Longford



A quiet, inland locality that has been classified as an historic town, Longford is located close to Launceston in a farming district noted for its wool, dairy produce and stock breeding.

The annual Longford Show was first held in 1858 and is one of the longest running rural shows in Australia. Held in October, it attracts between 7000 and 8000 people. It includes equestrian events, poultry and dog shows, chopping and tree felling, sheep and fleeces, rides and games, as well as displays of artwork from local schools.

Longford Racecourse is the oldest continuously operating racecourse in Australia. 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.

The annual Longford Show was first held in 1858 and is one of the longest running rural shows in Australia. Held in October, it attracts between 7000 and 8000 people. It includes equestrian events, poultry and dog shows, chopping and tree felling, sheep and fleeces, rides and games, as well as displays of artwork from local schools.

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.

Heritage Walk
Situated in one of Tasmania's greatest pastoral areas, the town of Longford is located at the junction of the South Esk and Macqarie Rivers, in a low-lying highly modified landscape. Longford was originally called Latour, after the director of an English syndicate, which obtained extensive grants in the region in 1826. It's grid structure is bent on a central axis, giving interesting views along streets at the town centre, which is tightly designed, with generally harmonious buildings. The relationship of the town centre to the village green is important, as are plantings within the green. This urban space also provides a fine setting for the Christ Church, Old Sunday School and Churchyard.
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    Around Town
    Markets
    Longford Markets
    Wellington St, Longford
    Trading: 2nd Sunday of the month
    Type: Art & Craft, Produce. Phone: 0403 087 462.
    A makers market with all handmade or homegrown goods and produce


    Christ Church



    Longford district has many buildings included on the Tasmanian Heritage Register. The pick of them is Christ Church, a sandstone building which dates from 1839. Sited in an attractive and expansive church yard in the centre of town, Christ Church was constructed between 1839 and 1844 to the design of Robert de Little and consists of a broad buttressed nave with cast iron columns (added in 1878). de Little (1808-76) came to the colony in 1830 and established himself in Launceston as a builder and architect. The magnificent five-light east window, with Perpendicular Gothic tracery, depicting Christ and the Four Evangelists, was made by William Wailes, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1842 and was probably the earliest figural window in the country. The carved altar in arts and crafts idiom was designed by Alexander North.

    The sandstone exterior is dominated by an imposing west-end tower which was completed as recently as 1960 through the raising of the stonework by around 5 metres. The church clock and bell were gifts from George IV; its stained glass window is impressive, and the church's graveyard - the site of the First Settlers Cemetery - includes such prominent Tasmanian families as the Archers and the Reibeys.

    Location: Christ Church Anglican Church, Cnr Wellington and William Streets, Longford

    Other significant historic buildings constructed between 1830 and 1850, include: 'Leverington' and outbuildings; Christ Church (1839-44); Queen's Arms Hotel (1835); Blenheim Hotel (1846); former Tattersall's Hotel (1860) now the Longford Library; Racecourse Hotel; Longford House and Barn (1839); 'Old Norley' (1838); 'Brickendon' (1831); 'Northbury' (1862); Viaduct and Railway Bridge; 'Kilgour'; Methodist Church and iron fence; 'Old Norley'; CWA Hall (Druid's Hall); 9, 28, 70, 114 Marlborough Street; 'Bellamona' (c.1850); Monds & Afleck Produce Store; 'Curraghmore' (Laura Ville); 'Northbury'; 'Brickendon' and outbuildings; 'Pinefield' (1827); Old Tannery; Ian Cairns Pty. Ltd Old Mill; 'Berriedale'; shops, 55-69 Wellington Street; Country Club Hotel (c.1850); Toll House (c.1835); Goodlands; Ivy Cottage, 90 Wellington Street (c.1835); 'Beulah' (c.1840); Old School House; 'Ravensworth' homestead; Christ Church Old Sunday School; 'Mountford' homestead, old barn, outbuildings, entrance and drive (1830s, 2 km); 'Bowthorpe' (6 km north, 1850); former School House and Chapel (5 km north, 1840); 'Mount Ireh' homestead and outbuildings (1836); 'Woolmers', outbuildings, cottage and gardens (from 1818); 'Woodstock' (6 km west, 1826); Christ Church and Tom Roberts' Tomb and Graveyard.



