Founded in 1816, the tiny historical village of Jericho is one of
the oldest townships in Australia. Like its better known neighbour,
Oatlands, the main road of Jericho contains some fine examples of early
colonial sandstone architecture, and constructions including examples
of convict cut culverts, bridges and walls, many of which date from the
1830s. A mud wall, a relic from the convict probation station, is
appropriately known as the Wall of Jericho.
Old Jericho Road, one of the few surviving examples of the convict
built road of the 1830s, still has some interesting convict
constructions including stone walls, a bridge and some culverts.
The site of The Probation Station (1840), which housed over 200
convicts working on the road can be viewed. The paddocks to the left of
the station originally known as ‘Fourteen Tree Plain’ was
the site of the first horse race in the state in April 1826.
St James Anglican Church (1888) contains the grave of Trooper John
Hutton Bisdee, who was the first Tasmanian to be awarded the Victoria
Cross. Four years before the settlement of Oatlands began, the first
recorded religious service was held at Jericho, on the 23 February
1823. It was conducted by the Reverend Samuel Marsden from N.S.W. in
the home of Mr. Thomas Gregson, “Northumbria”, Jericho. The
first church was consecrated by Bishop William Grant Broughton in May
1838. Fifty years later, cracks appeared in the building, and it was
decided to erect another building on the same site. The new church,
designed by Henry Hunter and built by Walter Fish at a cost of
£839 pounds, was consecrated in April 1888. It is also thought
that St. James Church was the first church in the southern hemisphere
to have conducted an Ecumenical Service. St. James Church now houses a
Pioneer and Heritage Museum.
Other notable buildings in Jericho are the Commandant's Cottage (built
in 1842) and the Probation Station (built in 1840), which was
constructed to house the 200 convicts who were used to construct the
road linking Hobart and Launceston. The land adjacent to the station
was originally known as ‘Fourteen Tree Plain’ and was the
site of the first horse race in the colony of Van Diemens Land, held in
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Wher is it?
Jericho is 71 km north of Hobart and 125 km south of Launceston on the Midland Highway on the nanks of the Jordan River.
Jericho was originally known as Jericho Plains and was named after
its biblical namesake by a marine Lt. Hugh Germain, who, the story
goes, had been sent with a convict named Jorgensen, to shoot kangaroos
for food and guard the local shepherds. According to the story, the
only books carried by them were the Bible and The Arabian Nights and
they amused themselves by naming geographical features from each book
in turn – hence Jericho, and the nearby Jerusalem and Jordan
The area was first settled in 1816 and became an important way station
for coaches on the road from Hobart to Launceston. It is now one of the
oldest townships in Australia.
The town flourished for a time in the nineteenth century as a stage
coach resting post, but declined in the twentieth century. Now bypassed
by the Midland Highway, the state's main north-south highway, it is a
sleepy village that retains its colonial charm and is part of
Tasmania's Heritage Highway.