Oatlands is one of Tasmania’s oldest towns having been named in 1821 by Governor Macquarie and offers great tourism sites, tours and experiences. Settled in the early 1820s it was home to farming families, convicts and bushrangers. It was home to the ex convict Solomon Blay, Tasmania’s most feared and hated hangman.
Oatlands was developed as a military base for the management of convicts as it was equidistant from Hobart and Launceston. Convicts worked as assigned labour on farms as well as working on public buildings, roads and bridges.
Oatlands is quite unique in its streetscape and has the largest collection of Georgian sandstone buildings in Australia. Many were built with convict labour. There are 87 on the main street alone including one at Casaveen Knitwear. Our own historic Georgian building was built in 1861 as the Presbyterian Parish Hall and was also used as a school and in the 1950’s and 60’s as the Scout Hall.
Casaveen bought it in 1995 and has now uses it as our Administration Offices and Interpretation Centre. Oatlands boasts a Pugin church, St Pauls Catholic Church. It was designed by Augustus Welby Pugin, the father of Gothic Revival Architecture. The two other churches are well worth visiting as well.
Oatlands was bypassed by the highway many years ago but is well worth the trip just of the Heritage Highway for a visit. There are six interesting, large bronze silhouette sculpture along the highway depicting life in the 1800s. Each silhouette represents a historic event or figure from the region, including Solomon Blay and a convict chain-gang.
Oatlands has a variety of small cafes and several hotels. There are a number of B&Bs in the area and it is a good base to stay as it is central to Hobart, Launceston, the East Coast and the Central Highlands.