A weekend back to school in Tassie, only the homework's done and there is no detention, just relaxation!
Tasmania has some wonderful National Trust classified historic towns, and one of them, Hamilton, in the Derwent Valley, was originally planned on a grand scale to be a major centre but didn't ever make it past the small, sleepy village stage.
The area around Hamilton was settled in 1807 and by 1835 had a population of almost 800, plus 11 hotels and two breweries. In the late 1800s, as many as 1500 people lived there, 1100 of whom were convicts who built many of the buildings. Some buildings from the 1830s and 1840s survive and they are well spread out and surrounded by farms.
Hamilton is on the Clyde River and is now home to 150 people. It offers swimming, fishing, tennis, water-skiing and plenty of beautiful countryside to explore.
The historic Old School House is in the bold Gothic/Victorian style and its exterior has the original sandstone. Now owned by Cheryll and Chris McIntosh, they run it as a b&b.
The b&b has four guest rooms in the school house building and an adjoining two-bedroom self-contained cottage. There is a courtyard between the cottage and the school house and the 1.2ha property has beautiful English country gardens, including lots of sweet-smelling roses.
It functioned as a school until the 1930s with two of the downstairs rooms being used as one classroom for 80 pupils. The rest of the house was the private quarters of the headmaster.
When the school closed, the house fell into disrepair with one resident living there with his 20 dogs. It was so derelict that in 1972 there were moves to demolish it, but locals raised sufficient funds to save it from such an ignominious fate.
Now each room has a private ensuite, television and you can make your own hot drinks there. The kitchen is stocked with breakfast provisions and there is a cosy log fire in the sitting room.
When Cheryll is cooking a three course meal, she advises guests and they can join her and Chris for dinner. Otherwise, there are good restaurants in the town.