outside St Marys
Small township nestled under the impressive
St Patricks Head.
Located at the junction of the Tasman and Esk
Highways, St Marys is located either 223 km or
216 km north-east from Hobart according to which
route is chosen. It is a tiny town nestled under
the impressive St Patrick's Head, the most
prominent rocky outcrop in the district.
The first European contact with the district
occurred when Captain Tobias Furneaux sighted
and named the 694 metre St Patrick's Head in
1773. The early settlement of Van Diemen's Land,
which mostly occurred between Hobart and George
Town, took little interest in the St Marys area.
It wasn't until the 1840s that a probation
station, housing 300 convicts, was built at
Grassy Bottom between the town and St Mary's
Pass. They were assigned to build the road
across the mountains to the east coast. This was
done between 1843 and 1846. The arrival of the
railway in 1866 led to town's increasing
importance as a service centre. The Elephant
Pass route was completed in 1888 and this
resulted in goods moving across the mountains to
the east coast settlements of Bicheno and Chain
of Lagoons. In turn this resulted in a small
increase in population as the town became a
service centre for the surrounding dairy farms.
The railway line which was once so vital to the
health of the town is now closed although the
railway station still stands.
It is a sad comment on the changing nature of
rural industry that, at its peak, St Marys was
surrounded 50 dairy farms and there were two
cheese factories in the town. Today the area has
been totally given over to wool and meat and
there are no remaining dairy farms. The town has
few attractions and its centre point is very
clearly the large and gracious St Marys Hotel
which stands at the crossroads. It was built in
Things to see:
St Patricks Head
Travel east from St Mary's and, as the road
starts to rise, take the turn to the right up
Irishtown Road. The road quickly becomes dirt.
Follow the signs. It is a not an easy walk
(there are places where metal cables and ladders
are used to help the climber) but the view is
spectacular and well worth the effort.
South Sister Peak
Take the Germantown Road and turn left at the
South Sister signpost. This is an easier lookout
as the main vantagepoint is only a 10-15 minute
walk from the car park.
|A tiny church
in the countryside 5 km west of St Marys
A strange little church standing in the middle
of fields a few kilometres to the west of St
Marys. The church was built in 1847 and was
connected with the large property,
'Cullenswood', which was established in the late
1820s by Robert Vincent Legge who arrived in Van
Diemen's Land in 1827. The main residence,
'Cullenswood', was built in 1845 and is located
on Cornwall Road off the Esk Main Road. It is a
two storey rubblestone Georgian building with a
columned verandah and iron hipped roof. It is
not open for inspection.