Smithton History



Population: 3,300

Dairy and beef-farming, fishing, aquaculture, crop-farming, timber plantations and tourism.

Smithton is located on the far north-west coast of Tasmania and lies on the Bass Highway, 85 km north-west of Burnie. The town has a rich sporting and social culture, and the region is noted for its natural beauty. Dairy farming is a major contributor to the local  economy in this region, producing strong economic flow-on effects from associated jobs and wealth created through farm retail, farm support services, and dairy manufacturing.  Other major industries include beef-farming, fishing, aquaculture, crop-farming, timber plantations and tourism. 

The dairy industry has been the mainstay of Smithton and the Circular Head Community since the mid-1800s and in the early to mid-1900s, with 20 cheese factories dotted throughout the community being supplied by many small dairy farms, Smithton took over as the hub of the community and has worked hard to build a thriving dairy industry.  Today, the dairy industry supports more than 650 farm-based jobs in Circular Head and another 200 in dairy manufacturing. 

There are 150 dairy farms around Circular Heads producing more than 40% (nearly 400 million litres) of Tasmania’s annual milk supply which is exported all over the world. In the early 1950s the Togari Soldier Settlement scheme provided many challenges in clearing and draining heavily timbered swamp lands into productive grazing pasture. There were approximately 60 lots of 165 acres made available and today it is some of most productive dairy land in Australia and has provided many an opportunity for a share farmer to progress into full farm ownership.