The Island of Tasmania was for centuries something of a southern Thule - a distant, low latitude, isolated island few people visited or knew about, and somehow shrouded in strange wilderness.
In fact, Tasmania, at just 41º S, is not that much southern, and its rich natural and historic heritage attracts presently a large number of visitors.
I've published here, not long ago, about Hobart, its main city and departure port to Antarctica ; Launceston is the second largest city, situated inland in northern Tasmania, 60 kms up the Tamar River estuary, at the juncture of the South and North Esk Rivers.
The first European visitors did not arrive until 1798, when British navigators George Bass and Matthew Flinders were sent to explore the possibility that there was a strait between Australia and Tasmania.
Coordinates: 41° 26′ S, 147° 8′ E
Population : ~110 000
Settled in March 1806, Launceston is one of Australia's three oldest cities.
The Post Office, another landmark, was built in the 1880s, and the tower added in 1903.
Many of the buildings in the City's centre were constructed in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Some are well preserved Edwardian and Georgian houses.
Peter Mills, one of Tasmania’s most respected architects, designed and built a great number of Launceston's character buildings between 1864 and 1882.
Cameron Street has some of the best historic houses:
The Quadrant Mall
The shopping and commercial area surrounded by York, George, St. John and Brisbane Streets is known as 'the Quadrant', a winding alley with cosy cafés and boutiques. It was made into a mall in the 1970's.
The Old Umbrella Shop
Built in the 1860s, this unique shop is the last genuine period store in Tasmania and has been operated by the same family since the turn of the 20th century. The shop is listed by the National Trust.
St. John's Church.
The City Park and the Jubilee Fountain
On low South Esk river, this bridge across a gorge is within walking distance from Launceston. A pathway runs along the north bank.
William Collins found the gorge entrance in 1804.