Exton



Exton is a rural settlement on the outskirts of Deloraine, that lies alongside the railway line from Launceston to Devonport. Exton was first known as Marsh Paddocks, a name that was used also by an early Inn. Marsh Paddock Inn was built c.1850 for William Walter Motton, owner of a Launceston to Westbury stage coach business in the 1840s. From 1860 to 1864 the licensee was George Axtell, former Port Arthur "Point Puer" juvenile convict. The hotel lost its licence in 1920. The building was renovated in the 1960s and the original top storey removed. It is now a private residence.

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Reverend Samuel Martin arrived in Tasmania on the "Sir Thomas Monro" in 1833, with his wife Sarah Martin. Martin purchased a property called "Abbey Lara" and renamed the property Exton in honour of his wife, Exton being her maiden name. He built Exton House in 1845, and bred cattle on the estate. The original building was single storey and was replaced by a two-storey building in the 1850s. Around this time the area's name was changed from Marsh Paddocks to Exton. The house was sold to William Hart in 1886, who added verandas and balconies, and it remained in the Hart family until 1924. In the 1930s the Exton Estate covered 10,000 acres (4,000 ha), much of which was let to tenants, and the two-storey Exton House was noted as having 20 rooms.



A Wesleyan Methodist church was established at Exton in 1855. Nearly 50 years later the Anglicans followed suite with the establishment of a small church on the corner of Station Lane. In December 1902 the church was dedicated as ‘Christ Church’. An Anglican Hall was subsequently built on the corner opposite the church. The hall was converted into a house and is the last tangible reminder of the Anglican presence at Exton. However, one of the windows from the church was saved and was subsequently installed in the chapel at Kanangra Home in Deloraine. The window had been installed at Christ Church in 1963 by Miss Evelyn Newton, in memory of her family. When the church was closed the congregation requested that the window be removed and stored for safe-keeping. It was kept in the organ loft of the bell tower at St Mark's in Deloraine where it lay forgotten until 1997 when the chapel was built at Kanangra. It was installed in the chapel with rear lighting fitted to illuminate it. The Chapel of the Good Shepherd was aptly named after the beautiful memorial window from Exton.

By 1863 the area had a population of 110, two hotels (the Marsh Hotel and the Exton Hotel), a flour mill, brewery, and a public school. The same year it became part of the Westbury Municipality. Railway transport began when the western line from Launceston to Deloraine opened 10 February 1871. A state school, and teacher's residence, was built in 1890 at a cost of 247 pounds. The school was closed in 1951, and the building burned down in 1985.

By the 1930s Exton's population had declined due to the mechanization of farming and improved transport reducing the need for labour. At this time the town's services had expanded to include the state school, a railway station, a savings bank, G D Loone's general store and offices for postal, telegraph and money order services.

Exton's cricket club played its first game in 1895 and is one of the oldest in Tasmania. Australian test cricketer Jack Badcock was born in Exton.


Jack Badcock