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Mt Nelson Signal Station 200th anniversary celebrations


The Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) in conjunction with volunteer friends of the station will today celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mt Nelson Signal Station.

PWS general manager Peter Mooney said that the anniversary of the decision by Governor Lachlan Macquarie to build the station on the Mt Nelson site holds special significance for the city of Hobart and Tasmania.

“The signal station at Mt Nelson was the first to be constructed in Tasmania. Built on the order of Governor Macquarie in 1811 as a station to report shipping in and out of the Port of Hobart, it replaced the use of smoke signals at Betsey Island and was to play an important role in maritime communications for the next 158 years,” Mr Mooney said.

“Signalling was initially done using flags, however over the years the station operations evolved to embrace the use of new technology going from flags to a semaphore system, to telephony. It was operated by the military from its inception until 1858, when the newly established Marine Board of Hobart took over control.”

The Mt Nelson Signal Station ceased operations in 1969, ending 158 years of Tasmanian communications history. Management of the Mt Nelson site was transferred from the Marine Board to the Parks and Wildlife Service in 1979.

Today, the station retains a strong link with the past. Every day, the Tasmanian State flag is flown, and International Marine Signal Flags are used to welcome visiting ships and for other special occasions.

The celebration will include signalling demonstrations; flags, Morse code and Aldis lamp use; the raising of a time ball, displays of children’s artwork from the Mt Nelson Primary School; band music from The Australian Navy Tasmanian Jazz Band, Australian Navy Drill Team and Tasmanian Police Pipe Band; displays of artefacts and memorabilia and more.

It will be held at the Mt Nelson Signal Station, Nelson Road, Mt Nelson from 1.00pm to 7.00pm on Wednesday, 30 November.

For further information please contact Wildcare volunteer Christian Bell on 0427 872 670 or visit www.parks.tas.gov.au events page to download a full program.