The Derwent Valley is famous for its historic villages. You can take a drive from Hobart, visiting the southern section of Midland Highway, Tasmania's first main road that was built by convict road gangs, before returning to Hobart via the Derwent Valley. The route then heads north-east to a number villages in the southern foothills of the Central Highlands, following Lakes Highway that ultimately passes Arthurs Lake on its way to Launceston. The return journey passes through the historic villages on the lower Lyell Highway, following the River Derwent as it winds its way through hilly terrain towards Hobart.
Location: From Hobart, travelling east then, north and north west. Full day.
Length of drive: 185 km
Features and Attractions: Richmond; Oatlands; Kempton; Bothwell; Ouse; Bushy Park; New Norfolk
The Drive: Take the Brooker Hwy north out of Hobart to Bridgewater. Continue north on the Midland Highway to Brighton and Pontville. Once an important stopping point on the road from Hobart to Launceston, Pontville is home to a number of convict built, pre-1820s buildings including a soldiers barracks. Continue north through the villages of Mangalore, Bagdad and Dysart to Kempton, a charming Georgian colonial settlement which is registered as a classified historic town. Dysart House, now privately owned, at the southern end of town, is an exceedingly handsome mansion. North of Kempton is Melton Mowbray, a village that never quite grew to its full potential.
At Melton (as Melton Mowbray is known by the locals), turn left and follow Lake Highway through Aspley to Bothwell. This little village, laid out in 1824, had a strong Scottish element in its early population which is evident everywhere in its buildings (see photo gallery). It is claimed that the first game of golf in Australia was played here in the 1820s. In season, Bothwell is known as the gateway to some of the best trout fishing in Australia. Leave Bothwell, taking Wentworth Street, and follow the signs to Ouse, another small Central Highlands town. It was in the hills around Ouse that bushranger Martin Cash roamed. Nearby are Cluny Dam and the Repulse Dam; both are small but typical Hydro Power Station dams. Millbrook water mill off Victoria Valley Road dates back to 1843.
South of Ouse on Lyell Highway towards Hobart is Hamilton, a pretty colonial-era town on the Clyde River. Hamilton is full of history, from pristine Georgian cottages that now house craft galleries or offer bed and breakfast accommodation to a convict built schoolhouse. Jackson's Emporium, built in 1856, is a quaintly different kind of department store specialising in Derwent Valley products. Continue south through Gretna to Rosegarland and turn left towards Bushy Park.
The hop capital of Tasmania, it is a fascinating historic destination, a slice of Europe with its old houses, hop kilns, deciduous trees and hopfields which seem to envelop every building and road. Mount Field National Park, with cascading waterfalls, deep gorges and a large variety of plants and trees, is accessed by road from Bushy Park. Follow Glenora Rd through Plenty (with its superb Salmon Ponds) to New Norfolk, so named because the town's founding pioneers were re-settled from Norfolk Island in 1808.
The richness and variety of its historic buildings, the old Oast Houses and the gentle undulations of the countryside on either side of the Derwent River make this one of the most attractive places in southern Tasmania. The state's oldest church, The Anglican Church of St Matthew, is in New Norfolk. Return to Hobart, taking the picturesque drive alongside the River Derwent via Lyell Highway.
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A picturesque Georgian town (19km south east) set idylically on the banks of the River Derwent. New Norfolk is centrally located and is a perfect base from which to explore the surrounding areas. Mount Field National Park with its rugged beauty and seclusion is only 30 minutes away. New Norfolk is a recommended day trip destination from Hobart. The stretch of Lyell Highway between Bridgewater and New Norfolk is particulary pretty, especially in the early morning with the river is calm and the reflection on the water of the hills is mirror-like.
Where Is it?: 35 km from Hobart on the Lyell Highway between Hobart and Queenstown.
There are numerous historic buildings in New Norfolk. These include: St Matthews church is the oldest church in Tasmania. Sections date from 1823; The Methodist Chapel is the oldest church of that denomination in Tasmania (1837); Old Colony Inn, another early hostelry, is now a folk museum; The Toll House, built in 1841, displays and sells Tasmanian produce and local crafts.
St Matthew's Church
St Matthew's Church: One of the oldest churches in Australia, construction commenced in 1823 and it was consecrated in 1828 by Archdeacon Scott from Sydney. In 1833 extensive additions made it a much more impressive building. A tower was added in 1870 and in 1894, after a period of energetic fund raising, the chancel was added and the windows, roof and transepts were altered. All that is left of the original church are the walls and flagged floor of the nave and part of the western transept. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the church are the excellent stained glass windows. Bush Inn: Bush Inn is claimed to be the oldest licensed hotel in Australia (1825). Dame Nellie Melba once sang on its balcony, Lady Franklin (wife of Governor) planted the pear tree in the garden.
Oast House Hop Museum: The Oast House Hop Museum was a working oast house from 1867 to 1969. It has now been converted into a museum, gift shop, craft market and tea room.
Rosedown Cottage Gardens: Rosedown Cottage Gardens features hundreds of roses in this four and a half acre garden, which was transformed from orchards and hopfields into a series of delightful gardens.
The Toll HouseBuilt on the northern side of the River Derwent, the Toll House was erected in 1841 by private enterprise along with the first bridge over the river at New Norfolk. The toll keeper collected the toll, firstly from foot traffic in 1841 and in 1842 the bridge was opened to vehicles. It is believed it was used this way until 1874. In the 1970s, the tiny building was used as a youth hostel, providing very basic accommodation for a maximum of six women and six men. The Toll House is now managed by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, leased now to operators for the display and sale of Tasmanian produce and local crafts.
Willow Court: a superb old stone building that was built as a military hospital in 1830-31 by Major Roger Kelsall. Only one room wide, with wide verandahs and gabled two storey sections at the corners and in the centre, Willow Court was originally conceived by Governor Arthur as a location where invalid convicts could be housed. Willow Court is part of the former Royal Derwent Hospital and is the oldest mental hospital in Australia on its original site. It is a remarkable and simple building of great elegance and character.
Glen Derwent: An early colonial convict built property classified by The National Trust. The property started life as an inn, being licensed as the King of Prussia Inn in 1829. The licensee was Oscar Davis who came to Van Diemen's Land as a convict sentenced to 14 years for forgery. Later it was known as Elwin's Hotel, where for two and a half years it was home to the exiled Irish revolutionary William Smith O'Brien. Smith O'Brien was the leader of the failed Irish uprising and rebellion in 1848, following the potato famines. Smith O'Brien spent some time at Maria Island, then Port Arthur for a few months, then came his time at Glen Derwent, where he rented a room with adjoining lounge for £6 per month. Although still a convict and in exile, he was permitted by the authorities to roam the district.
