk museum through the efforts of Hobart residents who formed a collection that is redolent of the mercantile and maritime histories of Salamanca Place and Battery Point.
Narryna was not completed until October 1840 and Haig, on the verge of bankruptcy, was forced to sell it along with his other assets in April 1842. Despite Haig’s brief occupancy, the house remains emblematic of its builder and Hobart’s early opportunist, trader society.
Narryna was later home to businessmen and women, lawyers, politicians and bankers. In the early 20th century it became a boarding house before being purchased by the Tasmanian Government as a health care facility. In 1955 it became Australia’s first folk museum, thanks to the efforts of a group of Battery Point residents who assembled a collection redolent of the mercantile and maritime histories of Salamanca Place and Battery Point.
George Washington Walker (19 March 1800 – 2 February 1859) was a member of the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers.
Walker was born to Unitarian parents in London, the twenty-first child of John Walker by his second wife, Elizabeth. He was educated at a school in Barnard Castle. He was introduced to the Society of Friends in his teenage years when he worked in Newcastle for a linen draper who was a Quaker, but Walker did not become a Quaker himself until 1827.
He met his future missionary partner James Backhouse in 1820 or 1821 and between September 1831 and February 1832, Walker and Backhouse travelled from England to Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land (modern Tasmania). Between 1832 and 1838, they visited the penal colonies in Australia, Van Diemen’s Land, and Norfolk Island to chase through improvements and to collect plants.
He returned to Hobart in September and was married to Sarah (nee Benson Mather) on 15 December 1840, they had ten children. He became a Quaker businessman and was a founder of the Hobart Savings Bank which eventually became the Trust Bank. He worked at his business and for the Quakers and temperance continuing to be an active Botanist, until he died on 2 February 1859 and was buried in the Friends’ burial ground in Providence Valley, West Hobart, mourned by citizens in every colony.
Narryna, his home for two years, has become the Van Diemen’s Land Folk Museum, and contains mementoes of his famous trip with James Backhouse. Of his benevolent organizations, the Hobart Savings Bank and the Temperance Society remain. His Quaker grey and ‘thees and thous’ were outward labels of a nineteenth-century puritan, but he contributed to the community the enlightened leaven of a Dissenter, the care for humanity of an Evangelical, and the gentle methodical persuasion of a Quaker resolved to effect a change in a vicious brutal world.
In 1994, the Hobart Savings Bank endowed a scholarship at the University of Tasmania named the “George Washington Walker Trust Bank Perpetual Undergraduate Scholarship”; it was to be awarded to students of commerce or economics.
What we Offer
Narryna is an 1830s merchant’s house and collection that tells the story of early colonial life in Hobart. The fine Georgian town house was built by seafarer, Captain Andrew Haig who built warehouses facing Salamanca Place in 1834. Narryna has had an adventurous life as a home to large families, boarding house, hospital and museum.
Step into Narryna for a rich experience of Tasmania’s social history, art and design traditions.
Narryna is the venue for changing exhibitions based on its rich and diverse collections.
Narryna is closed during July & August while we undertake our annual maintenance program.
We will resume our normal hours as of Tuesday 3 September.
OPENING hours September to June
Sunday and Monday
Closed: Tasmanian Public Holidays, Good Friday, Hobart Show Day, Christmas Day (25 December), Boxing Day (26 December), New Year’s Day.
Narryna is open extended hours for major Hobart festivals and for cruise ship visits. Details of these will be posted on https://www.narryna.com.au/ so please check back regularly.