St Marys

Undated postcard of St Marys (Tasmaniana Library, SLT)

St Marys is a small hinterland town beneath St Patricks Head at the eastern end of the Fingal Valley, and is reached from the coast by way of two steep passes. Although the site of a convict station in 1821, it was not proclaimed a town until 1864. Its early history revolved around broad-acre sheep farming carried out on several large colonial properties. The discovery of coal in the 1880s at nearby Cornwall refocused the town emphasis to that of a commercial and service centre, as it remains. The town's physical profile has changed little since it formed around the St Marys Rivulet. While farming and coal mining still provide employment, the makeup of the population (about 650) now embraces wider ethnic and sociological diversity.

Further reading: O Reid, The South East, Hobart, 1977.

Patsy Crawford