Boyer: (2km east) tours of the Norske Scog Boyer Newsprint Mill are available Tuesdays and Thursdays for groups to see the papermaking process from start to finish.
About New Norfolk
Established as a new home for the residents of Norfolk Island when its settlement was closed down in 1811, the site was chosen by Gov. Lachlan Macquarie. New Norfolk was the third planned settlement to be undertaken in Tasmania, after Hobart and Launceston. In 1803-4 when Hobart was first settled on the banks of the Derwent, it was considered important to explore this waterway and find out the potential of the surrounding areas.
Starting in November 1807 and on through the following year, people from the Norfolk Island penal colony were persuaded to come to Van Diemens Land by offers of a generous exchange of land (4 acres for each acre held on Norfolk Island), a house of similar standard to that left behind, two or more convicts to assist them in clearing their new farms, and food and clothing from the stores for 12 months. By late 1808, 544 people (soldiers, convicts and free settlers) had arrived and they put an enormous strain on the colony's fragile economy. Although they were promised compensation for their forced move, many had the sense to realise that it would be impossible for the government ever to fulfil the wildly optimistic promises held out to them and some offered to supply themselves with housing if they could be provided with nails and a few necessary tools. Others proposed to wave all their claims for housing in exchange for stock (bengal cows and sheep) equal in value to the houses they had left behind on Norfolk.
Of the new settlers, 30% came to New Norfolk. The settlement there was at first known as The Hills because of its setting among hills, valleys and gentle streams. In 1811 Governor Macquarie came to visit Van Diemens Land and mapped out a town site and named it Elizabeth Town (after his wife) in the District of New Norfolk. The name did not catch on although it was used on and off from 1811 to 1825, but the local settlers, wanting to preserve a link with their old island home, won the day and the town became officially known as New Norfolk. The stream called the Thames by the locals, was renamed the Lachlan by Governor Macquarie (in honour of his son).
The going was tough for the early settlers and most had to be supported on government rations until 1812. There were no roads and no transport as we know it and the population was entirely dependent on river transport or following dirt tracks overland using horse-drawn vehicles and bullock wagons, but the settlement slowly grew and prospered. In 1846 the first hop plants were brought in from Maria Island and this became a flourishing industry resulting in the traditional "New Norfolk" landscape - oast houses, fields of wired poles and windbreaks of Lombardy Poplars, a spectacular sight in autumn.
The Derwent Valley was rich in soil and timber and by 1902, had began to develop at a rapid pace. One of the contributing factors was the extension of the railway line. This much needed facility brought greater prosperity to the rural communities and in 1907 the Hydro-Electric Power & Metallurgical Company commenced operations at the Great Lake. Flooding in the lower reaches of the Derwent River has been a periodic event and New Norfolk has rebuilt the bridge, linking both sides of the town, four times. Floods and the Pneumonic Flu in 1917 decimated the population of the island as it did across the world.
The tiny village of Pontville, located just a few kilometres from Brighton, became an important stopping point on the road from Hobart to Launceston in the 1830s and effectively replaced Brighton which, at one time, had been promoted as a possible future capital of the island. From this time on it became one of the major suppliers of stone for the whole southern region of Tasmania.
Where is it?: 35 km north of Hobart on the Midlands Highway.
The area around Pontville 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, only a few kilometres north of Pontville, lies the incongruously named village of Bagdad and Pontville is actually situated on the banks of the equally incongruously named, Jordan River.
It is said that Germain travelled through the area with a copy of The Bible and the Arabian Nights and delighted in giving places names like Jerusalem, Jericho, Jordan, and Lake Tiberius. In fact the headwaters of the Jordan River rise in Lake Tiberius before flowing through Jericho.
By the 1820s there was a small settlement at Pontville but the real development of the village occurred in the 1830s and 1840s when it took over from Brighton and became a major centre for the district and an important traveller's stopping point on the road between Port Dalrymple (Launceston) and Hobart.
Pontville was developed on land which was originally owned by William Kimberley. In 1838 this land was sold and a number of important buildings - the Police Station (1839), the Courthouse (1842) - were constructed.
By the mid 1840s the town was thriving with a population of over 2000 people. By the 1860s there were six flour mills operating in the area. Although the town's growth occurred in the 1840s many of the old buildings predate this period of development.
The Sheiling: The Sheiling, located behind St Marks Church of England, dates from about 1819 and was originally constructed as two separate cottages. The strange name is nothing more complex than the Gaelic for 'cottage'. The land was sold to William Kimberley in 1818 and he built the cottages on what was the main road through the village. It is likely that the house was used by the local police at one stage. It was converted into a single private residence in the early 1950s.
The Row or The Barracks: Similarly 'The Row', known sometimes as 'The Barracks', near the bridge over the Jordan River, was built in 1824 as accommodation for soldiers. The building is a combination of five cottages - three with roof dormers and two larger cottages with three bays. As a row of dwellings it is an important feature of Pontville. It is now accommodation.
The Old Post Office: Further along the Midland Highway, near St Mark's Church, is the Old Post Office which was built sometime before 1830 to house the Officer's Mess. There is some evidence that in the 1850s, when a timber verandah was added, it was a coaching inn. In 1861 it became the Pontville Post Office. It is currently an antique and gift shop.
St Marks Church of England: However the majority of the historic buildings in Pontville date from the 1840s and 1850s. St Marks Church of England, on the Midland Highway, was built between 1839-41. The National Estate register records the importance of the building in great detail: 'A very unusual Romanesque-style church designed by noted architect James Blackburn and built of finely tooled local white ashlar stone in 1839-41.
It is not a large structure, comprising only four bays, and is symmetrical in composition, featuring a simple pitch-roofed nave with Celtic crosses at each gable end and square towers at each corner. The latter are pyramid-roofed in iron and their smooth walls are interrupted only by fortress-like slits. The church and graveyard together are relics from the early years of the Colony and are inseparably associated with the religious and social developments of the district.' It is likely that the church was opened by the Governor, Sir John Franklin, although the foundation stone can no longer be seen. It was not consecrated until 1884 as there was a legal dispute over the ownership of the land.
Brooksby: Over the road from St Mark's is the historic home 'Brooksby' (c. 1840) which was originally built for Lieutenant George Brooks Foster, the Assistant Police Magistrate in the district. In 1874, after it had been used as a boarding school, it was sold to the Butler family.
