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Goulds Country, TAS

Tiny timber ghost town between Launceston and St Helens.

Goulds Country is a wooden township. It comprises a few timber buildings set on the side of gently undulating hills with the dramatically beautiful Blue Tier rising behind it. This is Tasmania at its most rural and idyllic.

Location

Goulds Country is located 147 km west of Launceston via the Tasman Highway and 273 km north east of Hobart via the Midland and Esk Highways.

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Origin of Name

Gould's Country is named after Charles Gould who was a geologist who arrived in the area in the 1860s. It was previously known as Kunnarra. There is a story that the area - it is hardly a town - was named on a Friday afternoon in Hobart by a government body where everyone wanted to go home for the weekend. To speed the process up someone suggested that it be named after Charles Gould and the best they could come up with was Gould's Country.

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Things to See and Do

More a Story than Places to Inspect
When I first went to Goulds Country (it seems to have dropped the apostrophe) in 1995 the few locals who were still living there were eager to tell me of how in the 1860s the geologist Charles Gould had come through the area searching for tin lodes and, although the place was known as Kunnarra, he renamed it Goulds Country. No one seemed to know why he decided to name it after himself ... but he did. Around 1875 payable tin was discovered in the area and by 1880 the Anchor Mine was in operation. In the sixteen years between its opening and 1896 the Anchor Mine yielded 30,734 tons (31,227 tonnes) of ore and in 1899 it produced 18,300 tons (18,594 tonnes) which yielded a healthy 62 tons (63 tonnes) of pure tin. The following year, with the population of the town around 400, William Trowbridge built the town's first hotel but, partly because it was built of timber like all the buildings in the town, it burnt down in 1910. A new hotel, the Travellers Rest was built shortly after. It still stands but no longer operates as a hotel. In her pamphlet An Introduction to Goulds Country, which I obtained in 1995, Jennifer P. Burns sums up the appeal of the town "We believe Goulds Country is a fine, unadulterated example of early Tasmania; of how people selected a site and built a pub or a shop and a dwelling. Goulds Country as it stands today is worth keeping and is part of Tasmania's heritage." That's about it. The appeal lies in the simple fact that it is a window into the old tin mining towns of north-east Tasmania. Mind you, no story of a town would be complete without mention of the characters who lived there and my favourite, told to me by the two people in the photo, is of Alex Johnson who moved to Goulds Country when he was in his sixties. Undaunted by the physical labour involved, he cut and cleared timber and bush from his 50 acres (20.2 ha) of land. It was a remarkable achievement and as a reward for all his fitness and hard work he lived until he was 96. They breed them tough around Goulds Country.

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History

* Prior to European settlement the area had been inhabited by members of the Tyerrernotepanner Aboriginal language group for thousands of years.

* In the 1860s the country around Goulds Country was explored by the geologist Charles Gould.

* Around 1875 tin was discovered at Lottah and The Anchor Mine was opened in 1880

* From 1880-1896 the Anchor mine produced 30,734 tons of ore (31,227 tonnes). The water for the mine was brought from the Marie-Louise Dam on the Blue Tier by water race.

* In 1899 the mine produced 18,300 tons (18,594 tonnes) of stone which yielded 62 tons (63 tonnes) of tin ore.

* By 1900 Goulds Country had a population of 400 and the town had a telegraph office, a school, churches, council chambers, a court, bank and public hall.

* The town's first hotel was built in 1900 by William Trowbridge. It was destroyed by fire in 1910. However a new public house 'The Travellers Rest' was built.

* When the tin was exhausted the miners moved away and most of the houses were demolished.

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Visitor Information

There is no visitor information centre in Goulds Country. The closest is 21 km east at St Helens Visitor information Centre, 61 Cecilia Street, St Helens, tel: (03) 6376 1744.

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Accommodation

There is Goulds Country Guest House, 316 Lottah Road, Goulds Country which has received good reviews. Check it out on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Goulds-Country-Guest-House/126590314089058

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Useful Websites

Not surprisingly there is no website for Goulds Country but the St Helen's site has a short reference. http://www.visitsthelenstasmania.com.au/places/poimena-lottah-goulds-country/

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Got something to add?

Have we missed something or got a top tip for this town? Have your say below.

13 suggestions
  • The page I wanted was on Poatina, Lottah and Gould’s County but I could not view.

    Paula burke
  • The Goulds Country Hotel, Traveller’s Rest, no longer stands – it also burned down in about 1998, and the second image of a house – the old post office, I think, also burned down a year or so back. The old school house still stands – the last of a few original buildings left – though the school itself, a one room building, was moved to St Helens when that town was established, to become its first school house, or so the story goes. We have trouble finding information or early photos of the old school/house or even a date for their establishment but we believe it was in the 1860s. Goulds Country was the original East Coast township.

