The Hobart

Richmond Bridge

by Genevieve Morton
Richmond Bridge

When visitors stop to gaze at picturesque Richmond Bridge they might not imagine a history of whippings and murder.

Australia’s oldest sandstone bridge has a chilling past. In 1832 a notoriously cruel employee from the Richmond Gaol, George Grover, was pushed off the bridge and fell seven metres to his death. Grover hade been involved in a fight earlier in the night and drunkenly fell asleep on top of the bridge.

No one was ever convicted of his murder.

Grover was well known for whipping convicts as they carried sandstone to the bridge site and one of his duties at the jail was flogging prisoners.

It’s a story etched in the bridge’s history at a time when Richmond was emerging as an important crossing point for settlers travelling between Hobart and the Tasman Peninsula.

The road to Richmond from Hobart was also underway in 1820 and the necessity for the bridge became clear.

It was a time of frequent flooding at the crossing, delaying wagons and risking stock and carts being washed away.

The foundation stone for the Richmond Bridge was laid in 1823 and the bridge was originally named Bigge’s Bridge after Royal Commissioner John Bigge – who first recognised the need for the bridge in 1820.

The construction of the bridge and the emergence of Richmond as a township are considered closely linked events. Richmond gained its name two months after the construction of the bridge began.

The arched design was a significant technical achievement and, for a decade, it had the longest span of any bridge in Australia.

The sandstone was quarried from Butcher’s Hill and hauled to the bridge site by convicts using hand carts. The bridge was completed in 1825.

By 1835, Richmond was Tasmania’s third largest town and was considered an important military outpost and convict station.

The town soon became a stopping point for travellers moving between Hobart and Port Arthur.

In 2005, the Richmond Bridge was added to the Australian National Heritage List and its popularity has grown. It now attracts 200,000 visitors a year. ■

Love this

Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close
Exploring Tassie These Winter School Holidays
We know that staying indoors with the family isn’t always fun. And while it’s obviously cold outside, you’re only a puffer jacket and beanie away from being comfortable and ready to explore. There’s lots of family fun to be had in all sorts of weird and wonderful places across the state these school holidays.
Sand Surfing on the Peninsula
The half-day walk to Crescent Beach in the Tasman National Park offers so much- including epic sand dunes for surfing and incredible views.
27 Hobart Friends Get Snipping For One Off Wine
The borders were declared shut in Tasmania on the 30th of March, 2020; the first stare to do so amid the COVID- 19 pandemic and hard lockdown of Hobart followed.
Danphe Nepalese and Indian Food + Peppermint Bay Bar and Bistro
Nepalese food is a comfort in our house. Having spent much time trekking and mountain climbing in Nepal as a younger man, Nepalese food is something I always love to go back to.
That’s DR Hannah Gadsby To You
From Smithton to Netflix and the Emmys stage, Tasmanian stand up comic Hannah Gadsby has forged an unlikely path. Following on from the massive success of her shows Nanette and Douglas, Hannah brings her new show Body of Work to Hobart this month.
PODCAST: Incat founder Robert Clifford on why electric boats are the future
Robert Clifford is the founder of Incat, a Hobart company building fast ferries for the world. Always looking to future opportunities, he has identified where Hobart sits in the next wave of transportation. For more of this interview listen to The Hobart Magazine podcast.
Is Tourism Ready For More Forestry Wars?
Tasmanian forests are special. They’re home to centuries-old trees, including the tallest flowering trees on the planet, and support unique native species. Yet not everyone agrees on how these forests should be managed.
Hobart Chefs: When The Obsession Becomes Real
Tasmania’s brand as a foodie haven is cemented. But within the local hospitality industry there are those who love to use local produce...and those who are next-level obsessed with it. We spoke to a bunch of Hobart chefs who are top of the game when it comes to fostering relationships with local farmers and growers.
Did You Know Australia’s First Female Doctor Was Hobartian?
Tasmania, despite its small size and population in comparison to the mainland, has produced more than its proportionally predicted percentage of significant figures and heroes of Australian history. 
Return Travellers Adding Pressure to Hobart Housing
For all of us 2020 was a year like no other, punctuated by rapid change and plenty of new challenges. For vulnerable people in Tasmania, including people facing homelessness, those on low incomes and those facing increasingly higher rents, it was very challenging. We are seeing a growing demand for homes in Tassie from international travellers returning home, people moving for work and others seeking the lifestyle that our Apple Isle has to offer.
Magazine
AboutContributeAdvertiseNewsletter Sign UpContact
August 2022

Stay up to date with everything happening at the Hobart Magazine.

Thank you to Luke Brokensha for mobilising his friends and local residents recently to host two rubbish clean ups along the Hobart Rivulet after heavy rains.
The warm weather returns...hello summer.
Need a laugh? Check out @theinspiredunemployed feed on Instagram.
Moto Vecchia Cafe in Bellerive and Czegs Cafe in Richmond have joined the Clarence City Council dementia program, creating dementia-friendly spaces for all patrons.
It’s hard to believe it’s not standard practice to have a working phone in every aged care room - shared phones make private conversations impossible and increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Tacks on the tracks. Mountain bikers beware of tacks being left on certain tracks on the mountain.
Just when you think your cousins are alright. NZ Opposition Leader Judith Collins took aim at Tassie during her recent (unsuccessful) campaign, calling us Australia’s “poor cousin.” She also seems worried about us nabbing tech businesses, “It’s a lovely part of the world but do you necessarily want to go there with your high- tech business? Possibly not,” she said. We beg to differ!