Other buildings of interest in Pontville include 'Landsdowne' at 4 Glebe Street which was built around 1840 with a wide verandah and interesting diagonal balustrading, the Pontville Bridge (1847) which has been considerably modified over the years, the Congregational Church (1876) which is built of local stone, 'Epsom' (c. 1835) which has been variously known as 'The Castle Inn and Brighton Hotel', 'Tasmanian Hotel' , 'The Crown Inn' and 'Epsom Hotel', and the Roman Catholic Church of St Matthew (1866) which was gutted by fire and rebuilt in 1927-28.
A small and charming Georgian colonial village which is registered as a classified historic town. The district was first settled by Europeans in 1814 and was known as Green Ponds - a name which is still retained as the local municipality. The town is full of quaint Georgian cottages, shops and farm buildings. The Heritage Highway bypasses Kempton, however it is worth stopping by to explore.
The major historic buildings in the town include the National Estate listed St Mary s Anglican Church, a sandstone Gothic Revival building which was probably designed by James Blackburn. It was completed in 1844 and is notable for its square tower, its interesting cemetery, and its position as a central feature of Kempton s townscape.
Where is it?: Kempton is 49 km north of Hobart just off the Midland Highway.
The church cemetery and the former Catholic Church garden reveal graves of convicts who were transported to New South Wales with the First Fleet in 1788.
Kempton Congregational Church (1840) is a simple stone Georgian church which also has an interesting old cemetery.
Wilmot Arms Inn (1844) was built by convicts and operated as a licensed inn until 1897. It is said that the proprietor suddenly got religion and stopped making alcohol and fed all his spirits to the pigs. The building later fell into disrepair but was restored in 1978. Today it is part of Tasmania s Colonial Accommodation circuit.
Another coaching inn in the area was Dysart House (now a private residence) a large two storey Georgian stone inn which was built in 1842. It is recognised as one of the finest coaching inns on the old Midlands Highway.
Once co-joined homesteads erected in the 1820s, what are now the Council Chambers were later converted into Government Offices and Court House. The buildings were used as a police station until 1862. The clock tower in front of the chambers was built to commemorate those who lost their lives in the 1914-18 war.
Kent Cottage, now a private residence, was built in 1833 James Lumsden operated a general store in two storey Georgian building in 1860, and more recently it was a service station.
The convict built two storey Glebe House is a private residence built for Rev George Otter in 1836. The quaint old shop over the road was originally a general store built in 1934. It was formerly situated in the grounds of Gleber House but was relocated to its present position in 1990.
Silhouette Trail: A cut-out stage coach at the highway exit to Kempton marks the start of the Silhouette Trail on The Heritage Highway. In the paddocks along the highway, fifteen larger than life black steel cut-outs define the Trail and reflect on the region's frontier days: stage coaches in full flight, bushrangers, sheep farmers, gold-panners, surveyors, convict road gangs, railway workers, soldiers, a hangman, emus and Tasmanian Tigers amongst them.
Melton Manor, which is just about all that remains of the Melton Mowbray settlement in the Tasmanian southern midlands, is a sprawling complex over 3 levels. Since its construction in the mid 19th century the Melton Manor hosts have accommodated military, landed gentry, government officials as well as transported convicts. The convicts not faring at all well as they were secured in an underground cell devoid of any facilities or light which was the norm during the period of history.
Melton Manor was regarded amongst the esteemed as a prominent destination for race horse and hound hunt enthusiasts and was renowned for hosting such events. Mr. Blackwell (the original owner) was revered for his sporting accomplishments amongst peers and was often sought for coaching. In the early 20th century a ballroom was constructed which was beacon to the districts residents and enhanced Melton Manor's popularity as an entertainment venue and travellers retreat. The building, now known as The Melton Mowbray Hotel, features a secret convicts cell and hidden servants' quarters.
The Hotel was built by Samuel Blackwell who came to Australia in 1840 from Melton Mowbray in England. A decade later, Blackwell was granted a stage coach licence for a two-wheel vehicle to run between Green Ponds and Bothwell for 12 months. A year later he bought land at Cross Marsh (now Melton), and in 1858 he built a large two-storey inn which he named Melton Mowbray after his birthplace in England.
In 1853 he entered horses in the Town Plate run at New Town. A few years later he decided to import a racehorse from England, and commissioned a Mr. Brown of Hobart Town, to select a suitable one during a visit to the Old Country. Mr. Brown bought Panic while the horse s owner was absent from home, and there was consternation when he found his favourite racer had been sold. However, he agreed to let the purchase stand, and received 1,000 guineas in payment. Panic enjoyed success in races, the most notable being when he won the Championship of 1865, and ran second in the Melbourne Cup. Then he was turned out to stud, and one of his first stock was Strop who won the Launceston Cup four times. Another of Panic s foals was Nimblefoot, which won the Melbourne Cup.
In 1860 Blackwell acquired a pack of Beagle hounds, and he hunted them as the Southern Hunt Club hounds. He had a deer park on his property, and a racecourse built at the rear of the hotel.
It was not unusual for travellers on the coaches from Hobart to Launceston to break their journey for two days at Melton to converse with Mr. Blackwell and admire his trophies and the handsome pictures which adorned the walls.Many members of the Government stopped at Melton Mowbray, and when Governor Weld was appointed in 1875 he made a habit of spending all his annual holidays at Melton and travelling up there for all the races.
On one occasion His Excellency sent his children and their governess to the hotel for six weeks' holiday especially for Mr. Blackwell to teach the children to ride. During the first Royal Tour of Australia in 1878, the Duke of Edinburgh was the guest of Mr. Blackwell at Melton Mowbray.
The only other building still standing at the townsite these days is a simple chapel that has served a variety of functions during its life. It was erected in 1866 for use as a Concgregational chapel and schoolroom (in those days churches rand the local schools). From 1901 to 1939 it was used as a state school and in 1942 it was transferred to the Church of England. It was restored in 1990 by members of the Dick family in memory of George Abercromby Dick (1909-1987), owner of nearby Mt Vernon from 1940 to 1967 and for 20 years a trustee of the Diocese.
A designated historic town, Oatlands is said to have the largest collection of pre-1837 buildings in Australia. 87 such buildings are located in the main street while a total of 138 sandstone buildings are found within the town boundary.
Where is it?: South. 79km north of Hobart, 113km south of Launceston on the Midland Highway.
Oatlands Spring Festival (October long weekend); National Working Bullock Festival
Oatlands grew in the colonial days as a result of it being the ideal stopping place between Hobart and Launceston, a role it still plays for travellers between Tasmania s two largest urban centres. It is also a close enough destination to both Hobart or Launceston for a day s drive, and well worth the effort.
Lake Dulverton, behind the town, is regularly restocked with fish from the Oatlands District High School Aquaculture Centre.
