Meander Valley Local History
The Meander Valley region, located in the heart of Tasmania, is an area rich in history and natural beauty. The valley is named after the winding Meander River that flows through it, providing the perfect backdrop for this picturesque part of the world.
The indigenous palawa people were the first inhabitants of the region, and they lived on this land for thousands of years before European settlers arrived. Evidence of their presence can be seen in the many rock art sites throughout the area, which are accessible to the public for viewing. Their way of life centered around hunting, fishing, and gathering food from the surrounding land and waters.
The first European explorers to visit the region were the famous Bass and Flinders in 1798. They traveled up the Meander River and named Mount Roland, one of the region's most prominent landmarks, after their ship's master.
Agriculture quickly became the backbone of the Meander Valley economy when the first European settlers arrived in the early 19th century. They cleared vast tracts of land for grazing sheep and cattle and for farming crops such as wheat, oats, and potatoes. The fertile soils and mild Mediterranean climate of the region were perfect for this type of agriculture, and the area quickly became one of the most productive agricultural regions in Tasmania.
The town of Deloraine, located at the western end of the Meander Valley, became the commercial and administrative center for the region. It was officially established in 1828, and its growth was fueled by the agricultural and forestry industries in the surrounding area. Deloraine became an important transport hub for the region, with goods being transported by road and rail to markets in Hobart and Launceston.
In the late 19th century, the discovery of tin and gold in the region sparked a mining boom. The town of Moina, located on the eastern side of the valley, was founded in 1879 to serve the needs of the mining community. The Moina mines produced over 3,000 tons of tin ore between 1882 and 1914. The town of Mole Creek, located at the western end of the valley, was also a hub for the mining industry and supported several gold mines.
The arrival of the railway in the late 1800s revolutionized transportation in the area, making it faster and more efficient. The railway also facilitated the growth of the timber industry, which provided jobs and economic growth for the region. The rich forest resources of the area provided a source of timber for building and furniture making, as well as for the production of paper and pulp. The town of Westbury, located on the banks of the Meander River, became an important center for the timber industry.
During the early 20th century, the Meander Valley saw a decline in the mining and timber industries. However, the agricultural industry continued to thrive and grow. The region was a major producer of hops, and the town of Sheffield became known for its fruit and vegetable crops.
In the latter half of the 20th century, the Meander Valley region became a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from around the world who were drawn to its natural beauty and rich history. The area is home to several national parks, including Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The region is also known for its arts and crafts, with many artists and artisans calling the Meander Valley home.
Today, the Meander Valley is a thriving and vibrant community that is proud of its rich history and natural beauty. The region continues to be a major producer of agricultural products, including dairy, cheese, and wine. It is also a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, who come to hike, fish, and camp in the area's many national parks. The Meander Valley is a true gem in the heart of Tasmania, a place where history and nature are woven together to create an unforgettable experience for visitors.