A Highland Heritage
UNIQUELY TASMANIAN STORIES
The 19-Mile osmiridium field
We are searching for Jewelled Nights.
Suddenly a benched track is at our feet and we are following in the footsteps of the crew
who in 1925 shot Tasmania’s second movie.
A fallen deep red myrtle lies smashed on the path carved out of the rainforest a century ago.
Then the flat—Flea Flat, no less, the main diggings on the 19-Mile Creek osmiridium mining field west of Waratah—emerges from the forest.
Water gushes in every direction through dry-stone-walled channels.
Deep in the west coast forest, the leeches are voracious, the mud accommodating, the horizontal scrub dripping wet.
It is hard to believe that this place was a launching-pad for a
challenge to Hollywood dominance of Australian cinema...
Nearly 90 years later...
Mining techniques used on the 19-Mile Osmiridium Field
A diversion tunnel and diversion channels (Left and below)were driven
through loops in the creek so as to divert the water and work
the dry bed around the bend.
A dam would divert the water into the channel or tunnel. (Bottom)
At the Caudry's Reward mine, thought to be the second reef osmiridium mine in the world, the evolution from alluvial mining
to hard rock mining can be traced. Prospectors worked their way up McGintys Creek (left) to its head, where William Caudry dug a trench (below left)and drove adits (below right)
on what he believed was an osmiridium reef in the Caudrys Hill serpentine. A five-head battery crushed the ore-bearing stone.