Where history and the Jordon merge
Sitting on a hill overlooking the Jordon River, this settlement could easily be missed by those unaware of the historical treasures it holds. Pontville is about a 30 minute drive north of Hobart along the Heritage Highway.
Originally an important travelling route for Tasmanian Aboriginals, the far-stretching plain beside Pontville is evidence of the fire-stick farming performed over thousands of years. Come 1821, the site took off as a garrison town, favourable for its timber and quarries, becoming a large supplier of stone to southern Tasmania. The settlement swelled to some 2,000 residents and today there are plenty of ways to learn of Tasmania’s colonial past and the booming times of Pontville.
Pull off the highway and you’ll find grand sandstone buildings, historic accommodation down by the River Jordan and headstones that mark those who spent their lives in the southern midlands. Stop in at St. Mark’s Church, architecturally designed by convict James Blackburn in rare Romanesque style.
Also, keep an eye out for Lythgo’s Row, commonly referred to as The Barracks. You’ll see a row of cottages, the first one built in the 1840s. Their builder, William Lythgo was transported to Van Diemen’s Land for pickpocketing. Today, you can stay in these self-contained cottages with dormer bedrooms. The bridge, just nearby, has pylons built from the sandstone taken from the quarry where Lythgo’s Row now sits.
If you’re passing through on the first Sunday of the month, you might just find a little trash or treasure at the Pontville Market between 9am and 2pm at Pontville Park.