Brimming with old world charm, Richmond is one of Tasmania's most loved and visited Georgian era colonial villagers. Rich in history and heritage and contains the oldest bridge and St Johns, the earliest Roman Catholic church in Australia, as well as a perfectly preserved colonial gaol. Established in 1825 to house the gangs of convicts used as labour in the area and prisoners in transit, the Gaol has been restored and is now a major tourist attraction. It is older by five years than the buildings at Port Arthur.
Where Is it?: 26km north east of Hobart.
Old Hobart Town is a unique multi award winning model village depicting life in Hobart as it was in the 1820s. Individually handcrafted with passion by Andrew and John Quick over a three year period, the authentic model village has been reconstructed from original plans and it gives a unique glimpse into the tough life of Australia s convict past. A unique attraction that is not to be missed.
Originally an ostrich farm and miniature pony stud, Zoodoo first opened to the public in July 1999 with just a few native animals. It has grown quickly to become one of the Tasmania's largest wildlife parks and today boasts meerkats, white African lions and zebras among many other native and foreign species of animals and birds.
Richmond Park Boathouse
Richmond now has a very special attraction that deserves to be added to anyone's list of "must-do" things in the area - a row boat ride on the Coal River. The Richmond Park Boathouse office located in a very green park off the main street is where you start off for your trip. There are numerous options - ours was a boat ride including a hamper for a picnic plus small bottles of sparkling wine.
Richmond's centerpiece is the magnificent bridge, Richmond Bridge, built between 1823 and 1825. It is the oldest bridge in Australia still in use. Situated in Richmond, Tasmania, roughly 25kms from the state capital, Hobart, the Richmond Bridge spans the Coal River in the heart of a region known for its boutique wineries, history, and beauty. The bridge was built by convict labour and like much of Tasmanian convict history, is shrouded in tales of hardship, tragedy, an restless spirits. It is said that the Richmond Bridge is haunted by the ghost of the vicious flagellator, George Grover, who was beaten to death by convict workers and thrown into the river from the bridge in March 1832.
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Historic Buildings Bridge Cottages: Quaint, dignified and classified by the National Trust, Bridge Cottages were built around 1823, before the Richmond Bridge, to accommodate the sergeant in charge of building the bridge and the arms store hence the names The Sergeants Quarters and The Armoury. The buildings are now restored and decorated in character and used for visitor accommodation.
Richmond Gaol: The original section of the Richmond Goal was commenced in 1825, probably to a design by Colonial Architect David Lambe. The Cookhouse, Solitary Cells and Women s room were added in 1835 and the stone wall was built in 1840. Unhappily, the gaol building itself was not as substantial as first thought, because parts of it actually blew down during a heavy gale in 1827.
St John's Roman Catholic Church: The oldest Roman Catholic church in Australia, the nave of the Gothic Revival stone church was built in 1836, and the remainder built in 1859, all to a design by ex-convict architect, Frederick Thomas. The copper sheeted spire was added in the 1900s. The square tower has an unusual square projecting stairwell tower.
Richmond Arms: one of the youngest buildings in the town, this hotel was built in 1888 as a replacement for the Lennox Arms that burnt down in 1886. Richmond Arms is a two-storey Victorian structure with rusticated quoins and reveals, and an iron hipped roof. The hotel has a two storey verandah with twin timber columns, iron brackets, frieze and balustrade.
Old Store and Granary Group: a group of Georgian buildings, consisting of a granary, store and residence, were built around 1832 by James Buscombe. The Granary is a three-storey stone building with iron gabled roof, 12-pane windows and the original horse-operated hoist. The two storey store and residence are also built of stone, but stuccoed.
Municipal Buildings, Court House, Watch House and Hall: these stone buildings were erected after the completion of the original section of the Gaol in 1825-26. They are considered to be the work of Colonial Architect David Lambe.
Mrs. Currie s House: A classic Georgian house, set in the heart of historic Richmond. The rear section, originally called The Prince of Wales, a public house owned by John McGowan, was built in the 1820?s and is one of the oldest rammed earth inhabited dwellings in Australia. The double storey Georgian style house was added in the 1860?s and over 80 years was the home of Mrs. Currie.
Millhouse: Built as a steam mill on the Coal River by convicts in 1853 by George Burn, the millhouse was later used as a butter factory and now a guest house. Four bricks thick at the base and with massive hand-cut eucalypt beams in the ceilings, the three-storey Georgian building is National Trust-rated building. It features hand-hewn eucalypt beams, wide-planked Tasmanian oak floors and convict bricks. It was converted into a heritage home and studio by the famous Australian painter John Eldershaw. Millhouse is one today a guest-house.
