Richmond is a quaint town in Tasmania. If you aren’t familiar with Tasmania, it’s an island state off the southern coast of Australia. We chose to go there mainly because it’s somewhere we had heard of, but knew little about. The island is not heavily populated. It has varied geography from coastal beaches to mountains. The economy is largely agriculture with numerous sheep farms. It gets much colder there than the northern areas of Australia. In Queensland, we had enjoyed mid-80s temps with shorts and swimsuits. In Tasmania, we had freezing temps at night with some snow on the ground in the upper elevations.
We stayed in a cottage near Richmond that was on a working farm with an apricot orchard. We discovered a local bakery we would gladly transport to Noblesville if possible. We had breakfast from there two mornings and took dessert with us one evening. They also had a variety of quiches, salads and other lunchtime munchies. Everything we had was good. For those of you in Noblesville, picture Noble Coffee with a large bakery. Interestingly, the bakery/coffee shop did not open until 7:30am!
We visited a variety of places nearby, several that didn’t take a lot of time, but were interesting to visit. Here are a few. . .
Shot Tower – This is as its name suggests, a tower used for making gun shot. Built in 1870 of sandstone, it was Australia’s 1st shot tower, is 157.5 feet tall and has a wood spiral staircase. The method for making shot here: The owner would, at ground level, make a “poisoned lead” for gunshot. The material would be carried to the top of the tower and melted. The melted material was poured into what looked like a sieve or strainer held over the center of the tower. The shot partially cooled as it fell from the top of the tower into a tub of water on the floor below. After it finished cooling in the water, it was polished and graded according to size and then sold. The shot tower operated until 1905. It’s been a tourist site since 1956. I wanted to go because we’ve climbed lighthouses, pagodas, bell towers, drum towers and church towers and thought it would be unique to add shot tower to the list.
Town Model of Hobart – In 1985, two Tasmanian residents researched extensively the layout of the town of Hobart in the 1820s. Between 1986 and 1991, they painstakingly re-created a model, complete with buildings, settlers, soldiers, trees, streets, convicts, and landscaping. The model includes over 60 buildings and 500 figurines. It’s pretty impressive with the detail and effort that went into this undertaking. It probably is even more interesting for local residents who can compare how Hobart looks today with the model. The trees in the village are real and maintained using bonsai trimming methods to keep them at the appropriate scale. Some scenes are humorous, like an overturned cart, others, like the convicts working, are more serious. There is even a wedding scene at the church.
Richmond Bridge – Visiting Australia, particularly the smaller, less populated areas, you see many, restored, re-used historic structures. We shopped in a small brick building constructed in the 1830s and saw many private homes that were obviously constructed well over 100 years ago. The bakery we enjoyed was in an historic, 1800s building. This sandstone bridge, still in use today for cars, was completed in 1825. Constructed of sandstone, it is Australia’s oldest known large arch sandstone bridge. It functions as well today as it did when it was built. We know because we drove over the bridge several times during our stay in Tasmania. The bridge is also representative of Australia’s convict heritage as it was built using convict labor.