Northern Tasmania RegionEconomic profile
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Northern Tasmania Region

About the area

Location and boundaries

The Northern Tasmania Development Corporation Region (Northern Tasmania Region) is located in northern Tasmania. The Northern Tasmania Region is bounded by the Tasman Sea in the north and east, the Glamorgan Spring Bay Council area, the Southern Midlands Council area and the Central Highlands Council area in the south, and the West Coast Council area, the Kentish Council area and the Latrobe Council area in the west.

Included areas

The Northern Tasmania Region encompasses eight local government areas: the Break O’Day Council area, the Dorset Council area, the Flinders Council area, the George Town Council area, the City of Launceston, the Meander Valley Council area, the Northern Midlands Council area and the West Tamar Council area.

Economic region
Northern Tasmania Region

Land use

The Northern Tasmania Region includes rural, rural-residential, urban and holiday areas. The Region includes the urban centre of Launceston, the townships of Beaconsfield, Beauty Point, Bridport, Deloraine, Evandale, George Town, Hadspen, Lady Barron (Flinders Island), Legana, Longford, Perth, Scottsdale, St Helens, Westbury and Whitemark (Flinders Island), and numerous small villages and settlements. Industrial and maritime land use is located largely in George Town, around the Bell Bay Port. Rural land is used largely for agriculture (particularly dairy farming, sheep grazing and crop growing), with forestry, tourism, mining, viticulture and fishing also being important industries. The Region encompasses a total land area of about 20,000 square kilometres. Half of the population is located in the City of Launceston.


The Northern Tasmania Region is served by the Bass, Batman, East Tamar, Esk, Lake, Meander Valley, Midland, Tasman and West Tamar Highways, Launceston Airport, Flinders Island (Whitemark) Airport, Bell Bay Port and the Bridport to Flinders Island and Cape Barren Island shipping service.

Settlement history

European settlement dates from 1798 when sealing was established at Cape Barren Island, operating until 1828. In 1804 a small party from HMS Buffalo ran aground at the mouth of the Tamar River. A camp was established at George Town, although this was relocated to the western side of the river soon after. In 1806 a military town was set up at Launceston. The township of George Town was established in the 1810s by Governor Macquarie, initially as the major settlement for the colony’s north, although this decision was reversed in 1825, with Launceston becoming the major town. Launceston developed as a commercial, industrial and service hub for Tasmania, becoming an export centre for the mainly pastoral industry. The first land grants were made in the 1830s, with land used mainly for farming and timber-getting. Population was minimal until the 1850s when gold mining commenced, followed by tin mining in the 1870s. Rapid growth took place during the late 1800s, largely due to the mining boom during the 1870s and 1880s. The main industries in the early 1900s were agriculture, mining and forestry. Expansion took place during the post-war years, with growth spreading outwards from the central city. An aluminium smelter was established at Bell Bay from 1955, with accompanying industrial development. The population of the Region generally increased gradually from the early 1990s, rising from under 127,000 in 1991 to about 138,000 in 2016.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Northern Tasmania Region were the Kunnarra Kuna, Leenerrerter, Leterremairrener, Palawa, Pallittorre, Pangerninghe, Panninher, Pinterrairer, Pyemmairrenerpairrener, Trawlwoolway and Tyerrernotepanner Aboriginal people.