There are some amusing and amazing topiaries (trees and bushes clipped to particular shapes) at St Peter s Pass, and in Oatlands itself. The Oatlands topiaries continue an old tradition and are made by local residents to designs by Tasmanian sculptor Stephen Walker.
Callington Mill: The Callington Mill complex, built by John Vincent in 1837, was the major flour mill for the region. The complex of stone buildings includes a five-level windmill tower, a granary, steam mill, stable and miller's cottage.
Supreme Court House: This Georgian-styled sandstone building is the oldest in Oatlands. It features a central entry which includes timber casing with pilasters and simple cornice.
Old Gaol: A symmetrical two-storey sandstone Georgian building, built around 1830. A high stone wall surrounds the former exercise yard.
Church of England Parish Hall: A stone Victorian hall that is the work of local stonemasons, the Fish brothers. It was built in 1875.
Former Lake Frederick Inn: Constructed in 1834 by George Aitchison, this two-storey brick Georgian building features a stone facade, raised quoins and a four panel door with half-sidelights and fanlight.
Town Hall: A two-storey Victorian building, erected in 1881 to a design by WH Lord. Its design, Georgian Revival, is sympathetic to other earlier buildings in the town.
Holyrood House: Also known as the Doctor s House, this two-storey stuccoed house was built around 1840 for John Whiteford, the police magistrate. In 1852, Rev Trollope conducted a school here.
National Trust Cottage: A simple Georgian stone cottage, built in 1844. It features a finely dressed facade and textured blocks at the rear, a central door with transom light, 12-pane windows and a stone wall.
St Luke's (Campbell Memorial) Presbyterian Church: A Gothic Revival church, built in 1859. Its four level square tower has a stone spire surrounded by four corner spirelets. The adjacent manse is a symmetrical stone two-storey house, built in 1860.
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.
The area is home to about 100 families, and contains many historic buildings, such as a farmhouse which was once home to Hudson Fysh, one of the founders of Qantas, and a historic railway station. The main street contains a number of attractive dwellings dating from the town's heyday, some of which are currently undergoing restoration. The village retains the original general store, the impressive Tudor style 'Parattah Hotel' and a number of historic churches.
Parattah was once known as Parattah Junction due to the former Oatlands Railway, which branched off towards Oatlands from this area. Today, the railway station serves no passenger traffic, with the last passenger visits occurring in the early 2000s on heritage rail tours.
The railway in Parattah served as an important point on the Main line from Hobart to Launceston, being the halfway stopping point for the Tasman Limited, and the terminus for suburban and inter-regional passenger services on the Tasmanian Government Railways. Within the timetables, Parattah was allocated as a station where refreshments could be purchased, or where train, taxi or airplane connections could be arranged. Because of the high volume of traffic the station received, it was the location of a coaling stage and water refilling station for steam locomotives, a wye for turning locomotives around, as well as sidings and a loading crane for freight and goods traffic. Whilst not a part of the system nowadays, the sidings and loading crane can still be seen today.
The station building itself has been restored, with a small museum housed there, and is now situated beside a public picnic reserve. Parattah Junction remains the highest elevated station on the Tasmanian rail network, and originally housed the town's post office until 1914.
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.
Founded in 1816, the tiny historical village of Jericho is one of the oldest townships in Australia. Like its better known neighbour, Oatlands, the main road of Jericho contains some fine examples of early colonial sandstone architecture, and constructions including examples of convict cut culverts, bridges and walls, many of which date from the 1830s. A mud wall, a relic from the convict probation station, is appropriately known as the Wall of Jericho.
A classified historic town, Bothwell is the southern gateway to the central Highlands. In season Bothwell is also known as the gateway to some of the best trout fishing in Australia.
Bothwell is the home of Australia s first Aberdeen Angus stud. The town, laid out in 1824, was populated by mainly settlers of Scottish descent and today still has a distinct Scottish flavour. It was here that the famed Irish political exiles John Mitchell and John Martin lived during their stay in Tasmania in the 1850s. Both had been arrested for treasonable writings
Where Is it?: Bothwell is 76 km north north west of Hobart; 350 metres above sea level.
True to its Scottish Bothwell has one of Australia s top whiskey distilleries, Nant Distillery, housed in the historic Nant Mill. Here you can sample the fine single malt whiskeys made using pure local Highland waters.
Bothwell is the home of Australia's first Aberdeen Angus stud.
The area has a reputation amongst trout fishermen with local lakes being well stocked with wild brown and rainbow trout. Anglers are drawn to the area by the challenges that await them in Arthurs Lake, the Great Lake and in Bronte, Little Pine, Penstock and Dee Lagoons.
As a classified historic town, Bothwell has 18 buildings classified by the National Trust and a further 34 listed. These include St Luke's Presbyterian church (1831); Wentworth House (1833); Nant Mill, a massive rough-masonry building erected in 1857; Clifton Priory, on Barrack Hill overlooking the township. The Anglican Chapel of St James, at Montacute, a nearby hamlet, was built by Capt. William Langdon in 1857. It is one of the few surviving 'estate' chapels. A hitching rail and ring are still outside the post office.
The town's most interesting historic buildings include Thorpe Watermill (near Nant's Cottage), a brick flour mill powered by water. It operated for seventy years, was closed down, and was restored in the mid 1970s. Thomas Axford built Thorpe Watermill, which was fully operational by 1825. Axford ran the corn-grinding mill until 1865 when he was killed by the bushranger, Rocky Whelan. In 1899 the 800 acre property known as Thorpe (the name came from Thorpe Farm in Berkshire) was purchased by Frederick McDowall who continued to operate it until 1916. It ground wheat until 1907 and then cut chaff until 1916. It was restored in the mid 1970s by the Bignell family. Today John Bignell runs Thorpe Farm Cheese at 189 Dennistoun Road, Bothwell and uses the mill to grind grain for specialist bakers. Inspections of this historic mill can be arranged by contacting (03) 6259 5678.
The town's Roman Catholic Church of St Michael and All Angels, at the intersection of Patrick Street and Market Place, was built out of local stone in 1891 by the stonemason Thomas Lewis. The church has a particularly attractive stone staircase and stone seats in the porch. Perhaps its most appealing aspect is the fire place on the western wall which is used to heat the church on cold winter nights.
St Luke's Uniting (Presbyterian) Church was built in 1831 to a design by John Lee Archer. The dripstones were carved by Daniel Herbert. St Luke s has what appears to be carvings of a Celtic god and godess beside the front doors. They have been attributed to the convict sculptor, Daniel Herbert, who was also responsible for his excellent work on the bridge at Ross. No attempt has been made to remove them even though their identity is now known. In an ironic twist, Governor Arthur is said to have ordered the architect, John Lee Archer, to change the rounded windows because they were 'unchristian'.
