boats at Smithton
Smithton (including Woolnorth)
Major service centre in the northwestern area
Located on the Tasmanian north coast 135 km from
Devonport and 86 km from Burnie, Smithton is
primarily an industrial and administrative
centre for the surrounding district. It has a
large and successful timber mill and a potato
processing plant. While these might seem
inconsequential they are central to the economic
success of the town.
There is some dispute about the origins of
the town's name with some sources suggesting
Peter Smith, a policeman who arrived in the area
in 1855, while others claim that James
'Philosopher' Smith, who was responsible for the
development of much of western Tasmania, was the
The Smithton area was first explored by
Europeans when Bass and Flinders passed along
the northern coast of Van Diemen's Land in 1793.
By 1825 the area was occupied by the
entrepreneurial Van Diemen's Land Co. The Duck
River, around which the town has grown, was
explored in 1826 but the river banks weren't
settled until the 1850s. It was shortly
afterwards that the town's prosperity was given
a major injection by the Victorian goldrushes.
Local produce, particularly timber, was shipped
across Bass Strait to meet the huge demands of
the miners who were pouring on to the
By 1880 Smithton had its own school and by
1904 the industry in the area had diversified
sufficiently for the Duck River Butter Factory
(to meet the requirements of local dairy
farmers) to be built.
Things to see:
seasoning at the Kauri Timberyards
Gunns Timber Mill
People interested in seeing timber being milled
and prepared for export can visit Gunns Timber
Mill which is open for inspection by
appointment. Smithton is the centre of one of
Australia's largest timber processing districts.
Contact (03) 6272 0068 for details.
Located on the road to Edith Creek, Allendale
Gardens are an interesting mixture of
rainforest, botanic gardens and pleasant
walkways. For details of opening hours and
facilities contact (03) 6456 4216.
The area's famed dairy industry can be inspected
at the Lacrum Dairy at Mella which is 6 km from
Smithton. It is possible to watch the afternoon
milking session and to taste some of the cheeses
produced. Contact (03) 6452 2322 for more
In the District
Smithton is the last major township on the north
coast and the visitor who stays there may well
want to visit the Milkshakes Hills Forest
Reserve which is located 45 km south of the
town. It is an interesting mixture of button
grass (which turns the creeks a tea colour) and
virgin temperate rainforest.
Woolnorth is located near the northwest
extremity of Tasmania. It is still owned by the
Van Diemen's Land Company which acquired the
land in 1825. It is the last Royal Charter
Company in the world. There are bus tours from
Smithton which can be booked by contacting (03)
6452 1252 or (03) 6452 2577.