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Tasmania's Georgian Villages

Tasmania, then known as Van Diemen's land, was the second Australian colony to be developed after New South Wales. Fearing the French would annexe regions of Australia not under direct British control, the first two settlements were established at Rison Cove (Hobart) October 1803, and at Gorgetown on the Tamar River in the north in November 1804. The Van Diemen's land colony flourished and became almost as prosperous and well populated as New South Wales. In December 1825, it actually separated from New South Wales - Hobart was now a solid, well-to-do town hardly less important than Sydney.
Many settlements sprang up around the Huon Valley and Derwent Valley regions near Hobart, and along the main road through the middle of Tasmania that linked the northen and southern settlements. But unlike regional New South Wales, there were no gold rushes to lead to Tasmania's georgian-era settlements into becoming sizeable rural cities like Bathurst and Parkes; Tasmania's rural communities remained small villages and most saw little if any growth after their intital settlement and development.
Today these Georgian era villages are like time capsules, frozen in time, their buildings lovingly restored to their original condition. Newer buildings have been added in some of the towns, along with residential areas on thier outskirts, but in the main, the town centre's remain pretty much as they were 170 years ago, except for modern signage and bitumen surfaces on the streets and roads. The old pubs and guest houses that were stopping places for colonial stages coaches and cross country travellers still offer a warm bed for the night, eating houses still off a tasy meal, though the menu has changed somewhat, and shops that once sold vittals to locals now sell arts, crafts and souvenirs to tourists.

Footnote: The Georgian era is a period of British history which takes its name from, and is normally defined as spanning the reigns of George I, George II, George III and George IV. The era covers the period from 1714 to 1830.


Just 7 km from Launceston airport and Midlands Highway, the Georgian village of Evandale is set in farmland with views of mountains across pastures. A National Trust classified Georgian village, it is known for its unspoiled heritage buildings, parterre hedges, cottage gardens and gravel paths underfoot. The village is home the National Penny Farthing Championship. Just down the road is Clarendon House (1838) - arguably one of Australia's finest Georgian houses still standing today.
Where is it?: Tasmania: North East. 19 km from Launceston, 8 km from the Midlands Highway.


Located on the shores of Lake Dulverton about half way between Hobart and Launceston on Tasmania's Midlands highway, Oatlands is a hauntingly beatiful, intact colonial era village with it architecture covering a broad range of styles. A designated historic town, Oatlands is said to have the largest collection of pre-1837 buildings in Australia.
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.
Where is it?: Tasmania: South. 79km north of Hobart, 113km south of Launceston on the Midland Highway.


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. Drive or walk down Kempton’s main street and take in the 19th century atmosphere as you pass the inn, church, shops, a neat row of stone cottages and Dysart House, a handsome Georgian mansion, which is now privately owned.
Where is it?: Tasmania: South. 49 km north of Hobart just off the Midland Highway.

Bushy Park

This delightful, rambling little village located 58 km from Hobart on the B62 is like no other town in Australia. It is like a piece of rural Europe, a town of old houses, deciduous trees, moral fervour, and hopfields 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.
Where is it?: Tasmania: South. 58 km from Hobart on the Lyell Highway between Hobart and Queenstown.


Tasmania's most well known Georgian era town that has become a major tourist attraction, Richmond is rich in history and heritage. It 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. Richmond's centerpiece is the magnificent bridge, Richmond Bridge, built between 1823 and 1825. It is the oldest bridge in Australia still in use. The bridge was built by convict labour and like much of Tasmanian convict history, is shrouded in tales of hardship, tragedy and restless spirits.
Where is it?: Tasmania: South. 26m north of Hobart.

An Oast House near New Norfolk

New Norfolk

A picture perfect Georgian town set idylically on the banks of the River Derwent in hop growing country. 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?: Tasmania: South. 35 km from Hobart on the Lyell Highway between Hobart and Queenstown.

The farm of the Jericho's superintendent of convicts, it was used by Gov Argthur when he led the hunt for bushranger Matthew Brady and his gang


Founded in 1816, Jericho is one of the oldest townships in Australia. Like its better known neighbour, Oatlands, the main road of Jericho contains many 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. The town flourished for a time in the nineteenth century as a stage coach resting post. Now bypassed by the Midland Highway, it is an often forgotten sleepy village that retains its colonial charm.
Where is it?: Tasmania: South. 69 km north of Hobart on the Midland Highway.

