Mount Roland from lookout at Sheffield
|Population||1,397 (2006 census)|
|Elevation||280 m (919 ft)|
Sheffield is a town 23 km inland from Devonport on the north-west coast of Tasmania, Australia's island state. Sheffield has long been the rural hub for the Mount Roland area. The Sheffield area is well known for its high quality butterfat production via dairy farming. The area is suitable for lamb and beef production. The town of Railton is nearby. At the 2006 census, Sheffield had a population of 1,397.
Sheffield was one of the many early townships settled in 1859. The town was named by Edward Curr after his home town in South Yorkshire, England. Kentishbury Post Office opened on 1 November 1862 and was renamed Sheffield in 1882.
The area grew slowly and the commencement of the Mersey-Forth Power Development Scheme in 1963 saw the town grow dramatically. The completion of the power scheme - seven dams and seven power stations - in 1973 saw the town's population decline. The catalyst that would bring Sheffield both fame and fortune began as a desperate bid by a small, but dedicated band of local residents determined to save their town.
Town of Murals
Inspired by the story of Chemainus, a small Canadian town that had through mural art, rescued itself from ruin, the Kentish Association for Tourism (KAT) worked valiantly on the vision to combine the arts and tourism to revive and reinvent the town of Sheffield.
Sheffield has become a major tourist attraction due to it being promoted as a "Town of Murals", based upon the instrumental contributions of the Kentish Association for Tourism (currently known as Sheffield Inc) and local tourism pioneer Brian Inder.
The first town mural was painted in Sheffield in December 1986. Since then over 60 murals depicting the area's rich history and beautiful natural scenery are painted on walls scattered throughout the town and buildings along the roadside. The murals attract an estimated 200,000 people to the town annually.
In the heart of Sheffield, there are a number of studios open to the public where visitors can watch the artists as they do their work. There are artists of every discipline, including photography, fine art, glass, woodcraft, pottery, ceramics and specialised crafts.
The International Mural Fest art competition has been held annually since 2003 and returns in April each year. A poem is selected which the artists use as their inspiration. After each competition the 9 finalist murals remain on display at Mural Park for approximately 12 months until the next competition. In 2012, an interactive mural and workshops were added to the artistic activities of the festival for the Mural Fest 10th anniversary celebrations.
There are many natural attractions in the Sheffield area.
Mount Roland is the backdrop of the Sheffield township rising up 1234 metres above sea level.
Mount Roland Conservation Area & Regional Reserve The reserve consists of 7600 hectares surrounding the range. A number of well marked bushwalks are all suitable for a day of pleasant exercise. There are walking tracks from both Claude Road and Gowrie Park to the summit. The walk takes in the plains and plateau leading to the summit of the peak. There are two tracks to the summit which provide spectacular 360 degree views to Bass Strait, Cradle Mountain and Barn Bluff.
Lake Barrington is known as an international standard rowing venue and a previous site of the 1990 World Rowing Championships. It was created in 1969 by building the Devils Gate Dam on the Forth River.
The lake is also a popular water ski location with access for the public via West Kentish and Wilmot. There are two water ski clubs based at Lake Barrington: Kentish Aquatic Club and Horsehead Water Ski Club.
The lake is also used for canoeing and trout fishing. There is an adventure playground and a two-hour rainforest walk. Facilities for visitors include picnic sites, boat ramps and toilet facilities.
Devils Gate Dam
The Devils Gate Dam has an overhanging crest allows flood water to freefall to the river bed, with up to 2000 tonnes of water falling every second during an extreme flood.
It is one of the thinnest concrete arch dams in the world. It was completed by the Hydro-Electric Commission in 1969 and is 84 m high. The narrowness of the gorge and the computer-aided design of its double-curvature shape enabled engineers to minimise the volume of concrete and hence the cost of the dam. Flood waters falling freely from the crest strike concrete slabs carefully positioned on the abutments to prevent undermining of the dam by erosion.
The walk starts at the junction just before turning into the Lemonthyme Lodge. The walk takes about 2 hours. This is another good walk to observe all the varieties of vegetation of the area. After crossing 2 areas of cleared land the track crosses a fern gully, beyond which there is more forest until the track finally terminates in the back water of the lake. This walk is graded as hard because the return trip is a long haul back uphill. Duration 2 hours
Kimberley Warm Springs
The small town of Gowrie Park is located 16 km south of Sheffield. It is a useful starting point for people wanting to spend their day climbing Mount Roland. The town has a history as a Hydro construction village.
Cradle Mountain is approximately one hour's drive south-west of the township. The mountain is accessible from the northern end of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. There are numerous walks available, ranging from short to multi-day.
Hydro control centre
Media related to Sheffield, Tasmania at Wikimedia Commons
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Sheffield (State Suburb)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2009-05-01.
- Bureau of Meteorology Retrieved on 2007-11-14.
- Sheffield, Tasmania, Tourism Tasmania
- Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
- Sheffield Murals, Sheffield Inc
- Gill Vowles, Maze venture shows the wayHobart Mercury, December 4, 2005. Accessed October 8, 2008
- Sheffield, Sydney Morning Herald
- Mural Fest
- The Advocate Newspaper
- Mt Roland.com.au
- Lake Barrington, Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania
- Devil's Gate Dam, Engineers Australia
- "Kimberley Warm Springs Reserve (entry AHD19966)". Australian Heritage Database. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
- Gowrie Park, Hydro Tasmania
- Cradle Mountain, Kentish Visitor Information Centre
- Pieman Catchment, Hydro Tasmania