Ross is much like Campbell Town. It sits right in between Launceston and Hobart and is a great meeting place for friends who live on opposite sides of the island. But Ross is bypassed by the Midland Highway, so the town does not see the hoards of passersby that Campbell Town or Richmond experience. And because it is mostly bypassed by travelers, this old English town is incredibly well preserved. In fact, it’s almost like travelling to Britain in the 1800's.
Ross sits 117 kilometers north of Hobart and 78 kilometers south of Launceston. It’s a convenient halfway meeting point between the north and south sides of the island, but you’ll have to veer off the highway just a bit. However, a short diversion is well worth the hassle to see the Ross sandstone buildings in this sleepy hamlet.
Preserved Ross Sandstone Buildings
If you’ve been to England then you’ll be reminded of towns like Costwolds and Oxfordshire during a stroll through Ross. Without the corruption of modern tourism, Ross has remained an English settlement through and through. And with locally quarried warm Ross sandstone, the buildings in this midway town are inviting and beautiful.
A simple stroll down Church Street reveals 22 of Ross’s 44 historic buildings. Start at Wesley Church at the top of Church Street. From there, you can experience most of Ross’s charm by walking up and down each side of the street. Each building has its own charm and history.
Those Looking For A More Interesting Island Drive
Of course, you’ll find plenty of visitors in Ross who love history. Coming to town to look upon Old English houses, they linger to experience more of the town’s charm. But Ross is really for informed travelers. Just a short detour brings you to this stunningly preserved town which turns a mundane commute into an interesting adventure.
Walking up and down Church Street, you can see the curious sparkle in the eyes of the informed travellers as they gaze upon the buildings. They’ve chosen to enrich their travel experience in Ross rather than simply stretching their legs in a roadside service town.
You can stay at the historic Man O' Ross hotel in the center of town. There's also a quaint English bed and breakfast as well as a motel.
Head to the center of town to experience one of the strangest intersections in all of Australia. It’s called Temptation, Recreation, Salvation and Damnation. On Temptation corner stood the Man O’ Ross Hotel. Recreation is represented by Town Hall. On Salvation’s corner stands a Catholic Church and Damnation's is a former jail (now a private residence).
The former Ross Female Factory makes for an interesting visit. Ross was built with convict labour, but most of the labour was carried out by men. The female factory is where female convicts worked for aristocrats as makers. And, of course, they were not compensated.
The Ross Bridge is the third oldest in Australia. It’s incredibly intricate and beautiful and is definitely worth a visit. Walk up close to see 186 different carvings made by the same number of convict masons. The men who built the bridge did such a good job that they were granted their freedom.
Walk from the top of Church Street down 3 blocks through old elms and over cobblestone paths to see the beautifully warm Ross sandstone buildings.
Bring your fishing rod to Ross. Just beyond the Ross Bridge is the Macquerie River. While the immediate waters are protected for ducks and other birds, just beyond is a great fishing spot. You’ll find plenty of townsfolk on the river trying to catch trout for dinner. Image Credit: Tourism Tasmania & Kathryn Leahy (Female Factory) Image Credit: Ross Bridge
The Ross Bakery features an antique oven and has been operating for more than a century. You can smell the bread baking throughout town and it is a must-visit for a stop in Ross.
Ross was chosen to be a town in the early 1800's. Built with convict labour, Ross was ideal as it was a halfway point between the north and the south. It is also surrounded by flat lands that were cleared for farming. A garrison of soldiers was stationed to protect the building of Ross in 1812.
This small town had close ties to the military in the 1800s. Many of the buildings in town was erected for military purposes and you’ll notice some of the streets are named after famous Napoleonic War battles. Many of the soldiers that found themselves stationed in Ross were veterans of that war.
As a midway town in the Midlands, Ross developed as an important coaching change station. The flat land around Ross was ideal for cattle, and livestock began fueling the economy. Ross became home to the first livestock show in the Midlands in 1826.
The Midlands Highway was built around Ross which kept many of the tourists and passerby out of town. But that only helped to preserve this unique little hamlet for informed travellers to enjoy.
The Midlands of Tasmania are a bit elevated and far from the sea. This gives Ross some of the hottest temperatures in summer and coldest temperatures in winter. But with 4 distinct seasons, you can visit Ross throughout the year to get a different experience.
You can smell the Ross Bakery all over town. It features an antique semi-scotch oven that bakes more than 300 loaves of bread, and it has been in operation for more than 100 years.
The antique shops in Ross are unrivalled. The stores sell many of the original furnishings of this historic town. Image Credit: Tourism Tasmania & Kathryn Leahy (Ross Bakery)