Two weeks in Tassie (part 2)

Part 1 is here.

Friday 14/12/12

Time to leave Lonny and go back to Hobart. Instead of just taking the usual three hours to zoom down the Midland Highway, we decided to spend the whole day investigating places that took our fancy.

We first stopped at Campbell Town. I really wasn’t expecting the paddocks on either side of the highway to be so dry – it’s very like South Australia and Victoria. Hobart has Australia’s second driest average annual rainfall (for a capital city) after Adelaide. Big westerly winds off the Southern Ocean bring rain, but it all falls on the mountains and the eastern side of the island is in a rain shadow.

Many (probably most) of the old bridges in Tassie are convict-built. Convicts were used as slave labour on such projects, and also as farm-hands and serving families.

Red Bridge, Campbell Town, built by convicts in 1822

Red Bridge, Campbell Town, built by convicts in 1833; photo by Angela Coco

Wood sculptures near Red Bridge, Campbell Town, Tasmania

One of several wood sculptures near Red Bridge, Campbell Town

More wood sculptures near Red Bridge, Campbell Town, Tasmania

Another wood sculpture near Red Bridge, Campbell Town

Foxhunters Return, Campbell Town, Tasmania

Foxhunters Return, Campbell Town – built over 1833-90, this was originally an inn and is now a heritage B&B

We then stopped at Ross (population 424 in 2011) and Oatlands (population 862 in 2011) to admire these historic villages. The crossroads of Ross is called the Four Corners, with each building having a label:

  • Temptation: the Man O’ Ross Hotel
  • Recreation: Town Hall
  • Salvation: Roman Catholic Church
  • Damnation: jail (now a private home).
Ross, Tasmania, part of main street

The “Four Corners” of Ross; photo by Angela Coco

Old milestone at Ross, Tasmania

Old milestone at Ross; photo by Angela Coco

St John's Anglican Church, Ross, Tasmania

St John’s Anglican Church, Ross

Ross has the ruins of the “Female Factory” (work house), a convict women’s prison of the 1840s.

The last remaining building of the Female Factory convict women's prison, Ross

The last remaining building of the Female Factory convict women’s prison, Ross; photo by Angela Coco

Interior, Female Factory, Ross, Tasmania

Inside the Female Factory, Ross

Wood stove, Female Factory, Ross

Wood-burning cooking stove, Female Factory, Ross

Fireplace, Female Factory, Ross

Fireplace, Female Factory, Ross

Gravestone, original graveyard, Ross

Gravestone, original graveyard, Ross

Old graveyard behind the Female Factory, Ross

Lonely graveyard behind the Female Factory, Ross

Ross bridge, Tasmania

Ross Bridge, constructed by convicts in 1836 – the third oldest bridge in Australia

Oatlands apparently has the highest percentage of 19th century houses in all of Australia. There’s also a working wheat-grinding windmill, the Callington Mill.

Oatlands main street

Oatlands main street, sandstone building capital of Australia; photo by Angela Coco

Carrington Mill, Oatlands, built 1832

Callington Mill, Oatlands, built 1832

One of the many heritage sandstone buildings in Oatlands

One of the many heritage sandstone buildings in Oatlands

Oatlands house_2

Stork house copy

Oatlands house_4

I’d been told to look out for English bumblebees, and we stumbled on one in Oatlands. I’d never seen one (even in England), and they are huge compared to the usual bees. They were first found in 1992 and have spread throughout most of the island. No one is sure what effects competition with native bees will have, or whether they will reduce the food supply of birds, like parrots, which feed on nectar.

English bumblebee, Oatlands, Tasmania

English bumblebee, Oatlands

Richmond Bridge, Tasmania

Richmond Bridge, another convict-built bridge

We stopped off at a Craigburne Dam for a break in driving – there was a musk duck on the water, plus more black swans. Just before reaching Hobart we stopped at Richmond. There are plenty of old buildings in Richmond, but somehow it’s not really as charming as Oatlands and Ross. It’s also more “touristy”, with an atmosphere somewhat like Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills.

Continued in Part 3

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4 Responses to Two weeks in Tassie (part 2)

  1. Pingback: Two weeks in Tassie (part 1) | A-roving I will go

  2. kathy says:

    Great shots and stimulating commentary, as usual. Makes me want to go back for another visit. I’ve not yet taken the inland highway from Launceston to Hobart. On my first trip I took Mum via Burnie, Cradle Mountain, Strahan, and the hopfields/cottages on the road into Hobart from the west. Staying in a hops workers’ cottage is very interesting: I actually thought I might see a ghost, but it was more about the eeriness of being taken back to that era. On the second trip Roger and I went diagonally (not Diagon Alley) through the highlands district, which was very dry at the time, and very much like our high country around Cooma. Like you, I admire that Tassie has so many of the old buildings intact. I actually saw a “spikey” bridge in a recent TV film shot in England, which made me rethink that the Tassie one is well used architectural design, rather than just a hard task by a tough task master in a convict setting. I got a sense of living history going around and reading the available information. I also recently read “For the term of his natural life”, and two of Kate Grenville’s books set around the time of settlement of Sydney. Good stories, as well as giving us a sense of our roots (well, for some of us with POME heritage).

    • Joy Window says:

      Thanks, Kathy. Yes, there are lots of ways to see Tassie, aren’t there? That’s one thing that makes it so interesting – the variety of landforms, geology and climate all in one relatively small area. I saw the “spiky bridge” out of the corner of my eye as I was driving at the time – didn’t stop to look at it.

  3. Pingback: Two weeks in Tassie (part 3) | A-roving I will go

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