Undated postcard of Geeveston (Tasmaniana Library, SLT)

In 1849 William Geeves settled the site of Geeveston. The early years proved a struggle, dense bush a barrier to settlement. The construction of the Speedwell timber mill in 1871 and the Huon Timber Company Mill in 1902 provided Geeveston with an industrial base, the Timber Workers Union ensuring that workers were well organised. Following a violent strike in 1921–22 the Company closed its Geeveston mill in 1925 and Geeveston suffered population loss, but the start of banking (1926) and arrival of electricity (1928) assisted slow but steady progress, based on apples and timber.

Britain's entry into the European Common Market curtailed apple exports, and in 1991 the Whale Point wood-pulp pellet site closed, but the opening of a branch of the Bendigo Bank, and a major tourist attraction, the Tahune Airwalk (2001), brought new optimism.

Further reading: J Dargavel, '“Not easy work to starve their employees”: the 1921–22 Tasmanian Timber Dispute', Labour History 84, 2003; R Ely, The history of the Huon, Channel, Bruny Island region, Hobart, 1989.

Chris Martin