The church has what appears to be carvings of a Celtic god and godess beside the front doors. They have been attributed to the convict sculptor, Daniel Herbert, who was also responsible for the excellent work on the bridge at Ross. No attempt hs been made to remove them even though their identity is now known. In an ironic twist, Governor Arthur is said to have ordered the architect, John Lee Archer, to change the rounded windows because they were 'unchristian'. The church was used by both Presbyterian and Anglican worshippers for over 60 years.
Over the road from St Luke's Presbyterian Church is Rock Cottage which was built in 1864 by Thomas Lewis.
Priory Country Lodge
The magnificent Tudor mansion, Priory Country Lodge, was built in 1848 on Adelaide Hill overlooking Bothwell. Londoner Greg Peacock took two years to transform the then decrepit building into a very special retreat in the true style of the Scots. The 'country luxe' property was the only Australian hotel to make Travel and Leisure's 'It List' in 2009.
Alexander Street, which runs from St Luke's Church towards the Clyde River has a number of interesting buildings including Twin Cottages (c. 1850) and the charming and elaborately carved Post Office (1891) which has a hitching rail and ring for customers who arrive by horse.
The Crown Inn, Alexander Street, was first licensed in 1836. The fully restored building is now called Bothwell Grange.
The name of White's Store, the original Bothwell Store at 20 Alexander Street, recalls the continuously ownership of the establishment by the White family, who ran it for over 140 years before it was closed). The original White s Store dates back to c.1837 and the later larger store on the corner of Alexander and Queen Streets was constructed around c.1850. The larger brick building includes sandstone paving along the footpath.
The Literary Society, a remarkable building on Alexander Street, was occupied in 1837 by the Bothwell Literary Society which, under the patronage of the remarkable Sir John Franklin, established the first public library in Tasmania. It once housed a collection of books which formed the oldest country library in Australia, founded in 1834 and moved into this building in 1856. The building is noe the Municipal Council Chambers.
The Castle Inn, in Patrick Street, dates from 1829 and has been continuously licensed since that year. There is a record of Tasmanian Aborigines actually dancing a corroboree in front of the hotel in 1832.
About midway between Alexander and Patrick Streets is the Falls of Clyde Inn, also known as the Coffee Palace. The Falls of Clyde was constructed in 1831 as a house for for Sandy Denholm, a blacksmith. It is a two storey brick and stucco Georgian building with a stone rear section, It was first licensed in 1836 as The Falls Of Clyde, later called The Young Queen from 1851 1877 and still later it was known as Maskell s Hotel. By the late 1800 s the building was known as The Coffee Palace, a coffee house hosting accommodation forming part of the temperance movement from the mid 19th century. The building is a private residence today and is a really distinctive part of the Bothwell streetscape.
Slate Cottage in the High Street (1835) was built by Edward Boden Snr. It has been restored to its original condition with suitable furnishings from the period and is open for inspection. Contact (03) 6259 5554
Ratho, built by Andrew Bell, a local stonemason, is also home to the oldest golf course in Australia and possibly also has the country s oldest fowl house. Golf has been played here since 1839. Alexander Reid, the original owner of Ratho, brought out from Scotland several wooden clubs and featheries (feather-stuffed balls). The club was officially formed in 1902.
Priory Country Lodge
The Nant Distillery is located on the Clyde River, 3 km outside the town. First settled in 1821 the historic convict built sandstone Nant homestead and farm complex are an important part of our national heritage. Today Nant is still a working farm breeding Angus cattle and Suffolk sheep. The old flour mill (circa 1823) has been converted into a full production whisky distillery. In 1823 Nicholas built a water driven flour Mill at Nant and the later new mill built in 1857 is now home to the Nant Distillery.
Golf and Bothwell: Australia's first golf course - on the grazing property Ratho at Bothwell - is still in use today, and the Bothwell Golf Club. The Australasian Golf Museum has the largest display of historic and modern-day golfing memorabilia outside of St Andrew's, Scotland. The Museum has its home in an old school house on Market Place in town.
The Ratho Golf Links is a time capsule, among the best preserved of all the world s early golf courses. Its most apparent uniqueness is the sheep, which graze and keep the playing areas short, with fences to keep them from the square greens. At first glance, this appears to be little more than a backwards blend of farming and recreation outside a small country town. And so it is. But so golf began. The story of how golf evolved from a crude game played by a handful of Scottish villagers to a truly international game, and why the early settlers in Bothwell became Australia s first golfing community, is told at the Museum.
Bothwell Golf Club is based at Ratho Farm Golf Links, Bothwell. The golf course is said to be the oldest golf course in the Southern Hemisphere, maybe the oldest course outside Scotland, and is situated on a farm established in 1822. Driving north from Bothwell Village, you will find Ratho Farm Golf Links on your right as you cross the bridge over Clyde River and head up Highland Lakes Road. The first turn-off after crossing the bridge leads to the old Ratho Farm homestead and cottages, which are being converted to become the place to go when visiting Ratho Farm Golf Links. That's where you book your rounds of golf, and that's where you pay your Green Fees.
The Australian Golf Heritage Festival, held each May, the festival provides players with traditional hickory clubs, gutta percha balls and period costumes for The National Hickory Championships.
Bothwell is home to the International Highland Spin-in, a wool spinning competition marking the town s agricultural heritage and linking spinners throughout the world in friendship. A unique festival the Spin-In is held every second year in March and celebrates fibre arts such as spinning, weaving, dyeing, felting, knitting and allied fibre crafts. The three day event consists of many activities including presentations, demonstrations, mini-workshops, parades, and competitions as well as a variety of interesting displays.
With international, national and state guests, visitors and participants have many opportunities to build their skills and keep current in their field through peer association and the opportunity to learn about similar activities in other cultural contexts, The cultural exchange that occurs between participants and the official guests are one of the Spin-In's special highlights.
Bothwell Spin-In is the home of the Guinness Book of Records listed Longest Thread Competition that attracts entries from across the world. This uses 10gr of wool fleece spun and plyed. A new feature of the 2015 event will be the introduction of an Alpaca section. The Spin-in is organised entirely by a committee of volunteers known as The International Highland Spin-in Association Inc.
A charming and unspoilt historic Georgian village. Like Oatlands and Ross, Hamilton is still sufficiently removed from the over-commercialisation to offer the visitor an opportunity to experience what the villages of southern Tasmania were like in the 1830s and 1840s. It is the perfect place to stop, stretch one's legs and enjoy a tea or coffee breack on the journey from Hobart to the west coast.
