Huonville is a town on the Huon River, in the south-east of Tasmania, Australia. It lies 38 km south of Hobart on the Huon Highway. The population has been stable for some years (2001 census). The town lies within the Huon Valley Council area.
The first Europeans to set eyes on the Huon River were the crew commanded by Admiral Bruni d’Entrecasteaux. The river was named by him in honour of his second in command, Captain Huon de Kermadec. The name is preserved today in many features: the town, the river, the district and so on. The area was first settled by William and Thomas Walton in 1840.
Today the Huon Valley is best known as one of Tasmania’s primary apple growing areas. Once enormous in its extent, the significance of the industry has declined steadily since the 1950’s and today fish farming is the rising commercial star of the district. The Huon River and the nearby d’Entrecasteaux Channel are popular fishing and boating areas. The Channel is sheltered from the wrath of the Southern Ocean by the bulk of Bruny Island to the east. Tourism is important- the area is renowned for its scenic beauty.
The municipality of the Huon Valley is the most southerly Council area in Australia. There have been several recent controversies over development in the region: particularly over logging at Recherche Bay and the development of a tourist resort inside the National Park at Cockle Creek.
Huonville is situated on fairly flat land only a couple of metres above the mean level of the adjacent river. Every decade or two the river rises and floods part of the town. The locals then cover up the road signs declaring the place to be “Huonville” and replace them with the word “Venice” until the water subsides again.