Tasmania Living History QR Code Walks

Stop 1 VDL Co Crest

Stop 1 Van Diemen's Land Company 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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Head to the corner of Civic Square, and stop at the triangle brick crest near the Burnie Museum.

The below button will launch your google maps application and the custom google map which plots this specific walk.

  • Bricks retrieved from the demolished VDL Co stores building have been used to construct other local buildings including a private home in Sisters beach.
  • The crest depicts the company’s Royal charter; a sheep, a sheaf of wheat, and sailing ship representing the primary trade of the company being shipped by sea to England. 
  • The VDL Co. was still trading in the dairy farms in Circular head up until its sale to an international buyer in 2016

The Van Diemen’s Land company was founded by a group of London Capital venturists in late May 1824. Their intent was to farm and supply fine grade wool at low cost to the British factories, however, they were forced to do so in the unknown lands of the Northwest Coast of Tasmania. These lands turned out to be wholly unsuitable for wool production. This was to be the start of many misfortunes for the company which over time traded in timber and later dairy farms.  In 1875, they launched the Emu Bay Railway which connected to Burnie. In 1902 they established the imposing VDL Co. headquarters atop which, the crest before you now, stood. 

The arrival of the Van Diemen’s Land Co. saw the mass destruction and displacement of the local Aboriginal populations who had lived in the area for thousands of years. The North tribe occupied the land from Emu bay to Port Sorrell. A favoured hunting ground and site of rich ochre deposit, highly valued by the local Aboriginals, was The Surrey Hills area. Inevitable clashes occurred in 1820s and early 1830s between the local tribes and the occupiers from the VDL co.

This site has links to some of Burnie’s interesting characters.

  • Walking Burnie Historical Characters 
  • Got a story or memory of this site? Send us an email so we can add your knowledge of this site to our website to make it even better!

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