Bass Strait

The slow disappearance of one of Fraser Island’s tourist icons 

Every Fraser Island visitor has seen or knows about the Maheno wreck on the eastern shore about five kilometres north of Happy Valley. These days it is a tourist attraction and photographic stop. It must be the most photographed piece of rust in the world. The rusted remains, however, bear no resemblance to the luxury liner that plied its trade between Australia and New Zealand and the war-time hospital shipping the Mediterranean.… Read more

The pastoralist’s scourge

While researching for my book “Fires, Farms and Forests”, I came across quite a few caterpillar references in the correspondence of the Chief Agents of the Van Diemen’s Land Company (VDL Co.). The caterpillars were killing off improved pastures planted after clearing or logging and scrubbing operations.

The caterpillar problem was not unique to the VDL Co.… Read more

A fiery summer in north-west Tasmania

Introduction

The summer of 1933-34 was very dry across most of Australia, including Tasmania. It began a pronounced drought period that lasted until early 1939. 

Victoria had significant bushfires in 1932. “Red Tuesday” on 19 January saw many fires in almost every part of the state, particularly West Gippsland, where nine people died. … Read more

Last Light Lindridge

While finalising a previous blog with Ian Ravenwood on the evolution of aerial operations on Surrey Hills, I was reminded of the tragic plane crash on Daisy Nolan Hill, near Hampshire, in 1983, which killed the sole occupier, pilot John Lindridge.

I researched what I could about John and quickly discovered he had a remarkable flying career, first as a pilot with a flying medical service in outback South Australia in the 1960s, then part of critical freight and transport in the Bass Strait to more flying in Tasmania.… Read more

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 workers in Surrey Hills.… Read more