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9 Things To Do In The Heritage Village of Ross

Discover historic Ross along Tasmania’s Heritage Highway

A visit to the convict-built village of Ross offers a captivating glimpse into another time. Ross was originally established as a garrison in 1812, and also became an important coach horse change and livestock market.

Today, Ross is registered on the National Estate and is one of the finest heritage villages in Australia. Here is a list of top things to do when you visit Ross.

Ross, Tasmania. Image Credit: Darren Wright Photography
Ross, Tasmania. Image Credit: Darren Wright Photography

1. Wander the Village stores

Wandering the village of Ross is an absolute joy. Grand elm trees line the main road, and charming Georgian buildings fill the town. The quaint shops are equally as charming.

Browse a range of unique vintage pieces styled in a modern way at Martha’s Vintage Furniture and Home Decor, or sift through The Wrinkly Tin, which is filled with retro collectables and trinkets. Last but not least, a trip to Ross isn’t complete without a visit to the Tasmanian Wool Centre. Learn about the history of the town while browsing through an impressive array of woollen goodies. 

Ross Tasmania. Image Credit: Darren Wright Photography

2. Ponder your fate at the Four Corners

The main crossroads at Ross are said to represent ‘Temptation’ (the Man O’ Ross Hotel, c. 1835), ‘Salvation’ (the Roman Catholic Church, c. 1920), ‘Damnation’ (the old Town Gaol, now a private residence), and ‘Recreation’ (the Town Hall).

Don’t stop at the crossroads for too long, choose a corner and let your destiny unfold!

Ross Bridge 📷 Darren Wright
Ross Bridge 📷 Darren Wright

3. Admire the beautiful Ross Bridge

The Ross Bridge (c. 1836) is one of the town’s most photographed landmarks and is recognised as Australia’s third oldest bridge still in use.

This iconic bridge emerges as a testament to the ingenuity of Government Civil Engineer, John Lee Archer. Initially envisioned to replace a dilapidated wooden predecessor, Archer’s vision was nothing short of extraordinary—a freestone bridge that seamlessly blends beauty with enduring strength.

The outcome? A solid stone marvel featuring three impeccably balanced arches that stand as a timeless tribute to Archer’s genius.

As you traverse this historic pathway, prepare to be enchanted by the bridge’s remarkable features. Gracefully curved stone staircases, gently descending towards the river, paint a picture of elegance meeting functionality. On either end, intricate chain-linked stone pillars guide the way, beckoning travellers to experience the bridge’s charm from every angle.

Embark on a journey that transcends borders, drawing tourists from every corner of the globe. They gather to capture the bridge’s magnificence through their lenses, enraptured by the mesmerizing sandstone panels. Adorned with 186 meticulously crafted carvings, these panels unfold a narrative of abstract shapes, portraying animals, birds, insects, plants, and even Celtic deities. The bridge doesn’t shy away from history either—depictions of both friends and foes, including the notable Governor George Arthur, find their place among the carvings.

Beyond its artistic allure, the Ross Bridge stands as a proud testament to unparalleled craftsmanship, echoing the legacy of colonial times. Hewn from locally sourced sandstone, this bridge narrates the story of a bygone era, inviting you to immerse yourself in Tasmania’s rich heritage.

Ross Uniting Church. Image Credit: chachi86
Ross Uniting Church. Image Credit: chachi86

4. Visit the Ross Uniting Church

From the Ross Bridge, wander up the hill and check out the Ross Uniting Church (c. 1885).

The gothic-style church looks like something out of a fairytale! Features include hand-carved sandstone walls, Tasmanian blackwood pews, an Oregon ceiling, an Italian marble font with carved cherubim, stained glass windows, and a modern French tapestry depicting the tree of life.

5. Eat at famous bakeries

First things first: vanilla slice. Try the delicious treat at the Ross Village Bakery, which is famed for its uncanny resemblance to the classic 1989 anime movie Kiki’s Delivery Service. The bakery has an original semi-scotch brick wood-fired oven, which has been operating on the site for more than a century. If you’re not a dessert-first kind of person, start at nearby, Bakery 31, famous for its amazing pies. There is a great range to choose from but don’t leave without tasting the scallop one!

Ross Village Bakery. Image Credit @gm.williams
Ross Village Bakery. Image Credit @gm.williams
Bakery 31 Ross. Image Credit: @thedevonshireteaguide
Bakery 31 Ross. Image Credit: @thedevonshireteaguide
Ross. Image Credit: @lauraverity
Ross Female Factory. Image Credit: @susanjmathew
Ross Female Factory. Image Credit: @susanjmathew

6. Explore the Ross Female Factory Historic Site

The Ross Female Factory was built in 1833 and originally housed the convict chain gangs employed on the Ross Bridge.

Between 1847 and 1854, the site operated as a probation station for female convicts and their babies. The site included a chapel, dining rooms, a hospital, a nursery, solitary cells, dormitories, and an outer courtyard.

Although there are few visible remains above ground today, the site is recognised as the most archaeologically intact female convict site in Australia.

Visit the Overseer’s Cottage and see the display. You might also like to follow the Ross Heritage Trail that runs past the site.

Ross Hotel
Ross Hotel

7. Stay awhile

Ross is situated almost perfectly between Hobart and Launceston—the perfect base for exploring the surrounding regions.

There is some lovely heritage accommodation on offer.

Christopher Hall’s Colonial Accommodation is convict-built sandstone Heritage-listed house (c. 1846), tastefully furnished to reflect a bygone era. 

Ross Hotel (c. 1835) is one of the town’s most iconic buildings and has a range of rooms on offer—let the colonial decor of this historic watering hole take you back in time.

Tasmanian Wool Centre. Image Credit: Tourism Australia
Tasmanian Wool Centre. Image Credit: Tourism Australia

8. Visit the Tasmanian Wool Centre

The Tasmanian Wool Centre is a must-see when visiting Ross. Situated at the top end of Church Street, the centre contains a fabulous onsite Museum which relates to the region’s history and wool connections. There are many artifacts, pictures, and documents on display in the Wool Exhibition room and adjoining History Gallery, including permanent exhibitions on the Ross Bridge, Female Factory and Horton College, as well as changing short-term exhibitions.

Dial-a-Local, Ross Tasmania. Image Credit: Darren Wright
Dial-a-Local, Ross Tasmania. Image Credit: Darren Wright

9. Dial-a-Local

The iconic Red Phone Boxes in Ross hold a mysterious connection to the past. Step inside, pick up the phone, and listen to stories from Ross residents!

Visitors can access these stories by ‘dialling up’ one of seven locals on the telephone. These ‘Dial-a-Local’ stories are amusing and heartfelt, showcasing the small, self-reliant community and its diverse characters.

From a bull in the pub to a run-in with the Constabulary, these anecdotes paint a vivid picture of Ross’s history.

The installation is accessible anytime at the ‘Dial a Local’ phone box on Church Street.


Share your snaps by tagging @midlandstasmania and using #MidlandsTasmania and #HeritageHighway on Instagram – we’ll share our favourite pics on social media and in the blog.

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