Our Experience Visiting Brickendon Estate, A convict World Heritage Site, Tasmania

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We were lucky to visit the World Heritage Listed Brickendon Historic Farm Village and Heritage Gardens when it was closed to the public.

Monday is ‘tending to the estate day’ and Louise Archer, the owner, was hard at work, wandered past the old barnyards as we pulled up to the entrance.

There’s a lot to be done at Brickendon, not only is it still a working farm, it is also a living museum, a site that hosts weddings and functions, and a retreat for those wishing to enjoy a farm stay in one of Australia’s most important historical convict sites.

brown barn on brickendon estate

This Tasmanian historical site is situated in Longford, one of the only villages in Van Diemen’s Land formed by the free settlers.

We stayed in the gardener’s cottage and spent the day exploring the property, and found it to be a fascinating place and one well worth adding to your Tasmania itinerary.

If you’re thinking of visiting Brickendon Farm Village but not sure what it’s all about, here is our experience of visiting…

About Brickendon Historic Farm Village and Heritage Gardens

  • Where: 236 Wellington St, Longford Tasmania 
  • Opening Hours: Open Tuesday – Sunday 9:30am – 5.00pm from October to May, Animal Feeding starts at 10.15am daily.
  • Cost: Adult $18.50, Concessions $16.00, Child $6.00, Family $55 (2 adults and 3 children)
  • Accommodation: Starts from $130 a night. See prices and availability here.

Brickendon Historic Farm Village and Heritage Gardens, nestled in the heart of Longford, is a chance to explore the convict heritage of Australia.

small brick cottage of brickendon estate
The original farm

Established in 1824 by William Archer, Brickendon Estate was originally a farming settlement worked by convicts.

Today, it’s a working farm, farm stay and museum, that stands as a testament to the resilience and determination of those who built it.

The village features beautifully preserved Georgian buildings, including cottages, barns, and a chapel, providing an authentic experience of colonial life.

William Archer Cottage, Brickendon Estate Tasmania, Australia
The original Archer cottage

One of the highlights of Brickendon is its magnificent Heritage Gardens. These meticulously maintained gardens are a true horticultural marvel, boasting a variety of flowers, shrubs, and trees.

The estate has been owned by seven generations of Archer family members. Louise Archer is the direct descendant of William Archer who bought the estate 180 years ago.

Louise Archer, Brickendon Estate Tasmania, Australia
With the beautiful Louise Archer

Visitors can explore the farm village, interact with farm animals, and even stay overnight in one of the historic cottages.

Video of Brickendon Farm

Watch this video on Brickendon and short interview with Louise, including why she thinks you should visit Tasmania.

Our Experience Exploring Brickendon Farm

Despite never really having an interest in history, Louise’s passion for the stories that lie behind her family home shone through as she took us through the farm sharing with us the convict tales that gave this property so much depth.

Turkeys gobbled at our feet and ducks followed us through the small brick-nogged cottage where William Archer, the original owner of Brickendon stayed as the farm was being built.

turkeys
Turkeys run freely around

William’s brother Thomas settled the Woolmers Estate just over the river at the same time in 1824.

The two estates are regarded as the most significant rural estates in Australia, having the second largest number of convict workers and retaining a living history from Early European settlement to the present day.

Brickendon’s uniqueness lies in the fact that it is still a lived in and working farm. It has moved with the times, unlike Woolmer’s Estate across the river which has been encapsulated into the era when the family moved out and left it as is.

old bed and desk inside William Archer cottage
Inside William’s cottage
door to dairy
The old dairy is now a convict museum
cottages on brickendon estate
Wandering the farm

What I loved about Brickendon is that it still retains the look and feel of the farm from when it was settled in 1824.

Brick and large timber framed buildings that once housed grain, flour, oats and hay remain standing.

Smokehouses and ovens, outhouses, and shearing sheds can still be wandered through and the old blacksmith shop is left as it was when last used in the 1930’s.

Markings on the ground are laid out to depict where the old convict barracks once stood and the old dairy has been converted into a convict centre designed to share the history of the farm.

Brickendon Estate Tasmania, Australia
The church

Brickendon is one of Tasmania’s oldest farming properties, and has been continuously operated and lived on by its direct descendants. Louise’s husband is 6th generation Archer and their children 7th.

