Georgian Villages Drive
Tasmania and New South Wales were the only states of Australia to have been settled and developed in the Georgian era (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). Many settlements sprang up across Tasmania during this time, 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 have remained small villages as 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 their outskirts, but in the main, the town centres 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.
The Georgian villages near Launceston are in two clusters - one, south along the Midland Highway, and the other to the west towards Deloraine and Devonport. Depending on how detailed you want your tour of the villages to be, then can be viewed on two separate trips, or in one big circular trip from Launceston and back again. For this exercise, the will be presented as two regions.
South of Launceston
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. Evandale is a storehouse of superb Georgian heritage buildings which remain in largely original condition. Clarendon House is arguably one of Australia's greatest Georgian houses still standing today. It has formal gardens and grounds, a tree lined avenue, Italianate facade, restored early colonial outbuildings and is owned by the National Trust. The village is home the National Penny Farthing Championship.
Where is it?: 19 km from Launceston, 8 km from the Midlands Highway.
Places of interest: Time Travellers Statue; National Penny Farthing Championship; Evandale Market; Clarendon House; Woomers Estate; Brickendon Historic Farm; John Glover Memorial
A quiet, inland locality that has been classified as an historic town. The Longford district has many buildings included on the Tasmanian Heritage Register. The pick of them in Longford is Christ Church, a sandstone building which dates from 1839. The church clock and bell were gifts from George IV; its stained glass window is impressive, and the church's graveyard includes many prominent Tasmanian families. Longford is home to many horse studs and training facilities, and the Longford races are held annually on New Year s Day, with thoroughbred horse racing and the Elders Webster Longford Cup.
Where is it?: 6 km west of Perth; 24 km south of Launceston off Illawarra Road at the convergence of the Macquarie River and the South Esk River.
Places of interest: Longford Markets; Longford Racecourse; Christ Church; Longford Mill; Woolmers Estate; Brickendon Estate; Kerry Lodge convict bridge; Woodstock Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary
Prominent among the early settlers, the Archer family built a number of grand houses and estates in the area. They farmed and developed the land, and built a number of homesteads which are among the finest in northern Tasmania; Woolmers Estate is one of two such properties, which are now open for public inspection. Six generations of Archers have lived in Woolmers Estate, from 1817 to 1994; it is now owned by the Woolmers Foundation Inc and offers guided tours to visitors. Regarded as the most authentic remaining example of an Australian pioneer farm, it has established a National Rose Garden, with more than 4,000 roses on display.
Where is it?: 658 Woolmers Lane, Longford.
Places of interest: historic homestead and outbuildings (guided tours available); National Rose Garden.
One of Tasmania's World Heritage Convict Sites, Brickendon Historic Farm and Convict Village was built by William Archer in 1824; the village is still owned by his descendents. The complex affords the a rare chance to see a double storey Georgian brick homestead, convict-built Gothic chapel, Dutch barns, chicken house, blacksmith shop and tool shed and stay in historic farm cottages. There is also a four hectare (10 acre) historic garden for you to explore. The homestead is a double storey brick building with a hipped roof, stringcourse and 12 paned windows with shutters. There is a portico at the front entrance.
Where is it?: 658 Woolmers Lane, Longford.
Places of interest: historic homestead and outbuildings (guided tours available); convict era buildings and relics, Brickendon historic church
A National Trust classified town situated by the South Esk River. It is the first major town out of Launceston on the route to Hobart, and also serves as a major junction for people bypassing Launceston on the route from Hobart to the north west of the state. Perth has largely been by-passed by the tourism which has turned many of Tasmania s other historic villages into centres full of gift shops and antiques retailers. There are a number of buildings of achitectural interest including Eskleigh, the Baptist Tabernacle, and St Andrews Church. A National Trust brochure, available around the town, lists no fewer than 41 building heritage buildings.
Where is it?: 19 kms south of Launceston on the Midland Highway.
Places of interest: historic buildings
A tiny village 15 kms off the Midlands Highway, Nile was originally named Lymington. Located on rich pastoral land below Ben Lomond, the village was so named after a local property called Nile Farm. The village was established by local landowners James Cox of Clarendon Estate and Donald Cameron of Fordon Estate to house their Workers. Dating from 1857, St. Peter s Church is the most dominant buildings here. The Chapel at Deddington (10 km north east) was built in 1840 by Public Subscription. The graves present in the church yard include Colonial Artist John Glover and his wife Sarah (nee Young) and their sons Henry and John Richardson Glover.
Where is it?: 11 km south of Evandale.
Places of interest: St. Peter s Church and school: Clarendon Estate.
West of Launceston
The Georgian villages to the west of Launceston are found along the Meander Valley Highway. Today it parallels Bass Highway, which is the main road between Launceston and the costal towns and cities of Devonport, Vurnie and Wynyard. Meander Valley Highway was once the main road from Launceston to these localities. The drive from Launceston to Westbury using the Meander Valley Highway is 34 km.
Hadspen is a delightful township on the banks of the South Esk River just south west of Launceston. It has a mix of modern homes that are popular with young families, and wonderful colonial buildings dating back as far as 1820. On the other side of the South Esk to the town is the historic property Entally House, the family home of Thomas Reibey, who built it in 1819 on 300 acres of land granted to his mother, Mary. Thomas settled at Entally and built the homestead and outbuildings. Thomas loved his sport and built what is the oldest cricket pitch in Australia and probably its first, hosting games before Melbourne was settled. The estate also provided the training grounds for the 1884 Melbourne Cup winner Malua. Guided tours of Entally House are conducted daily.
Where is it?: 12 km south west of Launceston; 21 km east of Westbury.
Places of interest: Entally House; Church of the Good Shepherd; The Watch House; Red Feather Inn.
A tiny, picturesque Georgian era village on the Liffey River, Carrick plays host to a number of events including Agfest and the Carrick Speedway. Agfest, Tasmania s premier agricultural event, has the second highest attendance of all agricultural field days in Australia.
Where is it?: 19 km east of Westbury.
Places of interest: Agfest; Carrick Speedway; Carrick Mill; Archer's Folly (ruins of a never completed, grand colonial house).
The White House, Westbury
Blessed with rich red soil, the colinial village of Hagley is situated in the middle of some of Australia's best farm land. Hagley is a centre for hazelnuts, with numerous properties in the area dedicated to growing them. It has a population of around 150 people. Hagley is on the Meander River which, until the founding of Westbury in the early 1820s, was known as The Western River.
Where is it?: 6 km east of Westbury.
Places of interest: Hagley House; Quamby Estate; Ivylawn; St Mary's Anglican Church
Often described by visitors as a hidden treasure, somewhere that they have stumbled across, Westbury is a pretty English-style village on the Great Western Tiers tourist Route between Devonport and Launceston. A village green, lots of tree-lined streets, old courtyards and stables, elegant old inns and a feast of charming old buildings means a visitor could easily spend a day just wandering around the streets. A classic Georgian village and classified historic town, Westbury 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. Prisoners were put in stocks on the green.
Where is it?: 34 km west of Launceston on the Bass Highway.
Places of interest: Westbury Anglican Church Market; Westbury Maze; Pearn's Steam World; The Big Wickets (memorial to cricketer, Jack Badcock; The White House; Fitzpatrick's Inn.
Tasmanian Road Distances