Tasmania Living History QR Code Walks

Burnie Living History

Locations within this tour

Stop 1 VDL Co Crest

This crest once held a very prominent position in Burnie. The company it belonged to, would herald enormous changes for the Northwest Coast of Tasmania. Some good, and some disastrous and tragic.
*There will be some reference to Aboriginals who have passed away.

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Stop 2 Burnie Court House/ The Imperial

This used to be a guest house built in 1902. It was quite upmarket in its early days, but over time became more run down and operated as a boarding house before its demolition to build the Burnie Magistrates court house.

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Stop 3 Cattley Street Looking East

At one time this part of the street was home to some of Burnie’s early residents. Children would play on the dirt road in front, and recently planted trees lined one-half of the street. The original houses still exist within the modern structures, their facades obscuring their original roof line.

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Stop 4 The Advocate- Emu Bay Times – Community Tree

Once the site of Emu Bay Times and then the Advocate, with the same Norfolk pine planted in front of the Anglican Church all these years later. This pine has been decorated with thousands of programmable LED lights, to create a spectacular show in Christmas, but also to mark other events and days of significance.

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Stop 5 The Burnie Theatre / Sports power

This used to be the premier theatre in Burnie. Constructed along the northern side of the old town hall and theatre, in 1931. The new Burnie theatre had seating for 1500 and was designed by Melbourne architects. The Cost of the building was approximately 10,000 pounds. Initially opened as the Burnie Theatre, it was changed to the star theatre in 1936.

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Stop 6 Cattley Street Town Hall

Cattley street was once dominated by a grand Town Hall, where public meetings, forums, elegant balls, and community events were held. The original buildings were built by the Burnie Institute and later expanded in 1888 to become a much grander building.

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Stop 7 Cattley Street Looking West

Cattley street, offered a range of shops, and eateries- not dissimilar to contemporary Cattley street offerings. It also provided somewhere for the kids to ride their bikes and make mischief no doubt!

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Stop 8 Fortuna WT BELL Auctioneers

WT Bell Auction House- These gentlemen were responsible for conducting cattle Auctions in the North and Northwest, and their offices were located in this building and in Launceston until 1939. (The Advocate 11 Feb 1939, p 12)

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Stop 9 Tattersalls Merchants

At one time this store sold many things to make some dough. Now it makes dough all day long. AW Tattersall’s Hardware store was built in 1902 and operated at this site until 1960.

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Stop 10 Pease’s Shoe Shop Photograph

Ah Pease’ s shoe shop is located on Wilson street, and was established by Alfred H Pease, in 1925. Generations of the Pease family have worked in the Wilson street stores, and have expanded to Wynyard, Ulverstone and Launceston.

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Stop 11 Wilson Street looking South

Wilson street circa 1900s, with the central image of a man and a wheelbarrow in the distance, possibly collecting horse manure off the street. Wilson street remains one of the main shopping strips in Burnie.

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Stop 12 Spicer’s Chemist

This site has been a chemist for many years. HG spicer’s chemist was one of Burnie’s first businesses, commencing trade in 1887. Later the property was bought in 1923 by Frank Ivey and continues to trade as a chemist on the same site. The original weatherboard shop was rebuilt as a two story brick establishment.

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Stop 13 Beach Hotel Burnie

Beach hotel was originally known as Sea View hotel and was built in 1901 by the Wiseman Family. (Of Central hotel fame). Whilst it was built for Cyril Davy, who married Dorothy Wiseman, he only stayed in the business for a year, before returning to farming.

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Stop 14 Basalt Columns

These Basalt columns were used to quarry thousands of tons of rocks from the 1800s into the 20th century. The original Basalt columns protruded further north than they do today after substantial quarrying of the columns.

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Stop 15 The Old Burnie Wharf

Burnie’s port was one of the State’s main gateways for products in and out of Tasmania, and still is to this day. The key export was potatoes until Burnie’s industrial expansion in the 1930s. At times there were in excess of 25,000 bags of potatoes awaiting loading at the wharf.

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Stop 16 The VDL company store

This was the site of the majestic Van Diemen Land Company Store. Built in 1901 on the site of the original company stores established in 1827 the building continued to operate as a produce store after the Van Diemen Land Co. dwindled. It eventually was demolished in the 1970s to create a car park, and eventually, the current cinema was constructed on the same site.

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Union Line Steamers

Stop 17 Union Line Steamers

Union Line Steamers- Built near the site of the Goodman skins merchants, offered a weekly sailing to Sydney and on to New Zealand from the port of Burnie and Devonport. They began their service in 1883 with their ships, Pateena and Flora

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Goodman Skin Buyers

Stop 18 Goodman Skin Buyers

Goodmans Skin Buying Store. Started in the early 1900s, the Goodman’s eventually sold their business after 6 years to South Australian Skins merchants, Willcox-Mofflin & co. They left for an extended tour of England and the continent”. They came back to Burnie eventually starting a new produce store, Goodman’s Produce in Marine terrace and later the VDL Co. building.

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Stop 19 Jones Hotel

The first Bay View Hotel was constructed in 1875 by prominent local businessman, Captain William Jones. Here, a two storey weatherboard building was erected, generally known as Jones’ Hotel. Jones and his family lived on site until 1878, before leasing the hotel. Thomas Wiseman became the eventual owner in 1884.

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Stop 20 Marine Terrace looking South

At one time this was one of Burnie’s main commercial streets. Several shops, public houses, and hotels lined the street. At the port end, there were Steamer agents and trading stores, and at the spring street and, Burnie’s first undertaker.

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Walk Specifics

Scan the QR code at the site or select the stop image from your device.  Stand in the position that corresponds to the stop picture. Select the corresponding picture on your map to launch a short video vignette revealing a hidden history at that site. 

Take a moment to follow the footsteps of those that have gone before you. Who were they? What were their lives like? What were their dreams, and hopes? We are separated from them by time, but connected by the place within which we stand and observe. Their history lives among us.

Unless otherwise noted, permission and digital original images have been purchased from the Burnie Regional Museum.

Enjoy discovering our hidden history!