German Town Forest Reserve
German Town Forest Reserve is a reservoir situated between St Marys Pass State Reserve and Black Tommys Hill. The Reserve is 12.7 miles from St Helens, near Falmouth, north of St Marys. Whether you re baitcasting, spinning or fly fishing your chances of getting a bite here are good. So grab your favorite fly fishing rod and reel, and head out to German Town Forest Reserve. The name of the reserve is the only reminder of one of the early settlements created by Tasmania's first free settlers, soon after the transportation of British convicts to Van Diemen's Land ceased, and the colony was re-named Tasmania. As a means of breaking with the convict past, Van Diemen's land was re-named Tasmania. Between 1855 and 1872 several ships mostly from the port of Hamburg brought about 2000 immigrants from Germany to Tasmania.
On 23rd July 1855, a large contingent of German immigrants arrived on the ship Amerika in Hobart Town. They sailed from Liverpool (England) via the Cape of Good Hope. Among them were Heinrich and Catherina Lohrey with their four sons and two daughters (their third daughter, Elisabetta, died on the voyage), who had left a small village near Frankfurt am Main because of the Prussian influence on military conscription (five years service without pay for twenty year olds) and the Prussian control of banking and finance. As well, most Prussia was ardently Catholic whilst the Lohreys were Lutheran.
After spending some weeks in Hobart town, the Lohreys and 19 other German families travelled by steamer to the small coastal town of Falmouth on the east coast of Tasmania. In the early spring of August 1855, they began to establish themselves as farm workers for Michael Steel, owner of Thompson Villa (later re-named Enstone Park). Ten acre lots were leased to each family. Conditions were that lots must be cleared in four years after which time rents of one pound were to be paid. In spite of often recieving the poorer land, the German tenants grew wonderful crops of potatoes and other vegetables.
In the early 1860's the Lohreys moved to a farm near Cullenswood. At this time, the area was still known as Break O'Day Plains with Cullenswood expected to become the town centre. This didn't happen and gradually a township developed in a more easterly direction and came to be known as St Mary's. The town grew and soon took over from Cullenswood as the main service centre for the area. Present road names Germantown, Irishtown and Dublintown in St Marys reflect the area s early settlements. 1886 saw the establishment of the nearby coal mining village of Cornwall, so called because of a group of Cornish tin miners who passed their mining skills to the rest of the workforce. Early accommodation was in tents and shanties. As the mine prospered miners built more substantial, though still fairly basic, houses using bush timbers.