The Southern Midlands Council, with the assistance of the Tasmanian Community Fund, have recently implemented the Oatlands Key. This exciting new initiative opens the historic Oatlands Military Precinct to the public. It is probably the closest you’ll come to being handed the key to a city!
What does the key unlock?
The Oatlands key allows people to unlock three fascinating historic buildings via an electronic card reader. The 7-day per week public access system enables locals and visitors to take a self-guided tour of the Oatlands Gaoler’s Residence, the Supreme Court House, and the Oatlands Commissariat. A map is provided to help visitors navigate the short distance between the buildings.
Where can I find the key?
Collect the fob key from any participating business in High Street displaying the key logo, including: Oatlands Antiques, the Wooden Spoon Café, the Historical Society, Fiesty Hen Café & Pantry, and the Southern Midlands Council. You will need to register and leave a deposit, which is fully refundable upon return.
What is there to see?
Step inside and imagine the people who lived, worked, and had their futures decided here in the 1800s—right where you are standing today! Admire the beautiful restoration work and view the archeological and heritage collection items on display. Read the information panels and learn about the rich history of the site and the colourful characters who inhabited it. It was certainly a different time.
Other self-guided activities for history enthusiasts
The ‘Welcome to Oatlands’ visitor brochure includes a self-guided walking tour of the town, focusing on High Street and the history of key buildings. Keep an eye out for informative signs around Oatlands, telling tales of the past. Purchase Stories from the Sandstone to learn more about the town’s beginnings as a military base and stagecoach depot. Visit the Oatlands District Historical Society’s Museum to view memorabilia, discover interpretative displays, and research your family’s history.
A visit to the Callington Mill Historic Precinct (c. 1837) is a must. Guided tours no longer operate, but visitors are welcome to wander the site and admire the oldest working Lincolnshire tower mill in the Southern Hemisphere. Learn a heritage trade at the fortnightly Come and Try Sessions at the mill’s Blacksmith’s Forge. Take a walk around adjacent Lake Dulverton (this handy guide details points of interest).
People of all ages will love Oatlands’ quirky Topiary Trail. Try your luck solving a true crime committed in Oatlands in the 1830s with a game of Skulduggery. Outside town, discover the Shadows of the Past Silhouette Trail on the drive between Kempton and Tunbridge.
Eat & drink
All that exploring is sure to work up an appetite! The Pancake & Crepe Shop is a family favourite nestled amongst the charming Georgian sandstone buildings. This cosy eatery offers pancakes, crepes, light lunches, homemade slices, sweets, and Devonshire tea, as well as dinner on Friday and Saturday nights.
Other great options include the Kentish Hotel TKO Bakery Café, the Wooden Spoon Café, Fiesty Hen Café & Pantry, the Oatlands Roadhouse Takeaway, Sticky Fingers Café, and the Oatlands RSL (evening meals from 6pm – 8pm, Wednesday to Saturday).
There is some beautifully restored heritage accommodation available in Oatlands, including: Oatlands Manor (c. 1854), Elm Cottage Barn (c. 1837), Robinson Cottage (c. 1837), 101 High Street (c. 1830s), Oatlands Retreat, Oatlands Lodge, and Blossoms Cottage.
To see what’s on, check out our Events Calendar.
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Oatlands Gaol | @_lost_wandering_/Instagram