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  • Writer's pictureHelen Avaient

10 things to see and do in Longford Tasmania Australia

The classified historic Georgian town of Longford is only 27kms (a 20 minute drive) southwest of Launceston. It is nestled at the convergence of the Macquarie and the South Esk Rivers. The Great Western Tiers are a spectacular backdrop to the town situated at their foothills.

The buildings in the town are beautifully preserved and a treat for admirers of old colonial homes and business premises. Charming hotels have been restored, with some now private residences while others still operating as hotels and B&Bs.

The town was settled way back in 1807 and called Latour. The name changed to Longford in 1883. With many families coming from Norfolk Island, the area was known as the Norfolk Plains.

The 2016 census records the population at just under 4,000 people.

1. Longford Municipal Hall

This two-storey Victorian building was constructed around 1880 and is impressive. Landowners at the time wanted to show their wealth in their homes and town buildings. The stuccoed façade is richly decorated. The full height Corinthian columns and pilasters support the parapet above. The words “Town Hall” are etched in the curve above the front door.

67 Wellington St, Longford

2. Longford Christ Church

Built between 1839 and 1844 the Anglican church was constructed of sandstone. It is topped with a square tower and gabled roof. The church clock and bell were gifts from George IV.

Dr James Appleyard sought to have every tree named in the Bible represented in the grounds. The stained glass windows were designed by William Archer from Woolmers. The churchyard has an interesting feature. This lovely looking structure is actually a Lych Gate. This is where the family would take their dead to be delivered to the priest.

There is a cemetery just next to the church, the final resting place of many early settlers such as the Archers, Brumbys and Reibeys. The Reibey, or Reiby family have strong ties to Longford. Thomas Haydock Reibey II (1796 – 1842) built the Entally estate in 1819 near Launceston after he arrived in Tasmania in 1817. He and eight other family members are buried in a family crypt in the Christ Church Cemetery at Longford. It is Thomas’ mother Mary Reibey who is featured on the Australian $20 note, in recognition of her philanthropy. She was one of the richest and most successful businesswomen in Australia. A former convict, (convicted of stealing a horse) Australia is the only country in the world to have an image of a person convicted of a crime against property on its national currency.

Located in the centre of town the beautiful gardens of the church reminds visitors of an English common.

2 William Street, Longford

3. Browns Big Store

Alfred Brown was a hawker selling goods from his wagon. He build Browns Cash Emporium in 1889 and this became a staple shopping experience for many years. The building has seen many changes for well over 100 years, but the building façade has remained almost identical to the original. When I visited in 2021, sadly the stores at the front were all vacant. However, a wonderful shop is open out the back….

4. The Collective

Opened in 2020 by Samantha Viney, this shop is a delightful array of Tasmanian made gifts and homewares by local artisians. The large open space allows browsers and buyers time to wander and delight in the many handmade items. More than 40 local people have their goods here and products include candles, ceramics, jewellery, woodwork and leather goods.

Outside the shop were locally made handicrafts, including this amazing recycled pallet garden furniture set.

73 Wellington St, Longford

5. Longford Hotel

This heritage listed hotel was built around 1827, and some say the town was named after the hotel. It has also been used as the Penny Saving Bank, a library, livery stables, a doctor’s home and surgery, and a Temperance Hotel.

1-3 William St, Longford

6. Sticky Beaks Café and Pizzeria

Located at the corner of Wellington and Marlborough Streets is a preposing building knows as Heritage Corner. Built in the 1830s, it was originally the London Hotel, then became the Plough Inn. Over the years it has been a chemist and a watchmakers shop. Today it is home to Sticky Beaks Café. The staff were welcoming and the coffee perfect. Locals praise the pizzas that are made on the premises.

7. Junker Jane

A treasure trove of antiques and wares await in this store. Even window shopping is sure to bring a smile to any collector. Built in 1877, this two storey brick structure was originally intended as a shop and home.

65 Wellington St, Longford

8. JJs Bakery and Old Mill Café

The Georgian style brick and stuccoed buildings are what remains of a much larger mill complex, one of several in the area. This two storey building is named the Old Emerald Flour Mill. The Old Mill Café has been operating here since 1989, and the mill is thought to have been built in the 1830s. It was also known as Richie’s Mill, after Thomas Ritchie (1789-1851) the original owner. The areas around Longford were major wheat growers, exporting flour to the mainland.

52 Wellington St, Longford

9. Queen’s Arms Hotel

Built in 1835 this two storey brick and stuccoed Georgian hotel has been a popular meeting place to this day. Some people say that it was originally called the King’s Arms but after Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837, the name was changed.

69 Wellington St, Longford

10. Wellington Street businesses

The old Georgian buildings have been lovingly restored and are a true delight. At No. 55 on the left in the photo below, you can still see the large gas lamp over the entrance. No 55 was formerly Tattersall’s Hotel and is now the Longford Library.

The centre building in the photo below is No. 57. It was originally built as a general store with residence.

No. 59, on the right in the photo below, was built in 1887 as a chemist shop with residence. It was common for people to run their businesses on the bottom storey and live in the top storey.

Bonus: Beautiful homes

Taking a walk around Longford is the best way to really capture a sense of this historic town. I am a great admirer of old homes and Longford abounds in beautifully cared for dwellings.

There are many other attractions in Longford to see and do that I have not included here. Take a wander around town and enjoy the sights. There are many bed and breakfasts to stay in, antique shops to peruse and pub food to enjoy. The colonial charm of this country town is lovely, and deserves more than one visit.

Nearby Brickendon and Woolmers estates are also worth visiting to capture a look at early settlement and convict stories in the district.

Happy Travels!

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