Historical Backgound

to Grannie Rhodes' story

 Northamptonshire to van Diemen's Land 

Grannie Rhodes' Cottage,c 1830, Richmond, is acutally Reid's Cottage, but was so named after the legendary Maria Rhodes who lived in Richmond for most of her life from 1827 to 1904. The legend attached to her and the cottage was that "Granny Rhodes lived there till she was nearly 100, baked bread for the village and had all these children", the play Turn the Key of Time told the truth!
In the early 1800's a small number of women came to Van Diemen's Land to join their husbands who were already serving sentences. This story is of Mary Wilby and her three daughters who were such a family from Northamptonshire. One of these girls, Maria, became the legendary villager, "Granny Rhodes" of Richmond.  The performance gives insight into the life of the times both back in England, the sentencing of the father, the voyage out and the difficult life in the new land, but there are the strange stories that have happened to the current owner in the making of the project.
All stories are true, brilliantly told to enwrap the visitor in the changing atmosphere of two hundred years of history and to make the flesh crawl, including the finding of the key and discovery of buried dynamite, enough to blow up all of Richmond! Grannie Rhodes' was the only cottage left in Richmond with no electricity or water in it. 

  After four years of restoration and collecting it was opened by the Mininster for Tourism and the Arts,  and shows a workers' cottage of the early 1800's.  Owner Miriam Cooper wrote produced and acted the performance, which tells the story. Her background is in professional drama, (London trained) and in teaching from which she retired in 2005.The show was featured in the huge English Heritage Festival of history in the UK, July '09.

Out of the writing of the Grannie Rhodes' story has come the inspiration for Tales from Tasmania. Miriam performs widely and is currently writing more shows for performance and has now completed a book "Turning the Key of Time" about the whole venture. This has been heralded as "an inspirational book".

 Grannie Rhodes'(above)Mulberry Cottage B&B is at the rear.
23a Franklin Street, Richmond, Tasmania
Mob: 0407 473 015 


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