Sunday Drive to Stanley


Naomi has had a friend staying with her and last weekend she wanted to show him another part of Tasmania that he hasn’t seen before so we went for a drive to Stanley.

The weather started out great, one of those bright sunny winter days we sometimes get. We left mid morning and decided to stop for an early lunch at our favourite cafe cum antique shop at Sisters Creek. “Cuppa, Cake and Collectables”. I must write a post about it one day. After that we drove down to Smithton for a quick tour before heading back to Stanley.

On the road to Stanley

I’ve visited Stanley a few times in the past, once with David and two or three times with Naomi. I’ve never been there on a sunny day. In fact most times that I’ve visited Stanley it has rained. I swear that the town has a permanent cloud hovering over it. While we were in Smithton we noticed that it was clouding over and by the time we reached Stanley it was dull and grey and the temperature was dropping. Fortunately the rain did stay away though.

The Nut at Stanley

A lot of people I chat to at the visitor centre are headed for Stanley. It is about 60 kms west of Wynyard nestled at the foot of a large basalt hill known to everyone as “The Nut”. The Nut, which is 143 metres high, was once the core of a volcano, now long extinct. The area is a state conservation area managed by the Parks & Wildlife Service. It is a breeding area for birds, including Little Penguins which are fairly common on the northwest coast of Tasmania. There are also protected plants and sites of significance to the aboriginal community. The summit is reachable by a walking trail but there is also a chairlift which operates in fine weather. I was surprised to see it operating the day we were there as they had just sent a notice to the visitor centre saying that they were closing down for the winter. It was a long weekend though. We have not been to the summit yet due to it always being terrible weather when we go to Stanley. I’m told the views are excellent though so I hope to do it one day although I am not sure I’d be brave enough to ride the chairlift.

The town of Stanley is very pretty with a main street of old buildings, some dating from the early days of the settlement. The first Europeans came to the area in 1826. Stanley was mainly a fishing village and there are still fishing boats at the wharf and both Stanley and Smithton have fish processing facilities. However, tourism is taking over in Stanley and many of the old buildings now house B&B’s, cafes and galleries or upmarket shops.

Main street of Stanley
Stanley, main street
Post Office with B&B accommodation
Some older style houses in Stanley, these would probably be from the late 1800s to early 1900s.

The Ship Inn is one of the old buildings that has been restored on the outside and renovated as luxury accomodation by the owners. In the article I read about that one of them said that when he first came to Stanley it reminded him of the Isle of Skye in Scotland where he had spent some of his childhood. I can relate to that as parts of Tasmania often make me think of Scotland too.

The other thing that Stanley is known for is being the birthplace of the only Tasmanian born Prime Minister, Joseph Lyons (1932-39). The cottage is now a museum which I have yet to visit. The front door was sporting a sign saying “Closed for winter.” when we were there.

There are a couple of nice old church buildings in Stanley too. One of them has a museum in what was probably once the church hall. It wasn’t open but we’ll try and visit again in the spring to see it as we like looking at old photos of places.

This is the “Star of the Sea” Roman Catholic Church. Apparently this is the third church to be built on this site. Some sources said that this building was commenced in 1897 and completed the following year. However, further reading showed that that building was demolished in 1930 to make way for the current building. That makes more sense to me because when we were looking at the outside of the building I commented that I thought it looked like a 1920s or 30s building. Here is an article I found about it.

The nearby cemetery is much older. We walked around looking at the gravestones. It is always sad to see the graves of young children and adults who died at an early age. I wonder what happened to them? Life in an isolated village must have been hard. It would have taken a long time to transport a patient to a bigger town for medical treatment.

Old cemetery , Stanley

By this time it was getting quite chilly and we started to walk back along the coastal path towards where we had left the car. This is Godfrey’s Beach.

Here are a few more images of Stanley, a couple were taken on an earlier visit, and an interesting blog post I found with more photos and information.

https://historicalaustraliantowns.blogspot.com/2019/09/stanley-tasmanias-rugged-north-west.html

Stanley is less than an hour’s drive from our house so I’m sure we’ll go back another day to visit the museums and have another look round. Maybe it will even be sunny.

Taswegian1957

I was born in England in 1957 and lived there until our family came to Australia in 1966. I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, where I met and married my husband David. We came together over a mutual love of trains. Both of us worked for the railways for many years, his job was with Australian National Railways, while I spent 12 years working for the STA, later TransAdelaide the Adelaide city transit system. After leaving that job I worked in hospitality until 2008. We moved to Tasmania in 2002 to live in the beautiful Huon Valley. In 2015 David became ill and passed away in October of that year. I currently co-write two blogs on WordPress.com with my sister Naomi. Our doll blog "Dolls, Dolls, Dolls", and "Our Other Blog" which is about everything else but with a focus on photographs and places in Tasmania. In November 2019 I began a new life in the house that Naomi and I intend to make our retirement home at Sisters Beach in Tasmania's northwest. My current housemates are Cindy, my 14-year-old Staffy-Lab X dog and Polly the world's most unsociable cat who is seven.

3 comments

  1. Looks like a nice place. Must have been an enjoyable excursion. Some of the wooden houses remind me quite a bit of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. You see the same building style with the boards there, often painted with a red that we in Germany actually call “Schweden Rot” (Sweden Red). The Nut looks cool, and thanks for sharing the infos on it… haven’t heard of it before, and I love to learn about places, including geology.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If we ever get there on a nice day I hope to get some better photos from around The Nut. I’ve seen pictures of places like Bergen with the coloured buildings on the waterfront. Wooden cottages are common in Tasmania because of the abundance of timber. In South Australia it was less common, houses were built of local stone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, Bergen is a great example.The timber abundance explains it, cool. I hope you get the photos you want but I thought the one you shared was already interesting because I didn’t know about The Nut.

        Liked by 1 person

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