Coach Services

Until the 1870s travelling anywhere on the North West Coast was a very uncomfortable experience.  The roads were little more than unformed tracks, bumpy, heavily rutted and virtual bogs in winter.  The only really sensible way to travel was by sea but the vessels were small and the waters of Bass Strait notoriously rough.  Progress finally came with the completion of a formed gravel road from Launceston to Burnie in 1885.  The milestone event followed the even more exciting opening of the extension of the railway from Deloraine to Devonport.


Since the opening of the railway line from Launceston to Deloraine in 1871 the Wiseman family of Burnie had run a stage coach passenger and Royal Mail service between the railway station at Deloraine and Emu Bay.  The road was rough and rugged and the service infrequent.  After the railway reached Devonport in 1885, and the new road to Burnie was completed, the speed and comfort of the service improved considerably.  The Wiseman’s ran the coach three times a week.


The Wisemans also ran a Royal Mail coach service west to Stanley but when the railway reached Burnie in 1901, linking it with Hobart, Launceston and Zeehan on the West Coast, they ceased operations.  A coachbuilder from Stanley, Charles Tatlow, took over the run.  Tatlow’s service was daily.  With teams of horses stabled at several stages along the route, they had one of the fastest horse-drawn coach services in the nation.  The journey took seven hours over the notorious Sisters Hills on a rough and winding road.  At their peak the Tatlow’s had more than 200 horses in their stables.