Tunbridge, Interlaken and Bothwell


Welcome to Tunbridge……..umm…..I thought we were in Tasmania, not the UK!  Ray has regularly commented on the number of place names in Australia that are found in the UK. Well here was another one and it was significant to us as Becky, Ben and our grandchildren live in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK. We had to go and visit this town and find out it’s history.

By 1830 the tiny settlement of Tunbridge had been named. The name was taken from a local pub, the Tunbridge Wells, which in turn had taken its name from the famous English spa town of Tunbridge Wells.

The Tasmanian Tunbridge was an important staging post on the road from Hobart to Launceston. Today, because it was bypassed in the 1960s, it is a tiny, sleepy little village with a number of interesting historic buildings. Most notable is the town’s convict-era bridge which, built in 1848, is the oldest single span bridge in the country. It spans the Blackman River at the northern end of the town. A simple structure it is important as a rare example of a convict-era sandstone bridge with timber decking. The bridge achieved notoriety as it was a place where Thomas Meagher, a “Young Ireland” rebel, held secret meetings with his co-conspirators.


After spending time exploring Tunbridge, we were heading off to the historic town of Bothwell. As we were heading down the Midlands Highway, we saw a road off to our right which indicated it was another route to Bothwell. It would take an extra hour but we had all the time in the world, so decided to head along this route.  Well, what an interesting, slightly nerve-racking but stunningly beautiful route it was. The road very quickly went from bitumen to gravel, from wide to narrow, from flat to very steep and winding. We kept going higher and higher and our ears were popping constantly. At one stage we had to pull over to the edge to let a grader coming the other way, get past us.  As we looked behind the view was stunning – a panorama that stretched for miles and took in both water and undulating hills. We finally came to a straight stretch of road that went on for another 10 kilometres and to a place called Interlaken – on one side of the road was Lake Crescent and on the other was Lake Sorell  – beautiful beyond words, so we will let our photo’s try to convey the beauty we saw.


We finally made it to Bothwell and that journey was full of excitement too as we saw our first live Wombat and he was just sooooo cute – check out his pics below.  Bothwell is a really interesting town and we had fun exploring.  Where Tunbridge had links to England, Bothwell has links to Scotland. It is named after a town in South Lanarkshire, Scotland which lies to the east of Glasgow. All of the town’s street signs have a tartan background.

One of Bothwell’s claims to fame is, Ratho, the oldest golf course in Australia and the oldest known course outside of Scotland. The house on Ratho estate was built for one Alexander Reid who had emigrated with his family from Scotland in 1822. Our scottish brother-in-law, Jock, is a Reid and we wonder if there is a family connection!  We visited the local cemetery and saw the very ornate headstone for Alexander and other family members.

We enjoyed a cuppa and cake at the 1829 Castle Hotel.  We found out from the barmaid that although we thought the wombat was cute and cuddly, locals saw them as a pest and also a nuisance on the roads. They caused more problems than kangaroos when hit by a car as their solid, low to the ground, body caused smaller cars to flip over.

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