Visting Ross? Well, nearby is Campbell Town, take the time for the short drive, this town is probably not as well know as Ross, but is just as interesting.
Campbell Town is located on the Heritage Highway..... With ONE HUNDRED HOMES OVER 100 YEARS OLD, where else in Australia can you see such Colonial history?
It was established as an early garrison town on the way to Launceston from Hobart, and was named after Governor MacQuaries wife, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Campbell.
In 1820, Saxon sheep were introduced, and still today, this area is big on Sheep farming
Properties in this area, produce some of the finest Merino Wool in the world, with world record prices being set at the Wool Auctions. Sheep were introduced over 150 years ago to the area, but the Historic "Winton Estate" pre dates this. The Estate is open for public viewing.
The Heritage Highway Museum is in a working Court house. Over the times, it has been a Police Station, Library, Council Chambers and Solicitors Office. The Museum contains items and information on the local history of the Midlands.
Pick up a heritage walk brochure from here. There are 3 different walks that you can do throughout the town, REALLY INTERESTING HOMES/PROPERTIES TO VIEW HERE.
Located in church street, Ross, this is a Museum, wool exhibition centre and the information centre.
The History museum showcases early life in Ross, and has some very interesting pieces on display, the bath I thought was pretty interesting!
The Wool exhibition shows the importance of the wool industry, there is touch and feel section and audio visual displays (in both areas). Its in here that you learn all about wool, see the olden day shears, presses, etc. and the different grades of wool. Woollen items are for sale.
Open Daily (except for Christmas Day and Good Friday)
Monday - Friday 9.00am - 5.30pm - Sat & Sunday 9.00am - 5.00pm
The centre also organises guided tours for pre-booked groups.
A TYPICAL ENGLISH VILLAGE IN AUSTRALIA, this is ROSS, where you will find a fascinating historic bridge, original sandstone buildings and convict history.
It is arguably the finest nineteenth century village in Australia.
Take the time to walk the streets of this town, its only small and its delightful.
There are 40 historic buildings in Ross. You can pick up "Lets talk about Ross" booklet which has a map and info, from the visitors centre
Ross, sits on the banks of the Macquarie River, it has Cobble-style paths and grand old elm trees that line the main street, a delight to walk under!
The Midland Highway, the main route between Hobart and Launceston, by-passes Ross
which I think adds to it's charm, its a little sleepy, and when we visited, had very few tourists.
The visitor centre is........
OPEN DAILY (except for Christmas Day and Good Friday)
Monday - Friday 9.00am - 5.30pm - Sat & Sunday 9.00am - 5.00pm
The Ross Bridge was built by Convicts in1836, and is the 3rd OLDEST STANDING BRIDGE IN AUSTRALIA
It is the most important convict built bridge in Australia. The stone work is beautiful, it was done by two convict stone masons, Daniel Herbert and James Colbeck.
They were paid one shilling a day for their work. Herbert was freed after the bridge was completed, and is buried in the old cemetery. He is credited with the beautiful carvings on the side of the bridge, so make sure you have a look at them. There are 186 carvings of abstractions of shapes, animals, birds, insects, plants, celtic gods and goddesses, heads of friends and foe, including the govenor of the day, George Arthur.
It is made out locally quarried sandstone. Located beside the bridge is a parking area and picnic grounds.
ROSS BRIDGE IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL OF ITS KIND TODAY.
At the crossroads in the town centre, is what is know as the "four corners of Ross"
A building on each corner has been given a name, they are.........
AND A SCENARIO......
TEMPTATION - The Man O'Ross Hotel, established in 1835
Did you go to the Pub, and get drunk last night, then you must have gone to the "MAN O'ROSS HOTEL".....
Well,I had better go and declare my sins, so am heading across the road to....SALVATION - The Roman Catholic Church which was converted from a store in the early 1900's
Oh dear!! Somebody threw one too many punches, and now I'm in...DAMNATION - The town Gaol, which is now a colonial home
Out of Gaol, and now some time to enjoy freedom and some recreation, so are heading to the other corner on the cross road to .....
RECREATION - The Town hall accounted for much of the towns pleasure
Have a look at these beautiful, historic buildings.
This trail begins at the Red Bridge, which is historic in its own right. This famous bridge, was entirely built by convict labour, they laid over 1 million bricks to complete the bridge.
The bridge was originally built over dry land, then the Convicts were told to dig out and divert the River under the bridge.
They dug out 1km on either side of the bridge. Used for Horse and Cart in those days, it is now THE OLDEST BRIDGE IN AUSTRALIA USED AS A MAJOR HIGHWAY.
August 2003.........AND THE 1ST BRICK IS LAID
The Trail is a commemoration of our convict history. Each brick is engraved with the Convicts name, age, boat, date of arrival, crime sentence and comment on convicts transported to Australia & Norfolk Island.
The Trail is dedication to the convicts.
Take a walk and follow the trail of bricks around Campbell Town
You can do 3 different Heritage Walks, or drive around slowly as we did.
There are so many different old style homes here.
A bit of information we found out, is that lots of old homes in Tasmania have attics, you see the window in the top of the house. This room was used by the owner for accommodation for his servants, once they were in there, they would remove the ladder so the servants couldn't escape.
There is also a trail of bricks around Campbell Town, each brick being engraved with names and a bit of history on the Convicts being transported to Australia and Norfolk Island.
This is a large home in Campbell Town.
