Day eight of our Tasmania trip was already upon us (Friday 4th November 2022). We had decided to visit the historic towns of Kempton and Oatlands and then fit in another park activation.
After breakfast we headed north out of Hobart on the Midland Highway. Our first stop was to have a look from the road, of Wybra Hall. It is one of a number of majestic and historic homes along the Highway at Mangalore and Bagdad, north of Hobart. Wybra Hall was built in c. 1860. During the 1950s it was purchased by the Tasmanian Government and was a government run reformatory for boys and girls. It closed in 1988. It is now a private residence.
A little further along the Highway at Bagdad is the historic homestead of Oakwood. a two storey Georgian mansion which was built in the 1830s. The land on which the Oakwood homestead now stands was originally granted to John Ingle who arrived in Van Dieman’s Land in 1804. Oakwood is a private residence.
We then turned off the Midland Highway into the little town of Kempton. I had read a lot about this quaint little town on the internet and it was a must see for us. Kempton is is an early colonial settlement with numerous historic buildings. Kempton has been classified as an historic town.
By 1814 European settlers had arrived in the area and they named the district Green ponds due to its green ponds. In 1816 Anthony Fenn Kemp, a soldier-merchant settled in the area. He acquired 4,100 acres of land and developed a wool industry in the area, along with breeding horses and cattle. He also introduced a North American variety of corn.
It was due to Kemp that in the 1840s the settlement became known as Kemp Town, and later Kempton.
Our first stop was the old whisky distillery which is located in Dysart House, an old sandstone coaching in which was built in 1841. It was used as a coach staging post for travellers during their journey between Hobart and Launceston. Dysart House contains 22 rooms.
We then had a look at the Little Quoin Rivulet bridge at Kempton. It can be located at the northern end of Kempton’s main street, not far from the Midlands Highway. The bridge was constructed in 1840 by a convict road gang which included 88 Americans and Canadians. They had been transported to Van Diemen’s Land for the part they played in the failed uprisings against British rule in
Upper Canada during 1837 and 1838.
We then drove back into the main street of Kempton to admire some more of the heritage buildings. This included the WIlmot Arms Inn which was built in 1844 by convicts. It operated as a licenced inn until 1897. Kent Cottage was built in 1843 and is reportedly the oldest shop in Kempton. It was used as a grocery, drapery and ironmongery. The Green Ponds Probation Station was established in 1828 as part of a number of military posts in Tasmania established by Governor Arthur. It was used as a post to protect European settlers from the local aboriginal tribes.
We then drove on to the equally historic town of Oatlands. It was lunch time, so we stopped in at The Pancake and Crepe shop and had a magnificent lunch including a devonshire tea.
After lunch we commenced our exploration of the town and its many historic buildings. Oatlands has the largest collection of sandstone Georgian houses in Australia. A total of 138 sandstone buildings can be found in Oatlands, with 87 of those in Oatlands main street.
In June 1821, Major General Lachlan Macquarie, the Governor of New South Wales, visited the area. He recognised the present site of the town of Oatlands as a “a most eligible situation for a town”. He named it Oatlands in honour of the Duke of York. Oatlands was the name of the seat of the Duke of York in Surrey.
Above:- Major General Lachlan Macquarie. Image c/o Wikipedia.
During our walk around the town we visited the Commissariat Store and Guard House which was built in 1827. This is one of the oldest buildings in the Military precinct of Oatlands. This building was built of stone, unlike many of the early buildings in Oatlands which were constructed using timber. This was because of the stores which were housed in the building which needed to be protected from thieves.
The Oatlands Court House was built by convicts in 1829. It was originally constructed as a Chapel and Police Office. In 1835 more rooms were added to the building. It was used as a Supreme Court and is one of the oldest Supreme Court Houses in Australia.
A number of death sentences were handed out in the court, however, all but eighteen were later commuted to life sentences. These men were executed in the nearby gaol. Solomon Blay was the executioner for Oatlands, Launceston and Hobart. He resided in Oatlands.
We then visited the old Oatlands Gaol. Work commenced on the construction of the gaol in 1827. The first Oatlands Gaol was constructed of logs which were hauled to the site by bullock teams. In 1834 work commenced on the new gaol. Two years later it was completed. A total of 2,000 loads of stones were used to complete the structure which was built by a total of 68 convicts. The gaol was closed in 1863.
Sadly the 1930s saw the demolition of the majority of the gaol.
Next was Callington Mill on Old Mill Lane. The mill was built in 1836 by John Vincent who had arrived in Hobart Town in 1823. It is the only working Lincolnshire style windmills in the Southern Hemisphere.
