Historic coaching town on the Midland Highway originally known as Tunbridge Wells (after the famous English spa town), Tunbridge is a small town located 92 km from Launceston and 107 km from Hobart. It has been by-passed by the main Midland Highway and consequently has a quiet charm well removed from the urgency of the highway.
The town came into existence in 1809 and quickly developed into an important coaching stop between Hobart and Launceston. The area grew rapidly in the 1810s as convicts worked on the road from the north to the south of the island. In recent times the town has been by-passed which has meant that it has been able to maintain much of its historic charm. There are no antique or gift shops and no accommodation.
Tunbridge Manor is at the centre of town and dominates the townscape. Other buildings of importance include the Colonial Homestead was built in 1820, the Tunbridge Wells Inn (now closed down), The Victoria Inn (outside is a sandstone roller used to roll the roads by the convicts), the Coaching Stables (1843), The Blind Chapel (now the Masonic Hall and reputedly 'blind' - no windows - on one side so the parishioners didn't have to look at the local pub, and Bowerman's General Store (a handsome two-storey Georgian building with a five bay facade and slim columns)
Tunbridge Convict Bridge
This bridge crosses the Blackman River at the northern end of Tunbridge. This bridge is an important symbol of the north/south boundary of Tasmania, the Blackman River being the traditional boundary between the northern and southern regions of Tasmania. It is an impressive structure with a timber deck on top of three intermediate piers of picked stone with four spans. Each stone pier is topped with a short tower with corbelled top. Timber balustrades link the towers on either side of the bridge. It is said to be the oldest timber-decked bridge in Australia.