Beaconsfield

Beaconsfield
Small town in the heart of the north-eastern apple growing district
Located 39 km north west of Launceston on the West Tamar Highway, Beaconsfield is a small town on the main road which runs up the western side of the Tamar River. It lies in the heart of an apple-growing district and, at this point, the Tamar River supports numerous oyster leases.

Like so many towns in Australia, Beaconsfield went through a series of names before reaching its present one. The town's site was originally known as Cabbage Tree Hill and, when goldmining began in the 1870s, it became known as Brandy Creek. The present name was given to the town in 1879, when it was proclaimed, by Governor Weld. It was named to honour the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Benjamin Disraeli, the Earl of Beaconsfield

The area around Beaconsfield was explored by Colonel William Paterson in 1804 and the first Europeans settlers arrived in 1805. The first industry in the district was limestone quarrying which started as early as the 1820s and was carried out to provide George Town with suitable building material. It is thought that gold was first discovered in the area in 1847 although it wasn't until 1869 that alluvial gold was panned. By 1877 major gold companies were in the area and by 1881 Beaconsfield was known as the richest gold town in Tasmania. At its peak there were 53 companies working the goldfields and, for a while in the 1870s, there were two iron smelting companies working in the area.

Things to see:

Grubb Shaft Museum Complex
One of the town's major attractions, reflecting the fact that it was once an important gold mining town, is the Grubb Shaft Museum Complex. Located on West Street, which runs west from the West Tamar Highway, Grubb Shaft is a museum complex based on the gold mining era between 1877 and 1914 which includes a miner's cottage, the Flowery Gully School - a one teacher school built in 1892, a shop from the period, and the original Tasmania Gold Mine. Although the mine only operated for 37 years it produced 26 tonnes of gold worth about £12 million and was dug to a depth of 477 m. The mine was constantly beset with water problems. At one point over 36 million litres were being pumped out each day. It was finally closed in 1914. The pumps, which are an important part of the museum's display, simply could not cope with the water which was pouring into the shafts. The Grubb Shaft Museum, which was named after W. T. Grubb, one of the directors of the Tasmania Gold Mine, is located on West Street (turn west at the Post Office) and is open from 10.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m. daily in summer time.

The construction at the major pithead of two huge Romanesque arches has given the town one of its most distinctive man-made landmarks. The arches were completed in 1904. Around this time, due to the success of the gold mining, Beaconsfield was the third largest town in Tasmania.

Holy Trinity Church
Also of interest is the wooden Holy Trinity Church in Margaret Street. It was built in 1907 and is distinguished by its ornate wooden gables and tower. As you get closer you'll notice that it has been covered by blonde zincalume. However, apart from this, it is an exceptional timber church and the inside is characterised by some particularly impressive rough-hewn timber and some fine woodwork.

Beaconsfield has the unique distinction of being the first Australian town to fluoridate its water, which it did in 1953.

Club Hotel
Weld St
Beaconsfield TAS 7270
Telephone: (03) 6383 1191

Exchange Hotel
Weld St
Beaconsfield TAS 7270
Telephone: (03) 6383 1113

Ophir Hotel
Weld St
Beaconsfield TAS 7270
Telephone: (03) 6383 1122

Yorktown Manor Bed & Breakfast
638 Greens Beach Rd Yorktown
Beaconsfield TAS 7270
Telephone: (03) 6383 4647
Rating: ****

Red Ruby Restaurant
Weld St
Beaconsfield TAS 7270
Telephone: (03) 6383 1608

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