Campbell Town

Once one of the early coaching stops between Launceston and Hobart, Campbell Town is nestled on the banks of the Elizabeth River on the main road between Hobart and Launceston. The town has an impressive collection of colonial buildings from the Georgian era.

Where is it?: 66 km south of Launceston; 132 km north of Hobart on the Midland Highway.

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Around Town
Campbell Town Markets
Campbell Town Hall, Campbell Town
Trading: Last Sunday of the Month  8am  3pm
Type: General. Phone: (03) 6381 1390

Chainsaw Sculptures

Campbell Town's home-grown chainsaw sculptor, Eddie Freeman, created a series of macrocarpa pine memorials to the town s rich heritage. The sculptures capture some of the essence of the natural and human history of Campbell Town in these finely detail carvings in the trunks and limbs of the 80 year old trees. The sculptures are in Blackburn Park beside The Red Bridge.

Campbell Town Convict Brick Trail is dedicated to the nearly 200,000 convicts who were transported to Australia for almost 100 years from 1788 onwards. Over 70,000 came to Tasmania. Today it is estimated that 80% or 4 out of every 5 Tasmanian have a little convict blood in their veins. The trail begins here at the red bridge, this famous bridge was built entirely with convict labour.

In The Area
Red Bridge

One of Campbell Town s famous attractions is the convict-built Red Bridge, the oldest bridge on the National Highway. The bridge and causeway, were built as a part of the original main road, it was to be a part of Bell s line of Road, but this road never got past Oatlands. Construction was commenced in 1836 and completed in 1838. It consists of drystone abutments and timber top, although the top has been replaced. In its construction, convicts made 1,250,000 bricks and then built the bridge on dry land. Built for horse and cart it is today the oldest bridge in Australia still in use on a major highway, such was the workmanship of our forefather convicts.

Heritage Buildings

The Grange (1840) stands at the centre of the town like an English manor house. In fact it was, for many years, the home of Dr William Valentine who, in 1874, reputedly held the first telephone conversation in Australia when he spoke to a friend in Launceston.

Beyond The Grange, on the corner of William Street and the High Street, is St Luke s Anglican Church and beyond it on the corner of Bridge and Pedder streets is the church s rectory, a fine example of a colonial Georgian residence with five bay windows. The brick brick church had its foundation stone laid in 1835 and was completed in 1839.

Just opposite St Lukes church you ll see a monument to Harold Gatty, a native son of Campbell Town. In 1931, he and American Wiley Post were the first people to fly around the world.

The Black Bridge so called because it was made of bluestone, carries the railway through the east of the town. Once a lifeline for the community it opened the market for Campbell Town s main industries  agriculture and timber.


Marjorie Blackwell s dream home, 'Climar', was built by her and her first husband Cliff Blackwell in 1955. The name 'Climar' is made up from the first three letters of their christian names  It features a fence with the notes from The Melody of Love  and a gate with a piano accordion design motif  from the Marjorie Bligh family photograph collection. She was Tasmania s queen of the household scene.

Often referred to as 'Australia s Mrs Beeton' or 'Tasmania s Mrs Beeton', in her self-styled career as a housewife superstar, she married three times and produced six books on cooking, home economics, craft, history and gardening. It has long been rumoured that Marjorie was an inspiration for Barry Humphries' Dame Edna Everage.

Lake Leake

Lake Leake was built in 1880 to supply permanent water for Campbell Town, approx 30 mins drive to the east, enjoy the beautiful bush scenery and great trout fishing. Currawong Lakes trout fishery and wildlife retreat are on the Long Marsh dam Road at Lake Leake.


10 km west of the town is the tiny hamlet (it is so small it does not appear on most maps) of Kirklands where the poet A.D. Hope's father was Presbyterian minister during the 1910s. The manse, where Hope spent his childhood, was built as early as 1828. Today the church appears very much the same as it did when it was completed in 1836.

