|Population||3,924 (2011 census)|
|LGA(s)||Central Coast Council|
Penguin is a town on the north-west coast of Tasmania, Australia. It is in the Central Coast Council local government area and on the Bass Highway, between Burnie and Ulverstone. At the 2011 census, Penguin had a population of 3,924.
Penguin was first settled in 1861 as a timber town, and proclaimed on 25 October 1875. The area's dense bushland and easy access to the sea led to Penguin becoming a significant port town, with large quantities of timber shipped across Bass Strait to Victoria, where the 1850s gold rushes were taking place. The town was named by the botanist Ronald Campbell Gunn for the little penguin rookeries that are common along the less populated areas of the coast.
Sulphur Creek Post Office opened on 1 January 1867 and was replaced by the Penguin Creek office in 1868. The latter office was renamed Penguin in 1895.
Penguin was one of the last districts settled along the North West coast of Tasmania, possibly because of an absence of a river, for safe anchorage. Nearly all travel in those days was by boat as bush made the land almost impenetrable. Many of the settlers probably emigrated from Liverpool via landing in Launceston then sailing west along the coast. Trade began when the wharf was built in 1870, allowing timber and potatoes to be exported. Penguin Silver Mine, along the foreshore slightly to the east of the town opened in 1870 but failed a year later. Neptune Mine, a tad further along, likewise failed. The rail from Ulverstone arrived in 1901, after which trade by sea declined. Passing of the Local Government Act in 1906 saw Tasmania divided into 48 Municipalities. Penguin’s first Council was elected in 1907.
Aboriginal bands, limited to just a few hundred people and collectively known as the North Tribe, consisted primarily of the Punnilerpanner people from Port Sorell, the Pallittorre from Quamby Bluff, the Noeteeler at the Hampshire Hills, and, most pertinent to Penguin, the Plairhekehillerplue at Emu Bluff. Occupation of the inland plains is understood to have been seasonal due to the severity of winter conditions during which months these bands migrated to the coastline. The absence of Aboriginal sites around Penguin is likely to be explained by disturbances due to agricultural activity and residential development.
The most notable episode, this century, in Penguin’s ongoing evolution was the attempt by property developers, from 2005 to 2008, to purchase properties along the CBD beachfront on Main St with the aim of transforming them into four-storey commercial/residential opportunities. Support for development was mixed, which resulted, eventually, in the developers foregoing all interest in the seaside town. One manoeuvre to circumvent development involved heritage-listing as much of the CBD as possible. Currently, Penguin has 26 heritage-listed sites.
- Fashion designer Alannah Hill lived in Penguin during her childhood, as her parents owned a milk bar in the town.
- Trevor Kaine, the second Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, was born in Penguin.
- Russell Robertson, an Australian rules footballer for the Melbourne Demons, attended Penguin High School from 1991 to 1994.
- Grant O'Brien the current CEO of Woolworths was raised in Penguin and attended Penguin High School.
- World champion track cyclist Amy Cure, winner of the 2014 Women's 25 km Points race in Cali, Colombia
Penguin also has one of only two "7th Day Adventist Schools" in Tasmania. This is called the North West Christian School.
Penguin is home to the Big Penguin, and all street refuse bins are decorated with ornamental cement fairy penguins. Mount Montgomery is also in the Penguin area. The Big Penguin, made of ferro cement by the Goliath Cement Co of Railton and later coated with fibreglass, is located in the town’s centre opposite the Post Office, and is the town’s most photographed icon. Unveiled on 25 October 1975, it was erected to commemorate the centenary of the naming of the town. Concerns were raised in 2008 as to the possibility of asbestos contamination, but the Big Penguin was given the all clear.
Penguin General Cemetery, with its stunning sunrise views over Bass Strait, is located a kilometer west of the Post Office. Opened in the 1860s, it closed in 1977 and was heritage-listed in 2007.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Penguin (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2012-06-20.
- Travel: Penguin, The Age, February 8, 2004.
- Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
- Barker, Arthur (1956). Penguin's Pioneering Days. State Library of Tasmania: Penguin Advocate. p. 3.
- Alexander, Alison (2005). The companion to Tasmanian History. State Library of Tasmania: Centre for Tasmanian Historical Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart. p. 269.
- Barker, Arthur (1956). Penguin's Pioneering Days. State Library of Tasmania: Penguin Advocate. p. 10.
- Ryan, Lyndall (1981). The Aboriginal Tasmanians. State Library of Tasmania: University of Queensland Press. p. 223. ISBN 1 86373 965 3.
- Craig, Natalie. "No-room-for-gay-developer-in-penguins-property-parade". The Age. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- "Gay-tycoon-flees-hostile-penguin". Metro. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- Pippos, Chris. "Property-sell-off-wont-cover-roche-debt". The Advocate. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- "Council to fork out for heritage fight". The Advocate. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
- / "Tasmanian Heritage Register". Heritage Tasmania. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- Significant Women: Alannah Hill, Government of Tasmania.
- 2014 UCI Track Cycling World Championships – Women's points race
- Haberle, Carol. "Big Penguin, Church, Market, Railway…". Think-Tasmania.com. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- "Big Penguin passes asbestos test". ABC News. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
Media related to Penguin, Tasmania at Wikimedia Commons