Tasmanian Colonial homes, centring on Hobart and Launceston | Summer School in Hobart, Tasmania

Summer School tour that examines the Historic homes and the history of their occupiers.

Tasmanian Colonial homes, centring on Hobart and Launceston | Summer School in Hobart, Tasmania itinerary

Tasmanian Colonial homes, centring on Hobart and Launceston

This week long summer school is designed particularly for the senior traveller with an interest in the colonial history of Tasmania. The course works primarily through an exploration of the colonial architecture to be found around Hobart, in Launceston and along the road between the two.

The course begins in Hobart, where we spend five nights, but also includes one night in Launceston so that we can visit two National Trust houses to be found in or near that city. During the week we will also enjoy a number of guided tours and lectures which will help to fill in the details of those who built the houses and those who lived in them.

Tasmania has a rich colonial history and much of the early architecture, which has unfortunately been destroyed on the mainland, still remains here. During this course we also look at the people who built and lived in these fascinating houses, and at the lives they lived so far from what they had previously known. The property owners came from many walks of life. Some were wealthy free settlers, some were merchants or sea captains and still others came to the colony as convicts. All have an interesting history to reveal.

Summer School classes for mature and senior travellers

Odyssey offers a collection of week-long learning programs offered each January in Hobart, Tasmania. Courses are refreshed for each year’s programs. Classes are limited to 15 people.

Over the last twenty-five years, Odyssey’s small group Summer School Program has given countless travellers an unforgettable educational and travel experience. Each summer, we prepare and offer fun and challenging special interest courses and programs designed to give travellers the options and opportunity to learn about history, religion, Australian culture, and the arts, among many other topics. These courses are designed in such a way that enthusiasts can deepen their knowledge of a particular topic or be initiated into new understandings on a subject.

We don’t quite live on campus, but we will be staying in a comfortable hotel in central Hobart! We will enjoy welcome and farewell dinners in between our seminars, as well as daily morning tea and lunch.

These programs offered are tailor-made for mature-aged and senior travellers who are eager to explore in-depth a particular topic. Summer school learning programs for mature and senior travellers who are and remain curious about the world. Read more about our philosophy of the Odyssey Summer Schools.


Day 1: Hobart

The tour will begin with a welcome dinner, where we have a chance to meet other Summer School participants.

Day 2: Hobart

This morning we meet for a talk on the early free settlers with emphasis on those who built some of the houses we’ll visit over the next few days.

After the talk we’ll visit Narryna House, a short walk from our hotel. This Georgian mansion was built in the late 1830s by Captain Andrew Haig, a Calcutta based merchant who bought land in Hobart in 1824 and built Salamanca Place’ first warehouses, before turning his attention to the building of Narryna.

After lunch we’ll visit the Hobart Museum and tour the historic Theatre Royal, built in 1837.

The evening will be free.

Day 3: Hobart

This morning we drive to New Norfolk, just 30 minutes from Hobart. The town is the third oldest settlement in Tasmania, established by evacuees relocated from Norfolk Island after the island prison was abandoned in 1807. Its historic past is evident in the many early buildings found in the town, including one of Australia’s oldest pubs and Australia’s oldest Anglican church, St Matthews. It also has one of Australia’s few traditional village squares.

In the afternoon we’ll travel the short distance to Plenty where we visit the Salmon Ponds in their English garden setting. The hatchery was established in the 1860s and is Australia’s oldest trout hatchery.

In the afternoon we return to Hobart where you have the rest of the day and evening at leisure.

Day 4: Launceston

This morning we head towards Launceston, stopping to visit some interesting colonial towns along the way. We drive through Ross and Campbell Town with stops for lunch and to view some of the more notable buildings.

Ross is one of the finest nineteenth century villages in Australia. Cobble-style paths and grand old elm trees line the main street, while the Ross Bridge, Australia’s third oldest bridge still standing, is possibly the most beautiful of its kind left in the world.

The convict-built Red Bridge in Campbell Town was erected back in the 1830s and is also remarkably beautiful. It is a well preserved and unique example of early Australian stonework. Campbell Town’s infrastructure was almost entirely built by convicts. By the mid-1830s, free settlers had established the area and built a courthouse, police house, hotels and inns.

In the early afternoon we stop to visit the National Trust property, Clarendon. Set in 7 hectares of parklands on the banks of the South Esk River, this magnificent three-storey Georgian house has servants’ quarters, a heritage walled garden, several farm buildings and a rare avenue of elms.

It was built in 1838 as an extraordinary statement of achievement for wealthy wool grower and merchant, James Cox, who was born in Wiltshire, England.

Although Clarendon was built with convict labour, Mr Cox was known to treat his convicts well and he later played a major role in the abolition of transportation and convict labour.

From Clarendon we drive to our hotel in Launceston where we spend just one night.

The evening is free with dinner at your own expense.

Day 5: Hobart

This morning, after breakfast, we visit Franklin House, just a few minutes’s drive from Launceston. Franklin House, now owned by the National Trust for Tasmania, is the city’s only house museum. Built for successful businessman, Britton Jones, himself an ex-convict, Franklin House is notable for its rich use of imported Australian Red Cedar. This rare colonial building went on to accommodate one of the colony’s leading private schools which operated from 1842 until 1866. We will also visit nearby St James Church, built in 1845, which had a long association with Franklin House.

From Franklin House we drive back towards Hobart stopping to visit historic Oatlands. This small colonial town is pressed right up against Lake Dulverton. Oatlands boasts the largest number of colonial sandstone buildings in Australia. Many of them were built with the help of convict labour. Callington Mill, built in 1837, is still in operation and is the only one of its kind in the entire Southern Hemisphere.

We return to our Hobart hotel in the afternoon and the rest of the day is at leisure.

Day 6: Central Hobart

This morning we have a lecture from a local historian on colonial settlers to Tasmania before we drive to the historic towns of Richmond and Pontville for a guided walk, with stops for lunch and the opportunity to visit a number of historic churches.

This evening we have our farewell dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 7: Central Hobart

Accommodation: Our Summer School concludes this morning after breakfast.

After breakfast, the tour draws to a close.

Includes / Excludes

What’s included in our Tour

  • 5 nights in full en suite accommodation in central Hobart.
  • 1 night in full en suite accommodation in central Launceston.
  • 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 2 dinners.
  • Lectures and handouts as indicated.
  • Services of a study leader and lecturers.
  • Complimentary wifi.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • Return airfares to and from Hobart.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Airport transfers to/from your Hobart hotel.
  • Costs of a personal nature.
Level 1 - Introductory to Moderate

Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, moderate walking on uneven surfaces between 3 - 5 kilometers per day. Suitable for most fitness levels

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