"Historic Ross" Ross by tiabunna
Ross Travel Guide: 19 reviews and 50 photos
When I get around to writing my Tasmania page, I’ll say that Tasmania has more preserved history than the rest of Australia combined. It’s true. And, within Tasmania, Ross has few contenders for the crown of being the village with the best preserved history of the early days. It isn't a big place, but it’s that good.
Settlement in what then was called “Van Diemens Land” began in 1804, following the usual pattern of penal stations to assure a supply of compliant and lowly-paid workers for the Colonial authorities and the British landowners to develop their estates (large land grants were readily available to those with the right connections). The initial settlements were at Hobart Town (as it was then) and at George Town in the north (near where Launceston was later established) and were intended, at least in part, to pre-empt any French colonial ambitions – French explorers mapped much of the Van Diemens Land coast.
A good route was soon found from the south to the north of the island and, as usual, land grants were issued. The drier inland areas were found to be excellent for fine wool production, with convicts serving as shepherds and domestic servants for the landowners. Friction soon developed between the Tasmanian Aboriginals and British settlers, who took exception to Aboriginals spearing their sheep like kangaroos. That resulted in mutual reprisals and murders – and the Colonial Governor setting up a series of military outposts along the road to the north from Hobart Town.
I suspect you’re way ahead of me by this time! Yes, Ross was one of those military outposts, established in 1812. For the Ordinance Corps, not to mention their gangs of convict workers, the early days when the bleak winter winds swept across their tented camp sites must have been uncomfortable, but I imagine that Ross would have been an easy posting once the main constructions were completed.
Where once Ross was created to protect the main road, the new highway bypasses the town. This seems a mixed blessing: while visiting Ross is better for not having to contend with high volumes of traffic rumbling through, it also means that many tourists do not stop – apparently to the detriment of the local businesses of which quite a few were either closed, apparently permanently, or for sale when we visited. (Admittedly we were there in mid-winter, but those signs seemed to tell a story).
So, if you have a passing interest in Australian history, take it from me that a detour into Ross should be a high priority on your “Tassie Tour” schedule.
- Pros:Marvellous collection of historical buildings and sites
- Cons:Could still be improved with more information boards for tourists
- In a nutshell:Strong contender to be Australia's best historic village.
Ross has three churches. I won’t pretend we did much more than take some photos: limited time prevented closer... more travel advice
The main photo (and detail in photo 2) show the 1836 building erected as the headquarters for the Army Ordinance Corps... more travel advice
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