The population of the New Norfolk settlement had been reliant on river transport for supplies which came up the Derwent from Hobart. The river divided the settlement and row boats & punts were used to ferry people across the river. In 1834 a company was formed to build the first bridge across the Derwent River.
However, it wasn’t until 1840 that work got underway with Governor Franklin present to witness the first post being installed. The bridge was officially opened in January 1842 although it was ready for foot traffic in early 1841.
It was built by private enterprise on the basis that all vehicles using it would be required to pay a toll. The toll house was built at the same time, in order to collect charges from all using the bridge. The money went towards paying for its construction. Toll money was collected until 1874.
Although the bridge has since been replaced, the original toll house still stands. It is a one-storey, octagonal building and has been used for a variety of purposes over time. Since then it has been vacant, used as a youth hostel, and is currently used as a centre for Tasmanian arts and crafts. It was declared a historic site in 1961.
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