GEORGE TOWN is the fourth oldest town in Australia and still has a number of heritage buildings, including the famous Pilot Station. It is also close to beaches and has a wetland reserve and a marina. At night there is penguin viewing near its famous light house. There are some shops, plus a picnic ground and some accommodation in George Town. It is located on the eastern side of the mouth of the Tamar River about 50 kilometres north east of Launceston.
George Town can be interpreted as being in part of both the Tamar Valley region or the North East region.
LOW HEAD is just north of George Town.
BEECHFORD is on the coast east of George Town.
LEFROY is east of George Town and just south of Beechford.
You are 50 minutes from EXETER, GREENS BEACH, BRIDPORT and LAUNCESTON, while SCOTTSDALE and WATERHOUSE are 60 minutes away. Nearby places are described in the TAMAR VALLEY REGION and NORTH EAST REGION pages.
View Region Tamar in a larger map
FACILITIES: There are shops, cafes, hotels and a petrol station at George Town. There are no commercial facilities at Low Head, Beechford or Lefroy. There is some accommodation in GEORGE TOWN.
TOURIST information is located at Main Road, George Town. The telephone is (03) 6382 1700 or www.georgetown.tas.gov.au
SIGHTS: George Town is the fourth oldest town in Australia after Sydney, Hobart and Yorktown. It was established using convict labour in 1805. George Town preserves a few heritage assets, but most of it is now a modern town. George Town is a good place to do penguin and seal watching. The assets worth seeing are the;
GROVE MANSION dating from 1830 is in Cimitiere St,
LOW HEAD PILOT STATION, CAFE & MUSEUM dating from 1805 is at Low Head to the north of George Town. Telephone 03 6382 1143
LIGHTHOUSE is just beyond the Pilot Station at Low Head,
PENGUIN ROOKERY is near the lighthouse at Low Head. For guided tours telephone 0418 361 860
LOOKOUT is to the south of the CBD on Mt George Road.
BASS & FLINDERS CENTRE is in Elizabeth St. It features historic boats. Telephone (03) 6382 3792 or 0424 013 723
HISTORIC COTTAGES of WHITESTONES and BEN HYRONS
ROUTE: From LAUNCESTON drive north on the A8 East Tamar Highway for 60 kilometres, until you reach George Town.
The Pilot Station, Rookery and lighthouse are in Low Head, which is just north of George Town CBD. Just drive north on the A8 East Tamar Highway.
- GEORGE TOWN
- Low Head
- Mt George
1/ George Town was founded in 1804. This makes it the second oldest settlement in Tasmania. It boasts a number of attractive historic buildings like this, the Pier Hotel.
2/ Macquarie Street is the centre of George Town. It has many modern shops, some cafes and 2 hotels. George Town has the best shopping opportunities in the north east of Tasmania. The orange building on the right is the Matthew Flinders Centre. This is the local history museum.
3/ The modern town hall of George Town sits in a park on Macquarie Street, opposite the shops.
4/ This is the modern council house of George Town. It includes a flag pole in the shape of the mast of an ancient sailing ship.
5/ The war memorial is located next to the town hall. It commemorates all the wars including the Vietnam War. Beyond it is the park.
6/ This attractive band rotunda dominates the park. Beyond it are the shops of Macquarie Street.
7/ George Town now has a exercise cum health facility. Each display has both an exercise machine, plus advice on how to improve an aspect of your health.
8/ The attractive Grove Mansion was built in 1835 for the local magistrate. It is now a luxury BB.
9/ There are many old houses in George Town. This is Ben Hyron's Cottage. It was built in 1860.
10/ Whitestones is a well preserved example of a Georgian style house. It is one of a number of historic homes in George Town.
11/ This is another attractive historic cottages. The left side of the porch has been turned into a room.
12/ This memorial commemorates the founding of George Town in 1804. It is located close to the Tamar River Estuary.
13/ Near the foundation obelisk is this tree sculpture. It commemorates the ancient fishermen of George Town. It includes a whale to commemorate the ancient whalers. The solitary figure is Matthew Flinders, who first explored the seas near George Town.
14/ This is a view of York Cove at George Town. Beyond is the York Cove Estate. This has both luxury apartments, plus mooring for the owners' boats.
15/ George Town has another classic Victorian era hotel located in Macquarie Street.
16/ This is the old guard house. Here soldiers were station to control the convict workers of old George Town. Beyond it is the modern George Town police station.
17/ George Town fronts onto the Tamar River Estuary and has a river walking track. This goes north through a bird sanctuary towards Low Head.
1/ Low Head is a locality just north of George Town. It is the sight of 3 light houses, plus the Pilot Station complex. The Pilot Station is a unique historic complex and the light house is a spectacular sight. This view shows the famous Low Head light house. I estimate that it is about 18 metres high. A fog horn is sounded from here at noon every Sunday for the amusement of visitors. Beyond is the estuary of the Tamar River. A penguin tour begins from near this light house at dusk.
2/ There are 2 identical light houses at She Oak Point. These were built in 1882 and replaced earlier stone towers built in 1848. Ships approaching the Tamar River from the sea must change their course until they can see only one light house in order to attain the right angle of approach. This is to avoid Hebe Reef. This reef is visible on the horizon on the left, as this photo was taken at low tide. At high tide Hebe Reef is invisible . On the right in the distance you can see the Low Head light house that is shown above. There is a walk way from She Oak Point that takes you to the Low Head light house shown in the photo above.
