Burnie

The Hills of Surrey Hills

When writing the book on the history of Surrey Hills, many people worked at AFH who were not mentioned but deserved praise for their contributions.  One of those was Ross Hills, a Burnie local who rose to a senior position in AFH. As a manager at Burnie during the 1980s, Ross was part of expanding …

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A bushman and his dogs

Herbert Illichmann has provided some bits and pieces about a gentleman called Harry Fisher. Unfortunately, information about Harry is scant, but there are references to him in Kim McDermott’s excellent book Last of the Wildcats and the memoirs of Herbert’s father-in-law, Lindsay Wilson. There are also a couple of newspaper articles about Harry, but because …

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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 …

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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. In the Dandenong …

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A public spat

In Chapter 6 of my book “Fires, Farms and Forests”, I alluded to the acrimonious relationship between James Norton Smith, the Chief Agent for the Van Diemen’s Land Company (VDL Co.) and William Ritchie, the Chairman of the Mount Bischoff Tin Mining Company (MBTM Co.). In early 1881, the animosity spread to a public spat, …

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From theodolite and chain to GPS – A surveyor’s journey with AFH, APPM & NFP (part 1) by Mike O’Shea

I am very fortunate to have worked as a surveyor during incredible technological development and advances in this vocation. This blog is in two parts; part one will deal with my early years up to the mid-1980s, and then the second part will cover the changes in personnel and technology that occurred and how they …

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AFH’s rough diamond

Terence Alexander Albert Turner, or Snow Turner, was undoubtedly a real character of AFH. Anyone who worked with him between 1960 to 1999, or had anything to do with the company during those years, will know Snow and have a story or two about him.  While small in stature, stocky and as strong as a …

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