"Historic Ross" Ross by tiabunna

Ross Travel Guide: 19 reviews and 50 photos

Microcosm of early Australia

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 and Cons
  • 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.
  • Last visit to Ross: Jul 2008
  • Intro Updated Jul 7, 2008
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Reviews (7)

Comments (11)

  • DennyP's Profile Photo
    Sep 21, 2009 at 2:38 AM

    Hi George...great tips on one of my Tassie favourites along with St.Helens..Ozzie's best kept secret..great pics also..thanks for sharing cheers Denny

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    May 29, 2009 at 1:11 AM

    George- your great little page here convinces me that Australia was MUCH more interesting way back when- had a laugh about the 'mounting stone' That would do nicely for me, being vertically challenged! Scones look wicked.

  • kokoryko's Profile Photo
    Jan 10, 2009 at 2:46 PM

    I hope I will visit Tasmania one day, and not only Hobart! I like that sort of places, far from everywhere with lots of stories you tell so well, George. And I like the idea of the pub in Church street. . . . .

  • Ekaterinburg's Profile Photo
    Dec 13, 2008 at 4:25 PM

    I wonder how many Irish convicts were incarcerated here ? Lots, probably. The countryside is so green though that they must have felt at home. Interesting look back into Australian history :))

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Sep 5, 2008 at 9:53 PM

    What a lovely step into the past ! Interesting story, George, I learn every day :-)) And the reflection photo of the bridge is marvellous! Ah and I also had cream tea and scones recently, in the Cotswolds :-))

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Aug 1, 2008 at 9:03 AM

    Afternoon tea in Ross on a winter's afternoon looks pretty good to me, just the thing to follow a little look at history. Tasmania is still on my wish list. cheers - leyle

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Jul 27, 2008 at 6:44 AM

    You have put Ross "on the map", George. Lovely little town. Good pic of church in street scene. Bridge a beauty...I'm ready for tea now. Scones piled high w/ cream and jam. Yum!

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Jul 25, 2008 at 11:38 AM

    Ross looks like a beautiful little spot - just the sort of place I would love to sample as well! It was nice to see that the prison authorities had a bit of compassion for good Stonemasons! All three of those churches are amazing!

  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo
    Jul 16, 2008 at 2:15 PM

    Your bridge here in Ross is very much like the bridge which spans the Don in Aberdeen :) We also have three commandments = Education - Salvation & Damnation in the city

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Jul 14, 2008 at 5:42 PM

    A mindspring ...of information, interesting tidbits, and history....I'm a sucker for all of that. This was such an interesting "read" and view of a part of Australia that I knew little about. Thanks ever so much.


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