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Friday the 30th of May 2014

9:27 PM

Bus commentary on Jericho

I did another bus commentary on our way back from Bruny Island to Launceston.

"Jericho is an historical village between Hobart and Launceston off the Midland Highway. It is 130km, 1.5 hour's drive from Launceston and 70km, an hour's drive from Hobart. It was founded in 1816 and is one of the oldest townships in Australia. The main road of Jericho, the Old Jericho Road, is one of the few surviving examples of the convict built roads of the 1830s. It contains many fine examples of early colonial sandstone architecture and constructions, including convict cut culverts, bridges and walls. Many of these date from the 1830s.

Jericho boasts a few first in Tasmania.

The main Anglican church, St James Church which was built in 1888 contains the grave of Trooper John Hutton Bisdee (1900 Second Boer War, S Africa). He was the first Tasmanian to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

The first horse race in Tasmania took place in this town in April 1826 at a land originally known as “Fourteen Tree Plain” which is next to one of Jericho’s most notable buildings, the Jericho Probation Station.

The Jericho Probation Station was one of the 19 probation stations throughout Tasmania. In the Australian convict history, probation stations existed only in Tasmania. The Jericho Probation Station was operational between 1841 and 1844, only for 3 years. It occupied an area of 3 acres and had 3 court yards, an on-site hospital, a bakehouse, a cook house, a tool house, stores, cells for the convicts and accommodation for the superintendants, overseers, storekeepers and medical staff. 200 convicts were housed there and they were used to construct the road linking Hobart and Launceston. These days only some walls of the station remain standing. At the site, there is a layout plan showing the scale and location of the cells and various structures.

Another notable building in Jericho is the commandant’s cottage. It is still standing but is an inconspicuous red brick building.

The town flourished for a time in the 19th century as a resting post in the days of stage coach, but declined in the 20th century. It was bypassed by the Midland Highway about 30 years ago. It is now a sleepy village of a population of 50 (2006 ABS census)."

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