History & Heritage

Stanley and surrounds is made up of a patchwork of places, townships, colourful communities and immense history. As you explore the various destinations on offer you will notice the uniqueness and warmth which makes the region the wonderful area it is. The following information listed here will give you just an overview of the sites of significance and key historical information of each beautiful town that is waiting to be explored.

An art deco delight

The Stanley Town Hall is a commanding presence on the town’s main street. Designed by renowned church architect Alexander North and opened in 1911, the hall has since been renovated in glorious art deco flair reminiscent of the 1930s. Now listed on the Tasmanian Heritage Register, the hall hosts numerous community and cultural events in style. Seating up to 220 guests, the Stanley Town Hall makes the perfect conference destination if you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary.

Explore the historic village of Stanley and uncover its past in the footsteps of Stanley-born writer and artist Meg Eldridge. The Stanley Heritage Walk is self-guided and explores the history, architecture and culture of this diverse village, enhanced with QR code technology and any internet enabled device. The Stanley Visitor Information Centre can provide you with a map and guide to the walk.

History from behind the lens

Tucked neatly inside a former parish hall, the Stanley Discovery Museum presents a fascinating photographic history of the town dating back to the 1850s. Run by a dedicated team of volunteers only too happy to assist, it’s easy to lose track of time in here. The museum has a focus on local families and is often a key port of call for those delving though their own family history. 

Exploring the district’s rich history

Centrally located in Smithton, the Circular Head Heritage Centre celebrates the social, cultural and economic history of the local region. Brimming with thousands of artefacts and photographs – you’ll find everything from musical instruments to agricultural tools. A research room makes the perfect spot to spend the afternoon scouring for family history details. The friendly volunteers are happy to help. 

Stunning early colonial architecture laced with commanding views

From its perch overlooking the town of Stanley, Highfield Historic Site is a window to the past. Highfield House was built as the residence for the Chief Agent of the Van Diemen’s Land Company back in 1832. The homestead, said to be designed by noted architect Henry Hellyer, features beautiful original features including marble mantelpieces, timber staircases and French windows. Wander the rooms and cast your mind back to the challenges faced by early colonists battling to carve a living from the surrounding countryside. A convict-built chapel, school room and stables are all open for exploration.

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Step back in time

Stanley’s main street is treasure trove of beautifully restored 19th homes, and Lyons Cottage is no exception. The tiny workers cottage was the birthplace of Joseph Lyons, Premier of Tasmania from 1923 to 1928. ‘Honest Joe’ went on to become the state’s first, and only, Australian Prime Minister, leading the country from 1932 until his death in 1939. 

The historic cottage is preserved in the period of the late 1800s. An intriguing display showcases his political life, alongside that of his equally celebrated wife –

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