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Campbell Town: Convict Bricks, Chainsaw Sculptures & Colonial Charm

Campbell Town was one of the early coaching stops between Hobart and Launceston, and is still popular as a driver reviver some two centuries later.

However, this charming town has much to offer as a destination in its own right. Enjoy cosy nights in gorgeous historic accommodations, such as Ivy on Glenelg (c.1838). Spend your days exploring the town’s convict past, specialty shops and galleries and relaxing on the banks of the beautiful Elizabeth River. Here are our five picks of things to do in Campbell Town.

1. Explore the Town on foot

Campbell Town is home to an impressive collection of colonial buildings, including The Grange, designed by convict architect James Blackburn in the 1840s. 

Wander past the historic churches and cottages and imagine life in colonial Tasmania. 

Spend time relaxing in the park and feel tiny next to the giant log. 

Say hello to the sculpture of Eliza Forlong, the mother of the country’s super-fine wool industry, and her trusty ram. 

On hot summer days, cool off with a swim at the Campbell Town Swimming Pool (check their current opening hours here).

Campbell Towm. Image Credit: @islandlight_tas

2. Visit the Heritage Highway Museum and Information Centre

Pop into the Heritage Highway Museum and Information Centre for local tips and information. The museum houses fascinating artefacts from the area, including a film projector built in the 1930s, musical instruments, band music, photos and uniforms from the Campbell Town Brass Band (which started in 1844), and a wireless from around 1924. The Campbell Town Museum is housed in the town hall

3. Search for an ancestor on the Convict Brick Trail

The Convict Brick Trail is a special monument to the state’s convict history. Follow the trail of bricks along High Street to discover bite-sized information about individual convicts transported to the land down under.

Each brick is engraved with a real convict’s name and a few personal details, giving us a glimpse into their colourful stories (let your imagination run wild). You might even find a brick dedicated to an ancestor! You can also search for specific names in the Convict Bricks Database.

4. Visit Red Bridge & The Elizabeth River

Speaking of bricks, Campbell Town’s Red Bridge is made from over 1.5 million, all handmade by convicts. It was completed in 1838 in the days of horses and carriages, and today carries over 2 million vehicles annually.

It’s the oldest bridge on the National Highway and has needed minimal repair work over the years – a testament to the workmanship and skills of the early labourers!

The Red Bridge, Campbell Town 📷 @islandlight_tas

5. View the Chainsaw Sculptures

To view the results of some modern-day talent, check out the incredible artworks by chainsaw sculptor Eddie Freeman near the bridge. It’s hard to believe a chainsaw carved the intricate details!

Each piece is a tribute to the town’s heritage, including convicts and soldiers, the region’s natural and agricultural attributes, and prominent people from the area’s history.

The riverbank is also a lovely spot for a picnic (you might have to share with the ducks).

Campbell Town Sculptures. Image Credit: @hoods.hit.the.road
Campbell Town Sculptures. Image Credit: @hoods.hit.the.road

6. Do a spot of shopping!

If you’re into shopping, there’s something for everyone, with some real gems around town.

On the last Sunday of every month, the Campbell Town Market is on at the town hall, with bric-a-brac, cakes, plants, clothes and more up for grabs.

On any day of the week, explore the town’s specialty shops, find something special to read at The Book Cellar, search for treasure from days gone by at Wildes Antiques, and pop into the wonderful art galleries.

The Book Cellar, Campbell Town 📷 The Book Cellar

Discover more about Tasmania’s Heritage Highway:

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