Richmond, Hobart

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  • Richmond
    by sirgaw
  • Richmond
    by sirgaw
  • Richmond
    by sirgaw
  • sirgaw's Profile Photo

    Richmond Gaol - captivating history.

    by sirgaw Updated Jun 19, 2014
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    OK I must confess my crimes – as well as a being a train nut I’m also a gaol (jail) nut and used to volunteer some of my time to the Old Melbourne Gaol in my home town.

    The Richmond Gaol first section built in 1825 is part of the ‘Convict Trail’ and pre-dates the infamous Port Arthur penal colony.

    The gaol was naturally enough built with convict labour (like almost all the civic buildings at the time) and was constructed over a 15 year period. It is perhaps Australia’s most complete convict era prison and was used as a lock up by the police as late as 1928. The gaol was designed to hold 60 prisoners, however there would have been up to 100 at any one time.

    Today the former gaol consists of 6 stone buildings and smaller structures surrounded by stone walls. Nearly all of the buildings contain relics from the sites inglorious past and includes an evil looking man trap (photo) It was interesting to wander through all the buildings and each had interpretive panels on various topics – one such panel was placed near a glass covered view of the under floor foundations and an old shoe in a corner. Seems the early settlers and convicts would place objects like old shoes, dead cats, items of clothing and children’s toys to, “lure the witches and evil spirits into voids from which they could not escape, thus protecting the residents from harm.”

    Another panel explained that sometimes the gaolers were as bad as those they had in their care and custody. One such gaoler was imprisoned as a debtor. Other gaolers were charged with being drunk on duty (who blames them – LOL), stealing food stores that were destined to be fed to inmates and perhaps the greatest crime – insolence to officials.

    The site is a state reserve and under the control of the Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service, however the property is leased to a private operator. Suggest allowing 2 hours to visit and there is a well-stocked gift/book/souvenir shop. Admission charges (May 2014) Adults: $8 Children: $4 Concession: $7 Family $20 (2 adults and children under 17).

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  • sirgaw's Profile Photo

    Historic and beautiful Richmond Town

    by sirgaw Written May 30, 2014
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    Richmond, Tasmania, is ‘The Village in the Valley’ and first explored in 1803, settled soon after and then coal was discovered and the town soon developed. Richmond is an important part of the ‘Convict Trail’ that commences in Hobart - see my tip ‘Hobart Penitentiary Chapel’ – and concludes at the infamous and former Port Arthur penal colony.

    The day we travelled to Richmond, we’d spent the morning/early afternoon at Salamanca Market and then picked up our rental car – and we did have to return as we could not get the little car into reverse. As a result we sadly only spent 2 hours in the town of Richmond – to cap it off it was raining tending to sleet, strong winds and damn cold – not that I am blaming the beautiful town of Richmond!!!

    We quickly visited the graceful Richmond Bridge (2 x photos and see note below) built by convict labour in 1823 and still carrying traffic – albeit at slow speed – and wandered down to the river in the hope of seeing the mass of ducks we’d seen on previous visit. Then a quick drive past of the St John’s (photo) – Australia’s oldest existing Catholic Church built 1836 and I hope not by convict labour

    Lady Gaw wanted shops and more shops, while I wanted to visit the historic Richmond Gaol (see separate tip) and we agreed to meet for coffee and tasty treats at the Richmond Bakery where we’d visited years earlier.

    After the promised coffee – and I did notice Lady Gaw did not have any of the incriminating evidence of shopping activity – we had a quick wander along the main street (2 photos) before we got too cold and decided to return to Hobart only 25 minutes away. We were in a strange car and I didn’t want to drive on country roads with very limited experience with that car.

    Note regarding Bridge. After some internet research I discovered that the bridge in Richmond is the second most photographed bridge in Australia. Sydney Harbour Bridge is number 1 and the famous trestle bridge over the Monbulk Creek which carries Puffing Billy Railway trains is number 3.

    There is great information on the town, accommodation and the facilities on the excellent web site below.

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  • The_Downunder_Mob's Profile Photo

    The historical town of Richmond

    by The_Downunder_Mob Updated Jul 29, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Richmond Bridge - 1823
    4 more images

    Richmond was named as a town by Lieutenant Governor Sorell in 1824. It was an important convict settlement and played a role as a military outpost in the growing colony of Tasmania. It was then the main gateway to the east coast and the Tasman Peninsula and is still a popular stop when travelling to this part of Tasmania.

