Tasman Peninsula

Settler George Clarke's dwelling near Nubeena, 1886 (ALMFA, SLT)

The Tasman Peninsula reveals evidence of nomadic Aborigines prior to seventeenth-century European observation. After decades as a penal settlement, from 1880 subsistence farming confronted settlers, their future dependent upon timber, fruit, minor agricultural products and tourism. A turbulent waterway remained the market lifeline for seventy years. Social life centred on churches, schools, sport, dances, picnics, rural shows, politics, movies and hunting. Local circumstances produced unity or parochialism.

Nubeena in about 1900 (AOT, PH30/1/5634)

Timber, orchards, mixed farming and fishing industries accounted for male employment. School monitoring, family farms and domesticity were female options. Eleven schools provided primary education until an Area (later High) School was established at Nubeena in 1953. Health care depended on visiting doctors and local midwives, but this changed with bush nursing (1916), Koonya Hospital (1924), resident doctors (late 1930s) and a modern hospital at Nubeena (1971).

A new era emerged in 1950, with electricity, a highway and prosperous industries in orcharding, farming, fishing, a fledgling chicken industry and tourism. After 1970, economic crises caused rural survival diversities. Social patterns changed with the exodus of locals and growing migration. Tourism is now the dominant industry.

Further reading: Tasman Peninsula Chronicles 111.

Maurice Hallam