Ruins of historic buildings surround by thick bushland,Mount Direction Historic Site
Mount Direction Historic Site

Mount Direction Historic Site

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​Before the days of the telephone, the electric telegraph and Morse code, the Mount Direction Semaphore Station provided an integral communication link between Launceston and George Town.​

Visitors to the Mount Direction Historic Site can glimpse the remaining infrastructure once part of an important communication system used in British military colonies during the mid-ninetennth century. The system enabled communication between government and maritime organisations. ​

The Tamar Valley system was one of the earliest semaphore systems in Australia. It was much larger and more well-established than most stations in southern Tasmania such as those on the Tasman Peninsula. Other stations in the Tamar system have been demolished or built over, and Mount Direction is the only site which still has major components in place.​

Wandering amongst the ruins of this historic site you'll see a stone building (built in 1843), once the home of signalmen and their families. Cast iron gates and a dry stone wall mark the time of the pastoral lessees, and you may find the eye bolts used to stabilise the original semaphore mast. 

Used by early surveyors compiling a trigonometric survey of Tasmania, see if you can find the stone cairn, quarries and postholes. ​

​​​Tamar Valley​ semaphore​​ system

​The rough conditions of the early European roads in north-east Tasmania meant than transport was mainly by ship along the Tamar River.  A signal system was required to assist travel between Low Head at the mouth of the Tamar River to the Port Office in Launceston.

The Tamar Valley signal system was first introduced in 1825.  Stations were established at Low Head, George Town, Mount George, Mount Direction, Windmill Hill and the Port Office.  These 6 stations covered a total distance of 60km, and were initially based on a flag signalling system. ​In the 1830s semaphore signals were added to the flag system and in 1835 the system became two-way.