Located 104 kms. south west of Hobart, the sheltered settlement of Southport skirts a bay that opens south-east, to the Great Southern Ocean. This bay was part of the indigenous Lyluequonny (Pangherninghe) people’s country. The aboriginals travelled this area, venturing north from Recherche Bay and round to the west coast in milder weather.

In 1792 Southport was named ‘Baie des Moules (Mussel Bay), by the French Rear-Admiral Bruni D’Entrecasteaux. Later, the English established a settlement here, first in 1837 as the seat of colonial government in the far south with a Police Magistrate and troopers, then as a convict Probation Station from 1841 to 1848. It was in the early 1850’s when settlers arrived in Southport (occasionally known as Hythe). The township was constructed with the help of convict labour and became an industrious mill town, from the 1860’s through to the 1920’s, with numerous wharves providing land access to international shipping that took timber from the region back to Europe.

Southport was settled with convicts before Port Arthur was established and was once the largest town south of Hobart and the administrative hub of the entire region south of Hobart. Along with Hastings, Catamaran and the Lune, Southport was an important emerging town for timber, with water access via barges to Hastings Bay and Lune River (incl. boat-building). Southport also played an important role in serving the whaling enterprises that figured strongly in early colonial settlement in Tasmania (early 1830’s- early 1850’s.). Kelp was harvested and dried on the small island known as Dead Island, in Southport Bay.

Southport is a much quieter place nowadays; a smaller community of permanent residents and shacks-owners, who appreciate the beauty of the place as well as the good recreational fishing and a sheltered port of call. Over the years, fire has destroyed much of the original settlement. Only a few structures or buildings remain of early settlement - the two small cemeteries physically represent the only silent record of past lives and the region’s rich social history.

The Southport Hotel and Caravan Park provides grocery, fuel and eatery outlet for the area, and therefore is popular with locals. It also has a caravan park. Over the summer months, the pop up cafe Rocket at the End of the Road provides great coffee, sweet treats and ice cream. Accommodation options range from holiday homes, coastal escapes to comfy B&B style properties. 

A side trip to Roaring Beach and Lady Bay rewards with stunning white beaches and bull kelp coastline. The beautiful Southport Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary is also well worth a visit (access via Ida Bay railway or boat). Southport has a modern boat ramp for the recreational fisherman or on the water enthusiast.

Major Events:  Southport Community Centre stages frequent events during the year. More info here