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.
Where is it?: Central. 37 km north of Hobart on the Midland Highway.
Like 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 the early years these were mixed farms with labour supplied by convicts. Later, wheat growing was of great importance to the early settlements both here and on the mainland. Flour mills were built by the Bagdad Rivulet to grind the grain. Early in the 1900’s Apples, Apricots and small fruit took over.
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.
Anglican’s worshipped in the Bagdad Hall in the early 1890’s before St Michael’s opened in 1904. The foundation stone for the new church was laid 5 months later in November 1903. The church was initially to be dedicated to St Thomas but this changed to St Michael before the building was completed.
former Bagdad Chapel and graveyard
The Congregational or Independent Chapel at Bagdad was established in 1842. It became part of the Uniting Church in 1977 before closing in 2006. The Bagdad Congregational church was built as a result of the efforts of Mr George Armytage and Mr John Palmer to a design by noted colonial architect, James Blackburn. There is little information about the church following its opening. It was closely connected with the Congregational Chapel at Kempton (then called Green Ponds) until 1858 when it was transferred to the care of Colonial Missionary Society (a Congregational institution).
The church fell under the authority of the Congregationalists for over 130 years until it became a part of the Uniting Church in 1977. Following its closure in 2006 it was converted into a house. The owners beautifully maintain both the church and the adjoining historic cemetery.
Secret Cave, Chauncy Vale
As one of the oldest private conservation areas in Tasmania, the Chauncy Vale Wildlife Sanctuary presents 380 hectares of native bushland to explore. While there are many walking options available in the area, the 6km Brown's Caves loop is perhaps the most accessible and rewarding. This route offers an interesting mix of local history, cave formations and abundant wildlife while strolling through open dry sclerophyll forest. Alternative routes, wildlife guides and historical information are all available from the information boards at the start of the walk. A small donation is required upon entry.
hauncy Vale was home of Nan Chauncy, a multiple award winning children’s novelist. Her books were translated into several different languages and adored by many around the world. Nan's writing captured a vivid picture of the Tasmanian landscape, it's people and it's living creatures that were "real" life, not the mechanisation and gadgets of modern society. She wrote to share her love of Tasmania- Her island shaped like a heart. She also portrayed issues surrounding early colonial life, isolation, identity, migration, enduring hardship, domestic violence and the aboriginals of Tasmania.
The sanctuary can be accessed off the Brooker Highway (A10) in the town of Bagdad. Turn east onto Chauncy Vale Road and follow for 4 kilometres to the picnic area