The church at Kirklands is closely associated with the establishment of the Presbyterian Church in Tasmania. It opened in 1836 and was one of the earliest Presbyterian churches in Van Diemen's Land. Presbyterian worship at the settlement along the Macquarie River commenced in the late 1820's, some time before the Kirklands church was built. The Scotch settlers decided that a church should be built but believed that a manse had to be constructed first in order to recruit a pastor. Rev. John Mackersey, formerly minister of the West Calder parish in Scotland, took up the post upon his arrival in Hobart in 1829. Having succeeded in building the manse and church at some personal cost, Mackersey served as pastor at Kirklands until 1853 when he resigned following the death of his wife.


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.

Brief History of Campbell Town

The traditional custodians of the Campbell Town area were the Tyerrernotepanner (chera-noti-pahner) Clan of the North Midlands Nation. The Tyerrernotepanner were a nomadic people who traversed country from the Central Plateau to the Eastern Tiers but were recorded as inhabiting 'resorts' around present day Campbell Town, lagoons near present-day Cleveland and Conara and the southern banks of the South Esk River. The colonial name for this clan was the Stony Creek Tribe, named after a small southern tributary of the South Esk at Llewellyn.

The Tyerrernotepanner were severely depleted as a clan during the first decades of the 1800s, as colonial settlers claimed land up the South Esk and across the fertile plains of the Midlands. The Tyerrernotepanner were formidable opponents of settler colonisation and aggression during the Black War and were recorded as attacking settlers from the Lake River to The South Esk and Tamar River Valleys during the final phase of Aboriginal resistance in the 1820s and 1830s. The last members of the Tyerrernotepanner were 'conciliated' by George Augustus Robinson and, under orders from Governor Arthur, were exiled from their country to die in the squalor of Wybalenna or Oyster Cove.

The area of modern Campbell Town would have been known to colonials in Launceston (then Port Dalrymple), as the name of the river passing through was already known as Relief Creek. Lachlan Macquarie renamed it after his wife Elizabeth when passing through in 1811. The site of modern Campbell Town was named by Macquarie in 1821 on his second tour of Van Diemen's Land and, continuing his habit of renaming Tasmanian landforms after his family and friends, is named for his wife's maiden name. The first settler at the site of modern Campbell town was Thomas Kenton, a constable, who erected a cottage here at some time around 1821 and by 1823 a causeway was erected over the river and an inn opened in 1824.

Campbell Town was established as a town in 1826 and was originally one of the four garrison towns linking Hobart and Launceston. Campbell Town had 2 3 soldiers permanently stationed  with the main headquarters at Ross. As the threat from the aboriginal clans decreased the soldiers were replaced by convict police, who established stations in the town and in the surrounding tiers and rivers; primarily as a means of controlling or capturing escaped convicts.

The establishment and growth of Campbell Town as a police district headquarters and commercial centre paralleled the change in Van Diemen's Land agricultural economy from a peasant farming base to a more capital intensive land grant system. By 1836, a decade after its establishment, the Campbell Town district had already established its major landholders, free settlers who had displaced both indigenous people and any smaller colonial landholders, and had established cropping and pastoral holdings with a sheep population of 180,000. By the mid 1830s Campbell Town was a garrison town with a court house, gaol, Police magistrates' house, two hotels, two inns and emancipated men running stores and mechanics' shops.

The growth of agriculture, housing and infrastructure was facilitated by the labour of assigned men and household labour was facilitated by both male and female convict labourers. The obverse to this 'free' convict labour was the enormous paramilitary and penal infrastructure required to maintain the convict system. Gentleman farmers and retired military officers were appointed by governor Arthur as magistrates to prosecute the law on this frontier.

Today, it acts as the only major rest area on the Midland Highway, with toilets, a park, a large car park and a range of food outlets. Campbell Town is also the retail centre for much of the southern part of the Municipality Midlands area.

Not To Miss