Samuel Blackwell was born in the English village of Melton Mowbray in 1814 and emigrated to Tasmania in 1840. In 1842, Blackwell married Elizabeth Bailey in the Oatlands Court House – the bride defied tradition by wearing a green wedding dress and riding to Oatlands on horseback to attend her wedding. She had immigrated to the colony with her brother.
Blackwell built the Melton Mowbray Hotel (named after his birthplace) in 1849. The official opening of the hotel was advertised in the Hobart Town Daily Mercury on the 21st May 1859, with a gala weekend of sports and hearty meals being advertised for the 2nd-3rd of June that year. Blackwell advertised a steeplechase of four miles, with a prize of 40 sovereigns, plus a sweep of 5 sovereigns and 10 sovereigns for second place. A shooting match was held, with three thoroughbred horses as various prizes. The second day featured a ‘grand stag hunt’ on the property of Mr. Bisdee. [Statement of Historic Heritage Significance: Melton Mowbray Hotel Tasmania. Prepared for Southern Midlands Council, June 2015. pg. 3.]
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Colourised photograph of Melton Mowbray Hotel, north of Bagdad, Tasmania, showing people, horses, carriages and carts outside – circa 1868.