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Oatlands on onwards to the East Coast

sunny 25 °C

Oatlands was one of a string of military stations established in 1813 during the construction of the midland highway by convict chain gangs, to connect Hobart to Launceston. The road ran through the area of Tasmania corresponding in name and geography to that of the British midlands. Oatlands soon became one of the coaching stops for early travellers. Today it has the richest endowment of the Georgian buildings in the country, mostly made of local sandstone. As a result the township is classified by the National Trust. Its most distinctive building the Oatlands Flour Mill was in operation until 1980.
Callington Mill is unique – the only authentic, working 19th century tower mill in the Southern Hemisphere.
Built in 1836, the mill dominated the growing town’s horizon, a fifty foot tower with walls two foot thick, wooden shuttered seventy foot sails almost doubling it overall height.
By 1837 the Oatland’s district was producing nearly 18,000 bushels (144,000 US gallons) of wheat and generating substantial income in the colony. Callington Mill could grind between 160-240 US gallons of flour an hour.
In 1838 an advert went into the Hobart Town Courier: “For lease one of the first rate windmills in the country, and surpassed by none in its situation for business... it includes two pairs of good stones (French burrs) dressing and smut machines, together with a very respectable dwelling house, attached to which is a counting house and small store, washhouse and servants bedroom. On the premises is a good granary, stable, chaise and cart houses with piggeries and fowl house, and about two acres of garden under cultivation.”
By 1891 however, times had become hard and small local mills were forclosed and Callington Mill was abandoned. In 1913 fire raged through the tower, destroying what remained of the internal machinery and the cap. The door and lowest windows were bricked up, the bottom ten feet of the tower sealed with cement render and the once proud mill became a water tank as it was abandoned once again.
The effort to save the mill began in earnest in 1979. In 1988 the cap was replaced on the tower. It was restored to full working order in 2010.
Expressions of interest are sought for the removal of the old Callington Mill cap, currently situated in the Callington Park grounds. This unique cap was built in the late 1980’s under the guidance of master builder Tom Andrewartha. The interior hardwood that forms the curvature of the cap was steamed on the site to from the curves that shape the mill cap. These timbers are internally visible. An exterior fibreglass later forms the exterior of the cap., The cap was placed on the heritage listed Callington Mill. It was replaced by a slightly amended form at the turn of the century, so is surplus to requirements. Approx. 6mW x 9.5mL x 7mH. Removal of the cap from the site will be the responsibility of the successful bidder by March 2015.
Local farmers grow grains suited to the area and the mill, just as they did in the days of early settlement. Flour from the mill is supplied to high quality bakers and chefs whose skills to transform it into signature products that reflect both baking and cooking traditions and the value of good food.

Gaoler’s Residence
A stone gaol was built on this site between 1834 and 1836by convicts, replace a wooden gaol built about 18 years earlier. At it’s maximum capcity, the gaol could hold 270 prisoners, this was the largest country gaol ever built in Tasmania. Oatlands, Hobart and Launceston were the only gaols in Tasmania that executed prisoners. Eighteen men met their fate in Oatland. Amidst protests, which the Government ignored, the bulk of the gaol was demolished.
Only the stone perimeter wall remains of the gaol itself, the remnants of the site filled in to house a public swimming pool. Notice how worn the stone steps are!
Regulations for the Oatlands Gaol, 1859. Uncovered during restoration works in 2010.

Oatlands Coach House
The original convict built rubble stone cottage at the rear was built by James Weeding in 1829 and leased to the military that was overseeing convict labour for the construction of the road from Hobart to Launceston. The cottage was used as ain Inn until 1841. Dr Park’s hospital was then based here, followed by a Post Office. In 1855 William Barwick purchased the cottage and built the new two storey Midlands Hostel onto the street front, offering accommodation, drinks and meals to weary travellers. He added stables and a brewery to the rear and a coaching cottage next door.

Oatlands Lodge
was built in the 1830’s for James Weeding using convict cut sandstone procured from a quarry that is still evident about 200m behind the building.
The building has been a girl’s school and a bootmaker’s shop was once attached to the front. According to legend, the lady who kept the shop bribed the men then building the main road through Oatlands with plugs of tobacco, to put a bend in the road to slow traffic thus attracting customers to her shop.

Lake Dulverton Conservation Area
From this view Lake Dulverton extends southwards and slightly east for 2.75km. The area is part of the traditional grounds of the Lairmairanepair, Aboriginal people. The shores of Lake Dulverton have been the scene of a number of industries including sandstone quarries, flax mill, timber sawmill and a railway station. Today black swans make it their home.

Set on the banks of the Macquarie River, Ross, like Oatlands, was once a military station and coaching stop along the midlands highway. It lies at the heart of the richest sheep farming district tin Tasmania, internationally recognised for its fine merino wool. Some of the larger rural homesteads of have remained in the same family since 1820.
The towns most famous site is Ross Bridge, built by convict labour and opened in 1836. It features 186 unique carvings be convict sculptor Daniel Herbert, who was given a Queen’s pardon if his intricate work.
Ross Bridge
This bridge on the former Hoabrt to Launceston road was designed by civil engineer and colonial architect John Lee Archer. The bridge was constructed by two convict stonemason’s, with a gang of convict labour. Herbert created the unique ornamentation of the arches. Both stonemasons were emancipated on completion of the bridge which was officially opened in 1836.

Campbell Town Carvings
These wood carvings by Eddie Freeman of Ross, graphically highlight aspects of out unique history.
The first tree depicts a British soldier guarding a convict labourer during construction of the bridge.
The second tree features Governor Macquarie and, behind him, his wife Elizabeth. Slightly below Martin Cash, the bushranger.
The carvings of the aeroplane and globe honour local born Harold Gatty who in 1931 circumnavigated the earth by air in Winnie Mae. The sheep and wool bales represent the Campbell Town Show, the longest running annual show in Australia.
The third tree displays the rich aquatic and terrestrial wildlife found along the Elizabeth river.

Detour to Stoney Creek
I like nothing better than seeing a wiggley road on a map and going exploring! This one took us down an 'unsealed road' via Stoney Creek to get close to Stacks Bluff - the jaggedy rock in the picture!
and onwards through the tiny 'village' of Mangana, we pass an idyllic chapel set in these beautiful surroundings.

Posted by charlystyles 22:29 Archived in Australia

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