Friday, 18 Oct 2019

Historic Richmond Town

How to grow Dick
- A man with a seven-inch (18 cm) penis may proudly compare his organ to the average man’s five to six inches (12-15 cm) but be intimidated when learning another wields an eight-inch (20 cm) rod.


Richmond Bridge is said to be haunted by several ghosts


Follow in the footsteps of convicts, military officers, innkeepers and a Dickens character as you explore the streets of one of Tasmania’s most historic towns.

Historic Richmond Town - photo 1

Historic Richmond Town

Walk. Historic Richmond Town: 4km loop
Time required. Historic Richmond Town: 2 hours
Best time. Historic Richmond Town: Sunny day
Grade. Historic Richmond Town: Easy
Environment. Historic Richmond Town: Village streets, convict-era gaol, colonial buildings, riverbank
Best map. Historic Richmond Town: This one
Toilets. Historic Richmond Town: Flushing toilets in the Forth St parking area near Richmond Gaol
Food. Historic Richmond Town: Everything from oven-fresh scones to pub fare is available along Richmond’s main street
Tips. Historic Richmond Town: Richmond is on the Convict Trail, a fascinating 205km self-drive tour from Hobart to Port Arthur and back, highlighting the region’s history and scenery

Settled in the early 19th century after the discovery of coal, the fertile Coal River region north-east of Hobart became known, with neighbouring Pitt Water, as ‘the granary of Australia’ – and is now a renowned wine region. This walk dips into the fascinating history of Richmond, the town established at the point where a sandstone bridge was built across the Coal River to facilitate travel to the east coast and Tasman Peninsula. The walk starts at Richmond’s visitor information centre (up a laneway off Bridge St), which is also the entrance to Old Hobart Town. Wander around this faithful, outdoor, scale model of 1820s Hobart before heading off around Richmond.

Historic Richmond Town - photo 2

Historic Richmond Town

From there, turn left into Bridge St and pass Fry Cottage (1835), now the Woodcraft Shop, which sells an array of Tasmanian timber products. Note the stone front step, worn by the passage of feet over nearly 200 years. Imagine what stories it could tell! The congregational church on the next corner was built in 1873, making it a youngster, but the supermarket, just before the next corner, dates from 1836. Turn left at the supermarket car park and walk along the east side of Franklin Street. Now a private residence, the two-storey red-brick building was once the Prince of Wales Hotel, one of numerous hotels that accommodated early travellers quenching their thirsts.

Historic Richmond Town - photo 3

Historic Richmond Town

Have a stickybeak over the picket fence at the old hotel’s elegant Georgian lines before strolling on to the cluster of white-painted cottages on the corner of Charles Street. Now holiday accommodation, these buildings were the Richmond Barracks, built of convict-made bricks in 1830, when Richmond became one of Governor Arthur’s police districts. You are going to turn right here, but first walk a bit further along Franklin St and look across the road at the early workers’ cottages . On this side you’ll see some new houses, built in sympathy with the original, simple historic design. Retrace your steps, then turn down Charles St and walk east and downhill to a junction with more lovely old brick cottages on your right. Directly ahead is Richmond Bridge, the oldest bridge in Australia still in use.

Historic Richmond Town - photo 4

Historic Richmond Town

The construction of a bridge over the Coal River enabled settlers to push further east, to the coast and Tasman Peninsula in search of good land. Commenced in 1823 and built by convicts from sandstone (quarried by convicts) and hauled in hand carts to the river (yes, by convicts), Richmond Bridge is said to be haunted by several ghosts, including George Grover. Himself a convict, transported for stealing, Grover was by all accounts a nasty piece of work who whipped prisoners like horses during the rebuilding of the bridge piers in 1829. Three years later, the 27-year old ‘wicked Flagellator’ was thrown over the bridge to his death while drunk, probably by some of the men he brutalised; he is buried in the grounds of St Luke’s Church, which you’ll pass later on the walk.

Historic Richmond Town - photo 5

Historic Richmond Town

Turn left immediately across the bridge and walk down the grassy bank to view its beautiful arches. Then head up St John’s Cirque to the oldest Catholic Church in Australia still in use, which sits prettily on a rise behind some beautiful gum trees. The church interior is fairly plain but, inside and out, you can see convict tool marks in every stone. A historic burial ground overlooks the Coal River from a rise behind the church. Some of the oldest and most interesting headstones, at the back, have developed severe lists. Return to the bridge and cross back over the river, turning hard left at the end of the stonework and heading down the steep, worn original steps – if you can cope with the pitch (otherwise just amble down the wheel-friendly path beyond). The three-storey Georgian building sitting proudly on the opposite bank was convict-built as a steam mill in 1853. It later became a butter factory.

Historic Richmond Town - photo 6

Historic Richmond Town

Walk downstream through linear parkland, keeping to the lower walking track, which passes lovely old wooden boats for hire and awful plastic swans you can paddle on the river. Continue along the river to a track  up to a car park, and from there walk up Bathurst St, between almond trees, with the clocktower/spire of St Luke’s Church to your left. Just before the crossroad, turn right to Richmond Gaol (1825), the oldest gaol in Australia. Allow at least an hour to wander around this remarkable piece of history and read about the people who lived and worked here. One notorious prisoner was Ikey Solomon, London fence and pawnbroker and repeat escapee, who was transported to Van Diemen’s Land in 1831 (having sailed to Australia voluntarily after his wife was transported from Britain). Solomon is widely believed to have been the inspiration for Fagin in Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist.

Historic Richmond Town - photo 7

Historic Richmond Town

On exiting the gaol, head back across the lawns and towards the church seen earlier. Wander up Edward St (the little sandstone cottage on the corner was Richmond Dispensary, c. 1830) to St Luke’s Church, passing the stone-block rectory on the left. As you approach the church gate you are treated to a watercolour view of river and farmland to the left. St Luke’s Anglican Church is the oldest church in Richmond, its foundation stone having been laid in 1834 by Governor Phillip himself. Convict James Thompson was granted his freedom as a reward for the interior timberwork. Now walk up Torrens St, passing the burial ground (1845) on the site of the original congregational church. Directly opposite is the oldest still-operating primary school in Australia (1834).

Historic Richmond Town - photo 8

Historic Richmond Town

Turn right into Commercial Rd and walk to Bridge St, passing the old Richmond Hotel – note the faded ‘wine and spirits’ paintwork. Turn left into Bridge St and walk to Georgian Oak Lodge (1830), perhaps via the homewares shops along the way, all in stone cottages. Built as a gentleman’s town residence and subsequently used as a rectory, school, doctor’s surgery and family home, Oak Lodge is run by volunteers as a local museum and is open most days 11.30am–3.30pm (or by appointment). Cross the street and head back up to the visitor information centre, perhaps getting lost in Richmond Maze on the way.

Historic Richmond Town - photo 9

Historic Richmond Town


“Top Walks in Tasmania”

Melanie Ball

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A Four-Inch-Long Penis Is More Than Adequate

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