Moomairremener and Pydairrerme people in occupation for several thousand years before:

1642 Abel Tasman anchored off Marion Bay.
1772 Captain Nicholas Marion du Fresne anchored in North Bay (Frederick Henry Bay).
1792 – 1793 Bruni D’Entrecasteaux sailed into Frederick Henry Bay.
1798 George Bass and Matthew Flinders in Frederick Henry Bay.

Nicholas Baudin in Frederick Henry Bay.

M. Faure charts and names Carlton River (Riviere Brue) and Pittwater (Basin Ransonnet).

1803 James Meehan, surveyor, passed through part of the Sorell district. The first non-aboriginal to do so.
1805 George Prideaux Harris surveyed the Pittwater district.
1806 First farms in cultivation in Gloucestor as Sorell District was then known.
1812 First land grants confirmed by Governor Macquarie.

Robert Nash built a windmill on his grant at Sorell Rivulet.

Michael Howe and J. Whitehead, bushrangers, attacked the homesteads of A. Humphrey at Cornhill and B. Reardon at Thornhill.


First regular postal service carried to Pittwater by convicts.

Michael Howe and gang visited Nonsuch, residence of T. Lascelles.

Colonial government purchased land for Pittwater township.

1817 Whaling took place in Frederick Henry Bay.
1817-1822  40th Regiment stationed in Pittwater/Sorell.
1819 Pitt Water township established – 9 residents; 60 farms.
1820 Tenders called to build school

Governor Macquarie visited Pitt Water. He named the town Sorell in honour of the Tasmanian Governor.

First school built and headmaster Charles Hippesley Cox (57 students). Another post.

Gaol built and first public houses licensed.

1822 Robert Garrett was the first doctor in the district from 1822 – 1827.

Downward’s water mill built on Iron Creek.

Organised postal services come to Sorell.


Building of St George’s Anglican Church commenced.

Sorell attacked by Matthew Brady’s bushranging gang. Lieutenant Gunn wounded and lost an arm.

Road built from Kangaroo Point (Bellerive) to Pitt Water Bluff.


James Gordon appointed as a magistrate and local coroner.

Military barracks and a watch house built at Sorell and a barracks at East Bay Neck.

1827-1830  Increasing conflict with aboriginal tribes throughout the district.

 Semaphore signalling stations established East Bay Neck, Sloping Island, Sugarloaf Ridge and Sorell, as part of the Port Arthur to Sorell system.

Ralph Dodge’s ferry began and operated until 1871.

1831 Sorell settlers take part in the “Black Line.”  Governor Arthur based at Sorell during the operation.
1832 Princess Royal runs aground near Lewisham with the first 200 free female settlers on board.
1834 Downward’s windmill built in “The Circle” at Sorell.

Dunalley proclaimed a town.

Congregational church built at Carlton.

1840’s Robert Blythe was doctor in Sorell and first warden in 1862.

Ralph Dodge opened a post office at Carlton that closed in 1949.

Presbyterian Church opened in Sorell.

1844 First known license for the Gordon Highlander Hotel granted to Jonathon Watson.
1846 Roman Catholic Church opened in Sorell.
1855 Bridge over Sorell Rivulet completed.
1856 Sorell Cricket Club formed.
1862 Sorell made a municipality and a council was formed.
1863 Blue Bell Inn first opened.
1864 Subscription library opened on the corner of Walker and Somerville Streets, Sorell.
1869 Wattle Hill school opened.
1872  Sale yards opened in Cole Street, Sorell opposite the Gordon highlander Hotel. Closed in 1982. Dismantled in 1984.
1874 Sorell Causeway opened. Renewed in 1906, 1957 and 2003.
1876 Telegraph service to Sorell, George Peacock telegraphist.
1877-1880 Renowned artist Haughton Forrest was court bailiff and police superintendent at Sorell.

Bridge over Iron Creek. Replaced in 1951 and 2013.

Sorell football club formed.

1892 Sorell / Bellerive railway opened. Closed 30 June 1926.

Major bush fires in December. Livestock and property losses throughout municipality.

First Bream Creek Show.

