The town of Waratah was constructed to support a tin mine at Mount Bischoff. It is built at the top of a waterfall, and water was diverted from the stream to provide water for mine sluicing and processing.

The town of Waratah is built around the shoreline of Lake Waratah. It is pleasant central point in the town with picnic and barbecue facilities and walks to the falls (just north of Smith Street) and the dam wall near William Street. Make sure to go over the road and inspect the Waratah Falls and the waterwheel.

Where Is it?

Waratah is 232 km west of Launceston; 356 north west of Hobart; 70 km south west of Burnie.

Visitor Centre

Waratah Museum and Tarkine Interpretation Centre, Smith St. Ph (03) 6439 7321

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Things To See And Do

Waratah Falls

A picturesque wishbone-shaped waterfall tumbling right in the mining town of Waratah. Picnic facilities are produced.
Location: Annie Street Waratah.

St James Church

Waratah’s 19th century prosperity is perfectly expressed in St James Church which was built in 1880. In 1889 the Mt Bischoff mine was being lit by electricity. The mine manager, H.W.F. Kayser had the electric light connected to the church. Thus St James became the first church in Tasmania to use an electric light.

A simple, weatherboard Victorian Carpenter Gothic ecclesiastical buildin, it features steeply pitched gable roofs and decorative barge boards. The doors and window all have lancet arched tops and there is a small steel structure holding bell. The church is located in Smith Street.

Magnet Mine Trail

Magnet Mine Trail begins 1.75km west of Waratah and traverses lush rainforest on its way to the Mount Magnet mine site, located 6 km directly west of Waratah. The mine site has relics to explore and good to camp. You can create a circular route using local roads, particularly if cycling. A great walk if you have the time and energy. Distance: 16km. This mine has been intermittently worked for silver, lead and zinc for many years, and more recently for specimen minerals. Historic mining relics occur in this area. Fossickers are asked to respect these relics by avoiding disturbance of historic workings and not collecting artefacts (e.g. bottles, pieces of machinery, etc.) from this area.

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Surrounding Area

Tarkine Wilderness

The Tarkine is Tasmania’s largest unprotected wilderness area. It hosts the only wilderness landscape dominated by rainforest in Australia. Its rainforests form the largest continuous tract of rainforest in Australia, they being the largest temperate rainforests in Australia.

Mt Cleveland

The gravel track to Mount Cleveland is one of many fire trails which wend their way through the region. Mount Cleveland lies within the State Forest in northwest Tasmania, 13 km from Waratch. Mount Cleveland is at an altitude of about 850m above sea level. The nearest sealed road to Mount Cleveland is the Mount Road (1.79km away). Gold was found at Specimen Reef on Mt Cleveland in 1884, and it became a profitable goldfield. Tin was also successfully mined here.

In February 1937, a Royal Australian Air Force Hawker Demon A 1-8, crashed into a hillside of Mt Cleveland when the pilot was attempting to make a forced landing after the tip of one of the wings had struck a tree in the fog. The machine turned upside down but although both men were trapped in the cockpit, they escaped with minor injuries. Only the instruments and fittings will were salvaged from the aircraft.

Philosophers Falls

Previously closed to the public, the track has recently been upgraded and leads to a viewing platform near the falls. Good fitness is required as the downhill gravel walk takes 40 minutes each way and descends 240 timber steps. Well worth the effort, it is well signposted from the turnoff at the road and impossible to become lost.
Location: the upper reaches of the Arthur River, 10km from Waratah.

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