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.
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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.
In The Area
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.
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.
Kirklands 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.
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.