Forth is a small village, located in North West Tasmania on the Forth River, 13 km west of Devonport and 111 km northwest of Launceston via the Bass Highway. Previously known as Hamilton-on-Forth this small, attractive settlement actually predates the larger settlement of Devonport. The River Forth was used in the mid-nineteenth century to ship out the produce and timber from the surrounding area and the town of Forth was actually laid out before Devonport.
Unfortunately the mouth of the River Forth was prone to silting and so port facilities were developed on the more reliable Mersey River. Perhaps the most important historical house in the area is Westleigh (it is a private residence) which is located off the Forth-Turners Beach road to the west of the town. It is signposted near the Wensleydale Arabian Stud. Westleigh was built for Edward J. Beecraft but its most famous resident was Bertha, the wife of Thomas Brammall. Bertha was the great-granddaughter of the famous English poet laureate, Robert Southey. As a novelist, poet and playwright she was the first woman in Tasmania to make radio broadcasts reading from her own works.
Driving in the area. An interesting circuit from Forth starts at the Bridge Hotel on the east side of the river. The visitor who follows Leith Road north can visit the town’s pioneer cemetery (where the remains of Edward J. Beecraft are buried) and follow the road until it turns back upon itself and becomes Braddons Lookout Road.
Braddons Lookout. Braddons Lookout Road leads to Braddons Lookout, which was named after Sir Edward Nicholas Coventry Braddon who, after a long career in the British civil service, arrived in Tasmania in 1878, entered state parliament in 1879 and was premier from 1894-99. The lookout affords excellent views across the Forth valley towards Turners Beach and Leith.