Western Tasmania was first sighted by Abel Tasman in 1642 and remained uninhabited by Europeans until 1822 when a Convict settlement was established in Macquarie Harbour closing in 1833.
Surveyors and Government geologists seeking gold failed to find any significant mineralisation until James 'Philosopher' Smith discovered tin at Mount Bischoff in 1871. The richest tin mine in the world it returned 200 times the original capital invested.
Prospectors following this discovery led to significant finds of gold along the Pieman River and on to Mt Heemskirk in 1877 and Zeehan in 1882. Zeehan became the third largest town in the Colony.
In 1883 gold was found at the Iron Blow and copper at Mount Lyell in 1886
The postal service grew to service the influx of prospectors, hoteliers, timber cutters and their families. From 1874 62 offices had been opened in total, many for short periods. In 1911 the population on the West Coast represented 13% of the island. Today only six offices