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Name & History

What’s in a name?

You are probably wondering about the name. We can tell you it does not refer to the presence of any bears in the house or its immediate surrounds. It does come from the former owners, who had more than a passing interest in teddy bears.

Hailing from central France, the previous owners (and their collection of bears) travelled over many mountains to get to Geeveston, Tasmania, hence ‘The Bears Went Over The Mountain’. The bears theme is continued in the naming of the rooms, which take their names from some of the great teddy bear makers of the early 20th century (see below).

The Merrythought Room. Merrythought is one of the leading British bear manufacturers and their bears are eagerly sought after by collectors. Up until the second World War bears were made with both a paper label and a metal button on the inside of the left ear, and although the label is often missing, most bears still have their buttons.

The Chiltern Room: Chiltern Toy Works was established in Chesham in Buckinghamshire, England in 1908 by a Mr Eisenmann. The factory first produced dolls and its wasn’t until 1915 that they produced their first bear (Master Teddy).

The Steiff Room: Steiff is the most internationally recognisable of the entire Teddy Bear manufacturers and considered the most collectible. The bears are probably the most sought-after in the world with their famous trade mark ‘button in the ear’ the tilt of their heads and expressive faces, jointed limbs and a true-to-life hump on the back.

Bears used to be scattered throughout the property and its guest rooms, but have since been removed, leaving just their footsteps in the coffee lounge.

The history of the house

The building started its life in the early days of the 20th century, being little more than a wooden shed under the ownership of the Commercial Bank of Australia. This was not just Geeveston’s first bank, but the town’s only bank for many years. As the region’s apple, fruit and forestry industry grew, so did the bank and its building; the last extensions were made in the 1960s. Last operating as the Westpac Bank, the premises closed doors on its financial dealings on 10 September 1993.

A French family purchased the property in early 1998, opening it as ‘The Bears Went Over The Mountain Antiques and Collectibles’ shop. Upon the opening of the shop, they had many requests for accommodation, so in August 2002 they started work on conversions of the accommodation to Bed and Breakfast plus Residence. The Bears Went Over The Mountain Boutique accommodation started operations in early 2003.

The future for the house

The Bears is currently undergoing a phase of refurbishment. The new owners / operators bring their extensive hospitality experience to the property, enhancing the ambience and style of the rooms and the cafe space. For more information please don’t hesitate to contact us on phone (03) 6297 0110 or

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