Pelion Plains Sleuthing

The Pelion Plains are wonderful place to visit in good weather.  Following the Arm River Track, the old Mole Creek Track, the crown of Mount Pelion East is your first glimpse of the majestic and distinctive mountains that surround these remote plains.  At Lake Ayr you get an oblique look at Mount Oakleigh.  A few … Read morePelion Plains Sleuthing

In the footsteps of ‘Philosopher’ Smith: revisiting the hut site at the Copper Creek Mine, Lea River, Tasmania.

Ronald Smith (1881–1969) never prospected with his famous father, James ‘Philosopher’ Smith, but took to the Tasmanian highlands like they were in his DNA. During the years 1903–14 he made more than a dozen hikes into the Forth River high country. Some of the places he visited would have been lost to history if not … Read moreIn the footsteps of ‘Philosopher’ Smith: revisiting the hut site at the Copper Creek Mine, Lea River, Tasmania.

The Mystery of the Missing Publican – Part 4 – TJ Connolly’s Last Days

Thomas James Connolly was the publican at the Rosebery Hotel, a part time prospector and active member of the small emerging mining community. Life for him, his wife Agnes and two infant daughters seemed to be going well.  In March 1901, he walked to a new mining field at Barn Bluff and disappeared. Nine months … Read moreThe Mystery of the Missing Publican – Part 4 – TJ Connolly’s Last Days

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

The Last of the Innes Track

There was a large blaze in the side of a pencil pine beside a small stream.  That was no surprise, Ian and I were following an old marked track.  But Ian thought that the blaze was special.     We had turned off the Arm River Track and were following the old Mole Creek Track … Read moreThe Last of the Innes Track

Sloanes Bridge on the Forth River

You’d think it would be hard to lose a bridge across a major river like the Forth. Sloane’s bridge was substantial, 35 metres long and with 200 metres of formed approaches. But it disappeared a long time ago. Sloane’s bridge was built in May 1902 as part of a track from Gads Hill near Liena … Read moreSloanes Bridge on the Forth River

The Fury Hut and Tom Perry’s Hut, Fleece Creek

The old man’s voice sounds cultured but distinctly Australian, like an interwar ABC news reader. It is the voice of a man who grew up in a British colony and is still slightly wearied by fighting for the Empire at Gallipoli and in France. However, the place that affected Major Ron Smith (1881–1969) most was … Read moreThe Fury Hut and Tom Perry’s Hut, Fleece Creek