Historical Towns Directory

By clicking on a state or territory on the map, you can access a regional guide to Australia's historic towns, including a wealth of information about organizations, museums and locations.

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 Queenstown

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Queenstown, around 250 kilometres north-west of Hobart, developed as a mining town in the late 1800s.

In the 1860s Charles Gould became the first European to investigate the area but settlement did not occur until gold was discovered south of Mount Lyell in 1881.

Queenstown Post Office (courtesy West Coast Visitor Information and Booking Centre)

Mining claims were pegged out by 1883 and the Mount Lyell Gold Mining Co was established in 1888. Gold mining at Mount Lyell ceased in 1891 and the focus shifted to copper. This resulted in the formation of the Mount Lyell Mining Co.

The mining town of Penghana was founded in 1892. Smelters designed by R.C. Sticht, an early mine manager and metallurgist, were operating at the mines by 1895. Fuel for the smelters and mine furnaces was obtained by logging the surrounding hills. Heavy rainfall washed the topsoil off the denuded slopes and sulphur-dioxide fumes from the smelters also killed plant life and prevented the regeneration of the bare hills, which are today a barren 'moonscape'.

Queenstown came into existence in 1896 after fire destroyed the Penghana settlement. The first hotel and store were soon constructed at the townsite. The town's original timber post office was also built that year, but the present post office was constructed in 1902.

Galley Museum, Queenstown (courtesy West Coast Visitor Information and Booking Centre)

The railway from the coast at Strahan arrived in 1896. Copper concentrates from the mines were transported by rail from Queenstown to the port at Strahan until the line's closure in 1963. Passenger train services between the two centres began on the reopened railway line in 2001.

The Empire Hotel at Queenstown was built in 1901 and is still standing today. Both Hunters Hotel (1901) and the Queenstown Hotel (1896 but rebuilt in 1903 after the original burned down) are now closed. At its height the township supported 14 hotels, though less than half remain today.

In 1903 the Mount Lyell and North Lyell mining companies merged and centred their operations at Queenstown, which developed at the expense of the district's other mining settlements.

Hunters Hotel, Queenstown (courtesy West Coast Visitor Information and Booking Centre)

Queenstown, which has been classified as an historic town by the National Trust, remains a mining town today. Tourism is also an emerging local industry.

West Coast Visitor Information and Booking Centre
Information: Opening hours: 10am to 7pm daily.
Phone: 03 6472 6800
Fax: 03 6472 6801
Address:

The Esplanade
Strahan TAS

Email: jobrien@westcoast.tas.gov.au
   
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