Northern Tasmania Region
About the area
ABS ERP 2017
George Town Council is named after King George III.
Location and boundaries
The George Town Council area is located in northern Tasmania, about 50 kilometres north of the Launceston CBD. The George Town Council area is bounded by the Tasman Sea in the north, the Dorset Council area in the east, the City of Launceston in the south, and the Tamar River in the west.
The George Town Council area includes the localities of Beechford, Bell Bay, Bellingham, George Town, Hillwood, Lefroy, Long Reach, Low Head, Lower Turners Marsh (part), Lulworth, Mount Direction (part), Pipers Brook (part), Pipers River (part), Retreat (part) and Weymouth.
The George Town Council area includes rural and rural-residential areas, with a township at George Town, and a smaller township at Low Head. Significant industrial areas are located just south of George Town, including the Bell Bay Port. Rural land is used largely for agriculture (particularly sheep and cattle grazing) and forestry. Tourism is also an important industry. The Council area encompasses a total land area of about 660 square kilometres.
The George Town Council area is served by the East Tamar Highway and Bell Bay Port.
European settlement dates from 1804 when a small party from HMS Buffalo ran aground at the mouth of the Tamar River. A camp was established at George Town (originally known as Outer Cove), although this was relocated to the western side of the river soon after. A pilot station operated from Low Head from 1805. 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. George Town initially operated as a military garrison, a female factory and convict settlement. From the 1830s George Town became a port, developing trading links with the Victorian colony. From 1842 the port declined, but George Town became the major seaside resort for Launceston, aided by the establishment of a steamboat service. Growth took place during the late 1800s, spurred by gold discoveries at Lefroy in 1869, with mining until the late 1890s. Land was then used mainly for grazing and farming. Significant population growth occurred during the 1950s and 1960s, spurred by the establishment of an aluminium smelter at Bell Bay from 1955, with accompanying industrial development. The population of the Council area declined slightly during the 1990s, falling from nearly 7,000 in 1991 to about 6,300 in 2001, and then increased marginally, rising to about 6,600 in 2016.
The original inhabitants of the George Town Council area were the Leterremairrener, Panninher and Tyerrernotepanner Aboriginal people.