Towns Villages & Areas
The Towns and Villages within the Southern Midlands Council are situated in a wide range of locations from the very heart of the rural farming areas of the municipality to those bordering on the urban fringe. They accommodate a very diverse population of people, personalities and lifestyles, with each of the towns and villages having very different architecture and cultural attributes.
When Lieutenant John Bowen in 1803 and Colonel David Collins in 1804 established the early settlements on the shores of the River Derwent, that was the beginning of one of the richest and most profound colonial histories of the then British Empire.
The many hardships and disappointments of establishing a Colony in such an isolated extremity of the Empire proved to be both successful for many of the free setters but also much deprivation and abject slavery for the convicts that were exiled to Van Diemen’s Land for the mostly petty crimes that they were convicted of back in England.
During this time of settlement of Hobart Town that many of the enterprising free settlers began establishing agriculture, from land grants, as a means to feed the establishing Colony with its steadily growing population of free settlers, garrison soldiers and convicts.
It was during this time areas such as Mangalore, Bagdad, Kempton, Jericho, Oatlands and Tunbridge developed as the road north continued to be established into central Tasmania, in search of agricultural lands to establish farms which would produce the food and grow the grain to feed the Colony. Likewise the establishment of the railway network and associated villages of Campania, Colebrook, Rhyndaston and Parattah saw the advent of greater public infrastructure through the Southern Midlands.
It was during the early to mid 1800’s when much of the convict labour was available that many of the magnificent heritage sandstone private homes and public buildings were constructed for the early settlers of the agricultural areas in the Southern Midlands.
Not only is the Southern Midlands endowed with such a prolific inventory of heritage and historic buildings but also with a rich and diverse history of the hardships that those early settlers and their families had to endure to establish their farms and their rural towns and villages. Today these heritage buildings stand as symbolic monuments to the hardships and aspirations of our pioneers to make a new life in the often inhospitable environment of Van Diemen’s Land.
Whilst rural living and farming today have changed irrevocably, with the advent and incorporation of innovations such as personal computers, satellite navigation, mobile telephony communications, pivot irrigation and large freight transporters along with improved national road infrastructure.
Even with all the vast array of new technologies and its impact on our lives rural farming along with rural towns and villages, still today, retain their ambience and tranquillity which personifies our rural lifestyle and explains why today many Tasmanians are choosing to live in rural areas rather than live in urban areas of the State.