Where Is it?: 74 km north west of Hobart on the Lyell Highway between New Norfolk and Queenstown.
St Peter's Anglican Church: One of Australia's oldest churches (right), built c.1834 before the founding of Melbourne, when Van Diemen's land was in the Diocese of Calcutta, India. It is thought that its single door was a means to prevent convicts from escaping during services.
McCauley's Cottage: A large cottage for its time, built around 1840 by the Church of England for clergy serving the district. Privately owned since 1906, it now offers self contained historic accommodation. It has an extensive rural vista , which includes St Peters' Church and Rectory.
Warder's Cottage: Built around 1840 and used by the Gaolers for accommodation (the gaol was behind the cottage) now used as the Heritage Centre and Museum by the Historical Society. When not open keys are available at the Hamilton Inn or Glen Clyde House.
Jackson's Emporium: Built by James Jackson in 1845, this building was originally 2 storeys but it was damaged by fire in the 1930's and was reduced to a single storey.
Glen Clyde House: Convict built as a private home in 1840, it was licensed by James Jackson as a Coaching Inn in 1845 as the "Tasmanian Lass". In the 1860's to the 1930's it was known as the Glen Clyde Hotel. Renovations began in the 1970's and Glen Clyde is now a Multi-Award- winning craft gallery and tea rooms. Listed by the National Trust of Tasmania.br>
The Hamilton Inn: Built by William Roadknight and postmaster around 1830, as a shop and private residence it was first licensed in 1838 as the New Inn and is the only remaining licensed Hotel, providing ensuite accommodation and a-la-carte & counter meals. A late discovery in 1994 of mineral water on this site, has the present owners producing the world's purest drinking water.
The Old School House: Built in 1858 at a cost of £751 to accommodate eighty pupils, the School House is one of the most striking buildings in the Derwent Valley. It has been saved from demolition in 1972 by action of the Hamilton Council and concerned residents, it has been extensively renovated for tourist accommodation.
Meadowbank Lake, 8km north west of Hamilton, is a catchment of the Derwent River hydro electric scheme located between Hamilton and Ouse. Meadowbank Lake, created when Catagunya Dam was constructed in 1954, is an excellent trout fishing and aquatic area. Access via Dunrobin Bridge. The lake is also popular with water skiers with two designated ski zones south of Dunrobin Bridge.
A camping and picnic area is located at Bethune Park on the western side of Dunrobin Bridge. A picnic area, public toilets and boat ramp are located on the eastern side of Dunrobin Bridge.
The relatively low elevation and the surrounding topography present a picturesque and sheltered angling experience. Meadowbank Lake is managed by the Inland Fisheries Service as a Family Fishery and is open to angling all year round. Regular stocking with brown trout, rainbow trout and trophy sized Atlantic salmon maintains the quality of the angling. Spinning, trolling, bait fishing and fly-fishing are all popular methods. Upstream from Dunrobin Bridge weed growth is prolific.
This area is designated as a small boat only zone with a 10 knot maximum speed limit. Fly-fishing from the shore or a small boat is recommended. Of particular interest are the prolific caenid and red spinner hatches during spring and summer. Downstream from the bridge the banks are generally steeper with deeper water and less weed growth. This provides opportunities for spinning, trolling and bait fishing.
Bethune Camping Area, beside Meadowbank Lake, is a grassy camping and picnic area witg sites that can accommodate big rigs. Perfect for waterskiers and anglers, there s a launching ramp close by on the eastern side of Dunrobin Bridge. The lake is the final section of the Derwent River Hydro-electricity Scheme and the last of the catchment s 10 power stations is at the foot of the Meadowbank Dam downstream. As the campground is on Hydro land, campers can stay for a maximum of 7 days. Access is through a gate on Ellendale Road, just west of Dunrobin Bridge, 2 km from the Lyell Hwy. Bring water and firewood.
The Catagunya hydro electric Power Scheme was an important step in the rapid post-war development of Tasmania's hydro-electric resources. Tasmania had the cheapest electricity in Australia, and the demand for electricity was doubling every ten years. Two thirds of the demand arose from a small number of large industries. The State government saw cheap electricity as a means of attracting more industries and the Hydro-Electric Commission as a large employer of labour. At the same time, the construction of hydro schemes was capital-intensive and funds were sometimes restricted. Strenuous efforts were made by the Hydro-Electric Commission staff to embrace new ideas in order to produce the most economical designs, of which Catagunya Dam is an example. It was an exciting and challenging time for the hydro-electric engineers.
The 50 MW Catagunya scheme was also the last of the single power schemes approved by the Tasmanian Parliament. The requirement for more electricity arose from the expanding production of zinc, aluminium, newsprint, paper, carbide and cement, and from the steady growth in domestic and retail consumers. Catagunya's output was expected to meet the increase in demand for only one year and was approved as a stop-gap measure. Thereafter larger blocks of power were required.
The single schemes began with Waddamana in 1914, using the outflow from the Great Lake whose storage was greatly increased in 1922 by the construction of Miena Dam No. 2. Over the next 40 years until Catagunya, nine other schemes were built, some in several stages.
Mt Bethune Conservation Area is 362ha. reserve of natural bushland, located 4km east-south-east of Ellendale. The majority of the 43 ha property comprises beautiful dry inland Silver peppermint (Eucalyptus tenuiramis) forest. Adjacent to Mt Field National Park, it is a popular spot for campings and bush walks.
Bethune Camping Area, beside Meadowbank Lake, is a grassy camping and picnic area witg sites that can accommodate big rigs. Perfect for waterskiers and anglers, there s a launching ramp close by on the eastern side of Dunrobin Bridge. The lake is the final section of the Derwent River Hydro-electricity Scheme and the last of the catchment s 10 power stations is at the foot of the Meadowbank Dam downstream. As the campground is on Hydro land, campers can stay for a maximum of 7 days. Access is through a gate on Ellendale Road, just west of Dunrobin Bridge, 2 km from the Lyell Hwy. Bring water and firewood.
Ouse, 15km north west of Hamilton, a small rather quaint rural Central Highlands village on the Lyell Highway, situated on the junction with the Victoria Valley Road and on the banks of the Ouse River. Ouse is the settlement where convicts James Goodwin and Thomas Connolly broke out of the South West Wilderness four weeks after their escape from Sarah Island.
Like so many of the towns on the Derwent River it was explored and settled soon after the establishment of the settlement at Hobart Town. However settlers did not move into the area until the 1820s.
