The Hughes diversion, or when the major moved Savage River

In May 1900 Major Frederic Hughes (1858–1944) might have been fighting the South African War. Only a month earlier the Waratah detachment of the Wellington Rifles had drilled in the main street ahead of camp in New Town, Hobart, where four of their number were selected for the Imperial Bushman Contingent.1 But it is possible … Read moreThe Hughes diversion, or when the major moved Savage River

Digging up Mrs Williams, or the phantom of the Heemskirk tin boom

On 28 May 1882 a woman died on Tasmania’s West Coast and was laid to rest nearby. No doctor attended her, no police constable, magistrate or registrar was notified.1 No priest officiated at her funeral. None of these positions existed on the Heemskirk Tin Field. There was nothing but a scattered population of mostly Cornish … Read moreDigging up Mrs Williams, or the phantom of the Heemskirk tin boom

A Wurragarra Homecoming

On the Monday of the March long weekend of 2023, I revisited Basil Steers No 3 (aka Smurf) hut on the southern end of the February Plains for the first time since 1997. Recollections of Basil, construction of the hut and numerous trips, slowly filtered into my memory and over the months began to clarify.   … Read moreA Wurragarra Homecoming

A Camp on the Mole Creek to Zeehan Railway Survey 1891

In 1891, three separate surveys were cut through the mountainous centre of Tasmania towards Zeehan. Engineers, local guides, axemen and packers worked to find a route for a railway from Ouse, Mole Creek or Waratah.  It was part of a series of crazy parochial conflicts later called the ‘railway wars’.1 This blog is about our … Read moreA Camp on the Mole Creek to Zeehan Railway Survey 1891

The Barn Bluff Copper Mine – The Huts

Eddie Firth and I have been visiting the old Barn Bluff mine for years.  At first glance there isn’t a lot to see.  But a close look reveals a lot of history.  The most evocative reminder of its history is a few grainy photos. Some show men proudly staring at the camera.  They are frozen … Read moreThe Barn Bluff Copper Mine – The Huts

Stretcher Creek Hut Site

 Guest writer – Paula McCulloch About four years ago I was intrigued by the story Simon Cubit wrote on his blog (then later published in his book Mountain stories: echoes from the Tasmanian high country, vol.1) about a hut near Stretcher Creek in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park. It interested me that even with … Read moreStretcher Creek Hut Site

The Mystery of the Missing Publican – Part 3 – A Gruesome Discovery

Thomas Connolly, the publican of the Rosebery Hotel, walked towards a prospectors’ camp near Barn Bluff on 20th March 1901.  His swag was found at Lake Windermere a few kilometres from his destination but he had disappeared. George Sloane, a tragic figure in his own right, is forever associated with Thomas Connolly.[1]  In late 1901, … Read moreThe Mystery of the Missing Publican – Part 3 – A Gruesome Discovery

The Mystery of the Missing Publican – Part 2 – The Search

Thomas Connolly left his Rosebery Hotel on Tuesday 19th March 1901 to meet prospectors James Swallow and Thomas Cook at their camp near Barn Bluff.  He walked to Mount Farrell (now called Tullah), stayed overnight and then followed the Mole Creek Track towards Barn Bluff.  Two days later, cold weather hit. It battered and soaked … Read moreThe Mystery of the Missing Publican – Part 2 – The Search

The Mystery of the Missing Publican – Part 1 – TJ Connolly

Weather in the Tasmanian high country is unpredictable. The roaring 40s crash into the West Coast and spend themselves on the high mountains and plains.  Rain, wind, storms and snow can come quickly at any time of the year.  It catches the unprepared or unlucky. Sometimes it leaves death as its legacy.  Each tragedy scars … Read moreThe Mystery of the Missing Publican – Part 1 – TJ Connolly