Carvings on the Ross Bridge by Daniel Herbert made in 1835-1836. ~ Photo by Kim Peart
The king on the bridge is believed to be the Danish adventurer Jorgen Jorgenson, who ruled Iceland for 2 months in 1809 and ended up in Van Diemen’s Land as a convict in 1826, where he was popularly called the ex-king of Iceland. Next to the king is the queen, believed to be his wife, the Irish convict Norah Corbett, who once ran away to join a sheep-rustling gang and was arrested by Jorgensen when in the Field Police in the bush, who fell for her lyrical Irish charms. In 1833 Jorgensen, with his wife Norah, was the constable in Ross attempting to put a stop to the theft of building materials for the Ross Bridge, but failed. How the thieving was stopped and the Ross Bridge got built, is a mystery carved into the stones, along with the passion.
Walk into Mystery with the Ross Bridge
Australian Heritage Week
1pm to 4pm Sunday 24 April 2016
meet at the Ross Bridge in Ross
in the town of Ross
Australian Heritage Week listing ~
Guides: Kim Peart & Jennifer Bolton
Walk: After exploring the mysterious carvings on the Ross Bridge, participants will walk along the heritage trail by the Macquarie River, past the Convict Female Factory, across the railway line, along the path next to the stone wall of the Anglican Cemetery where a church once stood and on to the Old Military Burial Ground on the hill, where the carver of the Ross Bridge, Daniel Herbert is buried beneath a memorial which he designed and made.
This event comes on the heels of some great news for Ross, with the nomination application for the Ross Bridge to go onto the National Heritage list being accepted in Canberra ~
This is a slow process that can stretch into a couple of years, but anyone interested can start offering comments with “Send Feedback” at the top of the page.
Surprisingly, only two places in Tasmania were nominated for National Heritage listing this year, which closed in February, and the second site is also in Ross.
After preparing the application for the Ross Bridge, we pressed on to make a supplementary application for the Old Military Burial Ground on the hill, where the carver of the Ross Bridge art, Daniel Herbert, is buried ~
We hope everyone in Tasmania will offer “Feedback” on our nomination applications and also watch out for the official representation period.
When carvings on Herbert’s memorial were stolen, a report in the Mercury of 25 September 1976 stated, “Someone has stolen important pieces of one of Australia’s most historically significant graves.”
The guilt-ridden thief, or a relative, later returned the pieces to Ross by train, anonymously and these can now be seen in the Tasmanian Wool Centre in Ross.
Other carvings by Daniel Herbert can be seen in the Old Military Burial Ground, but not the foot-stone of the grave of a child buried there, which can be found in the Wool Centre.
This is the carving of a near-naked angel with a trumpet in a style that is very similar to the Ross Bridge carvings.
Many old gravestones have fallen to the ravages of time and weather, while others would have been taken away by family members, or stolen.
There may be quite a few Daniel Herbert carvings mouldering away out there in private collections and it would be great to see them back in Ross.
The bell that once rang on the Kangaroo cross-Derwent ferry was stolen from the Bellerive Primary School in the 1960s, is now back home after being found in a deceased estate sale in Victoria and donated to the Maritime Museum in Hobart ~
Kim is mentioned in the story for his unsuccessful attempt to find the Bell in the 1990s.
In the vein of things that get stolen, or lost, it was recently discovered that a whole third of the Old Military Burial Ground had been partitioned off into another property for a couple of centuries.
Kim and Jennifer bought the land to the east of the graves last year and wondered why the northern end was wider.
“We are currently discussing the situation of our extra land with the owners of the site, the Tasmanian Government, via Crown Lands.” said Mr Peart.
"We are prepared to hand the land back and wonder if this site could become a memorial for pioneer graves in Tasmania.” Mr Peart said.
Participants in the Heritage Week walk will be invited to offer suggestions on the fate and future of the lost heritage land now found.
The site may have been intended for a church on the hill, which was never built.
Before anything could happen on or in this heritage listed land, Heritage Tasmania and archaeologists will need to investigate the land for any graves beneath and help chart a plan for the site.
The Walk in Mystery will make its way back into town through the Anglican Cemetery, where a grave can be seen that just may be a carving by Daniel Herbert.
This carving is a lyrical line drawing of a cherub or angel in stone for a child’s grave.
“When I made a study of winged effigies on old graves in Tasmania in 2007, I was quite surprised to find that every winged cherub's head was different and in Ross they were different again, with a cluster of line drawings in stone.” Mr Peart said.
Will we inspire folk to care for the old graves and tell the stories found in the stones, described in Kim Peart’s story ~ Susannah’s Angel ~
We hope our walk into mystery and history in Ross will help to light a passion for the stones.
The lost heritage land now found is marked in yellow with a question mark. ~ Image drawn from Google Earth and added to.
Daniel Herbert's memorial in the Old Military Burial Ground in Ross, with a view toward the Convict Female Factory.
Footstone from the grave of Sarah Ann Ellis, who died on the 13th of October 1836, aged 1 month. This is a carving by Daniel Herbert, once found in the Old Military Burial Ground and now held in trust in the Ross Wool Centre.
The lyrical line drawing of a winged effigy on the grave of Martha Bacon, who died on the 23rd of May 1862, aged 14 months and 1 day. As Daniel Herbert was living in Ross when this gravestone was made, we can wonder if this may be the work of Daniel Herbert, especially as line drawings like this of winged effigies have only be found in Ross, so far.