Some George Town history . . .

Our town is the site of the third settlement in Australia, the first two being Sydney and surrounds, and then Hobart. Colonel William Patterson landed at Outer Cove (named by Bass and Flinders in 1798) to found this Northern settlement in Van Diemen's Land, thus preventing any colonisation by the French. His party consisted of 181 people, and included convicts, soldiers, a doctor, and one free settler. The official ceremony took place on November 11th, 1804. Just down the road from here is a monument which marks the spot! This site has been continuously occupied since that time. Launceston was established in 1806, and it gradually struggled into existence, and became the centre of activity in northern Van Diemen's Land. The Military Commandant who looked after the north of the Island resided there.

George Town, however, took on a more important roll between 1819 and 1826. In 1811, Colonel Lachlan Macquarie, Governor of New South Wales (which included Van Diemen's Land), toured much of the island, and became convinced that Outer Cove was a much more suitable site for the northern headquarters than Launceston, and ordered them to be shifted here. Because of the lack of enthusiasm for the idea, this wasn't achieved until 1819, when Colonel Gilbert Cimitiere was in charge. In the interim, Governor Macquarie had planned, named and had his Town of George Town (named after King George III) laid out, the streets were formed and named, and our town has retained this form all through the years. After the administration was moved back to Launceston, George Town survived because it was a Port town, and there was a lot of port activity, particularly with the establishment of the future city of Melbourne, the gold rushes of N.S.W and Victoria, and the gold rushes of Tasmania, all of which resulted in lots of movement of people, and food (grain, animals for meat etc.) George Town and Low Head also became popular holiday areas for the people of the north of Tasmania, and there are many families who have holidayed here for a few generations.

George Town changed dramatically from a sleepy seaside town after WWII as large industries set up at Bell Bay (5km upriver) with Comalco Aluminium (opened 1955) and the BHP ferro-alloy processing subsidiary TEMCO (opened 1962) bringing an influx of workers and families, and lots of new housing.

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For more information on George Town, particularly for visitors, go to the George Town council sites.

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last updated: 1 Mar 2000.