It all began ...
At least 12,000 years ago the first Tasmanians walked across a land bridge in southern Australia before the rising seas flooded the Bassian Plain in The Great South Land, creating Bass Strait and the island of Tasmania.
For the next 12,000 years the descendents of these original 4000-5000 aboriginal people hunted and gathered, largely without tools and weapons. They had to carry fire sticks, because it is believed they did not have the knowledge of lighting fire.
Tasmania was unknown, until it was “discovered” by a Dutch seaman, Abel Tasman, in 1642. Claimed by Captain James Cook in 1770, British sovereignty was asserted when the first settlement in Tasmania was established in 1803 on the Derwent River.
In 1828 London-based Van Diemen’s Land Company chose Burnie as a settlement site because of its port, and a home was carved out of the huge eucalypt forests of Emu Bay. Like all pioneers these first white settlers were makers.
For the next 100 years the port of Burnie shipped timbers, minerals and produce from the region, and the people of Burnie made things.
They made paper and pulp from the timber, they made chemicals for paint products, they made acids for industry, and in keeping with the technologies of their time, they made a mess of their environment.
In the early 1990s Burnie’s generational reliance on big companies was shaken to the core, when several companies closed under the pressure of global markets and environmental issues.
The people of Burnie were desperate to find a new way of looking at things. Upon reflection, they imagined an alternative future for the town and their families and set about making it happen. They cleaned up the environment and looked at the past, present and to the people who most inspired them. The Makers.
These days, the people of Burnie make giant machines to mine ore and specialised machinery for aquaculture and agriculture.
They produce wonderful cheese, single malt whisky and milk. They make delicious and healthy things to eat from local produce. They make paper by hand from recycled materials, and they make inspirational and functional artworks inspired by the natural and industrial environment.
They make a noise at performances and footy matches and make peace in natural places of reflection and recreation. They make time to look out for each other and improve their environment.
The people of Burnie have interesting stories to tell and invite you to discover them for yourself.