1898 Dunalley Hall opened. Destroyed by bushfire January 2013, rebuilt 2014-2015
1899 Bream Creek butter factory opened. Closed in 1948.
1905 Denison Canal opened at Dunalley.
1906 Bream Creek Hall opened.
1909 Roy Bridges of Wood’s Farm had his first novel published, followed by 36 more over 41 years. His sister Hilda published 13 novels.
1910 Sorell Council Chambers erected in Somerville Street at the corner of Gordon Street.
1913 Sorell Tennis Club established.
1914 Forcett Hall built.
1916 Water connected to Sorell from a reservoir at Cherry Tree Opening, now Pawleena.
1930 Electricity connected to Sorell.
1938 Schools closed for about 6 months due to polio outbreak.
1939 Bushfires destroyed 5 houses near Kellevie.
1942 Fish cannery opened at Dunalley.
1951 Orielton fire brigade commenced.
1954 War Memorial Hall opened in Sorell.

Carlton Beach Surf Life Saving Club formed.

Sorell Causeway upgraded and widened. Second bridge opened.


Richardson’s Abbatoir opened at Sorell. Now Ingham’s chicken processing factory.

Pembroke Masonic Lodge established at Sorell.


Midway Point Community Hall opened.

Sorell Bowls Club established.

1966 Mains water connected to Midway Point.
1967  7 February, devastating bushfires affected Penna, Orielton, Midway Point, Sorell and Kellevie. Property losses and 5 deaths.
1969 First Ningana Units for the aged opened in Sorell.

Sewerage connected to Midway Point.

Midway Point Fire Brigade commenced.

1971 South Eastern Nursing and Home Care Association Inc established , now South East Community Care Inc.
1974 Lions Club of Sorell established.
1975 Carlton Park Surf Life Saving Club formed.

Dodges Ferry Junior Soccer Club formed.

Pittwater Community Centre established at Midway Point – now Pittwater Neighbourhood House.

1982 Sorell Saleyards closed.
1983 John and Barbara Kregor, Joan Pearce, Margaret Long and others established the Historical Society of the Municipality of Sorell Inc.
1984 Sorell Junior Sports Committee built a sports complex at Sorell, now called Pembroke Park.

Combat cameraman Neil Davis killed by tank fire while covering a failed Thai coup in Bangkok.

Rotary Club of Sorell established.

1986 Pittwater Art Group established.
1987 Dodges Ferry School established, then officially opened in May 1988.

Existing library in Sorell opened.

Purity shopping complex opened in Sorell, now Woolworths.

Dodges Ferry proclaimed a town.

1990 South East Basketball Association began.
1991 Southern Beaches Landcare Coastcare group established.

Dunalley-Tasman Neighbourhood House Inc established.

Dodges Ferry Fire Brigade began.


Dodges Ferry Recreation Centre gym and community hall opened.

Primrose Sands Community Hall opened.

1996 Southern Beaches Regional Arts group established.
1998 Okines Community House Inc established at Dodges Ferry.
2001 Woodvine Nature Reserve proclaimed. The 377 hectare property was donated by Mr Herbert Ernest Shaw in 1998.
2010 National Broadband Network trial at Midway Point, an NBN pioneer town.
2011 Purpose-built Okines Community House opened at Dodges Ferry.
2012 Coles Plaza supermarket, shopping complex and medical practice opens in Cole Street, Sorell.

Bushfire destroys Dunalley Primary School, Dunalley Community Hall, Kelly’s Timber Mill and many homes and properties from FOrcett to the Tasman Peninsula.

South East United FC Soccer Club established at Pembroke Park, Sorell.

2014 Sorell Council Chambers moved from Somerville Street to a new Community Administration Centre behind Sorell Memorial Hall.

Sorell Irrigation Scheme begins supplying farms in the south east.

Holts Mitre 10 opens a large new store on the corner of Cole and Gordon Streets, Sorell.

South East Suns Netball Association established at Pembroke Park, Sorell.

2016 Sorell horse ‘Upcups’ owned by Ricky and Tina Polley wins both the Hobart Cup and the Launceston Cup.

If anyone in the community knows of other dates and events that could be added to the timeline, please contact Sue Wyatt via email – see image on sidebar.

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