The Historic Town of Ross

The township of Ross sits on the banks of the Macquarie River and is one of Australia’s most charming convict-built stone villages. Ross was settled in 1812 and is situated 80 km from Launceston and 120 km from Hobart, making it an the ideal “Halfway” location to stop. The main highway bypasses the town, but rather than being a disadvantage, this has enabled Ross to maintain its very special qualities. It is also a very historic town with many of its original sandstone buildings having been restored. The population of Ross is in excess of 400 people.

Why Ross is a Special Village

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Home of Australia’s third oldest and only hand carved bridge.

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Cobble-style paths and grand old elm trees line the main street.

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Arguably one of the finest 19th century villages in Australia.

Take a Stroll and Explore Ross

The History

Walk down to the Ross Bridge, designed by John Lee Archer, possibly the most beautiful of its kind left in the world. Daniel Herbert a Tasmanian convict was a skilled stonemason who, with fellow convict James Colbeck, oversaw the building of the bridge embellishing it with many interesting carvings. The detail of its 186 carvings by these convict stonemasons was deemed of such high quality that it won each of the men a free pardon.

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Ross’s Historic Female Factory Site

Built in the early 1840′s, incarcerated female convicts from 1847 to 1854. It was one of four female factories established in Tasmania. The name, “Female Factory” was abbreviated from the British institutional title “Manufactory”, and referred to the prisons’ role as a Work House.

Open to the public, the Overseer’s Cottage contains a display on the history of this unique convict site, including a model of the Female Factory in 1851. Although little architecture remains above the ground, the Ross Female Factory is the most archaeologically intact female convict site in Australia.

Like other parts of Tasmania’s Midlands, the Ross area is famous for its superfine merino wool. Visit the Tasmanian Wool Centre where you will find a Heritage Museum and Wool Exhibition.

The main crossroads of the village are amusingly said to represent “Temptation” (Man O’Ross Hotel), “Recreation” (Town Hall), “Salvation” (Catholic Church) and “Damnation” (the jail, now a private residence).

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Getting Here