Jos Hancock at the 'Jos House', his hut on the 19-Mile Osmiridium Field
Photo courtesy of Helen Mott
Pen pushers with pans
Millions of written words flowed from Caudrys Hill. The sparsely vegetated, serpentine hill in western Tasmania produced point metal’ osmiridium, used to make the nibs of gold fountain pens. In the years 1918 to 1925 Tasmania had a virtual world monopoly on an alloy worth much more than gold. Then Adamsfield boomed in the south-west.
Waratah from the Mount Bischoff tin mine,
probably in 1887
Photo probably by Stephen Spurling II
Courtesy of John Shepherd
Mount Bischoff down the ages
The Mount Bischoff tin mine, which heralded Tasmania's mining boom in 1871, has now operated in three different centuries. Although it is unlikely to shake the mining world again, Mount Bischoff may, as originally predicted, ‘live down’ like the great Dolcoath mine in Cornwall
Lucy King in Baldocks Cave
Photo by HJ King
Late 1800s and early 1900s farmers at Mole Creek in Tasmania conducted nature tourism as a cottage industry. Families such as the Parsonses, Scotts, Martins and Byards offered rustic cave experiences with home-style hospitality.
The Marble Cliffs (Champs Cliff),
Photo by Stephen Spurling III
Courtesy of Stephen Hiller
The Original Gordon-below Franklin dispute (1914)
In 1914, almost 70 years before Tasmania’s Gordon-below-Franklin Dam Blockade, people power stopped development of the lower Gordon River. The focus of the proposed development was karst—a limestone deposit known as the Marble Cliffs.
Thomas and Mary Jane Hainsworth
Photo courtesy of John Watts
Observation and the amateur geologist
The senior student of Tasmania’s Mersey-Don coalfield was a self-educated ex-Yorkshire pit boy, Thomas Hainsworth (1832-96). This amateur geologist’s part in establishing Tasmania’s second coal horizon and an understanding of the Mersey-Don geology vindicated his lifelong habits of careful observation and voracious study
Dundas,Tasmania about 1890
Photo by John Bishop Osborne
Through Tasmania in the 1880s
From 1883 to 1885 a former Mumbai harbour pilot, Theophilus Jones, wrote a 97-part series of colonial sketches under the banner ‘Through Tasmania’. Jones’ stories and his colourful adventures on the road, however, hid a desperate struggle to provide for his large family.
The Joneses were also pioneering nature tourism operators at the Henty River on the West Coast
WD Weston (second from left) in a party setting off from Waldheim to climb Cradle Mountain in 1933
Photo by Fred Smithies
Up the Cradle Mountain
During the Christmas-New Year break of 1890-91, 21-year-old Launceston law student William Dubrelle Weston led the first recreational trip to Cradle Mountain.
Weston's team of former Launceston Grammar boys had already conquered the Central Plateau, Lake St Clair, Mount Barrow and the Walls of Jerusalem.
James and Mary Jane Smith with their children
Annie Bertha and Leslie
( Probably a Peter Laurie Reid photo)
Courtesy of the late Charles R Smith OAM
The Philosopher's stone
James 'Philosopher' Smith, discoverer of tin at Mount Bischoff, helped establish a Tasmanian 'mining culture'. He was the colony's first native-born popular hero. No other Tasmanian achieved such power, prestige or wealth as the result of his own mineral exploration.
The king of Waratah
Ferd Kayser, manager of the Mount Bischoff tin mine from 1875 to 1907, was both loved and loathed in Waratah. The drive, technical skill and innovation of Tasmania's first high-profile mine manager were vital to Mount Bischoff's success. However, Kayser also shared in the complacency which closed the mine prematurely
Magnet Boarding House
Probably a JH Robinson photo
The man who made Magnet
WR Bell found the first signs of osmiridium in Tasmania, and the first crocoite - our mineral emblem. He also discovered the Magnet silver-lead lode. Bell's grand home on Aileen Cresent, Burnie, 'Glen Osborne', reflects the success of his more than 40 years in the bush
Photo of a smelter being demolished at the Mount Bischoff Co works in Launceston, 1908
From the Weekly Courier newspaper
Mining comes to town
Mining came to the town of Launceston in 1875 when the Mount Bischoff Co established Tasmania's first successful smelter at the corner of the Esplanade and Tamar Street. As the grade of its ore declined, the Mount Bischoff Company gradually switched from being a mining company to being a custom smelter, dependent on ore from north-eastern tin mines like the Briseis
Photo by JH Robinson
''They call me Wild Cat":
William Aylett, co-discoverer of the North Farrell mine
William Aylett, prospector, hunter, track cutter and highland guide, achieved a sustainable bush lifesstyle matched by few European Tasmanians. His career extended from the early days of the Mount Bischoff tin mine to the search for uranium in Tasmania after World War II.
Skelton B Emmett
Painting courtesy of Margaret Wilkinson
SB Emmett: from Bendigo to Balfour
Skelton Emmett found the first gold on the Arthur River, prompting Philosopher Smith to seek gold on the upper Arthur and, instead, discover tin at Mount Bischoff. Emmett and Thomas Lyons also probably found the first tin at Mount Balfour. Emmett, a farmer at Forest, Circular Head, was an enthusiastic amateur scientist and self-improver.