Undated postcard of Fingal (Tasmaniana Library, SLT)

Fingal, a small rural town lying in the Fingal Valley in north-eastern Tasmania, was named by the surveyor, Roderic O'Connor, about 1824. Prior to European settlement, Aborigines from the Oyster Bay Tribe frequented the area. A convict station was established in the 1830s and the old cells can be seen on the outskirts of the town. Agriculture and forestry developed, and gold (from 1852) and coal (1880s) were discovered in the Valley. A railway line passing through Fingal to St Marys was completed in 1886 and led to more development of the region.

Today the Cornwall Coal Mine (established 1886) provides employment for about seventy people. Forestry and agriculture remain the other major industries. The Fingal Festival, held annually in March, includes 'world championships' in coal shovelling and roof-bolting.

Further reading: L Scripps, The Fingal Valley, Hobart, 1999; O Reid, The North East, Hobart, 1977.

Margaret Harman