    Richmond is a step back in time. Visit original 1820s Hobart Town at the Hobart Town Historical Model Village and wander amongst some of the oldest buildings in Australia. Have a coffee or lunch at one of the many cafes or discover the Richmond Arms. Or take a picnic on the banks of the Coal River with a view of the famous bridge built, by convict labour, between 1823 and 1825 (It is the oldest bridge in Australia.) and the oldest Catholic Church.

    For those with tastes more modern there are many art and craft galleries to explore.

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  • al2401's Profile Photo

    Day trip to Richmond

    by al2401 Written Apr 2, 2011
    Richmond Bridge
    4 more images

    Richmond was named as a town by Lieutenant Governor Sorell in 1824. It was an important convict settlement and played a role as a military outpost in the growing colony of Tasmania. It was then the main gateway to the east coast and the Tasman Peninsula and is still a popular stop when travelling to this part of Tasmania.

    Richmond is a step back in time. Visit original 1820s Hobart Town at the Hobart Town Historical Model Village and wander amongst some of the oldest buildings in Australia. Have a coffee or lunch at one of the many cafes or discover the Richmond Arms. Or take a picnic on the banks of the Coal River with a view of the famous bridge built, by convict labour, between 1823 and 1825 (It is the oldest bridge in Australia.) and the oldest Catholic Church.

    For those with tastes more modern there are many art and craft galleries to explore.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Richmond - Historic town worth a look

    by iandsmith Updated Mar 28, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Richmond is a village that gets lots of publicity. It has Australia's oldest bridge, oldest Catholic church and lots of other items of historical interest like gaols, houses and farm implements. Though it's a tourist trap you shouldn't confuse it with overseas traps. It isn't crowded but there are always people there.
    There are lots of quirky shops where you can lighten the load in your wallet without feeling too much pain. Things like the maze will keep the children occupied and they should find some stimulation at the gaol (if only I could leave them there I hear you think!).
    There's also Australia's oldest bridge that is the most photographed in Tasmania.
    It's just north of Hobart, a pleasant drive in the country and makes a great outing for the day.

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  • xuessium's Profile Photo

    Mini Old Hobart Town in Richmond

    by xuessium Updated Oct 23, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    OldHobartTown

    Richmond has a model village named "Old Hobart Town" that has been largely reconstructed from original plans that depicts Hobart as it was in the 1820's. Feel like a giant as you weave yourself through the maze of exhibits. Thought it was cheesy but it turned out quite fine.

    Extracted from the website:
    ..."This unique Historical Model Village is a result of three years full time work by John and Andrew Quick who are the owner operators. The model itself has been largely reconstructed from original plans of the era thus depicting Hobart as it was in the 1820's. The authenticity of this model makes it unique in Australia. There are other model villages but all are English, make believe or not done from original plans and maps. With a great eye for detail John and Andrew have not only built the sixty odd buildings but have also made some four hundred period figurines which all tell their stories of the cruel times of our forebears"....

    Entry fee is a few A$. Can't remember the exact amount but it should not be more than A$5 per pax (circa 2004).

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  • xuessium's Profile Photo

    That Little Cottage Town Called Richmond

    by xuessium Updated Oct 20, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    RichmondBridge

    This was the first place outside of Hobart I visited in 2000. I returned for a second visit (and a better look) in 2004.

    A quick history: First explored in 1803 by Lieutenant Bowen, the area was called "Sweetwater" after the arrival of settlers. The discovery of coal along its banks caused the river to be named the Coal River, and the town itself (officially named by Lt Gov. William Sorell on February 23, 1824), was so called as the 90 acres on which it was established had once been part of a property called "Richmond Park". During the early years, Richmond was an important police district and the first part of the Gaol was built in 1825, five years before port Arthur. The bridge, built in 1823 (now the OLDEST standing bridge in Australia), enable easier movement of military, police and convicts between Hobart and Port Arthur, as well as the transport of goods. When Sorell Causeway opened in 1872, this traffic no longer passed through Richmond and helps to preserve the town as it was one hundred years ago.

    Richmond is a genuine (BUT BE-WARNED: TOURISTY) village of slate and cobbles, handmade brick and mellow stone, cottages and manors. Set aside your prejudices and wander streets lined with sandstone buildings that now serve as showplaces for the best of Tasmania's fine art and crafts. There are quaint tearooms serving Devonshire teas and all kinds of delicacies, old fashioned sweets and baked delights, while a Georgian mansion offers fine fare.

    Go to the Tourist Office and get a walking map of Richmond. Most folks will eventually made their way to the Bridge and the River. Feed the ducks or spend some quiet time lying on the grass, nary a care for the world.

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