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The beautiful port side city of Burnie, founded in 1827, is located on the northwest coast of Tasmania. With a population nearing 20,000, Tasmania's most westerly city lies 40 minutes from Devonport. Originally named Emu Bay for the area of water it is built upon, it was renamed in the early 1840s after William Burnie, once director of the Van Diemen's Land Company.
Until the 1900s, when the forestry industry became its key source of revenue, Burnie's industries were primarily heavy manufacturing and farming. With the town built on a port, and the Emu Bay Railway opening in 1897 – followed by the Burnie Paper Mill being erected in 1938, and the woodchip terminal following later in the century – Burnie's forestry industry has been the primary source of revenue for the city.
Tasmania was discovered by Abel Tasman in 1642 and claimed by James Cook in 1770. At least 12,000 years prior to white settlement, 4 000 - 5 000 aboriginal people crossed a land bridge that then existed between Australia's southern states, onto the island state we now know as Tasmania.
Settled in 1828 by the Van Diemen’s Land Company, the next 100 years saw the settlers of Burnie engage in heavy industry, which included manufacturing acids and chemicals, and pulp and paper from local timber. The environment was severely compromised. Key environmental issues and the pressure of global markets in the early 1990s saw Burnie's heavy industry suffer huge blows, rocking the foundation of the city to its core with the closing down of many big companies, followed by the Burnie Paper Mill in 2010.
With an opportunity to implement change, the people of Burnie opted for a different future and set about cleaning up the environment, and discovering new ways to create industry that was self-sustaining and environmentally friendly. Looking to the innovators of the past, the township developed industry that specialised in machinery for aqua and agriculture, and great machines for mining iron ore. As well as also producing single malt whisky, cheese and milk, local produce has inspired a healthy lifestyle, with many delightful restaurants showcasing the regions finest.
Yet another booming industry, which makes use of both the natural and industrial environments, is handmade paper from recycled materials, and innovative and functional artworks inspired by the local area.
Burnie today is a thriving seaside port, replete with art galleries, boutique cafes, top-notch restaurants, and a lively cultural scene. Surrounded by glorious beaches, and peaceful parks and gardens, Burnie's hills surround a lively shopping district and an eclectic array of architecture, ranging from federation and art deco homes, to contemporary Tasmanian design.
Be tempted by a drop of single malt at the cellar door, or a piece of deliciously ripened brie that will melt in your mouth. Stay overnight and join a penguin tour or seek the elusive platypus in Ferndale. Visit art galleries for outstanding local exhibitions and feast on local produce that is a delight to the senses. Purvey the Farmers' Market for the best in local produce and delight in the gourmet treats at Burnie's best delis. With shopping concentrated in West Beach's CBD, you’ll have a wonderful time exploring this thriving haven, with satellite shopping areas in Upper Burnie, Cooee, and Wivenhoe. Also worth checking out while in Burnie are the local Interflora storefronts, two of which are located centrally on Wilson Street. These florists can deliver your flowers to all residences, businesses, hospitals – including North West Regional Hospital – nursing homes, schools and hotels within Burnie itself, and also to surrounding suburbs. These include Sulphur Creek, Penguin, Ulverstone, Latrobe and Devonport, as well as Stanley, Smithton, Rosebery, Tullah, Waratah, Zeehan, Queenstown, and Strahan.