Welcome to Our Town: Burnie

Port city on the north-west coast of Tasmania.

Situated on Emu Bay at the mouth of the Emu River, Burnie is Tasmania's third largest city and port for the rich agricultural and mineral mining activities of the region. Burnie is a major deepwater port for the north of Tasmania, with two permanent container ships making daily crossings to Melbourne. Burnie is very much a city in transition.

Burnie's location - midway along the Bass Strait coast of Tasmania's worth west - makes it an ideal base from which to explore the north west region of the state. It has a wide range of accommodation and a big business and shopping precinct, to ensure every need for the traveller is catered for.

Background

Burnie City is located on the north-west coast of Tasmania, about 50 kilometres west of the Devonport CBD and 150 kilometres north-west of the Launceston CBD. Burnie City is bounded by Bass Strait in the north, the Central Coast Council area and the Blythe River in the east, the Waratah-Wynyard Council area in the south, and the Cam River and the Waratah-Wynyard Council area in the west.

Burnie is named after William Burnie, a director of Van Diemen’s Land Company in the 1840s.

Burnie City features both urban and rural areas. Most of the population is concentrated along the coast, with urban areas in and around the main township of Burnie (including residential, industrial and commercial land use). Rural land is used largely for forestry and farming, particularly grazing and crop growing. The City encompasses a total land area of about 600 square kilometres.

Transport: Burnie City is served by the Bass Highway and the Ridgley Highway.

Major features of the City include Burnie Port, the Burnie CBD, Guide Falls, Emu Bay, Little Penguin Observation Centre, Hellyers Road Distillery, Makers’ Workshop, Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden, Annsleigh Gardens, Guide Falls Farm, North West Regional Hospital, North West Private Hospital, TasTAFE (Burnie Campus), University of Tasmania (Cradle Coast Campus), Burnie Regional Art Gallery, Burnie Regional Museum, Burnie Arts & Function Centre, Burnie Aquatic Centre, Roundhill Lookout, Burnie Golf Club, Burnie Park, Fern Glade Reserve, Oakleigh Park, Romaine Reserve, West Park Oval, Upper Natone Forest Reserve, Lake Kara, The Boardwalk, various beaches and numerous state forests.


Burnie City is located on the north-west coast of Tasmania, about 50 kilometres west of the Devonport CBD and 150 kilometres north-west of the Launceston CBD. Burnie City is bounded by Bass Strait in the north, the Central Coast Council area and the Blythe River in the east, the Waratah-Wynyard Council area in the south, and the Cam River and the Waratah-Wynyard Council area in the west.


When founded in 1827, it was named Emu Bay, but was renamed after William Burnie, a director of the Van Diemen's Land Company, in the early 1840s. Burnie was proclaimed a city by Queen Elizabeth II on 26 April 1988.




Burnie City features both urban and rural areas. Most of the population is concentrated along the coast, with urban areas in and around the main township of Burnie (including residential, industrial and commercial land use). Rural land is used largely for forestry and farming, particularly grazing and crop growing. The City encompasses a total land area of about 600 square kilometres.


According to the 2016 census of Population, there were 19,385 people in Burnie - Somerset urban centre.

Major features of the City include Burnie Port, the Burnie CBD, Guide Falls, Emu Bay, Little Penguin Observation Centre, Hellyers Road Distillery, Makers’ Workshop, Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden, Annsleigh Gardens, Guide Falls Farm, North West Regional Hospital, North West Private Hospital, TasTAFE (Burnie Campus), University of Tasmania (Cradle Coast Campus), Burnie Regional Art Gallery, Burnie Regional Museum, Burnie Arts & Function Centre, Burnie Aquatic Centre, Roundhill Lookout, Burnie Golf Club, Burnie Park, Fern Glade Reserve, Oakleigh Park, Romaine Reserve, West Park Oval, Upper Natone Forest Reserve, Lake Kara, The Boardwalk, various beaches and numerous state forests.


Included areas

Burnie City includes the localities of Acton, Brooklyn, Burnie, Camdale, Chasm Creek, Cooee, Downlands, East Cam, East Ridgley, Emu Heights, Hampshire, Havenview, Heybridge (part), Highclere, Hillcrest, Montello, Mooreville, Natone, Ocean Vista, Oonah (part), Parklands, Park Grove, Parrawe (part), Ridgley, Romaine, Round Hill, Shorewell Park, South Burnie, Stowport, Tewkesbury, Upper Burnie, Upper Natone, Upper Stowport, West Mooreville, West Ridgley and Wivenhoe.


Transport

Burnie Airport is located in the adjacent town of Wynyard, a 20-minute drive from the City of Burnie.


