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

They Will Always Try to Find You – Searches in the Tasmanian High Country – Part 2 – 2019

In July 2019 bad weather battered the same high country that had claimed Yates 110 years before.  It brought thick snow and freezing conditions.  Walkers were caught out.  Two experienced bushwalkers in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park set off their EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon).  Helicopter and ground rescue parties were hampered by … Read moreThey Will Always Try to Find You – Searches in the Tasmanian High Country – Part 2 – 2019

They Will Always Try to Find You – Searches in the Tasmanian High Country – Part 1 – 1909

Many people have become lost in the Tasmanian high country.  These days it is bushwalkers. In the past it was bush workers; prospectors, snarers, cattlemen and explorers. A few were ill-prepared.  Most were unlucky.  Even the most prepared and experienced people can be caught when the weather suddenly changes to bring wind, rain or snow.  … Read moreThey Will Always Try to Find You – Searches in the Tasmanian High Country – Part 1 – 1909

The Colebrook Fiasco – Part 3 – The fiasco

Introduction The last two blogs told the story of the rich copper mine at the top of Colebrook Hill.  The prospect was inspected and dissected by some of the best mining men in the country.  The hill seemed to be a huge deposit that would rival the Mount Lyell mine at Queenstown.  Some said that … Read moreThe Colebrook Fiasco – Part 3 – The fiasco