Cradle Coast RegionEconomic profile
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Cradle Coast Region

About the area

Name origin

The Circular Head Council area is named after Circular Head, the land formation commonly known as “The Nut”, which is a solidified lava lake of an extinct volcano.

Location and boundaries

The Circular Head Council area is located in north-western Tasmania, about 230 kilometres north-west of the Launceston CBD. The Circular Head Council area is bounded by Bass Strait in the north, the Waratah-Wynyard Council area in the east, the West Coast Council area in the south, and the Southern Ocean in the west.

Included areas

The Circular Head Council area encompasses the localities of Alcomie, Arthur River, Black River, Brittons Swamp, Broadmeadows, Christmas Hills, Corinna (part), Couta Rocks, Cowrie Point, Crayfish Creek, Detention, Edgcumbe Beach, Edith Creek, Forest, Hellyer, Irishtown, Lileah, Marrawah, Mawbanna, Mella, Mengha, Meunna (part), Milabena (part), Montagu, Montumana (part), Nabageena, Nelson Bay, Port Latta, Redpa, Rocky Cape (part), Roger River, Scopus, Scotchtown, Sisters Creek (part), Smithton, South Forest, Stanley, Temma, Togari, Trowutta, West Coast (part), West Montagu, West Takone (part), Wiltshire and Woolnorth.

Economic region
Circular Head Council area

Land use

The Circular Head Council area is predominantly rural, with urban areas in the townships of Smithton and Stanley, the small township of Marrawah, and several smaller settlements. Rural land is used largely for agriculture (particularly dairy and beef farming) and timber production. Commercial fishing, aquaculture and tourism are also important industries. The Circular Head Council area encompasses a total land area of about 4,900 square kilometres.


The Circular Head Council area is served by the Bass Highway.

Settlement history

European settlement dates from 1826 when the headquarters of the Van Diemen’s Land Company were established at Circular Head (Stanley). Population growth took place from the late 1800s into the early 1900s, with forestry being a major industry. Dairy and beef farming and crop growing then became important industries. Growth continued during the interwar and post-war periods, particularly in Smithton. The population increased marginally during the 1970s and 1980s, rising from about 7,600 in 1976 to 7,800 in 1986. Gradual population increase continued during the early 1990s, with the population rising to 8,100 in 1991. The population was stable to 1996, and then declined slightly during the late 1990s, falling to about 7,700 in 2001. The population increased marginally to 7,800 in 2006, and then was relatively stable to 2011.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Circular Head Council area were the North West Aboriginal tribe.