Fingal & surrounds The Fingal area is unique for its diverse scenery and rich pioneering spirit. Initial land grants in 1824 of ‘Malahide’ to William Talbot and ‘Tullochgorum’ to James Grant were the forerunner to the first white settlement in the area.
In 1827 the township of Fingal was established. Convict probation stations were built in the 1830s at Avoca, Fingal, St Marys and Falmouth. This convenient source of labour was also used to construct roads and bridges, and to assist with the development of granted farmland.
Gold was discovered at Mangana in 1852 and, subsequently, a much larger gold mine was opened at Mathinna. In 1886 coal mining commenced at Cornwall and the rail-head at St Marys was completed the same year. The traditional art of coal shovelling has been preserved to this day and can be seen at the ‘World Coal Shovelling Championships’ held each March at the Fingal Festival.
Twenty-six kilometres north of Fingal lies the historic township of Mathinna. Established just after gold was discovered at Mangana, it was for a time the third largest town in Tasmania. The Mathinna goldfields were very productive and supported a large population, including many Chinese. The Golden Gate mine employed 300 men per shift and became the State’s second highest producer of gold after the Tasmania mine at Beaconsfield. Even today, renewed interest in gold is causing some activity in the district.