Freycinet National Park – A quick history!

Freycinet National Park Sunset from Granite Quarry

Freycinet National Park was one of the first national parks listed in Tasmania, it covers 17,000 hectares of pristine beaches, untouched bushland, pink granite mountain ranges and is home to some of Tasmania’s most loveable and spectacular wildlife.

Although originally discover by Dutchman Abel Tasman in 1642, weather conditions did not allow him to travel close to the peninsula and he believed it to be a chain of islands which he named Vanerlins and Schouten Islands.

In 1802, the French captian Nicholas Baudin arrived and was able to anchor ships (Naturaliste and Geographe) for crew to explore the region in long boats. Two adventurers, Faure and Bailly, discovered the isthmus between what is now known as Wineglass Bay Beach and Hazards Beach.  Baudin re-named the area Freycinet after two hydrographers on board, Henri and Louis de Freycinet.
Commercial ventures in the park began soon after the French exploration. Sealing parties began to visit, and in 1824 Captain Richard Hazard began whaling expeditions. Cooks Beach, Schouten Island and Moreys Beach all held farming leases.  Wattle bark was stripped for use in the leather industry, and Silas Cole began burning shells from the aboriginal middens to make lime for local cement production. Over and above all of this, there were intermittent coal and tin mines at various locations, as well as a granite quarry at Parsons Cove. If you’re passing through Hobart, you will see some of this granite in the walls of the Commonwealth Bank Head office.

By the 1900’s, the Freycinet Peninsula’s unique beauty had become well known among the locals who began to holiday regularly in the area.  Shacks established at “The Fisheries” were the fore-runners to the first holiday resort established in 1934 by Ron Richardson. Although the property was re-developed in the 1950’s after a fire, the resort still stands in its original location. Back then it was known as “The Chateau”, but you may know it today as the iconic Freycinet Lodge.

In 1906, the government declared all crown land on the peninsula and Schouten Island as game reserve.  In 1916, it became known for the first time as Freycinet National Park.