St Luke's Anglican Church: (1834) The foundation stone was laid in 1834 by Governor Arthur. Designed by John Lee Archer and built by convict labour, the church was completed in 1835. James Thompson, the convict who was responsible for the original timber work inside the building, was granted his freedom as a reward for his work.
Richmond Court House: The Court House was built in 1825. In the early days, it was also used for church services. It was used as Council Chambers from 1861, when the Richmond Municipality was established, until 1993, when Richmond Council amalgamated with Clarence City Council.
History House: Tasmania's History House is one of Richmond's oldest colonial houses and is open to visitors or for private events The house was built in 1826 by Simon McCullough an Irish convict pardoned for his role in apprehending a murderer in 1825. It was an inn for fifty years trading originally as "The Jolly Farmers Inn "and then "The Union Hotel" but has been a private residence for 188 years.
Oak Lodge (c1830): was once the home of Richmond's noted American-born doctor, William Clark. Now owned by the National Trust of Australia (Tasmania), it houses the Coal River Valley Historical Society Inc.
In The Area
Colebrook (30km south) is a quiet little farming settlement which was developed by convict labour as the site of a convict probation station. The town was originally named Jerusalem. The area around Colebrook was first explored by Europeans in early 1804 and by 1806, with serious food shortages in Hobart Town, expeditions of soldiers were being sent into this area to kill kangaroos and emus.
It is claimed that during one of these expeditions Private Hugh Germain, a well educated member of the Royal Marines, started giving various local sites exotic names. Thus to the west of 'Jerusalem' (Colebrook) lies the incongruously named village of Bagdad and north of the town, past Lake Tiberius, is the village of Jericho. It is said that Germain travelled through the area with a copy of The Bible and the Arabian Nights and delighted in giving places religious and Middle Eastern names. It is thought that the Seven Hills surrounding the town gave the inspiration for his choice of the name Jerusalem.
There is a story (more a legend that a hard fact) that the famous Tasmanian bushranger, Martin Cash, hid in a pear tree near the local police station after he had managed to escape from the village lockup.
There are a couple of interesting buildings in town. The Colebrook Progress Association offers a chance to take a stroll through history and enjoy country hospitality on the 1st Sunday of each month (depending on numbers). Otherwise you can walk through the village yourself and visit the old Jerusalem Probation Station, St James' Anglican Church, with it's beautiful stain glass window, and St Patrick's Catholic Church designed by Augustus Welby Pugin.
Campania (40km south) is small village with historic churches, wineries. Coal River Valley market is held on the second Sunday of the month. Campania is in fact one of the most important wine-producing regions of Tasmania, and has had commercial vineyards since the mid-19th century.
Grapevines were first cultivated by George Weston Gunning at Campania in 1825, a cask of wine being produced the following year. Gunning also pioneered the cultivation of hops at Campania, a crop essential for the development of the brewing industry in Tasmania. Campania Estate was the childhood home of Sir Francis Villeneuve Smith, Chief Justice and Premier of Tasmania. In 1920, Campania Estate was subdivided into twenty-six lots for soldier settlement.
The town had its beginnings when Francis Smith purchased land on the Coal River in 1829, and named his property Campania Estate. The completion of the Tasmanian Mainline Railway in 1876 saw the construction of a railway station on part of the Campania Estate. Around the railway station a township rapidly grew, including several stores, a hotel, flour mill, church, school and sale yards. Campania was proclaimed a township in 1882.
The Old Flour Mill (1884) was designed by William Greenlaw for his cousin H.J. Brock. The two-story mill and storage was built adjacent to the railway. Wheat grown on the Campania Estate and flour ground in the mill won a gold medal at the Centennial Exhibition in Melbourne in 1888.
The General Store (1879) was built by J.W. Nichols of Richmond. Subsequent storekeepers included P.J. Nichols, Robert Spencer, John Nichols, Arthur Nichols and Thomas Bidgood.
The Campania Tavern (1877) was first licensed to John White. White was the first stationmaster at Campania, and prior to the opening of the Campania Hotel had run a refreshment bar at the railway station.
St. George's Church (1894) was built and furnished at a cost of 450. Mr. and Mrs. H.J. Brock donated 300 towards the completion of the church.
Chauncy Vale Wildlife Sanctuary (39km south) is one of the oldest private conservation areas in Tasmania.
A centre serving a rich and well developed pastoral and agricultural region, Sorell also supports fishing and timber getting industries. Its name recalls William Sorell, who was Lieut. Gov. of Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) between 1817 and 1824.