    In The Area
    Clarendon House



    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 wealthy grazier and merchant James Cox (son of William Cox) had the house built in 1838. Location: 234 Clarendon Station Road, Nile via Evandale Ph (03) 6398 6220.

    An architecturally significant two storey Georgian Regency style mansion which has the only example of a giant order portico on a residence of its period in Australia. Clarendon has a fine reconstructed garden, notable outbuildings and an important setting in the landscape. The main facade of five bays is divided by two storey pilasters terminating in an entablature. The tetra-style portico has giant order Roman Ionic columns. French windows are flanked by pilasters with cornices. There are six paned windows at the upper level. There are double doors with fanlights and sidelights at the front and rear. A brick service wing is single storey, with iron tile skillion roof. Another brick service wing has lofts.

    Woolmers Estate



    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, Brickendon Estate (both on the Australian National Heritage List), Panshanger, Northbury, Fairfield, Cheshunt, Woodside, Palmerston and Saundridge.

    Woolmers Estate, near the village of Longford and overlooking the Macquarie River, is acknowledged as one of the most outstanding examples of 19th century rural settlements in Australia. Accurate and authentic in the minutest detail, it is not difficult to see why the estate has received a World Heritage listing. Location: Woolmers Lane, Longford. Tasmania



    Woolmers Estate was settled in circa 1817 by Thomas Archer the 1st. It has existed through six generations of Archers, until the death of Thomas William the 6th in 1994. The array of extant buildings on Woolmers including family houses, workers  cottages, former chapel, blacksmith s shop, stables, bakehouse, pump house, gardener s cottage etc. provides a rare insight into the social structure of a colonial pastoral estate. At an estate of this size, a virtual small village was formed where up to 100 people might be living and working at one time. The village remains intact.

    In addition to the architectural the site contains a wide range of collections acquired by the Archer family over 180 years, providing a rare insight into six generations of one family. The combination of the historical collections, the buildings and the site itself represents a significant cultural resource and an important visitor attraction.

    Guided tours of the homestead introduce visitors to the home s former occupants and the personal collections and furnishings they each acquired and ultimately left behind. The duration of each tour is approximately 45 minutes. Tours of the extensive grounds, outbuildings, rose garden and the walled-in gardens are self guided.




    Woolmers National Rose Garden
    Located on the banks of the Macquarie River outside Longford, the outstanding Woolmers National Rose Garden displays all of the recognized rose families. Its 5,000 roses represent one of the finest collections of historic roses in the southern hemisphere, ranging from the earliest European and China roses through to the roses of the twenty first century. The plan of the National Rose Garden is formal and symmetrical and acknowledges the 19th Century context in which it sits. Some of the rose beds are planted in such a way that the visitor can enjoy an educational experience, with each variety identified by a nameplate.

    Brickendon Historic Farm



    One of Tasmania's World Heritage Convict Sites, Brickendon Historic Farm and Convict Village was built in 1824; the village is still owned by his descendents. The complex affords the a rare chance to see a Georgian 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.




    Part of the rickendon Farm village, Brickendon Chapel is an enchanting Victorian Picturesque Rustic Gothic building featuring steep pitched shingle roof, original stained glass windows and the mellow timbers of its huon pine pews. Built around 1856, it has a high pitched shingled gabled roof, belltower and gabled foyer. The chapel is highly decorative with many neo-gothic features including brick buttresses and decorative fascias and stained glass windows.

