A Timeline of Launceston

1798 - Matthew Flinders and George Bass sheltered from bad weather at Port Dalrymple and spent sixteen days exploring the Tamar river as far as Freshwater Point.

1804 – An expedition to settle the area is formed in NSW under Lieutenant Colonel William Paterson. They settled at Outer Cove at George Town. The water supply dries up soon after, and they move across the river to York Cove at York Town.

1805 – Permanent Settlement moves to the site of Launceston, which is named Patersonia in honor of Lieutenant Colonel William Paterson, founder and first commander of the town.

1807 – Lieutenant Colonel Paterson moves the administrative power to Launceston from York Town, and the name is changed from Patersonia to Launceston, in honor of Launceston, Cornwall, UK. The birthplace of the departing Governor King.

1809 – Governor Colonel Lachlan Macquarie comes to Van Diemen’s Land and takes over administrative duties from Lieutenant Colonel Peterson.

1811 – Macquarie orders a new town be built at Outer Cover to be called George Town, for purposes of taking over command of the northern settlement of Van Diemen’s Land.

1812 – Governance of the Island is moved to Government House in Hobart.

1815 – Work began on George Town.

1819 – The seat of Government for Northern Tasmania was moved to George Town.

1824 – The colony was moved back to Launceston after commissioner Bigge conclusively recommended Launceston. The Cornwall Hotel, now Batman Fawkner Hotel is built in Launceston.

1825 – Governor Macquarie returned to England.

1829 – On February 9th, the first issue of the Launceston Advertiser went on sale. The proprietor was John Pascoe Fawkner.

1838 – Franklin House is built by convicts, for Britton James, a brewer, at Franklin Village.

1840 – Thousands of enterprising people begin migrating to the mainland, and the new colony of New Zealand seeking work, or fortune in the goldfields. Tasmania enters a depression due to economic issues and manpower shortages that continues for 40 years.

1842 – St John’s Square Chapel is built, (now known as Milton Hall). The Launceston Examiner is founded by James Aikenhead. The Examiner is Australia’s third oldest surviving newspaper. The Launceston Mechanics’ Institute is founded.

1847 – Dr William Russ Pugh performs the first operation with anaesthetic in Australia at Launceston’s St John’s Hospital, now Morton House.

1850 – The Abolitionist Movement officially begins in response to continuing transportation of convicts to Tasmania as cheap labour.

1851 – First intercolonial cricket match is hosted in Launceston. (Van Diemen’s Land v Port Phillip)

1864 – The Council commissions the design and construction of a Town Hall. The South Esk Bridge, now called Kings Bridge was opened.

1867 – Launceston Town Hall is first occupied.

1904 – The second span of the South Esk Bridge is opened, and the name is changed to Kings Bridge.

1911 – A suburban tramway opens in Launceston, remaining in operation untill 1952.

1913 – Trams begin running to Trevallyn, sharing Kings Bridge with cars.

1929 - Launceston is flooded, the worst floods in Tasmania’s history.

Article written by Phil & Matt Stephens of Stephens Creative