Where Is it? Sorell is located on the Tasman Highway at the junction with the Arthur Highway 13 km from Richmond, 25 km east of Hobart, 31 km from Dunalley, 53 km from Orford.
The arrival of cherry blossoms is a time for celebration at the Sorell Fruit Farm which has an annual Cherry Blossom Festival during September and October.
Most visitors to Tasmania know Sorell as a place they pass through on their way to Port Arthur from Hobart. Known for its interesting shops, pubs and eateries, Sorell also has a number of historic churches - St George's Anglican Church, Scot's Uniting Church and St Thomas's Roman Catholic Church. All three are three National Estate listed.
St George's Anglican Church: Gordon Street, Sorell. There are three National Estate listed churches in Sorell. Of the three, St George's Anglican Church is the most impressive. Built in 1826 and rebuilt in 1883, is of a gothic style, characterized by its gabled iron roof, with closed eaves and walls. The walls are made of coarse sandstone and have buttresses at regular intervals. As well as the church, there is an adjacent graveyard, featuring graves dating back to the 1830s, and grounds which now contains the Sorell Visitors Information Centre and a small park. Whilst the church is of a simple design, but up close the workmanship is outstanding.
Primrose Sands is one of a number of popular beachside communities on the north shores of Frederick Henry Bay. It is both a dormitory suburb of Hobart and a holiday resort popular with families.
Where Is it?: Primrose Sands is 48 km east of Hobart, 22 km south east of Sorell.
Primrose Beach at Primrose Sands is a slightly curving 1.8 km long southwest-facing beach located between Renard Point in the east and 100 m high Carlton Bluff in the west. The moderately exposed beach faces down Frederick Henry Bay and receives low refracted swell averaging about 0.5 m.
Gypsy Bay (2 km east) lies to the lee of Primrose Point. The beach is a sheltered southeast-facing 100 m long steep cobble beach, backed by 5 m high bluffs then houses. A boat ramp and protecting groyne cross the centre of the beach, with the groyne extending 50 m out to the edge of the sand flats.
Susans Bay, to the east of Primrose Sands, has a beach which is tucked in the western corner of the bay. The easternmost houses of Primrose Sands are located behind the bluffs at the western end of the beach.
Connellys Bay is a 1 km wide southwest-facing bay bordered by Dorman Point in the west and the lower slopes of 180 m high Thornes Hills to the west. A row of beachfront homes back the small coastal dunes. Houses also spread for 1 km along the western slopes of the bay.
Tiger Head Beach is the main beach at Dodges Ferry. The beach is low and narrow, usually calm, and backed by numerous boat sheds, together with a boat ramp, two jetties and several boats usually moored off the beach.
Red Ochre Beach is a protected west-facing beach located on the north side of Spectacle Head and is divided into two sections by a 50 m long central outcrop of low rocks and boulders. The northern half consists of a wider sandy high tide beach and low hummocky foredune, with a narrow shallow bar and the Blue Lagoon Reserve backing the southern end.
Carlton Beach is a popular summer surfing beach located 40 km east of Hobart to the east of Dodges Ferry. The Carlton Beach Road runs off the Carlton Road and provides good access to the beach. The beach is 2.7 km long and faces south-southwest towards the entrance to Frederick Henry Bay 15 km to the south. The Carlton River mouth, its deep inlet and neighbouring Carlton Bluff form the eastern boundary with 20 m high Spectacle Head to the west. While the beach is set deep within Frederick Henry Bay, owing to its southerly orientation it receives most southerly swell entering the bay, with waves averaging about 1 m and occasionally higher.
Dodges Ferry is a small township on the eastern side of the entrance to Pittwater in south eastern Tasmania. Dodges Ferry was named after Ralph Dodge (1791-1871) who operated a ferry service across Pittwater from the 1820s. It is now a popular tourist locale.
Where Is it?: Dodges Ferry is 40 km east of Hobart, 13 km south of Sorell.
Like many of the settlements on Frederick Henry Bay, Dodges Ferry has long been a popular holiday resort for Tasmanians, especially for families. With sandy beaches and rocky headlands close at hand, it lies at the entrance to the Pittwater estuary and has a reputation for safe swimming, fishing and boating. Until the 1960s, Dodges Ferry comprised mainly of beach shacks, but an influx of Hobart commuters has seen a change to more modern, larger homes and facilities.
Okines Beach is located immediately north of Dodges Ferry and runs north for 1 km forming the eastern shore of the inner entrance to Pittwater. The beach is sheltered by the entrance tidal shoals and its estuarine location with usually calm conditions at the shore.