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Robert Kermode

1812 – 1870

Robert Quayle Kermode (1812-1870), politician, was born on the Isle of Man and educated at Castletown. Meanwhile, his father, William Kermode, a merchant, came to Tasmania in 1819 on his ship the Robert Quayle; for the next few years he sailed to and fro frequently, in 1822 taking an Indigenous boy, George Van Diemen, home with him at the governor's request. When Robert Quayle arrived in Van Diemen's Land with his father and George Van Diemen in 1827, he began to work alongside his father to enlarge their estate and improve farming methods. Robert Kermode was appointed a justice of the peace in 1843 and elected for Campbell Town to the Legislative Council in 1851. A prominent anti-transportationist with liberal views, he served in the Legislative Council in 1856-57 and 1864-68, and the House of Assembly in 1857-59 and 1861-62. He was a significant contributor to the building funds of various churches and public institutions in the Ross district. In 1865 Robert Kermode initiated the construction of the third family home at Mona Vale, near Ross. Built of local sandstone, the Italianate pile is known as the 'calendar house' on account of its 365 windows, fifty-two rooms, twelve chimneys and seven entrances. Laying fair claim to being the largest private home in Australia, the house ('forming the nucleus of what is really a small settlement,' according to the Register of the National Estate) is still in excellent repair.

Updated 2018