New Norfolk

New Norfolk is a Tasmanian inland town which sells itself as the Capital of the Derwent Valley. The undulating countryside around and the more majestic peaks in the distance make this town one of the most beautifully set in the region. The town’s social and cultural history is rich and the architectural remnants are everywhere to be seen.

The website at http://www.newnorfolk.org/ contains much interesting information and I particularly like one of the image pages where an early photo of a building or location sits next to a more recent photo in the same spot.  From this website you learn that ‘New Norfolk was the third planned settlement to be undertaken in Tasmania, after Hobart and Launceston.’ 

On the history page, you will learn about the connection between the Norfolk Island penal colony and the settlement of New Norfolk.

‘New Norfolk was at first known as “The Hills” because of its setting among hills, valleys and gentle streams.   In 1811 Governor Macquarie came to visit Van Diemen’s Land.   He mapped out a town site and named the town “Elizabeth Town” (after his wife) in the District of New Norfolk.  The name did not catch on although it was used on and off from 1811 to 1825, but the local settlers, wanting to preserve a link with their old island home, won the day and the town was officially known as “New” Norfolk. The stream called the Thames by the locals, was renamed the “Lachlan” (pronounced Locklon) by Governor Macquarie (in honour of his son). However, although it retains the name to this very day, it is pronounced as “Lacklan” by the locals, much to the confusion of newcomers.’

I strongly recommend this site for its extensive information and superb historical photographs, drawings and reproductions of lithographs.

A second site at http://www.discovertasmania.com.au/about/regions-of-tasmania/hobart-and-south/new-norfolk offers additional information and recommendations for things to look for. when visiting the area. In particular, a convict Betty King/Mrs Elizabeth Thackeray was mentioned as being the first European woman to step onto Australian soil.  You can read more about her at http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/people/settlement/display/70623-betty-king and it seems she was buried in a Methodist Church cemetery on Back River Road in New Norfolk (as per the map below). Unfortunately my Stage 15 of the walk, when the weather begins to warm next Spring, will not deviate from the Derwent River to look at this – but if you are visiting, maybe the site will be worth a look.

Map of Betty Kings memorial New Norfolk

My favourite time of the year to visit New Norfolk is autumn when the leaves turn red and gold so that the town almost seems to be on fire in places. Quite wonderful. Notwithstanding this, the other seasons of the year offer their own special characteristics, making the town always interesting to visit. And when the weather fails, you can immerse yourself in the many antique shops.

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