Strahan is not a town that is encounted by chance. The visitor makes the choice to visit. If you do not plan to do the Gordon River Cruise a visit is not essential. But if you make the effort there is satisfaction with the visit.

The British invented this place as the ultimate penal colony. Named after Governor Lachlan Macquarie this 50 kilometres long harbour opens to the sea through the narrow, eddying waters of Hell's Gates and receives the waters of the King and Gordon Rivers.

The first European to explore Macquarie Harbour was James Kelly who, with four companions, entered Hells Gate in December 1815. Heritage factors from the early days are being increasingly preserved.

It is interesting to note that when Kelly entered Hells Gate he wrote 'The whole face of the coast was on fire, lucky circumstance for us. The smoke was so thick we could not see a hundred yards ahead of the boat. On pulling into the 'Narrows' at the small entrance island, we heard a large number of natives shouting and making a great noise as if they were hunting kangaroo.'

These Aborigines had lived in the area for at least 20,000 years. Tragically by about 1830 there were none left in the area although, in recent times, the discovery of Kutikina Cave near the Franklin River, has offered a rare insight into their lifestyle 15,000 years ago.

It was the huon pine, a superb fine-grained wood which was ideal for shipbuilding, which brought the first Europeans to the harbour. It was huon pine which was also the cause for the establishment of a penal colony at Sarah Island in 1821. At that point a signal station was established on Cape Sorell to ensure safe traffic through Hells Gates. The Huon Pine connection is very apparent. The Huon Pine Museum especially so.

There is only the single congregational church (Anglican) that has survived. The others being ‘domesticated’.

The Strahan Hotel is a surviving classic. And the other hotels likewise are historic.

The Strahan War Memorial has a seaside presence.

The seaside and harbour presence gives Strahan a unique and strong robust character. All visitors will delight in the isolation and mystique of this very nice town.

 Heritage diary



  Fireplace Dump Station
General Store Bottled Gas
  Internet Caravan
Camping 4WD
Kitchen Facilities Disabled access
Laundry Toilets
Campervans Accommodation
Meals   Airport
Pets Allowed Boat Ramp
Telephone Picnic Area
Roadside Rest Area Electricity
Scenic   Swimming
Tap water   Thermal Area
Stream Water Walking tracks
Rotary Club Lions Club
  Gymnasium   Gardens
Winery Whitewater Rafting
Surfing   Skydiving
  Skiing Scenic Flights
Postal Service Police
  Movie Location Mountain Biking
Kayaking Jet Boating
Information Hospital
  Hang Gliding Golf Course