What a beautiful old town Richmond is, you can see why this is one of Tasmania’s most popular destinations for tourists. This town is steeped in history and as you take a drive through the village your eyes can’t help but be drawn to the beautiful architecture of the old buildings, some dating back to the early 1820’s.
You’ll find Richmond about a 20 min drive from Hobart, in the Coal River Valley. The town itself is home to many cafes, restaurants and galleries, each operating out of resorted Georgian buildings that line the streets. Visiting this town is like taking a step back in time, there is so much to learn and the buildings are like a work of art.
Many of the homes are restored to their original standing, whilst the newer style homes are built to fit in with the surrounding architecture. It’s hard to explain just how picture perfect Richmond is. Even the surrounding towns are filled with beautiful wineries, it simply is one of the most spectacular areas of Tasmania.
In the 1820’s, the gaol and courthouse were built, as Richmond had become an important convict station and a military post. Built in 1825, the Richmond Gaol is the oldest gaol in Australia.
Unfortunately both times we drove through Richmond were outside the opening hours of the gaol, so we were unable to stand inside the stone walls.
The most famous landmark of Richmond (and our initial main reason for visiting) is the Richmond Bridge. Building of the bridge commenced in 1823 and the bridge was officially opened in April 1825.
This Heritage Listed sandstone bridge spans the Coal River and it is now the oldest bridge in Australia. This amazing structure was built by convict labour and the design was an engineering achievement at the time. In fact, for 10 years after it was built it had the longest span of any bridge in Australia.
Now I’m sure that this isn’t the only one in the area, but the ghost of George Grover reportedly haunts the bridge. Legend has it that Mr Grover was not a nice man by any means and often whipped the convicts as they quarried sandstone from nearby Butchers Hill. One night he was attacked by the work gang pushing the cart and they threw his body onto the rocks below the bridge and his ghost is said to have haunted the arches of the bridge ever since.
Never one to pass up the chance to visit a cemetery or photograph a church, next on our stop was St John’s Catholic Church. Built in 1836, this is Australia’s oldest existing Catholic Church.
Should you pay a visit to Richmond? ……. for sure! This area is beautiful beyond words. I don’t think either of us could live in Tasmania as we like our hot sunny days too much (definitely couldn’t survive a winter in Tasmania!), BUT if we were to move there, we both agreed that this was the perfect place.