A rural inland town in Tasmania's north west, Railton promotes itself as the Town of Topiary. The main attraction in the town is topiary, which is the art of shaping bushes and trees by careful pruning to resemble familiar objects such as animals. The idea to use topiary to bring visitors to the town birthed in the late 1990s. It began when local business owner Neil Hurley created Railton's first character topiary at his shop -Looking Glass Cottage - A horse and farmer working an old plough - a living monument to the pioneering farmers of the district.
The next topiaries followed shortly after - Ned Kelly - in Dowbiggin Street and Bluey'scrocodile - outside the Railton Motor and Tyre service station. Community support quickly gathered momentum and other businesses and private individuals took up the art. Today there are over 100 individual topiary in the town, many forming their own story or scene, like the topiary service men and women to be placed at the cenotaph in town. There is even a park full of topiary animals in the Cradle Mountain National Paddock on Crockers Street.
Additional to the topiary are six murals in town painted on shops and buildings mainly depicting the history of the area as a part of Kentish outdoor art gallery.
Railton lime works, 1923
The longest continually working limeworks in Australia operated at Railton from 1860 to 1996. Tasmanian Cement Pty Ltd was established in 1923, and was taken over by Goliath Portland Cement Company in 1928. Following huge expansion and several takeovers, in 2003 this large Railton industry became part of Cement Australia, the nation's leading supplier of cement and related products..
Where Is it?: 24 km south of Devonport, 12 km north east of Sheffield.
SEVEN SHEDS BREWERY, MEADERY & HOP GARDEN
Select from a range of our permanent and seasonal brews to taste, enjoy at our on-site picnic tables or take home. Open Wed–Sun.
22 Crockers Street, Railton 7305
Ph: (03) 6496 1139
Sykes Sanctuary is 40 acres of bushland with abundant birdlife, walking tracks and memorials to Norman Sykes. He was an eccentric conservationist who gave up city life to live in a small shack, close to nature. He bequeathed his property to the Railton community with the instruction that it be conserved as a bird and fauna sanctuary.
Henry Somerset Orchid Reserve
Henry Somerset Orchid Reserve is renowned for the diversity of native terrestrial orchids, some of the orchids are listed as rare and endangered species. Moreover, some of the orchids are not only endemic to the state of Tasmania, but to the local area. A walk takes approximately 45 minutes and starts from the carpark off Railton Road.
Warrawee Forest Reserve
Warrawee Forest Reserve has a five kilometre walk with access to barbeque facilities, tables and three ponds stocked with trout. Platypus can sometimes be viewed on tours conducted early in the morning or at dusk with the Latrobe Landcare Group. Tours should be pre-booked a day or two before arriving at the reserve.
Kimberley Warm Springs
9.3 km south-east of Railton via Bridal Track Road
Kimberley Warm Springs are a geothermal feature and semi-developed visitor site located within the village of Kimberley. The micro climate created by the warm springs results in a unique habitat. Water from the springs remains at a constant temperature of 24 -25 degrees Celsius. The water's chemical composition suggests it gains its heat from hotter sub-surface materials. The spring is the only one of its kind in the north-west of Tasmania. The reserve features a constructed pool, approximately 13 metres by 20 metres and 1.2 metres deep, a sheltered barbecue area, parking and public toilets. Access to the site is from Warm Springs Road off Morrison Street. The site is well signposted within the town.
Once a thriving village with a school, railway station, shops and two churches, the village of Kimberley has declined since the 1960s and is now a collection of houses with one church (St Michael and All Angels Anglican Church) remaining. Much of the surrounding farmland has been planted with plantation timber in recent years. Papua New Guinean politician Barry Holloway was born at Kimberley and is buried there, and Kimberley Warm Springs is nearby. Kimberley is the site of the Dasher River Conservation Area.
30.8 km south-east of Railton via Emu Bay Road
Deloraine is a delightful town in the valley of the Meander River, with many heritage buildings, both in its main street and surrounding areas. The town's resident population of around 2,000 swells by 30,000 when Australia's biggest working craft fair comes to town every November. Held over four days, more than 200 exhibitors show everything from kites to candle wicks, kaleidoscopes to fine silkscreen paintings, woodcarvings, lead lights and hand-blown glassware.
11.4 km south-west of Railton via Sheffield Road
A rural inland town set against the backdrop of Mt Roland, Sheffield is known as the Town of Murals because of the many murals that decorate the walls of buildings around the town. Names like Promised Land, Paradise and No Where Else were used to encapsulate the beauty of the region. Visitors today believe this still rings true! View rich agricultural fields, rolling green hills and natural vistas when journeying to Sheffield, Cradle Mountain, Wilmot and Railton.
Chocolate mud cake, Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Cafe
21 km south-east of Railton via Bass Railton Road
Elizabeth Town is not really a town at all, just a collection of houses and business alongside Bass Highway midway between Devonport and Launceston. Though it has a population of around 500, it's one of those places that if you blink you might miss it. But if you do miss it, you will miss out on some of the best gourmet produce of Tasmania's north-west.
Elizabeth Town is at the heart of a thriving agricultural region known for its dairy products and small fruits, which makes it a great place to stop for morning or afternoon tea, or lunch. The choice of places to eat and what to eat is remarkably wide, and the quality is of the highest standard. You can eat in or take away, and by take away we aren't just talking about meals. You can buy chocolates, dairy produce, fruit and fruit products straight from the farm or factory in what has become a mecca for foodies.
Railton railway station, 1908, where potatoes grown locally are being loaded for shipment to the Australian mainland through the port of Devonport
Brief History of Railton
The town of Railton was first surveyed in 1853. The wide main street was built to make life easier for the bullock teams making their way to the railway station. By the 1900s Railton had a flourishing timber trade with two sawmills.
The town was first known as Redwater Creek and only became known as Railton after the construction of a tramway line in the 1860s by the Mersey-to-Deloraine Tramway Company. Formed in 1864 to link Deloraine with the North West Coast, the company used a line with a 4'6" gauge. It soon found itself in financial difficulties and when it opened the line early in 1872 had only 16 3/4 miles (27.9km) of track laid. Traffic response was much poorer than anticipated and after only 4 months of operation the company was forced to retire its only engine. Thereafter the line was worked by horses between Latrobe and Railton for seasonal produce traffic.
Construction of the line between Railton and Wilmot in 1914
After the involvement of the Tasmanian Government in the company's operations and finances, the Deloraine to Latrobe line was eventually completed in 1885, resulting in a major increase in rail traffic through Railton. The Railton to Roland branchline of the Mersey-to-Deloraine tramway, then operated by Tasmanian Government Railways, was completed in 1914 and operated until 1957, enabling agricultural and forestry products from the rich Kentish district to pass through Railton junction.