History of Sorell

Sorell is one of Tasmania’s oldest towns and consequently, the area has a rich history.  The Sorell district was first explored by Lieutenant Governor Collins, who named the shallow stretch of water between Sorell and Midway Point, Pitt Water after the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, William Pitt. The name Pittwater was given to the whole district until 1821 when the settlement was named after Lieutenant Governor William Sorell.

Whilst Sorell was first settled around 1808, it remained an isolated farming community until 1821 when the Town of Sorell was established. Sorell soon established itself to be the granary that fed the fledgling colony.

After forty years of growth and development it was decided that a Council was needed to help build and organise much needed facilities and services.  The first Council was elected on 26 May 1862 and met for the first time on 30 June 1862. Much progress soon followed, with the electric telegraph service introduced in 1876, the Bellerive-Sorell railway line built in 1892, a water supply connected in 1916 and electricity delivered to the town in 1930.

During the early years of Sorell, residents relied on ferries to cross Pitt Water; otherwise they had to travel to Hobart via Richmond. In 1854 Sir William Denison began negotiations to construct a causeway. The causeways took eight years to complete, with the first vehicles making the crossing in 1872.

Take A Walk in our History……..

Many of Sorell’s most historic properties are still in use today. Collect a copy of the Sorell Heritage Walk brochure and take a walk in our history.

Sorell Heritage Walk ...

St George’s Cemetery Storyboards

Council was successful in obtaining $15 000 in grant funding from the Commonwealth’s Sharing Community Heritage Stories Program. The project involved a  Working Group made up of community members and Council staff developing story boards to be placed along the fence at St George’s Church cemetery grounds. These storyboards outline the history of St George’s Church and share stories of the interesting characters buried at the cemetery.

Sorell History Society