    Bee
  • The first ‘timber house with residents’ image was occupied by Mary Johnson who was born at Lottah or Piomena and who died a few years ago in (I believe) her 90s. Two buildings adjoin each other and the first was her family’s shop apparently.

    Bee
  • Some information about Goulds Country can be found here http://www.bluetier.org/articles2/kburns.htm.

    Bee
  • I have read that New Goulds Country was apparently the original name before it was shortened.
    I also have to amend what I said about the old post office and other buildings – it was originally a shop, not a PO. What is now a bed and breakfast was the old Post Office. The ‘timber house with couple of residences’ was the Council Chambers.
    The decision to name the place (New) Goulds Country may not have been an ego trip by Mr Gould, but instead a decision made in Hobart – or that also may just be folklore! Either way, Goulds Country’s history is hard to pin down, but it’s still a beautiful place to visit.

    Bee
  • The current guest house was previously the post office which was run by my great-grandfather, Alex Johnston. My grandfather was Neil Benjamin Johnston and my father is Dal Johnston who is now 82 yrs old and lives in Hobart.
    Beautiful country and great achievements in the mining days of Lottah from all who worked hard.

    Karen Johnston
    • Karen. I am trying to contact Neville and Mary Johnston. I believe they may be relatives of mine.Neville is Aubyn Johnston’s son who is buried at Goulds Country cemetery.

      PETER PEARSON
    • Karen,
      I’m just learning this. My grandfather was Charles Maxwell Johnston, born there in 1914 to Alexander Johnston and Mabel Palliser. I’m taking a guess they’re all related. Do you have any more information about the family?

      Mal
  • There are several decendants of the Goulds Country Johnstons living in Hobart. Gerald Louis Johnston (living son of Aub). Also Brock Johnston and Hugh Johnston, both great grandsons to Aub Johnston. I enjoyed visiting Aub at the old store and Mary across the road wirh their stories of Clifton and earlier times and miss them dearly.

    Mother of descendants
  • I am looking for information on the Trowbridge family that lived in Goulds Country. Any information gratefully received.

    I have info on John Trowbridge 1822-1877 and his wife Temperance Bowen. Who died in 1880. I have found their burial site but would like more info please.

    Regards Karen

    Karen Bradford
  • My great grand aunt Annie Lucindia James married Capt Robinson. He came from a well known American sea faring family. My great grand aunt, came from Castle Forbes Bay on the Huon River. For several years they lived in Goulds Country. They had 2 children born there. Tasman Hobart Robinson 1874 -1875 and Annie Lucindia Robinson 1875- 1877. I am currently researching why they came to Goulds Country, it would seem the lure of the wealth in tin would have been the cause. They were a wealthy family already , so I am excited to see whether it was a bust or a bonanza! I will make an update when I find out. My father Allan Douglas Knight and myself Rowena Jane Knight/ Beckett/ Chapman spent a lot of time digging for bottles in the area, Lottah was a favourite too. We found precious Chinese pottery and old marble cordial bottles, blue castor oil bottles and all the wonders an undisturbed little tip could offer up. Mum and dad also stayed in the Hotel, it was like $8 a night or something. This was in the late 1960’s early 1970’s. Dad had a world famous bottle collection. The original Chinese Joss House Temple fittings are in the Queen Victoria Museum in Launceston. i can never remember whether it was in Goulds Country or Lottah. The actual temple building is or was, a very modest unpainted timber building. I just remember both of the little towns just clinging to the curves of the road. i was aged 8-11 when we were foraging around. Dad took me to the mines as well , he was always on the lookout for something!

    Rowena Jane Knight/Beckett/Chapman
  • 9 May 2022.
    My great-grand-uncle, Victor Lovekin Dixon, born 1856 at “Jerusalem” (now called Colebrook) to Reverent John Coupland Dixon and his wife Eliza Dixon née Lovekin was headmaster at The Goulds Country school until illness forced his removal to the Launceston General Hospital, where he died Sunday 27 December 1930.
    An accomplished musician and landscape painter, he was educated at the Hutchins School at Hobart and then at Warminster College in England, preparing to follow his father and grandfather into the ministry. He had to return to Tasmania when his health
    failed in his final year. He was a private tutor to a number of pastoral families and was later employed at the Beaconsfield Gold Mine (administrative work, not as a miner) and at the Mount Lyell Mine at Queenstown. While at Beaconsfield, the singing talents of Esther Anne Trudgian caught his attention, and he became her regular accompanist. On tour on the mainland. they were married at Broken Hill! I would be interested to learn more about the school, when it was founded, closed, and whether there are surviving registers which would be a guide to the local families.
    Dr Neil Chick.

    Dr Neil Chick