I thoroughly enjoyed my day in Oatlands, Tasmania, about an hour’s drive from Hobart. The town is packed with gorgeous scenes, surprises, and history. The Georgian architecture, sculptures, rock walls and gardens are such a treat for the eyes.
Along High Street (the main street through Oatlands) there are gorgeous houses and gardens.
We stopped into Vintage on High Café https://www.instagram.com/vintageonhigh/?hl=en, where I enjoyed a cuppa and sketched the shop across the street, which unfortunately was closed on Mondays.
The cafe has a wonderful outside seating area, including an abundance of fruit trees and this cool stork sculpture.
Further down High Street, there’s another stork sculpture!
The Oatlands Court House was built in 1829. Many death sentences were handed out here however, all but eighteen were later commuted to life sentences. The eighteen men were executed in the nearby jail. One poor soul was innocent of the murder he was convicted of, but it was too late for him. The real murderer confessed of his ill-deed on his death bed. Solomon Blay, who resided in Oatlands, was the executioner for Oatlands, Launceston and Hobart.
We visited the remnants of the heritage listed jail in Oatlands. Oatlands was established as a military garrison in 1827 and was the primary military outpost in inland Tasmania. Over the next decade, close to 90 buildings were constructed in the town using convict labour, including the court house, soldiers’ barracks, watch house, and officers’ quarters. Today, the town has one of the largest collections of intact Georgian architecture in Australia.
Completed in 1835, the Oatlands Gaol was designed to hold over 200 prisoners but was never fully occupied. Used as a military gaol and municipal prison until 1936, the complex was closed and largely demolished in 1937. The gaol’s main use since the 1950s has been as the site of Oatlands’ municipal swimming pool. https://www.southernmidlands.tas.gov.au/oatlands-gaol/
You can pick up a key from the Oatlands council building that gives you access to three buildings, the gaol, courthouse and the commissariat https://www.southernmidlands.tas.gov.au/oatlands-commissariat/ The council had had some reports about problems with the electronic key and I could confirm that there are problems. Only one out of the three keys worked.
The block of land that these cottages stand on was granted to John Goulder, a freed convict in 1839. Goulder settled here in 1832and built a large weatherboard house. By 1839, he had fenced his land with stone walling and built another house, a two-storey house with 8 rooms and outbuildings. In 1940, he bought the Kentish Arms and continued to expand his real estate portfolio. He died in 1880 and by 1885 the original stone house was replaced by these cottages. It is believed that the materials from the original house were used in the construction of the cottages.
Near these two cottages is this building. I found the three different materials used to make this three-in-one type of building intriguing. There’s stone, pressed tin and wood.
We also visited the lovely Weaver’s Cottages Studio. They want to stock some of my cards and prints. 😊
Visitors coming into Oatlands from the opposite direction that we entered, are welcomed by cool cow sculptures in Lake Dulverton. May be they are possibly trying to convey that … if you find yourself knee-deep in water, be like the cow and stay calm??? Do you think?? Well, cows used to roam the streets and wander down to the lake to eat the native grasses. Apparently, collecting the family cow from the lake was an after school chore assigned to the children in Oatlands. https://www.southernmidlands.tas.gov.au/cows-in-lake-sculpture/
Of course, you can’t visit Oatlands and miss the windmill that stands out proud and tall on the landscape.
If you’re driving up the Midland Highway in Tasmania, I recommend that you take the time to turn off and visit enchanting Oatlands.