    The Farm Village, of which the chapel is an integral part, was the hub of Brickendon, a 465 hectare grant taken up by William Archer in 1824 on land opposite his brother at Woolmers, where he developed a new and innovative farming enterprise. William developed Brickendon into a mixed farm with cropping being a major focus, using a convict workforce of up to 50 people who lived in the tiny village he created. By the 1840's Brickendon was highly regarded as one of the best farms in the colony.

    Kerry Lodge Bridge



    Kerry Lodge Bridge, also known as Strathroy Bridge and Jinglers Creek Bridge, is located on the former Midland Highway, some 9.6 km just south of Launceston. The convict built bridge was authorised by Lieutenant Governor Arthur, with work commencing in 1834. Lieutenant William Kenworthy, the Inspector of Public Works at Launceston, was in charge on site, with John Lee Archer in overall charge in Hobart. Archer was also responsible for designing the magnificent Ross Bridge. Kerry Lodge was a convict station established in 1834. Over its 14 years of operation, Kerry Lodge resembled a self-contained industrial settlement, with male convicts enduring a harsh regime of enforced labor based around sandstone quarrying, stone cutting, and construction of both Strathroy Bridge and the associated route of the main highway between Launceston and Hobart.

    This bridge and causeway of bluestone masonry is a high single barrel vault across a deep gully. The massive facades are decorated with a colonnade of narrow pilasters, string courses and relief panels in the parapet walls. The copings are of random rough stones set on edge, unusual in Tasmania and particularly curious because at the time the bridge was built it was intended to have moulded freestone copings.

    Coincidentally, Kenworthy, who supervised the bridge's construction, had purchased Kerry Lodge Farm four years previously. After an initial delay in consideration of tenders for the supply of lime, work was under way in February 1834 and by October correspondence was entered into about the provision of freestone for the coping of the parapet walls, a plan which did not materialise. Jingler's Creek which flows under the bridge, and Jingler's Valley, through which the railway passes after leaving St. Leonards, were named after an outlaw who once made the valley his his headquarters, hence Jingler's Creek.


    Woodstock Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary

    Woodstock Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary is a natural wetland area which is a nesting and breeding sanctuary for waterfowl. Its total area is around 160 ha. Jointly owned by Dr Tatiana Petrovsky and brothers Bill and Jamie Cox, the area is now permanently protected under Conservation Covenant under the Protected Areas on Private Land program. Not only are waterfowl and swans provided with a habitat, but numerous other species, including endangered species like the green and gold frog, are thriving there.


    Longford Racing Circuit


    Longford Circuit in 1968 - Graham Hill's BRM P261 leading Jim Clark's Lotus 49 Climax, Amon Ferrari's Dino 246T, Frank Gardner's Brabham Alfa BT23D, Leo Geoghegan's Lotus 39 Repco, Richard Attwood's BRM P126, Kevin Bartlett's Brabham BT11A Climax and Pedro Rodriguez's BRM P126.

    This historic town of Longford also has motorcar racing history. The Longford Circuit, a temporary motor racing course laid out on public roads, hosted many races back in its heyday of the 50's and 60's. Its first race meeting was held in 1953. During its 15 years of operation, it established itself as a popular venue with fans and competitors alike. Held over the Labour Day bank holiday weekend at the start of March, the annual race meeting was the biggest event of any kind on the island, attracting huge crowds. Drivers and bike aces who came over on the Princess of Tasmania ferry enjoyed not just the challenge of the circuit, but also the unrivalled hospitality of the locals, a trait that survives today in this attractive part of the world.



    But what really put Longford on the map was the arrival of the international names, starting with World Champion Jack Brabham, winner in 1960. Others followed, including a flu-ridden Roy Salvadori in '61 (he won the main event after Brabham retired), John Surtees in '62, and Bruce McLaren, Chris Amon and Tony Maggs in '63. The launch of the Tasman Series in '64 further strengthened Longford's place, and for five glorious years it held a special role as the final round. Australian open wheel and touring car stars Bib Stillwell, Lex Davison, Leo Geoghegan, Frank Matich, Frank Gardner, Spencer Martin, Kevin Bartlett, John Harvey, Ian Geoghegan, Norm Beechey, Bob Jane and Allan Moffat alll raced at the circuit.

