Monday, January 04, 2010

Paddy Pearl

A woman with the name Paddy Pearl just has to be interesting. Let us delve.

Right. Paddy is 86 years old and widow of Cyril Pearl, ajournalist/writer/poet/founder and editor of Sydney's Sunday Telegraph. I have heard of him but that is all. Cyril was born in Fitzroy and educated in Melbourne before moving to Sydney. This photo of Paddy is from the ABC. What can you read into her face? She is reminding me a bit of Dame Pattie Menzies. Not really much about Paddy on the net. She well may be interesting, but this is more about her house. It is just her name that grabbed my attention.

Paddy has just sold her Tasmanian house for $1.54 million and donated the money to medical research, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. Cyril, her husband, she was his second wife, died in Sydney in 1987 and six years later she bought a house in Tasmania and moved there.

The property, Campania House was built in 1810 in the Coal River Valley, near Richmond, 35km north of Hobart. It may well be the oldest residential house in Australia. It is two storey, with eight bedrooms and the house is of the Georgian style. Paddy spent hundreds of thousands of dollars renovating the house and bring it back to a standard more befitting its history.

I have found these photos sprinkled about the web. The exterior of the house is quite plain. I would guess the walls are about one foot thick, keeping out the Tassie chill and almost unbelievably when it was 36 deg in Melbourne last week, it was 38 in Hobart, so keeping out the summer heat too. The house furnishings seem to grab your attention more than the house. I shall say the house in understated.

Solar panels indeed. Very progressive.

It nestles down very comfortably in its beautiful surroundings, and by the look of it, sitting well about the river's flood plain.

This would be the nearby Coal River I suppose, running a banker it seems.

A beautiful cantilevered staircase within the house.

I suppose I could rattle around in the house over summer if I had to.


  1. OH! Thank you, Andrew!
    Feral Beast told me about this when it made the news but I never followed it up *slaps wrist*.
    I've got several Cyril Pearl books, he was none too shabby as an author.

  2. I could definately live there for ever!

  3. What do you mean you could rattle around in it? You have blog friends who would gladly keep you company and what a place for an Agatha Christie murder party. You could play the dead body and we would step over you to get to the booze cabinet.

  4. "...what a place for an Agatha Christie murder party."

    Bring your own Agatha and lead piping, Witchy?

  5. If I wasn't such a city boy I imagine that would be a terrific environment in which to live.

  6. Whadda ya mean Victor? Hobart is divine.
    I think we should ALL take up virtual occupancy of this gorgeous house

    (note to Hughes: down here, 1810 is considered as old as it gets and Victoria didn't exist at that time other than very happy aborigines who called it other things)

    Ms Paddy looks a most interesting woman - I wish I knew her.
    Thanks HighRiser.

  7. Pleasure Jayne. I picked up a bit about Cyril. I must find out some more.

    Looks very beautiful countryside Cazzie.

    Don't forget gifts for the host Jahteh?

    Where would you get lead pipe now Brian.

    Perhaps just a nice place for a break Victor. While the idea appeals to me, I am a city person too.

    Virtual occupancy Ann. Interesting idea. Will we have virtual servants too? Paddy does look interesting.

  8. Isn't that just a beautiful house - and she sure has an interesting determined look.

  9. MC, I can't read her by her face. I would say inscrutable.

  10. I stayed with Paddy a few years ago after walking the Overland Track. She was one of the most interesting people I have ever met. I was saddened to hear that she has sold Campania House as I had hoped to visit there again one day. Mind you Paddy was no spring chicken then, so time was not on my side.
    Paddy and Cyril had lived in or visited just about every country in the world and she had no end of amazing stories of their life in literature. I must say I had some of the spookiest dreams I've ever had though during my couple of nights stay. Very weird but exciting and enduringly rewarding for having had the pleasure of meeting paddy Pearl.

  11. Liza, if ever I question why bother writing a blog, comments like yours reassure me. Great personal colour, thanks. Spookiest dreams is just, well, spooky.