Digging up Mrs Williams 2: a skeleton in the closet or just in an unmarked grave?

In a previous blog, ‘Digging up Mrs Williams, or the phantom of the Heemskirk tin boom’, I pondered Con Curtain’s story of a woman who died at the Orient Tin Mine on Tasmania’s West Coast in 1882.1 Who was she? Where was she buried? Did she even exist? No one besides Curtain ever mentioned Mrs … Read moreDigging up Mrs Williams 2: a skeleton in the closet or just in an unmarked grave?

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

Linnane’s Hut – Cradle Valley

In January 1908, Major Ron (RE) Smith, son of James “Philosopher” Smith, searched for an old hunter’s camp on the flank of Mount Kate. He wrote that Apparently the camp had been a hut, or a combination of hut and tent. The slabs of the skin drying chimney, which were of pine, were still mostly … Read moreLinnane’s Hut – Cradle Valley

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

Junction Hut – The Port Davey Track

How it started For us one search leads to another.  This one started with a photo of Damper Inn on the Gordon River Track near Maydena.  Ian got his teeth into that.  We told that story in an earlier blog here. This reminded me of a photo of a sign post made of number plates … Read moreJunction Hut – The Port Davey Track

150 year-old Secrets Preserved at the Waratah Reservoir

In mid 2021, we found one small reminder of the original dray track to the Mount Bischoff mine.  It was the faint, but definite, remains of an old bridge, just the approaches, a rotten beam and a few small pieces of timber driven with big iron spikes.  We were pretty excited considering is age.  It … Read more150 year-old Secrets Preserved at the Waratah Reservoir

The Mine Shaft near New Pelion Hut

Recently a little piece of unexplained history solved itself.  Decades ago, I saw a fern-shrouded water-filled hole in the bank of Douglas Creek near New Pelion Hut.  It was full of small branches and leaf litter. However, boards around its square sides showed that it was not natural.  It intrigued me and I wanted to … Read moreThe Mine Shaft near New Pelion Hut