This historic town, which contains Australia’s largest collection of Georgian buildings, is up and coming.

Story + Photos Andrew Bain   

As in many country towns, the buildings and people in the Tasmanian Midlands service centre of Oatlands fulfil many roles. The supermarket was once a cinema, the walls of the convict jail now enclose the town swimming pool, and a 19th-century flour mill is soon to become a whisky distillery. But few things are as starkly contrasted as the work roles of Cameron Wilson.

When this Oatlands shearer gets to choose the music in the shearing shed, it’s typically opera. When he isn’t shearing, he’s running a high-end, French-inspired garden and antique store with his wife Debbie in the centre of town. “It’s a strange contrast, I must admit,” Cameron says. “But a lot of our customers are farmers and they can relate to it, though they probably think I’m half mad.”

The Wilsons’ store, Jardin Room and Provincial Interiors, has been a linchpin of Oatlands’ heritage-rich High Street for 25 years. What began as an antiques shop in three rooms of their home has become the longest continually operating business in town, with its perfectly trimmed hedges and products, such as five-tonne sandstone chateau fountains, adding a touch of style to an already elegant streetscape.

This story excerpt is from Issue #134

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2021