    The Australian Grand Prix was staged there in 1959 and 1965 and the track hosted a round of the Tasman Series each year from 1964 to 1968. The outright lap record of 2:12.6 set by New Zealand's Chris Amon in a Ferrari P4 sports car at the final meeting was, with an average lap speed of 196.62 km/h, the fastest lap record for any Australian motor racing circuit until 1987. Longford remained as Australia's fastest road racing circuit until the Formula One series moved to the Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne in 1996.


    The start of the Australian Tourist Trophy for sportscars, 1964: Pit Straight with Frank Gardner's Alec Mildren owned Lotus 23 Ford leading from Bib Stillwell's Cooper Monaco, Frank Matich in the Total owned Lotus 19B Climax and Bob Jane's Jaguar E-type.

    The Track was located on the northern edges of the town and its 7 km lap passed under a railway line viaduct, crossed the South Esk River via the wooden Kings Bridge, turned hard right at the doorstep of the Longford Hotel, passed over the railway line using a level crossing and traversed the South Esk again via another wooden structure, the Long Bridge. Sections of the old Formula One race track still remain today even though the track was closed back in 1968. You can also visit the Flying Mile which saw motorcar speeds of up to 288 km/h. The two bridges have long been demolished and a highway now intersects the network of roads on which the circuit was laid out. In spite of that, some 80 per cent is still driveable and it's possible to get some flavour of the original circuit.


    A disused section of the track today. The faintest shadow of a painted Shell logo is still visible on the viaduct's red bricks.
    • Revisiting the Circuit today

    • Country Club Hotel
      The closest the racing circuit got to the town of Longford was the corner of Wellington and Union Streets - known as Pub Corner - just outside the town centre of Longford. The cars came along Union Street and turned right into Wellington Street, around the front of the Country Club Hotel. A large brick Georgian inn, it was built about 1850 as the Prince of Wales Hotel. Being right on the racing circuit, the hotel was a popular drinking place among spectators. Today it keeps alive its link with Australian motor racing history with memorabilia and photographs on its walls of races held here and the names of the legends of motor sport who raced here. You can enjoy a meal at the Chequered Flag Bistro.
      Location: 19 Wellington Street, Longford. Ph: (03) 6391 2769.





    History of Longford

    Before European settlement, the area was used by the Panninher band of Tasmanian Aborigines. Then in 1806 the first Europeans, Jacob Mountgarrett and Ensign Hugh Piper, passed through the area, and in the following year Lieutenant Thomas Laycock camped near the current site of the town during his overland journey from Launceston to Hobart.

    Settlers started to arrive in 1807 as farmers were moved from Norfolk Island to Van Diemen's Land (the original name used by Europeans for Tasmania). Governor Macquarie granted land rights to the settlers, who originally called the area Norfolk Plains. The town, originally called Latour, grew up around the Longford Hotel which was built in 1827 by Newman Williatt, and in 1833 the town was renamed Longford. Convict labour was free and settlers used this to build some fine houses and estates.

    Thomas Archer emigrated from England to Australia in 1811, and retired from government service in 1821 to develop his 2,000-acre (8.1 km2) estate. By 1825 he held 6,000 acres (24 km2) in the area and his success persuaded first his brother Joseph, then his brothers Willam and Edward and their father, to join him.

    For ten years during 1958 to 1968 the Longford Circuit was made famous hosting two Australian Grand Prix and several Tasmanian Cup car races. Unfortunately the motor racing event was killed by lack of finance in 1970, however today Longford still holds to Australian Touring Car Championship (known now as Targa Tasmania). During the years of 1964 to 1975 The Tasmanian Series Motor Racing Event was also held which featured Australia and New Zealand going head to head in car racing.