One of the first buildings in the town was the Anglican Church of St. John the Baptist. In the 1830s when St Peter's Church was being built at Hamilton people began to settle around the present site of Ouse. Although there was only 16 km between the two settlements the Anglican church decided that the journey every Sunday over rough roads was too difficult for committed parishioners and so by 1842-43 the Ouse Bridge Chapel of St John the Baptist had been erected. The building was constructed with a combination of local contributions and voluntary labour. The church was consecrated in 1867 and, today, it is notable for its impressive stained glass windows and its interesting memorials to the early settlers in the district.
There seems to have been some confusion over the town's name in the mid nineteenth century. In the 1840s it was known as Ousebridge which by the 1850s had become Ouse Bridge. By the 1860s it had been reduced to Ouse.
The town's brief brush with literary fame occurred in the 1820s and 1830s when David Burn, Australia's first playwright, lived in a country house named Rotherwood near Ouse. His play The Bushrangers was performed in Edinburgh in 1829 and in 1842 a collection of his writings, Plays and Fugitive Pieces, was published in Hobart. It was the first collection of plays published in Australia.
Church of St John the Baptist a simple and modest sandstone church, situated on the summit of a knoll and surrounded by a churchyard which contains many early graves and monuments. It presents an interesting and dominant silhouette. Together with the nearby Bridge Hotel and the gardens by the River Ouse, it presents a nineteenth century precinct of rare quality. The use of the cruciform plan is unusual in a small country church (B2). Cawood: a fine two storey Georgian stone house built by TF Marzetti before 1828 with side wings added by Henric Nicholas after 1844. The house is complemented by fine stone outbuildings comprising a light horse stables to the south of the house and a heavy horse complex to the north. Locaion: off Tor Hill Road, 2km north-north-east of Ouse. Dunrobin: (1825) a single storey brick and stucco house with attached porches between gable ends. One gable end houses a radial fanlight into a small loft space once housing servants. Windows are 10 or 12 pane, the front door 6 panelled with sidelights and highlight in greek and Egyptian influenced details. Out buildings include a stone cottage, stone barn, stone stables and slaughter house - all built by convict labour. The buildings are all very much intact. Location: 11 km south of Ouse on the Ellendale Road. Millbrook Water Mill a small stone mill to a Georgian design built in 1836-1843 by W. Roadnight for James Smith of the East India Co. The building is still intact and most of the machinery is available, although dismantled. Mill wheels, dripstones etc still are in existence. Location: rear of Millbrook House, Victoria Valley Road, Ouse.
A tiny village on the River Derwent, Greta was formerly known as Macquarie Plains. Gretna is home to one of Tasmania's most memorable monuments, a memorial to the Hamilton district's 22 fallen soldiers of The Great War (1914-18). Perched on a hill on the side of the Derwent, Gretna's memorial was built by Mrs A Walker of Clarendon to remember her nephews - Guy Davenport and Arthur Davenport - who were killed in the war. The memorial sits prominently at the southern entrance to the village. It also contains a plaque which was added for the 75th anniversary of Armistice Day.
Gretna is the location of three important heritage listed locations - St Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, the local church built in 1848; Glenelg House, designed by Henry Hunter and finished in 1878, is a fine two storey Victorian Italianate Villa built for the Downie family; Clarendon House, a two storey freestone Georgian house built by William Borrodaile Wilson in 1821. Clarendon's outbuildings comprise stone stables, barn and hop kiln (with unusual brick chimney) grouped in the Scottish manner about a walled farmyard, used for the penning of animals in winter. The buildings are all basically intact and have a fine setting in the landscape, high above the Derwent River.
The Church of St Mary the Virgin (1848) is a prominent landmark in a stark hillside setting. It was one of the earliest ecclesiastical buildings in Australia to be influenced by English design trends, in which buildings were closely modelled on medieval antecedents. The church was popularly known as the Woolpack church, the name being derived from the former Woolpack Inn, located nearby. The churchyard, which contains the graves of many pioneering families has important associations for the history of the local community, and is held in high esteem.
Bushy Park is a quaint town of old houses, deciduous trees, moral fervour, and hop fields which seem to envelop every building and road. The tall wooden and metal frames holding up the hop vines are broken by lines of Lombardy Poplars, with neat and unusually shaped oast houses scattered in the fields away from the road.
The Derwent Valley Community Market operates on the 3rd Sunday of each month in the old hospital grounds - lots of bric-a-brac, fresh produce and crafts.
Where Is it?: 58 km from Hobart on the Lyell Highway between Hobart and Queenstown.
The first person to settle in the dramatically named Styx valley was AWH Humphrey who arrived in the area as early as 1812. The tiny settlement which grew up at this time was named Humphreyville but this was later changed to Bushy Park. In 1822 William Shoobridge arrived in Van Diemen's Land with some hops. He is credited with being the first person to grow hops in Tasmania although there are other claims. In 1824 a bushranger, John Logan, shot at Shoobridge as he tended his hops. In a stroke of good fortune, the bullet was deflected off a metal object in the pocket of Shoobridge - the event was put down to providence and hence the name of the valley.
In 1867 William Shoobridge's son, Ebenezer, came to the Styx valley and began growing and processing hops. He was, by any definition, a remarkable man who, with a combination of religious zeal and hard nosed capitalism, managed to make Bushy Park the largest producer of hops in both Australia and, that dubious accolade, the Southern Hemisphere. He built the iconic Bushy Park Text Kiln.
It is claimed that Bushy Park had electricity before Hobart. The hop industry flourished over the proceeding years with 2,600 people making the journey to Bushy Park to harvest the crop. Henry Jones of IXL Jam fame became involved in the hop industry in the early 1900's by becoming a hop trader.
In 1970 the first signs of over production became apparent in the markets. This led to smaller producers leaving the industry and by 1980 all the existing Hop properties were amalgamated at Bushy Park. In 1988 the present owners of the property, Haas Investments purchased the property from Elders IXL. The new owners began a period of upgrade including the present harvest complex that was built in 1992.
The harvest complex is one of the largest and most modern in the world with a capacity to pick 35-40 tons of dry hops per day. The two picking machines will pick 80 vines (max) per minute and dryers dry a floor in 8 hours.
The present area of hops being grown at Bushy Park Estates is 227 hectares. From this area we expect a yield of 650 tons of dry hops. With new varieties bred from the research station at Bushy Park Estates this yield is expected to increase. Sheep are grazed in the hop growing areas to eat the base growth from the hop plant before harvest.
The Text Kiln
The Text Kiln: The Text Kiln was constructed by Ebeneezer Shoobridge in 1867. On the walls of the Text Kiln are quotations from the Bible, such as 'And these words that I command thee this day shall be in thine heart and thy shall write them on the posts of thine house and on thine gate'. Inspection by appointment only.
