A small historic town that is the commercial centre for a district that produces high-quality merino wool. Ross has a very English country village feel, with its warm Ross sandstone reminiscent of the towns of the Cotswolds or North Oxfordshire, England.
One of the most attractive aspects of Ross is that it has not been overly corrupted by modern tourism – that the Midland Highway (the main route between Hobart and Launceston) by-passes Ross, thus preserving the original, sleepy character of the town is largely the reason for this being so.
The main street is remarkable for its fine collection of colonial buildings on a wide street edged by elm trees; it simply has no peer in Australia. The first settlers couldn’t have recreated their mother country more precisely. The whole town of Ross is listed on the Register of the National Estate and many of the town’s historic buildings, many built from sandstone, are listed in their own right.
The town is centred on the crossroads of Church and Bridge Streets with a field gun from the Boer War and a war memorial as a central part of the intersection. The crossroads area is humorously referred to as the “Four Corners of Ross” with each corner having a label: 1. Temptation: the Man O’ Ross Hotel; 2. Recreation: Town Hall; 3. Salvation: Roman Catholic Church; 4. Damnation: Gaol (now a private residence).
Located on a windswept hill overlooking Ross and the surrounding countryside is the original Ross Cemetery. Many of these stones date back to the 1830?s and 1840?s. Some of them have been attributed to stonemason Daniel Herbert, who supervised the building of Ross Bridge and created much of its intricately patterned stonework. Herbert’s own grave is here marked by a table-top tombstone he designed for his son who died in infancy. There is also a substantial monument built for two young children of the McCraken family who both died on 3rd June 1853 from scarlet fever.
Tasmanian Wool Centre
The Tasmanian Wool Centre includes a museum, wool exhibition, and a wool and craft area. The History museum showcases early life in Ross, the feel and touch Wool exhibition shows the importance of the wool industry to this region.
St John's Anglican Church
St John’s Anglican Church was built in 1868 and contains a 100-year-old pipe organ, an oak lectern and a stone pulpit. It was erected using stone from the original church built in 1835.
Man O' Ross Hotel
The Man O’ Ross Hotel was built in 1831 by William Sadler. It was originally a two-storey Georgian building, but was later converted to a Victorian Style. Two former inns, The Scotch Thistle Inn (licenced 1840) and the Sherwood Castle Inn, also survive, but no longer function as hotels.
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Where is it?
Ross is 117 km north of Hobart; 78 km south of Launceston, off the Midland Highway
Commemorates the young men of the district who served their country in times of war. There is a 15 pound field gun which is also a relic from the Boer War, it is one of only two left in Australia and it is a bit of a mystery as to why it is here in Ross.
The iconic Ross Bridge across the Macquarie River was constructed by convict labour in 1836, and is the third oldest bridge still in use in Australia. Commissioned by Lieutenant-Governor Arthur, the bridge was designed by architect John Lee Archer, with the convict work team including two stonemasons, James Colbeck and Daniel Herbert, the latter being credited with the intricate carvings along both sides of the sandstone bridge.
Ross Female Factory
A former Australian workhouse for female convicts. Operational between 1848 and 1854, the factory is now one of the 11 sites that collectively comprise the Australian Convict Sites, on the World Heritage List. Representing the female experience, the Ross Female Factory demonstrates how penal transportation was used to expand Britain’s spheres of influence, as well as to punish and reform female convicts.
The Ross Female Factory opened in March 1848 and closed in November 1854. Transportation to Van Diemen’s Land had ceased in 1853. The site served as a factory as well as a hiring depot, an overnight station for female convicts travelling between settlements, a lying-in hospital and a nursery. Female convicts were hired from the factory as probation passholders to local settlers, mainly to work as domestic servants. They could be sent back to the factory for punishment if they were charged with an offence by their master or mistress. 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.
Lake Leake was built in 1880 to supply permanent water for Campbell Town, approx 30 mins drive to the east, enjoy the beautiful bush scenery and great trout fishing. Currawong Lakes trout fishery and wildlife retreat are on the Long Marsh dam Road at Lake Leake.