Dorset Dredge – the river eating machine

    We decided to visit the north-east in early 2019. That summer, the ‘tin province’ was the safest place in Tasmania.  The rest of state seemed to be threatened by fires.  Nic had a few things to show us.  Near Gladstone, Ian and I followed him along some old roads towards the Ringarooma River.  … Read moreDorset Dredge – the river eating machine

The Hercules heist: a lament for Thomas Goldie and the Mount Read Hotel

I hear the thresh of the spiteful hail, And I feel the lift of the wind beneath, The forward heave and the lightning lurch And the shuddering gasp like a living thing, As we crouched in the heel of the tempest’s grip High on the shoulder of Hamilton!1 – Marie EJ Pitt, ‘A West Coast … Read moreThe Hercules heist: a lament for Thomas Goldie and the Mount Read Hotel

The Colebrook Fiasco Part 4 – Who caused the fiasco and the failure?

The story so far It has been a few months since we posted about the Colebrook mine. We have told its story from the promise of a brilliant future to its reality as a sad memory.1 The Fiasco For years, the Colebrook Prospecting Association (the Association) had proclaimed that the mine was big, full of … Read moreThe Colebrook Fiasco Part 4 – Who caused the fiasco and the failure?

Following the Philosopher – The Mount Bischoff Dray Road

We didn’t find the old dray track on our first trip to the Waratah Dam. Our consolation prize was a very old timber tramway and bridge. They were pretty interesting. Searching in the forest had been easy. It had an open understorey and it was relatively undisturbed by later activity.  Old things like a 150 … Read moreFollowing the Philosopher – The Mount Bischoff Dray Road

A bridge under troubled waters – Waratah Dam

Waratah Dam has been getting a lot of press in the last few years.  TasWater wants to drain it.1 They are worried that the dam wall will fail and flood Waratah. The local community wants the dam kept. They like it for fishing, as a tourist attraction, for its history and many other things.2 The … Read moreA bridge under troubled waters – Waratah Dam

Rediscovering Bell’s copper mine on the upper Mersey

Mineral prospectors were not defined only by their successes. Their failures were necessary learning experiences. Mining is a fickle business, with success depending not only on the presence of a rich and enduring ore body but other factors such as market prices, accessibility and, sometimes, the public imagination. Lincolnshire-born prospector WR (William Robert) Bell (1830–1911) … Read moreRediscovering Bell’s copper mine on the upper Mersey

The search for the Fossey flume – part 2

This search happened years ago but it is never too late to talk about an interesting but forgotten piece of history.  Without knowing it, Nic started the search for the Fossey flume when he sent two pictures to Ian. He was hooked straight-away.  They were sections of a flume, part of the extensive water system … Read moreThe search for the Fossey flume – part 2

Finding the Fossey flume – part 1

Water was everything at the Mount Bischoff Tin Mine. Rain pelting on Waratah meant tin ingots shipped to London and coin rattling in shareholders’ pockets. The ‘Bischoff mist’ ensured that cassiterite (tin ore) was separated from its host rock. On the mountain itself, water from the Summit Dam snaked its way down the slopes, supplying … Read moreFinding the Fossey flume – part 1

The pontoon: or desperation and destruction in the North Bischoff Valley

It looks like Dr Phibes, Vincent Price’s manic Hammer horror movie character, paid Waratah a visit. Over the bank from Main Street old stamper rods poke at the sky like organ pipes rearranged by one of that madman’s solo performances.1 Further evidence of Waratah’s 150-year-old love affair with tin mining rests nearby. Rusting skips and … Read moreThe pontoon: or desperation and destruction in the North Bischoff Valley