My journey in photos & words travelling through Tasmania exploring
convict & colonial sites and other sites of historical significance.





Sunday, 13 January 2013

Campania

The farmlands of the Campania District are rich and diverse and the occupants have largely been farming these lands for generations. This is evidenced by the great success of the local vineyards within the valley, making it one of the most important regions for wine production within Tasmania.

The small, quiet township of Campania contains several notable examples of colonial architecture and the Flour Mill Park with it's bronze sculpture is a nice place to stop for a rest, picnic, bbq or just relax. There are BBQ huts and large areas of open space to spread out and relax, making it a popular spot with travellers looking to break the journey from the Midlands Highway to Richmond.

Francis Smith purchased land on the Coal River in 1829, and named his property Campania Estate. The completion of the Tasmanian Mainline Railway in 1876 saw the construction of a railway station on part of the Campania Estate. Around the railway station a township rapidly grew, including several stores, a hotel, flour mill, church, school and sale yards. Campania was proclaimed a township in 1882.

Grapevines were first cultivated by George Weston Gunning at Campania in 1825, a cask of wine being produced the following year. Gunning also pioneered the cultivation of hops at Campania, a crop essential for the development of the brewing industry in Tasmania.

Campania Estate was the childhood home of Sir Francis Villeneuve Smith, Chief Justice and Premier of Tasmania. The property passed from the Smith family to Bassett Dickson of Richmond in 1868.
James Brock purchased the Campania Estate from Bassett Dickson's widow in 1873. In 1882 H.J. Brock, his brother William Brock and several other shareholders registered the Campania Gold Mining Company. H.J. Brock invested 5,000 in the unsuccessful venture.

In 1920, Campania Estate was subdivided into twenty-six lots for soldier settlement.
The Old Flour Mill (1884) was designed by William Greenlaw for his cousin H.J. Brock. The two-story mill and storage was built adjacent to the railway. Wheat grown on the Campania Estate and flour ground in the mill won a gold medal at the Centennial Exhibition in Melbourne in 1888.

The General Store (1879) was built by J.W. Nichols of Richmond. Subsequent storekeepers included P.J. Nichols, Robert Spencer, John Nichols, Arthur Nichols and Thomas Bidgood.

The Campania Tavern (1877) was first licensed to John White. White was the first stationmaster at Campania, and prior to the opening of the Campania Hotel had run a refreshment bar at the railway station.
St. George's Church (1894) was built and furnished at a cost of 450. Mr. and Mrs. H.J. Brock donated 300 towards the completion of the church.

Campania is one of the most important wine-producing regions of Tasmania, and has had commercial vineyards since the mid-19th century.

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