Tasmania’s cruisy and colonial Richmond welcomes a manor that is straight out of a fairytale book.
In 1803, a party from Lieutenant Bowen's Risdon Cove settlement headed east, hunting kangaroo and emu. They gave the Coal River its name. Later land grants encouraged settlers to the area and in 1823 the building of the Richmond Bridge aided travel to Tasmania's east coast and peninsula.
In 1824, Richmond was named and became one of Lieutenant-Governor Arthur's police districts, with a gaol, courthouse, barracks and watchhouse. The town continued to grow, thanks to its importance as a convict station and military post.
In the 1830s, thanks to its position, it became the obvious place to stop. Several roads led into and out of the town. Inns increased in number and businesses were established blacksmiths, wheelwrights, saddlers, stockyards, tanneries, a marketplace, kilns and general stores.
In the 1850s, two coaches a day linked Richmond with Risdon and Bellerive and in 1872 the opening of the Sorell causeway and extension of the Hobart-Launceston railway line through Campania stimulated growth in the town. For the next hundred years it was a stable, quiet rural community.
Awareness of the significance of Richmond's heritage began to develop in the 1970s and it grew as an arts and crafts centre, with a number of galleries being established.
The Georgian-style village is one of slate and cobbles, handmade brick, mellow stone, cottages and manors. It has Australia's oldest bridge, Roman Catholic church, postal building and gaol, all attractive to tourists.
Colin and Jeanette Hatcher are the owners of a grand gothic revival manor house. Their dream was to design and build a magnificent house on a farm. That they have achieved. They found Richmond the perfect location for both the house and for growing fruit and so far have planted 20,000 apricot trees.
The 40-hectare farm offers a choice of accommodation, with a large foyer, formal lounge and dining room. The main building has rooms of varying sizes, there is a shepherd's attic and a separate cottage which is fully self-contained.
January and February are apricot-harvesting months. Year round, guests enjoy seeing the sheep, ducks, chickens, dogs, ponies and turkeys, fishing from the dam, indoor heated pool and maybe even spotting platypus in the river.