Burnie is a city of makers who craft a range of products with the emphasis on small scale and hand made. Over 20 different makers now share studio space at the Makers’ Workshop and visitors can see them working. There are many more tucked away in private studios.
Visitors can learn from skilled paper makers the art of making exquisite textured hand made paper, which is then transformed into beautiful artist books, albums and journals. The paper is truly Tasmanian with fibres from local roo poo, wombat poo, apple pulp and lavender used.
Papier maché artists sculpt life size paper people capturing touching moments with remarkable detail. Painters, milliners, textile and fibre artists, printers, wood turners and ceramicists can be seen working from time to time at the Makers’ Workshop on Burnie’s waterfront.
You can buy world class cheese at the factory outlet at the Tasmanian Cheese Tasting Centre and taste whisky by the cellar door at Hellyers Road Distillery. Burnie’s hills hide impressive gardens and parks, and it overlooks a bay edged by beautiful beaches.
Burnie has a dynamic cultural life with vibrant shopping, galleries, performances, exhibitions and events. Its early history can be explored at the Pioneer Village Museum where you can wander a charming c 1900 Federation streetscape.
But the small port city of Burnie on Tasmania’s north west coast, has been on a remarkable journey of renewal since the mid 1990s.
"The Pulp" dominated Burnie’s history for 75 years. Local workers churned out high volumes of copy paper for hungry world markets, until after years of winding down, it finally ceased operation in June 2010.
For 75 years the people of Burnie made things. They made pulp and paper from local 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 1990’s Burnie’s generational reliance on big companies was shaken to the core, when several companies closed under pressure of global markets and environmental issues.
The people of Burnie were sinking fast and were desperate to find a new way of looking at things. They cleaned up their environment, tapped into their creativity and thought small. And now it’s big.