Pawtella (Mount Pleasant)

In 1906 the Tasmanian Government enacted the Closer Settlement Act, which enabled government to buy large estates and subdivide them to provide smaller farming blocks which would allow families to become self-sufficient on the land. The first property purchased by the Closer Settlement Board was Mount Pleasant, an 11,780 acre property which had been owned by the O’Connor family since 1836. The estate had no permanent water, but dams could be built, the land was suitable for mixed farming and the nearby York Plains rail siding provided the means for farmers to transport their produce.

In 1908 the Closer Settlement Board began selling subdivided portions of the estate to interested farmers on generous terms, intended to encourage the new owners to transform former grazing land into homestead blocks and mixed farming. The experiment at Mount Pleasant (renamed Pawtella) proved a success, and by 1911 had a population of 117 and plans afoot for the construction of a State School. By 1914, the community had raised enough money to construct the Mount Pleasant Hall, which became the venue for regular dances, concerts, football club trophy nights, meetings, polling booths and Christmas functions. With the nearby State School and Post Office, the Hall became the centre of community life. By 1927, the district was connected to the telephone service, although the exchange at the post office was only open at certain hours of the day.

Before electricity came to Pawtella in around 1945, the hall was lit with carbide gas lamps. A large ‘switching on’ function, including a wonderful feast in the nearby State School building, was held to celebrate the arrival of electricity to the district. Premier Robert Cosgrove’s representative Minister Fagan performed the official ‘switching on’ ceremony. The State School building was also used to conduct church services. Along the school ground boundary a row of pine trees were planted in memory of those soldiers from the district who died during wartime.

The Mt Pleasant Football Club was formed around 1926. After several changes of location (often because farmers wished to plough the paddock /football ground for cropping) the Mt Pleasant Football Club found a permanent home at the current site in the early 1970’s. The construction of clubrooms as a war memorial with money raised from the community with council and government assistance meant that this became the centre of most activities in the district. The Mt Pleasant Football and Cricket clubs have become the main social focus of the area. The football club has enjoyed recent success with 5 premierships in the last 12 years, including back to back premierships in 2013 and 2014. The cricket club also won the premiership in the 2014/15 season. This success is due to the continuing support from the district. Many players may not live in the district but have a strong connection having either grown up in the area or have had relatives play for the club. It is with a lot of pride that Mt Pleasant competes against teams from the Tasman Peninsula to Swansea to Bothwell and has not only continued to survive, but is also competitive against sides with much larger populations to draw upon.

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