Hawthorn Lodge: (1869) was the original home of Robert Shoobridge (son of Ebenezer) and his family. It has been turned into a guest house.
Water Race: Behind the town is a 3 km water race (built by William Shoobridge - son of Ebenezer) which takes water from a dam on the Styx River and runs it to the Oast House. The water was used to drive a huge waterwheel which generated electricity to dry the hops.
16km west of Bushy Park, Mt Field National Park is one of Tasmania s most loved national parks. The park has a wide variety of scenic features and wildlife and offers a great range of facilities for day visitors. Few other national parks in Australia offer such a diversity in vegetation, ranging from tall swamp gum forests and massive tree ferns at the base of the mountain, through rainforest along the Lake Dobson Road, to alpine vegetation at the higher elevations.
Features: Russell Falls, Marriotts Falls; Lady Barron Falls; Horseshoe Falls; Lake Dobson, Tarn Shelf walk, Wylds Craig walk; Florentine Valley walk; Tall Trees walk.
Broad River area: Brown Mountain Broad River region near Ellendale is the last remnant of pristine wilderness, the last biologically diverse and stable ecosystem in this area. The area adjoins and is a continuation of the glacial valley that begins in the Mt Field National Park. There are extensive areas of tall Eucalypt forest with rainforest understorey together with pure rainforest in association with rivers and creeks, marshes and moss beds together with the great diversity of plant communities make this area unique and of very high conservation value.
The eastern slopes of Mt Field and Brown Mountain are a natural backdrop to Ellendale township, the northern slopes are clearly visible from the Lyell Highway. A large proportion of the region is visible from Mt Field National Park, all of which are of high aesthetic values. Community needs for the present and future generations will be decimated if this area is to be clearfelled. Clearfelling will result in the ecological genocide of a unique part of our environment.
A town of just under 1,000 people, Magra is situated in the Derwent Valley a few kilometres north of new Norfolk. It consists mainly of dwelling houses and farmland. Accommodation is also available as the area is popular with tourists. Notable features of Magra itself include the surrounding hills and the plantation of Lombardy Poplars. In the graveyard of the Methodist Church at Magra (22km south east) is the grave of Betty King, the first white woman to set foot on Australian soil.
The area now known as Magra was originally called Back River after the small river near Stanton homestead, the home of one of the earliest white settlers, Thomas Shone. A typical rectangular symmetrical Georgian house, it was built in 1817 from convict bricks produced on the property. Stanton is a Tasmanian Heritage Listed property noted as being significant to the history of Tasmania. Thomas Shone arrived in the Derwent Valley in December 1816 from Sydney, having served four years of a sentence for passing a forged note in Shrewsbury, England, where he worked in a solicitors' office. His pardon came gift-wrapped with a 60 acre land grant and three convicts, and with the Van Diemen's Land hierarchy trying to 'domesticate' the areas outside of Hobart Town, Shone was given a wooded tract of land just outside of the fledgling township of New Norfolk.
This area had been settled largely by free settlers from Norfolk Island, displaced by that island s closure as a convict depot in 1808. The area still is home to the descendants of these rugged individuals. The name 'Stanton' was chosen by Thomas as an acknowledgement of his home village of Stanton-upon-Hine, in the old county of Salop, England. Stanton is today a Bed and Breakfast accommodation establishment.
The Shones' success as farmers did not escape the attention of bushranger Martin Cash. This Irish convict had been at Norfolk Island, escaped from Port Arthur, and ranged around the southern parts of the Midlands and Hobart with his gang members Jones and Cavanagh.
Cash's Cave remains in the heavily bushed gully in the hills behind Stanton, and it was from here that he watched the property until, in February 1843, during an afternoon social gathering, he and his gang kidnapped a neighbouring farmer, James Bradshaw, and used his identity to gain entrance to the house. Once inside, they herded the family, servants and friends into the living room, until 16 people were at gunpoint. Removing valuables from their person and from the house, the Cash gang made off back into the hills, eventually being captured finally in August of that year, after a celebrated foot chase through the streets of Hobart.
Plenty Salmon Ponds
Plenty (11km south east of New Norfolk), situated on the main road between New Norfolk and Bushy Park, is a small village, formely a location of hop growing. Plenty Salmon Ponds is the oldest trout hatchery in the Southern Hemisphere - in operation since 1864. It includes Museum of Trout Fishing and Hall of Fame. The settlement was first known as River Plenty, but by 1895 its post office had been renamed Plenty. The town is notable as it was the location of the first introductions of brown trout outside their native range.
To the European immigrants in the mid 1800's, the Australian environment was very different to the land they had left behind. To make their new surroundings more like home they introduced European plants and animals. Salmon was one of the many species chosen for introduction, largely because of the popularity of fishing but also because of the unexpected economic benefits.
After a number of failed attempts to transport them, the first live salmon and a small number of trout eggs arrived at these ponds in May 1864. 300 of 1500 brown trout eggs from the River Itchen survived a four-month voyage from Falmouth, Cornwall to Melbourne on the sailing ship Norfolk. By 1866, 171 young brown trout were surviving in a Plenty River hatchery. By 1868, the Plenty River hosted a self-sustaining population of brown trout which became a brood source for continued introduction of brown trout into Australian and New Zealand rivers.
Atlantic salmon, although successfully reared in the Plenty River hatchery and introduced at the same time under the sponsorship of the Acclimatization Society of Victoria, failed to establish themselves in Tasmania or Australia. Salmon are migratory fish, spending part of their life at sea. It was expected that once released, the fish hatched at Plenty would return to the Derwent River. Several releases were tried, but the Salmon never returned.
Redlands, on the banks of the Plenty River alongside the plenty Salmon Ponds, is one of Tasmania s most well-known rural estates. Once a thriving hop and grain farm, the estate contains an astonishing collection of heritage buildings and magnificent gardens featuring some of Australia s oldest European trees.
The property has a remarkable history, with many overlays of stories from its convict past to modern times. There are intriguing links to the royal family and the emergence of colonial Tasmania's new-landed elite, our first banks, the development of trout fisheries and irrigation, and the property also holds a primary place in Tasmania's hop farming history.
At its peak the farm employed as many as 200 hop pickers with their families living on the estate, and many Tasmanians still hold fond memories of working at picking hops. In those days there were pickers huts, a bakehouse, general store and even a butcher s shop. Only one of the pickers huts has survived but most of the other buildings are intact, though in disrepair. Now, after years of decline and neglect, the property is undergoing a modern transformation as a family residence, working farm, whisky distillery and tourism development.
Russell Falls, Mt Field National Park
Lake Dobson, Mt Field National Park
Railway water tower near Gretna