Richmond, Australia Tourist Attractions
The much visited town of Richmond (pop. 700) is a kind of living open-air museum. The town was founded soon after the landing of the first settlers in Risdon Cove in 1803 (Hobart), and in 1824 it was officially recognized as a township. It soon developed into the commercial center of a very fertile grain-growing district, though only one of the old grain mills has survived.Richmond was also an important military post, and there was also a penal colony here, whose inmates constructed many of the town's buildings, as well as the oldest bridge in Australia.Of all the early settlements in Tasmania Richmond presents the most complete and most homogeneous picture of a town of the colonial period.The town's best known feature is the bridge over the Coal River, built by convict labor in 1825. A short distance to the north is the neo-Gothic St John's Church (by Frederick Thomas, 1837-59), the oldest Roman Catholic church in Australia. The best view of the much photographed bridge shows in the background St Luke's Church (Anglican; by John Lee Archer, 1834-6). The timber roof structure was so well constructed that the convict carpenter responsible was given a free pardon. The church also has very fine stained glass.Richmond Gaol (Jail) (Jail) (1825) is also well preserved. In Bridge Street are a whole string of fine old buildings. The Old Bakehouse (now a souvenir shop) still has its old ovens. The Bridge Inn (1834) houses a complex of shops, Saddler's Court (ca 1848) an art gallery. The courthouse (1826) still serves its original purpose.The Richmond Arms Hotel, with rich wrought-iron ornament, was built in 1888 on the site of an earlier building of 1827 which was destroyed by fire, leaving only its stable (now restored). The three-story granary was built in 1832 by James Bushcombe, who along with his brother Henry was one of the wealthiest men in the town. Beside it is Bushcombe's General Store; the house dates from 1826, the shop with its neoclassical facade from 1829. From 1832 to 1972 the shop housed the oldest post office in Australia; it is now occupied by a small museum of photography.Ashmore's shop (1850) is now a tearoom. The old Richmond Hotel (c 1830) still bears over the door the name of the licensee in 1838, Lawrence Cotham. On the southern outskirts of the town is Prospect House, built by James Bushcombe in the 1830s for his family and now occupied by a restaurant (specializing in game dishes). Oak Lodge was built for Henry Bushcombe.