Woodbridge – a landmark in Tasmania’s history

Woodbridge was built by the first Chief Constable, Thomas Roadknight in 1825 at a cost of over 1000 pounds. The Roadknights had numerous interests in the valley, including the property Ivanhoe, and the bakery in Bothwell. Thomas Roadknight was later jailed for shooting a servant, and sent to Sarah Island.

On his return in 1831, he sold Woodbridge to George Lindley and it functioned as an academy for young gentlemen, known as Richmond Hill Academy. Then Woodbridge was again offered for sale in 1833 and was purchased one year later by the Assistant Surveyor General, William Stanley Sharland, for 750 pounds.

The Sharland family had been amongst the first arrivals to Van Diemen’s Land and William Stanley married another first settler, Miss Sarah Schaw and they had a large family of four sons and seven daughters, all of whom grew up at Woodbridge.

While Sharland lived at Woodbridge he took a keen interest in all colonial affairs as well as carrying on agricultural and pastoral farming in the Derwent Valley, and in 1857, at the age of 56 years, he was elected MLC for the County of Cumberland and later represented New Norfolk in the House of Assembly.

Upon his death in 1877, Woodbridge passed to his eldest son, William Cockburn Sharland, who like his father, devoted himself to the development of his Derwent Valley properties. Clara and William Cockburn Sharland had five daughters and one son and in 1905 when it was decided that they should be educated abroad, Woodbridge was again sold.

Thereafter Woodbridge passed from one owner to the other, falling gradually into disrepair. In the 1970’s Woodbridge’s glorious out buildings and Dutch barn, collectively know as Alloway Banks, were demolished to make way for the roundabout of the new bridge.

By 2003, Woodbridge was once again dilapidated and decaying.