Stanley is the second-last major township on the north-west coast of Tasmania, Smithtonbeing the larger township in the Circular Head municipality. The most distinctive landmark in Stanley is The Nut, an old volcanic plug discovered by the explorers Bass and Flinders in 1798, who named it Circular Head. It has steep sides and rises to 143 metres with a flat top. It is possible to walk to the top of The Nut via a steep track or via a chairlift.
Tourists regularly travel to Highfield (a farming region on the north west of the township) to view the picturesque northern beaches with The Nut in the background.
The port on the southern side of The Nut is also a regularly used fishing spot.
Things to see
Climbing the Nut
If you visit Stanley you really should climb The Nut. There are two ways to get the top of The Nut, you either climb which is 30 to 40 minutes walk or take a short 5 minutes ride on the Chairlift.
Exploring the Town
The town is filled with historic buildings, many over 150 years old, and including the birthplace of Joe Lyons, Australia’s only Tasmanian Prime Minister.
St James Presbyterian Church
St James’ Presbyterian Church sits on top of the hill with views east to Tatlow’s Beach and west to Godfrey’s on an acre of land granted by the Van Diemen’s Land Company. The building itself was bought in London in 1855 – the first pre-fabricated church to be brought to Tasmania – and transported to Stanley at a total cost of £400.
One of Stanley’s oldest buildings, the Plough Inn was built by the Van Diemen’s Land Company to house overnight travellers from Hobart.
Van Diemen’s Land Store
The Van Diemens Land Company Store in Stanley was designed by John Lee Archer in 1843-44. It is constructed of bluestone which came to Stanley as ballast in ships. Archer, who designed and built the Store, also worked in Stanley as the Chairman of Quarter Sessions, the Commissioner under the Electoral Act and the Assistant Commissioner of the Court of Requests.
Joe Lyons Cottage was the birthplace and childhood home of Joseph Lyons, a former Premier of Tasmania (1923–1928) and Tasmania’s first Prime Minister of Australia (1932–1939).
This simple, single-storey weatherboard home was a humble beginning for a man who went on to become one of Australia’s most popular Prime Ministers.
Photos of our recent tour: