A true, traditional village
This colonial town is the type of place you might spot a horse trotting down the main street. You’ll have to hop off the Heritage Highway to visit Kempton, now that the 1820s village is bypassed, but it is worth exploring. With elegant 19th century buildings and rolling hills as its backdrop, Kempton appears like a little town trapped in time.
It’s about a 40 minute drive out of Hobart, and was once known as Green Ponds. Along the main street, there are antique and second hand stores to look through, coaching inns, a hearty country pub and elegant St. Mary’s Church of England. The nearby cemetery tells stories of Kempton’s earlier days and those who called it home.
Along the streetscape, keep an eye out for signs that tell of Kempton’s history. A fellow worth learning more about is Anthony Fenn Kemp, after whom the town was later named. He was given the first land grant, and left behind a dozen children, earning him the title “Father of Tasmania”. A good read to learn more about the notorious Kemp is In Tasmania, written by British novelist Nicholas Shakespeare.
At the southern end of town, you’ll see Dysart House. It’s now the home of Redlands Distillery, and is an impressive 19th century mansion. If you’re looking for a lunch stop or coffee, Redlands offers this and more in their warm front rooms, resplendent with leather couches to rest your weary bones. A tasting and a tour of their distillery should also be on your list, and tours are offered regularly throughout the day. Built in 1843, Dysart House itself retains much of its colonial character from days when Kempton was a busy coaching stop for travelers, and it has recently undergone a huge renovation with updated gardens and interior.