We packed up again thankfully with the weather holding out, so only having to worry about the damp muddy floor. We left the beautiful Mt Field NP behind us and headed in towards Hobart a little bit, to stash Thomas at my mate Nic’s place, who had offered us some creature comforts for a few nights, which after the rains and cold we quickly accepted. So having stashed Thomas nice and safely we headed up the midlands highway to explore the lovely historic little towns of Ross, Oatlands and Richmond.
we headed furthest north to Ross and were greeted with the beautiful sandstone bridge leading into town divided by bridge street and church st, with the war memorial in the middle – locals call this the four corners of Ross 🙂
we wandered up and down the main street past the churches, schools and little old buildings, some still in use and some just waiting for someone to love them just a little and open them up to tell their stories. just as we were about to head back up the street, i spotted a few people congregating and some little outdoor umbrellas .. mmm wonder what that is, think we might go look. Darn, its a lovely little bakery proclaiming the greatest Vanilla Slices in the world. well someone makes a statement like that you want to be able to the question when one day someone asks – “wow how good are those vanilla slice in Ross?”.
we conveniently hadn’t eaten lunch yet so tash got stuck into a yummy bacon and egg quiche and i had a chicken, corn and Camembert pie – i know not what you immediately think to put together – but it works !! and of course we had some of that vanilla slice. now I’m not going to proclaim to be the greatest vanilla slice judge in the world, but it was pretty darn tasty if that counts for anything 🙂
from Ross we headed back south to Oatlands, which is apparently considered to have the largest number of colonial sandstone buildings in all of Oz – again not to going to proclaim any knowledge here except there are quite a few and alot have been loved and cared for and the main street is a little like stepping back in time in some ways due to the number of sandstone buildings. Oatlands is also home to Callington Mill, a Lincolnshire tower mill (whatever that means, sounds good thou) built in 1837. it too has been restored and it looks amazing, with the old timber sale yards to one side, the amazing convict rock walls on another and all the old stable buildings and buildings on the others, it really has been restored very beautifully. it is still in operation and grinds locally sourced flour, and again is apparently the only working example in the southern hemisphere.
heading further south again we stopped at Richmond, famous for its bridge, built between 1823 and 1825 and is heritage listed, and is the oldest working bridge in Australia – this seems to be agreed by many sources :-). as with many of these structures during this period it was built with convict labour and for the hardest of the convicts the gaol was built pretty close by. like Ross and Oatlands, there are many sandstone and colonial era buildings in Richmond, some have been maintained and some are in need of love, but with the sandstone gutters remaining in places its not hard to imagine the horse and carriages being driven down the street and across the bridge on their way to Hobart, only 15 odd miles to the south.
the Richmond bakery also confesses to make a pretty mean Vanilla Slice and there are a number of locals that would place their money there and not in Ross, however the Sergeant of the pantry wouldn’t allow me to sample this one so alas i am unable to pass comment.