Exeter is a small town approximately 24 km north of the city of Launceston. It is an important town agriculturally due to its positioning in the centre of a large rural area known for its orchards, dairy and beef cattle, fruit produce and sheep herds.
Exeter Uniting Church is a rather plain looking weatherboard building but its history is of interest. It is in fact not one church but two. Established 1916, it is Exeter’s oldest existing church but it actually has an even older history. In December 1951, the church became the new home for the Winkleigh Methodist Church 11 km away, which was transported to Exeter as an extra building on-site. The two sections were later joined to make one larger building. The church celebrated its centenary in 2016 but Methodist services in Exeter took place at least two years before the church was built with meetings taking place at the Gravelly Beach Hall and the Exeter Showgrounds Hall. The earliest Methodist Church in the West Tamar region is the historic church at Supply River.
Brady's Lookout is 5 km south of Exeter on the West Tamar Highway. It was used by the infamous bushranger Matthew Brady to identify potential victims below. The popular picnic spot offers great views of the surrounding country side.
Brady (1799 - 1826) was an English-born convict who became a bushranger. He was sometimes known as "Gentleman Brady" due to his good treatment and fine manners when robbing his victims. Brady was convicted of stealing a basket and some butter, bacon, sugar and rice and tried at Lancaster on 17 April 1820. He received a seven-year sentence of transportation, arriving in Australia in the convict ship Juliana on 29 December 1820.
He rebelled against the conditions in Sydney and received, over time, a total of 350 lashes in punishment for misdemeanours and attempts to escape. In 1823, he was sent to the new penal settlement at Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbour, Van Diemen's Land, which had been established 'for secondary offenders and desperate prisoners'.
On 7 June 1824, Brady was part of a group of fifteen escapees from Sarah Island, who sailed a whaleboat around the south coast to the River Derwent and spent the next two years as bushrangers. Brady was considered a gentleman, who rarely robbed or insulted women. Brady was briefly captured in 1826 but managed to escape and swore revenge. Days later Brady and his gang captured a boat, intending to sail it to the Australian mainland. Due to bad weather crossing Bass Strait, they were forced to turn back.
After being injured in an unsuccessful capture attempt, Brady surrendered to settler John Batman. The outlaw was ill and suffering much pain, and did as he was asked. After pleading guilty to murder, the only one attributed to him, and the theft of four horses, Brady was hanged on 4 May 1826, at the old Hobart gaol.
Glengarry Bush Maze
The Glengarry Bush Maze is a unique hedge maze set amongst beautiful Natural Tasmanian Bush. After the maze you can take a relaxing stroll through the bush, ferns and birdlife, and if you're lucky you might even see a Platypus. They also have a range of outdoor puzzles and games to entertain children for hours. Location: 48 Jay Dee Road, Glengarry. Ph; (03) 6396 1250. Entry fees apply.
Narawntapu National Park
Narawntapu National Park abounds in Forester kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and even Tasmanian devils on its grassy plains and heathlands. They are relatively comfortable in the presence of people and will often allow you to approach them for close observation. At dusk, you can catch sight of little penguins scampering up the beach at Point Sorell. The western part of the park is in an ideal location to be combined with a tour of the vineyards of Tasmania s premier wine-growing region, the Tamar Valley.
Notley Fern Gorge
Notley Fern Gorge (11 km south-west) is a forest dominated by large, old eucalypts over a understorey of rainforest. Towards the creek, there are a variety of fern species growing in abundance. The gorge is a 3/4 hour walk from the carpark along a well constructed path following a creek, with a 1.5 km return walking track through the forest. Look out for Brady's tree, a giant hollowed-out tree that bush-ranger Matthew Brady and his band of followers sheltered in during the 1820s. Brady’s Tree is only five minutes’ walk from the car park.
The Fern Gorge trail is ideal for for beginners, it's easy to walk, not too long, with lots of interesting fungi to photograph. There are plenty of fallen logs, fairy-tale moss-covered trees and plenty of ferns, not to mention white gums and blackwoods overhead. The Gorge has a picnic area is at the car park along with clean rest rooms. Unfortunatlry, no dogs are allowed so as to not disturb the abundant wildlife.
15 km north of Exeter, Batman Bridge gives road access to the eastern side of the Tamar Valley between Whirlpool Reach, Hillwood at its eastern end and Sidmouth / Deviot midpoint at its western end. The bridge connects the Batman Highway with the West Tamar Highway (state route A7) and the East Tamar Highway (state route A8). The bridge is named in honour of John Batman, a Launceston businessman and co-founder of Melbourne. Built between 1966 and 1968, it was the first cable-stayed bridge in Australia and among the first such bridges in the world. The main span is 206 metres long, suspended from a 91-metre-high steel A-frame tower. The tower is on the west bank of the Tamar river, on a solid dolerite rock base which carries 78% of the weight of the main span. The length of the bridge is 432 metres between abutments. The east bank is soft clay not capable of supporting a bridge.