A Cheapskate's Guide to
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Richmond - Tasmania
Richmond is famous for its Georgian architecture and contains Australia’s oldest freestone
road bridge, the oldest Roman Catholic Church and the best preserved convict gaol.
Sitting about 25 km north-east of Hobart and 174 km south-east of Launceston, Richmond has a population of 1,610 (2011 census).
Nestled in the Coal River Valley, between the Midland Highway and Tasman Highway, this classified historic town is famous for its Georgian architecture and contains Australia’s oldest freestone road bridge, the oldest Roman Catholic Church and the best preserved convict gaol.
As one of Tasmania’s more important historic towns, Richmond is one of the state’s most popular destinations containing many excellent examples of Tasmania’s stark convict heritage and beautiful historic buildings - that now house galleries, teashops, craft boutiques, antique shops and museums.
Richmond is as elegant today as it was in the 1820s when it was an important military staging post and convict station, linking Hobart with Port Arthur.
Tourist Information Centre
Out And About In Richmond
Bathurst Street - Open 24 hours
Police Station1 Forth Street, Richmond - non-emergency ph. 131 444
Real estate for sale
A Little History
In 1824, the township of Richmond was named, following a complex land deal with David Lord, where ninety acres of his Richmond Park estate were exchanged for 1400 acres adjacent to his property.
Added to in the 1830s, Richmond Gaol was built in 1825 as part of Governor Arthur's system of police districts and was last used as a gaol in 1928 - it is open daily for inspection.
One of its infamous inmates was convict, Ikey Solomon, said to be the model for Dickens' Fagin.
Justice seemed a bit random in the colony, as, in 1859, on 27 November, near Richmond, a crippled cowherd called John Dowling had his throat cut, skull broken, and some of his fingers cut off, presumably while struggling with his murderer.
The police arrested John Nash, who had a history of violence, and lived a few miles out of Richmond.
In court, the story unfolded that Dowling came with two men to Richmond’s Bridge Inn and paid for a glass of ale with a pound note.
Nash was sitting on a couch nearby.
Later a clergyman found Dowling’s body, still warm, with Nash not far away with traces of blood on his trousers and shirt.
Evidence was given that a notched knife found on Nash’s person and with blood on it, could have inflicted Dowling’s wounds.
Nash argued that he had bought the knife from a Mr Scott, and the trousers, complete with bloodstains, from a fellow-prisoner at Port Arthur, but the evidence seemed overwhelming, and a sentence of death was imposed.
Then it was found that Nash had indeed bought the knife from Scott after the murder had been committed, but the Chief Justice felt the sentence should be carried out since ‘there is no moral doubt of his guilt’.
Nash was executed, still protesting his innocence.
A description of Richmond c 1852
Richmond [is] a town at the mouth of the Coal River, in the parish of Ulva and county of Monmouth, 15 miles (24 km) from Hobart, and 100 miles (161 km) from Launceston.
It contains an episcopal and a catholic church, a congregational chapel, a police office, post station, a gaol, and court house, and several inns.
It has a resident police magistrate, and the population of the town and district, which consists of farms, is 3,144, and the number of houses 545, nearly half of which are of stone or brick.
The Coal River, which here falls into the bay of Pittwater, is crossed at the town by an excellent stone bridge of six arches.
Richmond is an electoral district, for which T. G. Gregson, Esq., is the first member.
It is quite possible to spend a couple of days enjoying Richmond's beautiful charms, its fresh food and fine wines, its unique art & craft-work - in fragrant wood, delicately glazed clay, or hand woven fibres - along with its delightful attractions, including:
Old Hobart Town
St Lukes Anglican Church Cemetery
St Luke's Anglican Church originally stood on land granted to the Church in 1923, on the Eastern side of the Coal River and is still located on that land, although the new church is now on the other side of the river.
The first Headstone was placed in 1823 for a Mr Thomas Kearney.
Richmond Catholic Church Cemetery
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