Friday, September 18, 2009

Heritage Highway to Hobart - in search of Bushrangers

Last week I went to Hobart to learn of Tasmania’s history in particular about Van Diemen's Land bushranger, Matthew Brady.
It’s only a 200 mile journey from Launceston to Hobart but the Midlands are rich in the history of early settlement and most places still retain the names given by early settlers – Tunbridge, Jericho, Bagdad, Jerusalem (now Colebrook) and Oatlands.

The Heritage Highway, as it is now called, was once the stage coach route and in the early days there were four miliary posts between Hobart and the north and towns grew up around them. The soldiers’ duty was to apprehend bushrangers and escaped convicts.
The town of Oatlands still has 87 sandstone Georgian buildings, the largest collection in Australia – many of these were built by convict labour and today retain the character of the 19th Century. Included is the oldest Supreme Courthouse in the country.
Oatlands also has some remarkable modern metal sculptures dotted across the hillsides which remind the traveller of its history.
It is claimed that the first game of golf in Australia was played in the town of Bothwell on Alexander Reid's property 'Ratho' in the 1820s – this early golf course is still in use today. And Bothwell, being settled by Scots was the home of Australia's first and oldest pedigree Aberdeen Angus stud.
Pics: Metal sculptures on the hills – bushrangers and a troop of soldiers plus beautiful houses and Georgian buildings are everywhere

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