Launceston has a vibrant and rich living heritage, which weaves its way into everyday life here.
For 40,000 years the Leterremairrener, Panninher and Tyerrernotepanner Palawa (Tasmanian Aboriginal) peoples lived in harmony with the land in the Tamar Valley region. They utilised the rich resources found here, and performed ancient ceremonial songs and dances at places such as the Cataract Gorge.
The township of Launceston was founded by Lieutenant Colonel Paterson in 1806, and was named for the ancient seaside settlement of the same name in Cornwall, UK. It is Australia’s third-oldest city, with a fascinating history traced in its beautiful old buildings and streetscapes. These buildings are kept alive to this day – bustling with social and commerce activity – repurposed as fashion boutiques and bars, banks and high-tech offices.
Launceston has one of the most intact early cityscapes in the country – its early Colonial and Victorian buildings give the city a wonderful historic character. One of the best ways to explore is to follow one of the three Heritage Walksthat take you past many living architectural examples – pick up a printed brochure from the Launceston Visitor Information Centre. Visit the Old Post Office (now the Post Office once again!) in Cameron St, the Victorian Albert Hall on the corners of Tamar and Cimitiere Sts, and the strongly neo-classical Town Hall, built in the 1860s. For an example more challenging contemporary design, Henty House is an example of 1980s Brutalist architecture, its raw concrete mass squatting heavily in Civic Square.
For a chilling and ghoulish twist on Launceston history, wander the back-alleys with a guided Ghost Tour. Visit the Old Umbrella Shop – one the few remaining intact early 20th Century shops in Tasmania – a retail experience harkening back to early days. And for a taste of colonial life, visit the National Trust-run Franklin House – a stately home built with convict-labour in 1838 on the outskirts of the City.
However you choose to experience our City, Launceston’s living heritage will be sure to leave a lasting impression.