Latrobe is now a by-pass town and a short deviation off the main Launceston to Devonport (or vice versa) route is required. The deviation is well worth the effort. Latrobe has also become a commuter settlement for Devonport although it is surrounded by rich agricultural lands and is home to a number of wood fibre and paper mills which were built in the 1970s.
Latrobe was first settled by Europeans in 1826 when Edward Curr, then the manager of the Van Diemen's Land Company, established North Down, the first major property in the district. The property was taken over two years later by Captain B. B. Thomas who, in 1831, was killed by the local Aborigines.
The township of Latrobe was formally named in 1846 after Charles Joseph La Trobe (1801-75), who, at the time was acting Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land (1846-47). He subsequently became Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria from 1851-54.
The town grew up because Latrobe was the first convenient point, from the mouth of the river, where the Mersey River could be crossed. Ferries came up the river to the town and the site now known as Bells Parade (on River Road from East Devonport before you reach the town) was where the town's docks were once located. Today it is a pleasant and particularly beautiful picnic ground. The English trees in the area give it a certain European feel of softness and languor. A small bridge leads across the river to Pig Island.