New Norfolk, Tasmania
New Norfolk town in Autumn
|Population||5,230 (2006 census)|
|LGA(s)||Derwent Valley Council|
It is 32 km north-west of Hobart on the Lyell Highway and has all modern facilities while preserving its pioneer heritage. Two fine examples are Tasmanias' oldest Anglican church Saint Matthews, built in 1823, and Australia's oldest hotel The Bush Inn, trading continuously in the same building since 1815 using the same licence of 29 September 1825. Many private homes from the 1820s and later have also survived.
Resettlement of Norfolk Islanders
The town has strong links to Australias' First Fleet of 1788, since Lt. Governor David Colllins himself was a First Fleet Officer who spent 8 years in Sydney from 1788 until 1796.
He was transferred back to England to be later appointed leader of the expedition to form the settlement near Bass Strait which today is Tasmania.
Collins named the district "The Hills" and selected the fertile valley as a separate crop production area for the colony.
Approximately 163 of the towns' pioneers were from the 554 folk resettled from Norfolk Island during the period of 29 November 1807 to 2 October 1808. These Norfolk Islanders were mainly farming families, who were offered extra acres in Tasmania as an incentive to relocate. The climate was colder than sub-tropical Norfolk Island, which proved a challenge for the hardy pioneers during the first few years, but eventually the district became self-supporting. In 1825 the people named the town New Norfolk in honour of their former home.
Many founding folk were indeed "First Fleeters" as Norfolk Island was founded just a few weeks after Sydney, and Collins likely knew of some individuals from his earlier days in Sydney. Nine First Fleeters are buried in the Methodist Chapel at Lawitta, New Norfolk. Notable is Betty King, née Elizabeth Thackery, a first fleet convict girl who married Sam King at New Norfolk on 28 January 1810. The headstone on her well-tended grave reads, "The first white woman to set foot in Australia" from the First Fleet at Botany Bay. She is also believed to be the last surviving First Fleeter, male or female, when she died at 90 years of age on 7 August 1856. Eight other First Fleeters there are Ellen Guy (née Wainright), William Dempsey, William Edmunds, William Foyle, Abraham Hand, Stephen Martin, John Ruglass, and Edward Westlake.
The pioneers were successful farmers of the rich land around the town and hop plants were introduced in 1846, which became an important crop. There remain a number of hop drying kilns or "oast houses" in the area.
The first road connecting the town to Hobart was built in 1818, and the railway in 1887. During the 1940s, a newsprint mill was established at nearby Boyer, boosting industry in the local area. The railway is now preserved as the Derwent Valley Railway.
On 19 April 1827, Governor George Arthur issued an order to create the Willow Court infirmary, later known as the Royal Derwent Hospital, and now a large antiques centre, which was established as an asylum to accept invalid and sick convicts from Hobart, Launceston and outstations. For some years after 1848, New Norfolk was the place of exile of the Irish nationalist leader Terence MacManus. His cottage "Kilburn Grange" still stands. Later he was joined by his fellow Irish rebel William Smith O'Brien. In 1888, Australia's first telephone trunk call was connected from Hobart to the Bush Inn Hotel in New Norfolk.
New Norfolk Post Office opened on 1 June 1832.
New Norfolk is located on the Lyell Highway the main east-west highway in the southern half of the state, running from Hobart to Strahan on the west coast. It is in fact the only east-west road in the southern half of Tasmania.
A rail link was opened in 1887 but was closed in 1995 when floods and declining usage made repairs uneconomic. The line has been used for tourist trips by the Derwent Valley Railway but this has not been possible since 2005 due to lack of support for track maintenance.
New Norfolk is only 55 km from Hobart International Airport which services the southern half of the state.
New Norfolk is a central location for tourism in the upper Derwent Valley being the last large town heading west until Strahan on the west coast. In 2013 Martin Cash Pizza was voted best pizza in Tasmania. Owned and operated by locals. Worth a trip.
It is therefore something of a hub for the more remote tourist attractions of Mount Field, Lake Pedder, Strathgordon, Gordon Dam hydroelectric site, and the South West Wilderness. It is a convenient take-off point for the Lyell Highway to the west coast via Hamilton, Ouse, Tarraleah, Derwent Bridge and Queenstown.
The Tourist Information Centre staffed by volunteers is located in Circle Street next to the Council Chambers at the top end of High Street.
New Norfolk is the warmest area of Tasmania in summer and has a cool temperate climate.
|Climate data for New Norfolk|
|Record high °C (°F)||39.4
|Average high °C (°F)||25.2
|Average low °C (°F)||10.8
|Record low °C (°F)||−1.2
|Precipitation mm (inches)||39.8
|Avg. precipitation days||8.0||6.8||8.8||10.1||11.1||12.0||13.0||13.9||13.2||13.8||12.0||10.8||133.5|
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "New Norfolk (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- "Bush Inn holds title of Australia’s oldest pub". Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- New Norfolk History 1986 ISBN 1 86252 303
- "Derwent Valley". University of Tasmania. 2006. Retrieved 2009-12-05.
- Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
- "Climate statistics for New Norfolk". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
- Fellowship of First Fleeters.
- New Norfolk's History and Achievements by Joe Cowburn and Rita Cox 1986
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to New Norfolk, Tasmania.|
- New Norfolk, Tasmania - Capital of the Derwent Valley - Australia has extensive local information, history, photographs, resources and attractions