Their son has just finished agricultural college and is returning to manage the farm and employ what he has learned to merge modern farming methods with a traditional farming landscape.

The natural hedges dividing one tract of farmland from the other is an indication of how the Archers have already managed to retain some of the old charm with modern farming techniques

“We have to trim the hedges so the irrigators can send the water up over the top of the trees to the next field.”

Louise Archer

A Victorian chapel is built on the site of the original convict chapel, which was provided for the convicts to stop them from going into nearby Longford to worship. With the number of pubs in the village they would never return.

Once the worshipping rule had passed the church was used as a hay barn. Louise reconverted it back to the days of its worshipping glory and now hosts around 26 weddings a year.

The small, historic chapel has a stunning outlook on the farm and guests can dance up a storm later in the barns used for the reception parties.

Brickendon chapel, Brickendon Estate Tasmania, Australia
The perfect wedding chapel

Our Experience Visiting Brickendon Homestead and Gardens

 Brickendon Estate Tasmania, Australia
The Brickendon Estate

Brickendon gardens include one of the most unusual collections of trees in a private garden in Australia surrounding the Georgian Homestead.

The family home is closed to the public but visitors can wander through the gardens which has a very English feel with its flowering beds of roses, camellias and wisteria.

The gardens also feature trees from around the world, oaks, elms, pines and more.

 Brickendon Estate Tasmania, Australia
Pretty English gardens
flowers

You can of course visit Brickendon on a day trip, but I highly suggest diving more deeply into the experience by staying on the farm.

There are very few places in Australia that provide you with an opportunity like this: a rich Australian history of convicts and free settlers working together and a landscape that remains virtually  untouched for 200 years.

Brickendon Accommodation

If you think you might want to stay at Brickendon, here are some of the accommodation options…

Farm Cottages

proch of Brickendon accommodation
The new rustic farm cabins–so cute!

Louise took us through the paddocks to the newly built farm cottages. A herd of sheep ran to greet us and much like cats affectionately brushed past our legs with their thick, downy fur coats.

The friendly pets and guests can help feed them of a morning. A stay here at the farm can be as involved or relaxing as you like.

field of sheep
Your new friends

The rustic cabins, recently built to keep up with demand, have a stunning view overlooking the paddocks. They fit perfectly into the historic nature of the convict and farm buildings without deceiving you into thinking they are original structures.

Louise wanted them to be built as they used to at the beginning days of the farm—using what was left lying around cast aside by nature.

Chunks of wood were used to line the fireplace, the walls put together with small pieces of wood and hessian bags stapled to the walls to act as wallpaper—a feature I loved.

Historic Cottages

Gardener's Cottage, Brickendon Estate Tasmania, Australia
The Gardener’s cottage
Gardener's Cottage, Brickendon Estate Tasmania, Australia
So inviting

Brickendon also has accommodation options for those wanting a more traditional feel. Two original farm cottages close to the homestead are available.

We stayed in the Gardner’s Cottage, an original building which was brought back to life in 1991. It’s located in a secluded part of the main gardens, with a private veranda overlooking the farm.

It still has many original features such as an open fire and old fashion bath. It’s quaint and cosy and so peaceful. I loved the old wood fire in the kitchen and the low ceilings and wooden, rickety interior. It;s great for a romantic weekend away.

Brickendon cottage, Brickendon Estate Tasmania, Australia

If you want more of a historic experience for the family, Brickendon also has the larger Coachman’s cottage available, which has a very cute picket fence wrapped around it. See rates and availability for a stay at Brickendon here.

Final Thoughts

Brickendon farm, Longford Tasmania
A cool feature tree

Brickendon Historic Farm Village is the perfect combination of captivating history, natural beauty, and immersive experiences.

What sets Brickendon apart is its authentic representation of a convict-built farm village. Not only is the farm well-preserved, with history Georgian buildings, including cottages, barns, and a chapel, but the owners passion and resilience to maintaining it is obvious as you explore the grounds.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a tranquil retreat, Brickendon is the perfect way to feel a connection to the land’s remarkable heritage.

Disclaimer: We travelled to Tasmania as part of Tourism Tasmania’s Go Behind the Scenery Campaign, though all thoughts, ideas and opinions in this guide are our own.

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