A wealthy Doctor, named William Valentine who arrived in 1839, had the Grange built for him. His interests included Botany and Astronomy.
In 1874, the transit of Venus was viewed from the Grange, only since being viewed again in June 2004.
He died in 1874, and his memorial which was put up by the community, is located in the Church yard and weighs 21/2 tons.
Ross has three churches. I won’t pretend we did much more than take some photos: limited time prevented closer inspections, so that will have to await another visit. Still, all three are substantial and look interesting. Taking them in the sequence from the northern (Launceston) end of Church St, the Anglican Church (main photo) is on your left. It is the oldest of the existing churches to operate in that role, dating from 1868. Apparently it is noted for its stained glass, and the rose window in the second photo certainly appears interesting.
Further up the street, on the main intersection which is known as “Temptation”, “Damnation”, and “Salvation” because the pub, former jail and church are on three of the corners, you will find the Roman Catholic Church (photo 3). This is listed as dating from 1920, but with a little research I found that it actually is a reworking into Gothic style of a pre-existing store dating from the mid-1800s.
At the end of Church St, on a small hill near the Information Centre, you will find the Uniting Church, seen in photo 4. This is believed to date from about 1885. Alongside it is a stone indicating the previous existence of a Wesleyan Chapel dating from 1838.
One reason that Ross is so original is that it has barely grown past its mid-1800s beginnings. Unlike many other towns which boomed after mining finds, or with industrial development, Ross remained simply a centre for the local rural industries. So there was little pressure to demolish and rebuild and 20th century-style buildings are hard to find! The town is now heritage protected and, as the main photo shows, it’s a quiet place (at least outside tourist season)!
This War Memorial in photo 2 is an obvious change, erected to mark the loss of a local resident in Britain’s war of 1899 -1902 against the Boers in South Africa and flanked by a cannon from that war. In the background, the WW1 Memorial carries far more names: whether descended from a forcibly transported convict or a free settler, in those days the British links remained strong!
These days, Ross has only one pub, the “Man o' Ross”, a substantial place dating from 1835 and seen in photo 3. I’m fairly sure some well-integrated additions have been made. Almost across the road, looking more original and with a National Trust plaque is the former “Scotch Thistle Inn” (photo 4) first licenced in 1840 and more recently housing a restaurant: it now is a private residence. Not far beyond it, the Post Office (photo 5) dates from 1896 and now doubles as a shop - note the "mounting stone" outside, intended to help 'vertically challenged' people to mount tall horses!
The name had me thinking, “wool is great for keeping warm, but this sounds boring” – however I’m glad to say there is more to this centre which well merits a visit. Dating from as far back as 1988 and built for Australia’s Bicentenary in period style, this building houses a good little museum; the Information Centre; a shop selling local crafts, produce and trinkets; and the wool industry exhibit which gives the name. Entry is free, donations are welcomed.
Among the museum’s highlights, seen in the background to the second photo are sections of the ornamentation from the Ross Bridge. Sadly, the nature of the soft sandstone is leading to weathering of the original sculptures. There also are displays of archaeological digs at the site of the former “Female Factory”, as well as items associated with the life and times of the Ross district in the early days.
On your way through, you might also care to learn something of the wool industry – take a moment to feel the diffference between “fine” wool with a fibre thickness of something like 24 microns and “extra fine” wool with a thickness down to about 16 microns (photo 3). The latter is used for the finest quality garments and is produced in the Ross district and areas with a similar climate – cold dry conditions lead to finer wool.
The main photo (and detail in photo 2) show the 1836 building erected as the headquarters for the Army Ordinance Corps with behind it, and now a private residence, the original town jail (photo 3). A little further back, to one side of the Ross Bridge, are the original stables for the military garrison horses, seen in photo 4. While much of the timber in the stables appears to have been replaced, I found the feeding trough hewn into the sandstone (photo 5) quite evocative of the past.
Without a shadow of doubt, the bridge at Ross is Australia’s best example of convict bridge construction, quite apart from its beautifully balanced design. Needless to say, it is justifiably famous within Australia.
The bridge was designed by the Colonial Architect and built by two convict stonemasons, Daniel Herbert and James Colbeck, assisted by a gang of convict workmen (under military supervision). Construction took somewhat longer than was necessary, as a consequence of some unpleasantness involving one of the stonemasons being sent in chains to Hobart Town and the construction contract being given to a free citizen, who proved unable to build the bridge.
Progress resumed with the stonemason’s return and the bridge was opened in 1836 – as the Roman Numerals in photo 2 proclaim. Going by the sign above the construction year, it seems that Lieutenant-Governor Arthur, in charge of the Van Diemen’s Land colony at that time, was somewhat given to self-aggrandisement (apart from his better-known authoritarian style). Other inscriptions on the bridge tell us that it is 68 miles from Launceston and 69 miles from Hobart Town (photo 3), and (photo 4) that Capt. William Turner of the 50th or Queens Own Regiment, was the Superintendent – modestly, Capt. Turner had this inscribed at both ends of the bridge!
But what really make the bridge are the curious neo-Gothic carvings providing ornamentation to the arches (photos 1,5). These were the work of stonemason Daniel Herbert. Understandably, the authorities were so delighted with the final result that both the convict stonemasons were emancipated on the bridge’s completion.
The Uniting church was built in 1885. We walked inside and had a browse. The font has a carved Cherubim, and the stained glass windows are beautiful.