Undated postcard of Strahan (Tasmaniana Library, SLT)

Strahan, situated near the entrance to Macquarie Harbour, was founded in 1880 and largely established by Frederick Henry, owner of the historic homestead Orminston. It developed as a port to cater for the needs of the early inland mining fields of the west coast as well as the timber getters, particularly piners. It was linked to Queenstown by the Abt railway in 1897. Fishing on a commercial scale was established in 1956 with the arrival of industrial refrigerators at Strahan.

Strahan's picturesque setting led to its development as a tourist resort. Cruises of Macquarie Harbour and the Gordon River began in 1969. The annual Piners' Festival, a celebration of the importance of Huon pine to the area, began in 1995, and, in 2003 the Abt Wilderness Railway was reopened as a tourist attraction. With new hotels and restaurants, Strahan is the major tourist centre of the west coast.

Further reading: Let's talk about Strahan, c 1975, TL; A Kok, A pictorial history of Strahan, Hobart, c.1999.

Margaret Harman