Devonport and its population of around 22,000 sit astride the Mersey River on Tasmania’s central north-coast. The State’s third largest city, this regional centre is one of the Apple-isles preferred points of entry for tourists being home port for the Spirit of Tasmania ferry service.
It is also the commercial hub for a large part of the State’s rural industry with local growers producing almost half of Tasmania’s annual vegetable crop.
First surveyed in 1823 the area was originally known as Port Frederick., then Mersey River and later becoming two separate towns, Formby on the west bank, and Torquay on the east before finally rejoining to become Devonport in 1890.
Devonport has national significance as the home of the only Tasmanian to have held the office of Prime Minister of Australia. Joseph Lyons was Premier of Tasmania from 1923 to 1928 and Prime Minister from 1932 until his death in office in 1939.
Home Hill was built in Devonport in 1916, a year after his marriage to Dame Edith Lyons and, with the exception of a brief five year period it remained their home for the rest of their lives.
Dame Edith was elected the first woman member of the House of Representatives in 1943 and the first woman Cabinet Member in 1949. She retired from office due to ill health in 1951.
Home Hill has changed little since then and today provides a unique insight into the life of two very prominent Australian figures.
Also worth a look is the Maritime Museum, located at the old Pilot Station and in the residence erected for the Harbour Master in 1920. Here a diverse range of exhibits and various collections chronicle Devonport’s rich maritime heritage.
This Tassie Local snapshot was produced by Footloose Photographic & Media Solutions
Devonport - North Coast, Tasmania