Glorious 19th century streetscape off the beaten track day trip from Launceston
A tree lined main street, Tasmanian Wool Centre where tactile experiences are encouraged. A convict stone village with a cornerstone the Ross Bridge, Australia’s third oldest bridge. Being off the beaten tourist track creates a sense of living history as you explore one of Australia’s best preserved colonial towns. Largely built by convict labour, the Macquarie River riverside town is a homage to the nineteenth century architecture and industry. There are cobblestone paths and majestic elms lining the main street while the centrepiece the Ross Bridge, Australia’s third oldest bridge is beautiful. Check out FOUR BRIDGES, FOUR CONVICT STORIES, OF LABOUR AND SCANDAL for details of the 186 elaborate carvings.
Launceston to Ross
WHAT TO DO, HIGHLIGHTS
- Ross Bridge
- Ross Female Factory
- Church street heritage stroll
- Tasmanian Wool Centre
Ross is the location for another Female Factory where convict women toiled long hard hours sewing, cleaning convict local facilities, laundering and learning to care for their children. The Ross Female Factory is the most archeologically intact site in Australia. Located on Church Street, the Ross Female Factory Site was originally used as a male road gang station. Between 1848-1854 the buildings were used as a probation station with between 60 and 120 women at any one time, as well as the inmate’s babies.
Locals have named their crossroads as… Temptation, Recreation, Salvation & Damnation
Are you at the main crossroads of Ross. Look around and spy the temptation of Man O’Ross hotel or perhaps need recreation, the Town Hall and salvation in the Catholic church. For visitors who have transgressed, damnation is represented in the former jail (now a private residence).
Visit the Ross Bakery, with its original brick wood-fired oven, operating on the site for more than a century, and with the capacity to bake more than 300 loaves of bread. Glorious fresh crusty bread snacks for a leisurely stroll along the riverbank.
Tasmanian Wool Centre is a popular attraction with its shop dedicated to all things wool. The museum gallery showcases the story of wool in Tasmania. The scent of lanolin permeates the wool exhibition gallery with its recreated shearing shed and manual wool press. There are changing exhibitions reflecting the history of wool and the local area.
Fishing is not permitted on either side of the Ross Bridge. The area is protected for swans and ducks.
Species Hotel Sculpture Walk, northern end of Church street. The “hotels for our diverse native wildlife that helps them thrive. The way they are designed attracts them to the nesting boxes. Tasmania’s midlands is recognised as a Biodiversity Hotspot, one of the most important parts of Australia for species diversity, and one of fifteen recognised across Australia.” source Ross social media online resource.
Heritage self-guided walking tour
Walk the length of Church Street with over 22 buildings marked with heritage plaques. Ross has over 40 historic buildings. Many premises are now accommodation providers where visitors relish a night or two in a Ross sandstone building.
WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELFIE
- With Rambo, very sturdy merino sheep sculpture outside the Wool Centre
- Ross Bridge (instagram famous)
- Charming Georgian streetscape, take your pick of locations
WHAT TO DO WITH KIDS
- Indoors Tasmanian wool centre with its interactive exhibits and kids friendly guides
- Bakeries where ovens and craft bread continues to be prepared daily
WHO TURNED UP AND NAMED THE PLACE?
- Governor Lachlan Macquarie, in 1821 liked the location beside the river and he decided that the new settlement should be called Ross after the name of the home of his friend H.M. Buchanan who lived on Loch Lomond in Scotland.
TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION
- Ross heritage trail map
- Hundreds of female convicts passed through the Ross Female Factory during its six and half years of operation. Some of their stories appear in Convict Lives at the Ross Female Factory AVAILABLE Convict Lives at the Ross Female Factory
- Female Convicts Research Centre describe … “ The Ross Female Factory operated towards the end of the transportation period from March 1848 until November 1854. It served as a factory as well as hiring depot, an overnight station for female convicts travelling between settlements, a lying-in hospital and a nursery. A factory was deemed necessary in the ‘interior’ as many female convicts were hired as probation pass-holders in areas at a distance from both Launceston and Hobart, particularly in the CampbellTown area. It was also needed to ameliorate the overcrowding in the other female factories.
When it opened, Dr Irvine was appointed joint Superintendent and Medical Officer at the Factory, and his wife was appointed as Matron. The death rate of babies and children was much lower at Ross Female Factory than at either Launceston Female Factory or Cascades Female Factory. After the factory was closed the Police Department took over most of the establishment, though the chapel was used by the Roman Catholic Church.”
Unique journeys, personal adventures.