If you are visiting Tassie and want to stay somewhere and have yourself somewhat of a grand experience … stay at The Grange!
Tasmania's Heritage Highway passes through Campbell Town in the state's midlands and is the road linking Launceston and Hobart, making the small town the perfect base for touring Tasmania. The community came into being in 1821 as one of a number of garrison towns and was proclaimed a town in its own right in 1866. Saxon merinos were introduced there more than 150 years ago and it is still a major sheep farming centre.
Campbell Town has with a wealth of early 19th century buildings, and the Elizabeth River named by Governor Macquarie after his wife, Elizabeth Campbell flows through the town. The convict-built Red Bridge has three arches spanning the river, and it all blends to give the feeling of a pretty English village.
Just over the bridge built in 1838 is the Fox Hunter's Return, a public house which opened in 1840. The two-storey building is made from rubble stone and is regarded as one of the period's most substantial buildings.
The gracious Campbell Town Inn opened in 1840 and was known as the Beehive. It is large and solid and another building of historic importance.
St Luke's Anglican Church was built in 1839 and has a marvellous 16 pipe organ. Its rectory with five bay windows is a fine example of a Colonial Georgian residence. St Michael's Church, built in 1857, has "WW" engraved in the south-east wall. These are the initials of Bishop Wilson, the Bishop of Tasmania.
The Grange was built in the late 1840s as a home for Dr William Valentine. The classic example of Tudor Gothic architecture was built by James Blackburn, a convict architect. He is also responsible for Hobart's Holy Trinity Church and most likely the Red Bridge and was pardoned in return for his exceptional work in the colony.
The Grange is an imposing building and looks particularly grand at night when floodlit. Its current owners purchased it in 1999 from the National Trust and offer bed and breakfast accommodation and conference and meeting facilities.
There are four bedrooms upstairs, each with its own en-suite, and the fifth guestroom is downstairs and also has en-suite facilities with a large, claw-foot bath.
Breakfast of cereals, breads, fresh fruit, yoghurt, juices, coffee and tea is served each morning in the dining room or, in warmer months, the glass conservatory. A fruiting grapevine, planted in 1890, weaves its way around the conservatory.
In 1865, a scullery chimney fire gutted part of the house, and it was re-built in stone. The tower at the northern end of the building was for the doctor's personal Turkish bath.
Part of the Grange's history is that in 1874 it was one of eight sites around the world chosen to watch the transit of Venus. That phenomenon will occur again in 2004, but in the meantime, visitors will get a wonderful view of the stars in the black sky.