The bridge over the Derwent River at Bridgewater. Image credit: Tourism Tasmania, Lynette Graham
A hop and a skip from Hobart in Brighton TAS
Just 20 km North of the iconic city of Hobart, lies one of Australia's best little agricultural shires in Brighton Tasmania; a captivating and conveniently located slice of country living in Australia’s largest island. This shire is situated on the Northern banks of the Derwent River, at the point of its long and gentle bends toward the East, and is accessed by the Bridgewater Bridge which crosses the Derwent from the outskirts of Hobart into the town of Bridgewater. This is a historic and beautiful area, named in the early 1920s by the legendary Governor Lachlan Macquarie after the seaside town in England that was the favoured holiday destination of Caroline; the wife of King George IV. It was long held as Tasmania’s military capital due to the Brighton Army Camp that operated in the area for 170 years, but in the early 21st century this camp was converted into new modern housing developments, signalling the potential and bright future of Brighton.
The auburn tinged riverside landscapes of Brighton. Image credit: Brighton Council
The most popular attraction in the Brighton area is the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary; a treasure trove of wildlife experiences celebrating the truly unique fauna that makes its home on Australia’s great Southern isle. Daily tours run at 10am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, and 3:30pm, and walking through the antique wooden gates, you’ll be welcomed into a world of wonderful creatures from koalas to quolls, echidnas to emus, and potoroos to padamelons (no, we didn’t make the last two up). Perhaps the most famous of all the local legends you can meet at Bonorong is in fact the most recognisable symbol of our island State; the iconic Tasmanian devil. These critters may be cute as all hell, but at feeding time the inner demon comes out and you’d be smart to watch the show from a safe distance. It’s important to remember that the Tasmanian devil, as well as many other beautiful creatures on this island, face significant challenges in our times, so thankfully the passionate team here at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary are putting every dollar back into helping to protect our fauna and educating the public about the great value these unique creatures hold.
Wombats, Tasmanian devils, and roos at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. Image credit: Tourism Tasmania, Graham Freeman, Rob Burnett
Agriculture in Brighton TAS
The Shire of Brighton has a long and rich agricultural history and tradition which continues in this day and age with a wide variety of different farms to be found and agricultural products being grown and produced in this region. One industry that has seen a rise in popularity in the Brighton area is viticulture and wine production, and a number of exciting and versatile vineyards have popped up in this region, and in particular in the plentiful valley through which the Middle Tea Tree Road runs. Our favourite of these is Mapleton Vineyards. This charming family business produced their first bottles in 2014, run by a tight knit team of parents Denis and Kathryn and their son Paul; the Laing Family. They've since triumphed with three gold medals at the Tasmanian Wine Show with their 2018 Riessling, 2018 Pinot Noir, and 2019 Pinot Noir Rosé, and with their captivating natural setting and ever improving skills and experience in the art of viticulture, the only way to go is up for Mapleton Vineyards.
A Brighton vineyard and the JRLF School Farm. Image credit: Brighton Council and Tasmanian Government Dept of Education
Perhaps the most important aspect in maintaining Brighton's agricultural tradition is the Farm School operated by the Jordan River Learning Federation (JRLF). Formally known as the Bridgewater High School Farm, now the JRLF School Farm, this unique facility has been operating in the same location in Brighton town for 40 years and is beloved by the local community. It runs frequent special programs offering hands on agricultural education and experiences for students of all ages, and the fruits of their labour are available for sale at the on-site Op Shop so that the project continuously gives back to its community. In the last 3 years the School Farm has been revitalised and modernised with a $4.3 million upgrade project carried out by the Tasmanian Government Department of Education, meaning the JRLF School Farm is now bigger and better than ever before, and in many ways its better equipped to teach and pass on the essential skills of farming to the next generation of Tasmanians.
Bridgewater Library, The JLRF School Farm, and houses in Pontville. Image credit: Brighton Council
Health and amenities in Brighton TAS
Public health services in Brighton are administered by the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services, and this is primarily accomplished through the Brighton Community Health Centre, located in the town centre of Bridgewater which offers maternal, child, and family health services as well as mental health counselling. There are also a couple of private services in the area; Greenpoint Medical Services in Bridgewater (just across the highway from the Community Health Centre), and in the town of Brighton there is a branch of the Hobart Pathology chain of clinics as well as the Brighton Veterinary Services in the East of town. If you have any needs that are not accommodated by the services in Brighton Shire, the Royal Hobart Hospital is just a 30 minute drive South is the largest and most comprehensive medical facility in Tasmania.
The playground at Bridgewater Parkland. Image credit: Brighton Council
In terms of education, there are a variety of options for primary and secondary aged students in the Shire of Brighton, and many of them are operating under one umbrella; the Jordan River Learning Federation. This organisation runs three primary schools; East Derwent Primary, Herdsmans Cove Primary, and Gagebrook Primary, and in addition to the aforementioned Farm School in the town of Brighton, there is a fully fledged Senior School campus of the JRLF located near the town centre in Bridgewater. In addition to the schools operated by this group, there is Brighton Primary School, a public primary located in the town of Brighton, and Northern Christian School, a private K-6 school just West of Bridgewater. There is also a sizeable public library in Bridgewater.
Tea Tree Golf Course and a race at Baskerville Raceway. Image credit: Brighton Council, Ken Young
There are a wealth of facilities and options for sport in Brighton Shire, whatever your favourite game may be. Throughout Bridgewater and surrounding suburbs as well as the town of Brighton, there are plenty of grass oval and rectangular fields where locals partake in Aussie Rules Football, Rugby, Soccer, and Cricket, including the recently redeveloped and enourmous Brighton Regional Sports Centre. There is lawn bowls club in the town of Brighton which is a popular local spot, and the Tea Tree Golf Club located on the Bagdad Rivulet is home to 9 holes of scenic golfing goodness on the outskirts of Brighton town. The most notable sporting facility in the shire though, is the Baskerville Raceway near Gagebrook. This 2.01 km asphalt racing circuit was constructed in 1954 by the Hobart Sporting Car Club and is the second oldest continously operating race track in Australia, only beaten by the legendary Mt Panorama circuit in Bathurst. Come embrace your need for speed at public ride days run by the Sport Riders Club of Tasmania, where there are slots for both car drivers and motorcyclists to test themselves against the 10 high speed corners at Baskerville.
For further information
If you're interested in visiting or relocating to the Brighton TAS area find more information on the Brighton Council website, or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or (03) 6268 7000.
The striking gold of vineyard rows. Image credit: Brighton Council
Real estate for sale in Brighton TAS
Find your new home right here in Brighton, Tasmania. View some selected properties below.