The Story Behind the Label - Bangor's Jimmy's Hill Pinot Gris.

Jimmy's Hill Pinot Gris

A true, cool climate Pinot Gris, Jimmy's Hill is a blend of fruit handpicked from Bangor and other local vineyards. Pinot Gris is a delightful food wine, showing fresh fruity characters and a lovely glossy texture. A versatile wine,  Jimmy's Hill pairs beautifully with a wide range of fish and shellfish, white meats, cheeses and salads.

Enjoy a glass of Jimmy's Hill Pinot Gris at the Bangor Wine & Oyster Shed, and order from our online store.

Bronze Medal Class 8, 2015 Tasmanian Wine Show


The Story Behind the Label

Rising a commanding 1002 ft, Jimmy's Hill is Bangor's highest point and one of Tasmania's convict era semaphore stations. With a simple hut for shelter, Jimmy, the rugged bushman who called the remote outpost home, maintained a vigilant eye on adjacent stations, standing by to relay messages.

6 arm semaphore similar to the one that would have been on Jimmy's Hill.

6 arm semaphore similar to the one that would have been on Jimmy's Hill.

Rising to a height of 1002 ft above sea level, Mt Forestier is the highest point on Bangor, commanding 360 degree views stretching from Saltwater River to Hobart, overlooking the coastal town of Dunalley, and up the east coast past Hellfire Bluff. It was named Jimmy's Hill by the locals after the hardy signalman who lived in a stone and bark hut at the summit in the 1840's and operated the Semaphore Station. Jimmy's Hill provided a vital link in the Semaphore network, enabling messages to be rapidly relayed around the Tasman and Forestier peninsulas and from the penal settlement of Port Arthur to Hobart.

The semaphore system between Hobart Town and Port Arthur was created and overseen by Captain Charles O'Hara Booth, who was appointed military Commandant at Port Arthur in 1833. Captain Booth was a hard working man, overseeing the running of the Port Arthur penal settlement and personally overseeing the set up of the semaphore system by taking many adventures into the bush, climbing hills on the Tasman and Forestier peninsulas to identify the best sites for signal stations.

Diagram showing how the numbers 1 to 9 were created on the top arm.  The middle arm was for the tens and the lower arm for the hundreds.

Diagram showing how the numbers 1 to 9 were created on the top arm.  The middle arm was for the tens and the lower arm for the hundreds.

The semaphores themselves consisted of moveable arms attached to a tall mast that were used to send numerically coded messages. These were deciphered with the use of a code book which listed up to 3,000 phrases. From around 1837 onwards, the semaphores were made of three rows of double arms. The top row was for units, the middle row for tens and the bottom row for hundreds. This system allowed for number up to 999. The numbers could be extended into the range of the thousands by raising a chequered flag. This meant that numbers up to 999999 could be displayed.

The use of the three sets of arms to generate signal codes, for the words: Medical Officer (555), Mistake (568), Attention (79), Ready (704).

The use of the three sets of arms to generate signal codes, for the words: Medical Officer (555), Mistake (568), Attention (79), Ready (704).

The semaphore on Mt Forestier (Jimmy's Hill) was erected in the early 1840's and was listed in the Code book as 'Forestiers Hill No. 7000'.  Many of the signal stations on the Tasman and Forestier peninsulas were operated by convicts. Semaphores were also operated by free men and officials. It is not known if Jimmy was a convict or a free man. Stations on the Tasman and Forestier peninsulas, such as the one at Jimmy's Hill were isolated and in rough terrain. Signals were sent and received in all weather. The top of Jimmy's Hill is still a windy place today and can be very cold in winter. A rugged posting indeed!

A list of the signal stations and their station numbers.  The station at Jimmy's Hill was known as 'Forestiers Hill 7000'.

A list of the signal stations and their station numbers.  The station at Jimmy's Hill was known as 'Forestiers Hill 7000'.

Captain Booth's Unfortunate Adventure

In May 1838 Captain Booth had an unfortunate accident while exploring the area of the Forestier Peninsula that is today Bangor. On Thursday 31 May, travelling with a convict assistant Joseph Turner, Captain Booth went to visit the constable's post at Lagoon Bay (at the Eastern end of Bangor) that oversaw Dr Alexander Imlay's whaling operation and assisted with Imlay's cattle operation at Lagoon Bay. On their return journey the next day they became lost in this bush near Blackman's River. Booth and Turner became separated, and Turner eventually made his way to Captain Spotswood's house (near Bangor's vineyard) and raised the alarm and two soldiers were sent to search for him. By Sunday there was still no sign of Captain Booth, and TJ Lempriere, Commissariat Officer (in charge of the flow of supplies and goods in and out of the colony) joined the search, determined to find the much admired and respected Booth. Lempriere questioned Turner who he suspected of being responsible for Booth's disappearance. By this stage Captain Booth had spent three nights in freezing cold conditions enduring hail and snow, which had caused his feet, legs and hands to swell from frostbite. He was hungry and weak. He heard the search party on the Monday afternoon, but was unable to call out to them.  Luckily he had is three faithful dogs with him, and one of them, Sandy, ran off and found the searchers, leading them back to Booth. He was then carried by stretcher to Dr. Imlay's hut at Lagoon Bay and then taken by boat to Captain Spotswood's house, at what is now the western end of Bangor (near the vineyard). He was in a terrible condition, and while he survived the ordeal his health never fully recovered.