Penny Royal Launceston
The traditional owners of the land are the Letteremairrener or Port Dalrymple clan who migrated up and down the shores of the Tamar River from Low Head on the North Coast of Tasmania, south to the Cataract Gorge and current site of the Penny Royal in Launceston.
Penny Royal started back in 1972 when local developer Roger Smith found a pile of convict bricks on a property at Barton, in Tasmania’s midlands. Delving into history it became apparent that the bricks were once buildings owned by Andrew Gatenby and his family, early pioneers of Van Dieman’s Land.
The attraction opened in December 1979 and featured interesting products such as a short boat ride, cannons being fired, an interpretive barge ride on how to create gunpowder and radio controlled boats. At its peak, in 1980-81, the site received a record 4666 visitors in one day. However, during the 1990’s and early 2000’s a combination of visitors expectations heightening and inconsistent management, the site lost its appeal and was shut for more than eight years.
In 2014 JAC Group headed up by Josef Chromy OAM purchased the site and announced plans for an ambitious new development of the site, which received much support from the local community.
After two years in development the run-down Penny Royal location was transformed to a modern welcoming tourist complex officially opened in April 2016.