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York Town Historic Site

Home > Launceston > Walks | Outdoor | Historic Houses | Escape the City | Day Trips
Published February 28th 2017
A historic site for the history buffs
Founded in 1804, York Town is the fourth oldest British settlement sites in Australia and today this historic site provides national importance into a rare insight of our fascinating and often turbulent colonial past.

Take a walk through the towering trees and surrounding nature...


In 1809, York Town had become largely abandoned and due to this, the buildings started to fall into despair, which could possibly be one of the many reasons why no building has remained intact today. Convict Henry Barret remained at the site to tend to the Government Gardens with his family.

The well-maintained walking tracks are suited for all fitness levels!


Sadly no buildings survived from the original settlement, making this site like an unfinished jigsaw and if you are a history buff you will certainly want to visit York Town and discover your own pieces of this jigsaw!

Be sure to keep an eye out for the soldiers!


As you begin the short and easy fifteen-minute walk around York Town Historic Site, you cannot help but sense a feeling of walking in the convicts' shoes.

Enjoy the lush bushland surroundings...


York Town consisted of an old store, a memorial, Major Kemp's Garden, swamp areas, cellar of commandant's house, old Government Gardens, brick guardhouse and gaol \, McDonald hut and a rivulet. Today a new hut is built to resemble the huts that typically soldier's wives and their families lived in, which gives us a window into how the housing once looked.

Take a seat and admire the scenery...


If you are a bird watching enthusiast you will not be disappointed with the several kinds of Honeyeaters, Dusky Robins, Scarlet Robin who visit in the winter months, Firetail Finch which is Tasmania's only native finch, Swallows, Black-Face Cuckoo-shrike, Pallid and Fantail Cuckoos, White Goshawks, Wedge-Tail Eagles and the White-Bellied Sea Eagles which are some of the sixty species that can be found around the historic York Town.

The recent addition of the dam is home to many wildlife...


A fun fact is that York Town could have been Tasmania's capital! In 1805 it was the capital of Northern Tasmania and in 1806 the population of York Town was 276 which included 124 male convicts and 11 women convicts!

This cottage is an example on how the cottages looked like back in 1804-1809


Life was not alway easy at York Town; at times food was almost impossible to get, causing convicts and soldiers to resort to robbing the stores. It is hard to imagine how hard life must have been in York Town in the early 1800s as today the only sounds that can be heard are the whistles from the abundance of birds and the crushing sounds of footsteps hitting the well-maintained paths.

We spotted this tiny cutie on one of the walking paths...


Recently, archaeological investigations organised by the West Tamar Historical Society revealed extremely interesting facts about the construction of the original buildings and about the everyday lives of the inhabitants.

The landscape before you enter the walking trail...


There was forty acres of settlement at this historical site and almost the whole entire town remains buried underground, however, occasionally remnants make their way to the surface to remind us of a past that has been forgotten.

This plaque gives us an inside and an idea on how York Town used to look like


York Town is certainly a historical site to visit as we glimpse back into our history, re- visiting a past that has sadly been forgotten and fitting together pieces of this missing past.

Whether you are a history enthusiast, a nature lover, enjoy walks or just simply want to see something different, then York Town will not disappoint. It makes the perfect day trip to enjoy a lovely walk admiring surrounding bushland, listening to birds singing their songs, spotting out wildlife and reliving moments in the past.

Enjoy a picnic before or after the short lovely walk...


There are interactive signs throughout the walking trail which gives an inside into the history of York Town.

There are picnic tables, BBQ facilities, parking as well as toilet facilities on site.



Getting Here Information:

York Town Historic Site is located approximately 7km north of Beaconsfield on the road to Green's Beach (C720). Just before the York Town Rivulet, turn left onto Bowen's Road and 100 metres after the turn off (on the left) there is a carpark. - There are clear signs leading to York Town Historic Site.
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Why? Take a walk amongst history...
When: All year round
Where: Off Bowen's Rd, York Town (Beaconsfield)
Cost: Free
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