Surrey Hills

The unsung and all-but-forgotten exploits of stockman Donald Campbell Atkinson

Donald Campbell Atkinson was a brilliant and expert horseman who learnt his craft on Surrey Hills during the twentieth century while grazing 2,000 head of cattle. Fortunately, his son, Lindsay, wrote a couple of unpublished memoirs which beautifully capture some of Donald’s accomplishments and amazing adventures. The first, written in 1994, was titled “A few …

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A lost opportunity or a wise decision – the plans for a smelter on Surrey (or Hampshire) Hills

After European settlement, Surrey and Hampshire Hills were utilised for grazing and farming under the ownership of the Van Diemen’s Land Company (VDL Co.). The only significant industrial development on those estates was the construction of the Emu Bay Railway. After ownership changed hands to companies associated with Associated Pulp and Paper Mills (APPM), the …

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Resistance fighter, unconventional forester, family man and mentor – the life of Dick de Boer (1922-94)

This month’s guest blog is written by David de Little. In my book “Fires, Farms and Forests” I outlined the pivotal role Dick de Boer played in the development of eucalypt plantations on Surrey Hills. David was fortunate to work with Dick from 1975 to 1983 and got to know him very well. There was …

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Nursery times – the development of new technologies and practices

Les Baker and Ian Ravenwood write this month’s guest blog.  Chapter 11 of my book “Fires, Farms and Forests” provides the story of how AFH and North Forest Products were instrumental in developing an industrial eucalypt plantation estate on Surrey Hills. This blog offers specific details of improved nursery techniques and the creation of a …

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Heading for “The Gates”: memories of the old Hampshire gatehouse

I didn’t provide any coverage of the gatekeepers in the book “Fires, Farms and Forests”, as I had limited information at the time. And yet, you couldn’t tell a story about Surrey Hills and AFH without mentioning the gatekeepers.  Back in the 1950s, the Ridgley Highway didn’t exist. You could only get to Waratah via …

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The radio electronics maestro

This is a story about a quietly spoken Dutchman who had responsibility for setting up and maintaining a radio communication system in the early days of AFH when access to Surrey Hills was much more limited than today. The radio system was the only form of communication between the administrative office in Burnie and the …

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