With rolling hills, Georgian-style buildings and cobblestone streets, Richmond, in southern Tasmania, looks like a quaint English village from the 1800s. Set by the banks of the Coal River, Richmond can be reached by driving over the Richmond Bridge – but be sure to hop out of your car and marvel at this historic masterpiece from every angle after you do. Built by convicts in 1823, the bridge is the oldest still in use in Australia and has had a murky past. There are many stories of it being haunted by disgruntled ghosts, including Grover, an overseer who was murdered by convicts for being particularly heartless with them.
Other than Australia’s oldest bridge, Richmond is home to Australia’s oldest Catholic Church and gaol. Both the church and gaol are still in use (although not for prisoners; it’s used as a museum instead). There’s also the surprisingly terrific Old Hobart Town, a model village depicting the capital in the 1820s, reconstructed from antique city plans.
Forty-five of Richmond’s buildings have been listed on the Register of the National Estate and many of the Georgian buildings have turned into guesthouses, restaurants and shops showing an inside look as to what living in the 19th Century was like for colonial Australians.
Where? // 27km (30min) northeast of Hobart in the stunning Coal River region.
Did you know? // Convict Ikey Solomon was an inmate at the Richmond Gaol in 1832, before being moved to Port Arthur two years later. It’s widely believed that Charles Dickens used Solomon’s story as inspiration for the immortal character of Fagin in Oliver Twist.
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