We then viewed numerous other historic buildings in the town including Lake Frederick Inn which was built in 1834 by George Atkinson. In 1836 the name of the Inn was changed to Dulverton Inn and in 1853 it was known as the White Horse Inn. Oatlands Lodge was built in the 1830s as a private residence. It later became a girl’s school and a shop.
We then continued north on the Midlands Highway to the town of Ross. In 1821, Governor Macquarie was on his second journey through Van Dieman’s Land. He decided on a new settlement in the area and called it Ross in honour of the name of the home of his friend H.M. Buchanan who lived on Loch Lomond in Scotland.
Our first visit in Ross was the site of the Ross Female Factory. It was originally used as a male road gang station. Between 1848 and 1854 the buildings were used as a probation station housing between 60 to 120 female convicts at any one time. In the 1880s the prison was demolished leaving the foundations intact. The original Overseers Cottage also remains.
We then headed back into the town of Ross to admire the numerous historic buildings. There are over 40 heritage buildings in the town of Ross.
The Ross Uniting Church is a traditional gothic style sandstone church which was opened in 1885. The church was hand carved sandstone walls, Tasmanian blackwood pews, an oregon ceiling, an Italian marble front, and stained glass windows.
We also visited the Tasmanian Wool Centre which apart from being the largest retailer of woollens in the state, has an excellent museum detailing the history of Ross.
Our final piece of sightseeing in Ross was the Ross bridge, a magnificent stone bridge which was built by convicts in 1836. It is the third oldest bridge in Australia. The bridge was designed by John Lee Archer and was constructed under the orders of Lieutenant Governor Sir George Arthur. The stonemasonry and carvings on the bridge are the work of Daniel Herbert and James Colbeck. Herbert had been sentenced to death for highway robbery, but his sentence was commuted to transportation for life. He arrived in Van Dieman’s Land in 1827. Both Herbert and Colbeck were freed upon completion of the bridge.
After finishing our sightseeing at Ross we headed back to Oatlands and headed to the Lake Dulverton Conservation Area VKFF-2907 on the edge of the town.
Above:- An aerial view of the Lake Dulverton Conservation Area. Image c/o Google maps
The Lake Dulverton Conservation Area is about 232 hectares in size and comprises Lake Dulverton and sections of the foreshore. It was gazetted as a Conservation Area in 1999, being formerly known as the Lake Dulverton Wildlife Sanctuary. The park is an important habitat for birdlife. Over 105 bird species have been recorded in the park. It is a known breeding area for the rare Great Crested Grebe
We operated from Lairmairenepair Park and the site of the former Flax Mill site which is located on Freds Point headland.
Above:- An aerial view of the park showing our operating spot. Image c/o Google Earth.
Lairmairenepair takes its name from the Big River tribe of aboriginals who lands encompassed the Oatlands district. During World War Two the flax mill was established by the Australian Federal Government. It was part of the Oatland’s district war effort. In April 1941 construction of the site office, men’s mess room, store rooms, deseeding shed and scutching shed was completed. Between 1941 and 1945 a total of 132 people were employed at the flax mill. Flax was grown at Oatlands, Ross and Bothwell and was brought to the mill for processing.
We strung out the 20/40/80m dipole for this activation and ran the Yaesu FT857d and 40 watts output.
Marija made the following QSOs on 40m SSB:-
I made the following QSOs on 40m SSB:-
I made the following QSOs on 20m SSB:-
We packed up and headed back into Hobart and went out for tea that night in the restaurant at our accomodation.
- Aussie Towns, 2022, <https://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/kempton-tas>, viewed 28th December 2022.
- Aussie Towns, 2022, <https://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/oatlands-tas>, viewed 28th December 2022.
- Aussie Towns, 2022, <https://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/ross-tas>, viewed 28th December 2022.
- Bagdad Tasmania, 2022, <http://www.bagdadtashistory.com/historic-buildings-bagdad-tasmania/oakwood-bagdad-tasmania.html>, viewed 27th December 2022.
- eBird, 2022, <https://ebird.org/hotspot/L1479677>, viewed 28th December 2022.
- Find and Connect, 2022, <http://www.bagdadtashistory.com/historic-buildings-bagdad-tasmania/oakwood-bagdad-tasmania.html>, viewed 27th December 2022.
- Heritage Tasmania, Tasmanian Heritage Council.
- Hobart and Beyond, 2022, <https://hobartandbeyond.com.au/blog/9-things-to-do-at-lake-dulverton/>, viewed 28th December 2022.
- Lake Dulverton and Dulverton Walkway Action Plan, 2021.