3/ Low Head has some magnificent old trees like these Norfolk pines. This photo was taken from near the Pilot Station and looks south towards George Town.
4/ The Pilot Station is the other major attraction of Low Head. It is a restored, mid 19th hamlet, built to house the pilots, who shepherded the ships into the Tamar River. It consists of 2 streets separated by a village green. The large house to the right is now the museum.
5/ This view shows the street on the other side of the village green. The first 2 houses shown above are now available for tourist accommodation. Beyond the lamp post is the Tamar River Estuary.
6/ The Maritime Museum is located in this large building in the Pilot Station complex. It has a lot of interesting exhibits and displays.
7/ This view looks at the Maritime Museum from the other side. The plaque in the centre records that this building was built in 1835.
8/ A half a kilometre north of the Pilot Station hamlet is the much smaller old Pilot Station. It became a residence when the new Pilot Station was finished. It has since been expanded on both sides in a style faithful to its history.
9/ This is the Low Head signal tower near the old Pilot Station. When ships were spotted approaching the Tamar Estuary a signal was sent to the nearby tower on Mt George and from there down a chain of towers to far away Launceston. You can see the other tower on the following Mt George tab, while the Mt Direction signal tower can be seen on my Mt ARTHUR page.
10/ This view looks from the Low Head signal tower south towards the old Pilot Station.
11/ The Low Head lighthouse still lights the way for ships sailing down the Tamar River. This view looks west across the Tamar Estuary towards Greens Beach.
12/ This view looks back at the lighthouse. The grey building on the left houses a fog horn, which is still sounded every Sunday at noon.
13/ This view looks down from the lighthouse towards the tip of the peninsula. A tour of penguin barrows is conducted at sunset in this area.
14/ This is the residence of the lighthouse keeper.
15/ This view looks down from the lighthouse to the south east towards Eastern Beach. A historic cable once came ashore on this beach.
16/ This view looks south past a large house towards George Town. The sheep grazing in the field add to the historic charm of the locality.
17/ This lovely old church is located near the pilot station. It was built in 1877.
18/ This is a telescopic view of the Low Head Lighthouse taken from Greens Beach to the west.
1/ Mt George is just south of George Town in central northern Tasmania. From its summit you can see far out to sea. For this reason it was used as a signal station. Here you see the flag pole, which is facing north towards the Bass Strait Sea.
2/ This photo shows the signal tower on Mt George used to flashed flag signals, via a chain of stations that lead all the way down from George Town to Launceston.
3/ The view from Mt George to the south shows the edge of George Town and the plantations to the south.
4/ The view to the north of Mt George looks out across the mouth of the Tamar River towards the Bass Strait Sea.
1/ Beachford is a huge sand beach with a dormitory settlement. It is located in north eastern Tasmania east of George Town and north of Lefroy. This view looks down the beach towards George Town, which is beyond the point.
2/ The beach can be accessed by vehicles, which can then drive many kilometres down the beach.
3/ This view gives you some idea as to how wide the sand area is and how far the beach extends towards the horizon, which is about 15 kilometres away.
4/ The Blanket River enters the sea at Beechford. This view shows the river at low tide.
5/ At the Beechford settlement is a picnic area and a foot bridge that takes you over the river and through the dunes to reach the sand beyond.
6/ This is a view of the Blanket River taken from the foot bridge shown above. Just beyond these dunes is the sea.
7/ This view looks from the Blanket River into the settlement. It has a variety of new and old houses.
1/ Lefroy is former mining town east of George Town in north eastern Tasmania. As you can see in this 1890 photo, the town once had many thousands of people. Unfortunately, today it consists only of houses and has no facilities.
2/ The large cemetery in Lefroy is well maintained and is replete with historic information. I found that it had a very ethereal feeling about it.
3/ This photo gives you some idea of the size of the old cemetery at Lefroy.
4/ This is the view as you approach Lefroy from the south. The empty space to the left shows evidence that buildings were once located on it.
5/ Lefroy has a war memorial, which mentions an avenue of honour. Only large towns had avenues of honour. This is another indication that Lefroy was once a large town.
6/ This is another house cluster at Lefroy. The large areas of paddocks once had buildings on them.
7/ This lovely cottage is the oldest house in Lefroy. It is on the road to Beechford.
8/ There are a number of modern houses in Lefroy. This one was near the Lake.
9/ Behind this modern house, to the right, is a large mound. This was once one of the many mines of Lefroy.
10/ A Shetland pony grazes on disturbed ground that once held the many buildings of old Lefroy.
11/ Behind this 19th Century cottage you can see mine tailings. Note too the large, ancient, European trees that attest to the age of Lefroy.
12/ This resident had a large wood pile. Tasmania is a good place to source vintage cars.
13/ This old cottage in Lefroy has a story to tell. It once shared the street with many other cottages.
14/ In the fields around Lefroy you can see many old mining shafts, like this mound, where sheep now graze. Note that old mine shafts present a safety hazard.