Campbell Town

Named by Governor Lachlan Macquarie, after his wife’s family, during a visit in 1821, Campbell Town was one of the early coaching stops between Launceston and Hobart. Nestled on the banks of the Elizabeth River, the town has an impressive collection of colonial buildings such as The Grange, the Foxhunters Return (a lovely example of a 19th century inn, built in 1834), St Luke’s Church (1939) and the convict-built Red Bridge (1836). Campbell Town has are over a hundred homes aged a century or more, with some fine examples of colonial architecture.
Where is it?: Tasmania: Central. 134 km north of Hobart and 68 km south of Launceston on the Midland Highway.

Bagdad Congregational Church and graveyard


In the days of the horse and buggy, Bagdad was an important rest area and horse-changing place for those continuing their journey up Constitution Hill. It is now an area of orchards and small mixed farms and a commuter settlement. Lake many other localities nearby, the town was named by the explorer Hugh Germain, a private in the Royal Marines. He was said to carry two books in his saddlebags while travelling: the Bible and the Arabian Nights, which he used as inspiration when he named places. In April 2003, during the early part of the Iraq war, the town's website was bombarded by confused internet users from around the world trying to contact Iraqis.
Where is it?: Tasmania: South. 37 km north of Hobart on the Midland Highway.

Tunbridge cemetery


Originally known as Tunbridge Wells after the famous English spa town, Tunbridge came into existence in 1809 and quickly developed into an important coaching stop between Hobart and Launceston. The convict built bridge at the northern end of the town is the oldest single span bridge in Australia (1848). Tunbridge Manor is at the centre of town and dominates the townscape. By-passed by the main Midland Highway, it consequently has a quiet charm well removed from the urgency of the highway.
Where is it?: Tasmania: South. 92 km south of Launceston and 107 km north of Hobart on the Midland Highway.

Westbury Village Green


Westbury is a classic Georgian village surrounded by hedgerows and lanes reminiscent of England. The town was first surveyed by the Van Diemen's Land Company in 1828. It was developed as a military garrison and the troops were barracked around what today is the Village Green, reputedly one of the few traditional village greens in Australia. Westbury's first settlers were mostly Irish - many fleeing the Great Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s. This quaint 19th century village offers a number of reasons to stop and explore. Westbury has numerous museums, housing collections of agricultural machinery, antique steam engines, vintage cars, 19th century toys and historic furniture.
Where is it?: Tasmania: North west. 34 km west of Launceston on the Bass Highway.


Believed by many to be the most beautiful historic town in Tasmania, Ross was an important stopover point between Launceston and Hobart in colonial times. As such it was a horse coach changing point, a town for the local garrison and an important destination for produce from the surrounding farms. One of the most attractive aspects of Ross is that it has not been overly corrupted by modern tourism - that the Midland Highway (the main route between Hobart and Launceston) by-passes Ross, thus preserving the original, sleepy character of the town is largely the reason for this being so. The town is very typically English and, with its warm sandstone, is reminiscent of the towns which can be seen in the Cotswolds or in north Oxfordshire. Quite rightly the pride of the village this beautiful stone bridge was constructed by convicts in 1836.
Where is it?: Tasmania: Central. 117 km north of Hobart and 78 km south of Launceston on the Midland Highway.

Low Head lighthouse keeper's cottage

George Town

George Town is Australia’s third oldest settlement after Sydney and Hobart. The settlement was named in 1811 by Governor Macquarie who had plans for its use as the northern administrative capital. A Pilot Station was established and manned at Low Head in 1805 but the stone buildings built by convicts to shelter workers from the weather didn't happen until 1835. The Low Head lighthouse and keepers' quarters were built two years earlier. Tasmania's only foghorn was installed here in April 1929. Today, the foghorn at Low Head Lighthouse is one of only two functioning Type G diaphones in the world, and it is sounded every Sunday at noon.
Where is it?: Tasmania: Tamar Valley. 50 km north of Launceston.

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