Burnie Port is Tasmania's largest general cargo port and was once Australia's fifth largest container port. It is the nearest Tasmanian port to Melbourne and the Australian mainland. As with other ports in Tasmania, it is operated by the government owned TasPorts. The port currently operates as a container port with a separate terminal for the exportation of woodchips. The port was planned to be expanded in 2013 so that it could accommodate extra freight from the proposed north-west mines in the Tarkine.


Burnie was the terminus of the former Emu Bay Railway company operations. The railway line is now known as the Melba Line. Burnie is connected with Devonport via a rail link which is used exclusively for freight purposes.


Burnie is connected with Devonport via the four lane Bass Highway. The city is also connected to the west coast of Tasmania by the Murchison Highway.


Bus services: Metro Tasmania provides transport around the city and its suburbs as well as Wynyard, Penguin and Ulverstone (Devonport to Ulverstone is operated by Merseylink). Redline Coaches provides daily coach services to Devonport, Launceston and Hobart.


Climate

Burnie has an oceanic climate with mild summers and cool winters. The average temperature in summer ranges from 12 to 21 °C with drier days as warm as 30 °C, with around 16 hours of sunlight per day. In winter, temperature ranges from 6 to 13 °C, and only 8 hours of sunlight. Relative humidity averages over 60% for the year in the afternoon.


Burnie averages 994 mm of rainfall per year. Most of the rain is during the cooler months from May to October. The summer months bring constant daily sunshine and only occasional rainfall.


Economy

The key industries are heavy manufacturing, forestry and farming. The Burnie port along with the forestry industry provides the main source of revenue for the city. Burnie was the main port for the west coast mines after the opening of the Emu Bay Railway in 1897. Most industry in Burnie was based around the railway and the port that served it.


After the hand over of the Surrey Hills and Hampshire Hills lots, the agriculture industry was largely replaced by forestry. The influence of forestry had a major role on Burnie's development in the 1900s with the founding of the pulp and paper mill by Associated Pulp and Paper Mills in 1938 and the woodchip terminal in the later part of the century. The Burnie Paper Mill closed in 2010 after failing to secure a buyer.


Sport

Australian rules football (AFL) is popular in Burnie. The city's team is the Burnie Dockers Football Club in the Tasmanian State League. Their ground is West Park Oval.


Rugby union is also played in Burnie. The local club is the Burnie Rugby Union Club. They are the current Tasmanian Rugby Union Statewide Division Two Premiers and were promoted to the Statewide First Division for the 2008 season.


Soccer is also represented in Burnie, with Burnie United FC having four teams compete in the northern premier league; the women's team, under 18 team, reserve team and division one team. They also have youth sides in the under 14 and under 16 competitions. Their ground is located in Montello, Tasmania.


Burnie hosts an ATP Challenger Tour tennis event, the Burnie International, during the week following the Australian Open.


Athletics events include the annual Burnie Gift professional foot race and Burnie Ten corporate foot race.


Media

The Advocate newspaper was established in 1890 servicing the North West region. The mailroom is located in Burnie whilst the local press operations ceased in mid-2008 and were relocated to Launceston.


Burnie has access to the ABC, SBS, WIN and Southern Cross television stations as well as all new free to air television stations.


There are two commercial radio stations, 7BU at 100.9 MHz on the FM band and Sea FM at 101.7 on the FM band. Many Melbourne radio stations can be received in Burnie.




Brief history

Indigenous background: The original inhabitants of the Burnie area were the North West Aboriginal people.

European settlement dates from 1827, following exploration of the area by the Van Diemen’s Land Company. The township of Burnie (known then as Emu Bay) developed as a timber port. Some growth took place from the 1840s to the 1860s, although population was minimal until the late 1800s when mining commenced nearby. From the 1880s Burnie became the main port for the west coast mines, aided by the opening of railway lines. Significant development occurred during the late 1800s and early 1900s, with the population growing to about 1,000 in 1891, and then to 1,500 in 1900.

When mining declined during from 1915, forestry and farming became the main industries. Growth resumed from the 1930s, spurred by the opening of the paper and pulp mill in 1938. The population rose from about 4,000 in 1936 to about 10,000 in 1945, and then to 18,500 in 1965. Growth continued during the 1970s and 1980s, with the population rising to over 20,000 in 1986. The population declined slightly during the 1990s, falling from about 20,500 in 1991 to 18,100 in 2001, largely due to the scaling back of production at the paper and pulp mill (which eventually closed in 2010). The population then increased slightly from 2001, rising to about 19,000 in 2011.