Linda, Tasmania – Forgotten Towns

A steely grey sky settled over our path, strewn with shrubs and broken concrete as we left Gormanston for Linda, another ghost town in western Tasmania. Our path cut through a pale hillside of long grass towards a silent road. Following the road a short distance, we arrived in what was once the main street of Linda, which now looks barely more than a rest stop.

Linda, Tasmania
The main street of Linda, Tasmania

Located roughly ten minutes drive from Queenstown, Linda was developed in 1899 to support the North Mount Lyell mine. However, like many mining towns of its day, Linda came and went as swiftly as the king tides in Derby. In 1903, the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company took over the mine and many residents shifted uphill to nearby Gormanston.

Linda, Tasmania
The Royal Hotel

During its short life, Linda was used to transport metal to Pillinger and ore to the nearby ghost town of Crotty, which recently resurfaced from Lake Burbury. Sadly, along with Gormanston, Linda is mostly remembered for the North Mount Lyell disaster of 1912, when 42 miners perished in cold, dark tunnels beneath the mountain. Today, it looks as if the old town retains some of that mood.

Linda, Tasmania

Our first point of call – and the town’s only palpable remains – was the Royal Hotel, which closed in the 1950s. The hotel once set the scene for a rough and ready town, where a brawl between Italian immigrants and locals known as ‘Britishers’ resulted in a fatal stabbing. Prominent Australian historian Geoffrey Blainey tells us he remembers having a meal in the old pub and still has the receipt.

Linda, Tasmania

My friends and I snooped about the now ghostly shell, the atmosphere of which has inspired vandals to inscribe pentagrams and phrases such as ‘help me’. Photographer Dee Kramer flew his drone amongst the old ruins, sparking the curiosity of the town’s sole resident (perhaps the caretaker) from the dwelling next door.

Linda, Tasmania

As far as town remains go, the hotel is pretty much it, as I found no trace of the train station or town post office which closed its doors in 1966. According to former Tasmanian miner Greg Cure, Linda even once hosted the Australian ballroom dancing championships and “Australia’s richest foot race”. However there was no commemoration of either event in town.

Linda, Tasmania

Further east, a purple-tinted mountain – its folds covered in forest – loomed beyond the edge of town. My friends and I decided to explore the area, arriving at a hillside flecked with long, pale grass and patches of green. A splendid rainbow arched across the scene, sending a flurry of hands reaching for cameras.

Linda, Tasmania

Nearby lay an old cemetery, partly hidden. Some of the occupants were undoubtedly victims of the North Mount Lyell disaster, others the graves of those too young, which looked ill-kept, forgotten. I stood there in the haunting landscape and wondered what their stories were. As Cure says, “we know more about Pompeii than we do about Linda”.

Linda, Tasmania

Another mystery of Tasmania.

14 thoughts on “Linda, Tasmania – Forgotten Towns”

      1. I pressure cleaned the words “help me” in the corner of the building just before Geoffrey Blainey was due to do an interview with the ABC in the hope someone from Heritage Tas might see it and take notice …… no avail.

    1. Hi do you know if pictures of graves as looking for grav of a Mary Clarke buried 1917 in the linda cem wonder if still exists.

  1. Hi andy
    I have jtcome across your articles and I am thore enjt reading them. As we live in the northern I cerywam enjoying those
    But hubby & I have been to tassie about 5 times over 20 yrs and been to places you have written. As we are now grandparent carers of 3 kids we hope to do a trip back there again soonish.
    As you enjoy it’s history have you visited the wood stave pipeline which has hugh historical value on the west cost somewhere near Lake Margaret River dam? It was the original source for taking water out to coast. Amazing visuals for photography. Cheers carol.

    1. Hi Carol,

      I haven’t visited the wood stave pipeline, but I’ll certainly have a look next time I’m down.

      Thanks for the tip!

  2. In its day, Linda had five pubs in the Main Street.
    During the 1920’s, someone was stealing fire wood from the locals, as it was a mining town, one bloke put some explosives into one of his logs. Not long after this bit of fire wood was stolen, the chimney of the local copper blew up. Nothing was said about the incident and no more fire wood was stolen.
    This is just one of the stories that my mum told me about when she was growing up there.

  3. Linda Clarke

    I am from Canada & back in Nov 1985 my Husband & I along with our 2 preteens were travelling through Tasmania. Because my name is Linda, we all found the town Linda, Tasmania interesting. The old deserted hotel stuck in our mind. Nothing exciting to report, just that we have driven through Linda on our way to Roseberry & our head on collision . Luckily to report, we were all okay but a couple years later the whiplash I had experienced from the accident started to bother me. To this day the Arthritis in my neck constantly reminds me of our trip in Tasmania, Linda & Roseberry. We truly loved all of Australia. We toured for 3 weeks.

    Linda Clarke

  4. Julie-Anne Vincent

    My grandmother Frances Grace Lehman ran the boarding house in Linda when mining was big. My mother glaldys rose was born in the boarding house in 1920 . As I have never visited Linda I’m wondering if there were ever photos taken of the boarding house? Or does anyone have any knowledge of it or it’s occupants?

  5. I visited what I thought was the Gormanston Cemetery in 1967 with my soon to be wife who has relatives in the cemetery. 2019 I visited Gormanston again with my daughter looking for the cemetery . We searched high and low with no success. I told a Tasmanian friend of mine how we searched in vain. He said the cemetery is in Linda.
    On my next trip to Tasmania I would like to visit the grave site that I missed in 2019.
    Can any one tell me where the cemetery is.

    1. Hi P R, if you’re facing Gormanston, it’s on the left side of town, in the nearby hills. Not hard to find and if you’re stuck the locals can help you out. Let me know how you go!

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