Kempton is encounted when traveling the Midlands Highway between Launceston and Hobart this small and charming colonial settlement which is registered as a classified historic town, Kempton is located 49 km north of Hobart just off the Midland Highway. Be warned Kempton is now a by-pass town. Please make the diversion.
The district was first settled by Europeans in 1814 and was known as Green Ponds - a name which is still retained as the local municipality. In 1816, Anthony Fenn Kemp, a thoroughly unpleasant and despotic soldier-merchant, who seems to have spent most of his life fighting with governors and trying to manipulate the political scene in both New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land settled in the district.
In 1804 he was appointed second-in-command at Port Dalrymple (Launceston) and from August 1806 to April 1807 was in charge of the infant colony.
He settled in Van Diemen's Land in 1816 and by the 1830s, through a combination of grants and purchases, had 4100 acres in the Green Ponds area. It was here that he established and developed Tasmania's infant wool industry, bred horses and cattle, and introduced a hardy, North American, variety of corn.
It is not surprising, given the size of Kemp's holdings, that Green Ponds was renamed Kempton in 1840.
The major historic buildings in the town include the National Estate listed St Mary's Church of England, a sandstone Gothic Revival building which was probably designed by James Blackburn. It was completed in 1844 and is notable for its square tower, its interesting cemetery, and its position as a central feature of Kempton's townscape.
Nearby is the Congregational Church (1840) which is a simple stone Georgian church which also has an interesting old cemetery.
The Wilmot Arms Inn (1844) in the Main Road was built by convicts and operated as a licensed inn until 1897. It is said that the proprietor suddenly got religion and stopped making alcohol and fed all his spirits to the pigs.
Another coaching inn in the area was Dysart House (now a private residence) a large two story Georgian stone inn which was built in 1842. It is recognized as one of the finest coaching inns on the old Midlands Highway.