Murchison Area

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West Coast Council area

About the area

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Key Statistics

Location

The West Coast Council area is located in western Tasmania, about 270 kilometres south-west of the Launceston CBD. The West Coast Council area is bounded by the Pieman River and the Waratah-Wynyard Council area in the north, the Kentish Council area, the Meander Valley Council area, the Central Highlands Council area and the Denison River in the east, the Davey River and Port Davey in the south, and the Southern Ocean in the west.

Included Areas

The West Coast Council area includes the localities of Cradle Mountain (part), Gormanston, Granville Harbour, Lake Margaret, Lake St Clair (part), Queenstown, Renison Bell, Rosebery, SouthWest (part), Strahan, Trial Harbour, Tullah, West Coast (part) and Zeehan.

Economic Region

Land Use

The West Coast Council area is predominantly rural, with urban areas in the small townships of Queenstown, Rosebery, Strahan, Tullah and Zeehan. Forestry, fishing, mining and tourism are important industries. The West Coast Council area encompasses a total land area of nearly 9,600 square kilometres.

Name Origin

The West Coast Council area is named for its location - encompassing much of Tasmania’s west coast.

Settlement

European settlement dates from 1822, when a penal colony was established on Sarah Island. Early industries included boat building, fishing, timber-getting and farming. Population was minimal until the 1870s. Population growth took place from the 1880s into the early 1900s, spurred by mining, industrial growth, increased farming and improved access. The population rose to about 10,500 in 1976, then declined as mining waned. Fishing and tourism then became important industries. The population continued to decline during the 1990s, falling from about 7,600 in 1991 to about 5,500 in 2001. The population continued to decline to about 5,100 in 2006, largely due to major changes in the mining, forestry and hydro-electric industries. The population was then relatively stable between 2006 and 2011.

Major Features

Major features of the Council area include the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, Southwest National Park, Macquarie Harbour, Sarah Island, the Gordon River, West Coast Wilderness Railway, Gordon River Cruises, West Coast Heritage Centre, West Coast District Hospital, various state forests and several waterfalls.

Transport

The West Coast Council area is served by the Lyell Highway and the Zeehan Highway.

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