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Postcard, c 1900, showing the villgae green and St Andrew's Church, Westbury (Tasmaniana Library, SLT)

Surrounded by hedgerows and lanes reminiscent of England, Westbury, like many other Tasmanian villages, was surveyed between 1823 and 1828 and was expected to become a large market town. A military detachment first occupied the site on what is now the Village Green. The buoyant 1830s saw rapid growth with many Irish settlers in particular, and the village soon became the principal commercial centre on the western plains and the gateway to the developing districts beyond. As the fertile and well-watered farmlands to the west and the north-west coast opened up in the 1850s and 1860s, another settlement, Deloraine, which had commenced as a probation station in the 1840s, gradually superseded Westbury in importance. As with many other early villages in Tasmania, Westbury's growth had practically ceased by the 1850s. It continued to be a livestock market and service centre until recent times. Today tourism is an important part of its economy.

Further reading: Let's talk about Westbury district, 1971, TL; B Rait, The story of Westbury, Launceston, 1973, K von Stieglitz, Then and now in old Westbury, Launceston, 1946.

Peter Mercer