Burnie City is located on the north-west coast of Tasmania, about 50 kilometres west of the Devonport CBD and 150 kilometres north-west of the Launceston CBD. Burnie City is bounded by Bass Strait in the north, the Central Coast Council area and the Blythe River in the east, the Waratah-Wynyard Council area in the south, and the Cam River and the Waratah-Wynyard Council area in the west.
Burnie City includes the localities of Acton, Brooklyn, Burnie, Camdale, Chasm Creek, Cooee, Downlands, East Cam, East Ridgley, Emu Heights, Hampshire, Havenview, Heybridge (part), Highclere, Hillcrest, Montello, Mooreville, Natone, Ocean Vista, Oonah (part), Parklands, Park Grove, Parrawe (part), Ridgley, Romaine, Round Hill, Shorewell Park, South Burnie, Stowport, Tewkesbury, Upper Burnie, Upper Natone, Upper Stowport, West Mooreville, West Ridgley and Wivenhoe.
Burnie City features both urban and rural areas. Most of the population is concentrated along the coast, with urban areas in and around the main township of Burnie (including residential, industrial and commercial land use). Rural land is used largely for forestry and farming, particularly grazing and crop growing. The City encompasses a total land area of about 600 square kilometres.
Burnie is named after William Burnie, a director of Van Diemen’s Land Company in the 1840s.
The original inhabitants of the Burnie area were the North West Aboriginal people.
European settlement dates from 1827, following exploration of the area by the Van Diemen’s Land Company. The township of Burnie (known then as Emu Bay) developed as a timber port. Some growth took place from the 1840s to the 1860s, although population was minimal until the late 1800s when mining commenced nearby. From the 1880s Burnie became the main port for the west coast mines, aided by the opening of railway lines. Significant development occurred during the late 1800s and early 1900s, with the population growing to about 1,000 in 1891, and then to 1,500 in 1900. When mining declined during from 1915, forestry and farming became the main industries. Growth resumed from the 1930s, spurred by the opening of the paper and pulp mill in 1938. The population rose from about 4,000 in 1936 to about 10,000 in 1945, and then to 18,500 in 1965. Growth continued during the 1970s and 1980s, with the population rising to over 20,000 in 1986. The population declined slightly during the 1990s, falling from about 20,500 in 1991 to 18,100 in 2001, largely due to the scaling back of production at the paper and pulp mill (which eventually closed in 2010). The population then increased slightly from 2001, rising to about 19,000 in 2011.
Major features of the City include Burnie Port, the Burnie CBD, Guide Falls, Emu Bay, Little Penguin Observation Centre, Hellyers Road Distillery, Makers’ Workshop, Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden, Annsleigh Gardens, Guide Falls Farm, North West Regional Hospital, North West Private Hospital, TasTAFE (Burnie Campus), University of Tasmania (Cradle Coast Campus), Burnie Regional Art Gallery, Burnie Regional Museum, Burnie Arts & Function Centre, Burnie Aquatic Centre, Roundhill Lookout, Burnie Golf Club, Burnie Park, Fern Glade Reserve, Oakleigh Park, Romaine Reserve, West Park Oval, Upper Natone Forest Reserve, Lake Kara, The Boardwalk, various beaches and numerous state forests.
Burnie City is served by the Bass Highway and the Ridgley Highway.
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