Emu Bay Railway Company

Extending the railway to the west coast

Introduction

In my book “Fires, Farms and Forests”, I dedicated a chapter to outline the construction of a horse-drawn wooden tramway in the mid-late 1870s. The chapter focused on the monumental task of constructing 74 kilometres of a new line through some sections of dense rainforest, all cleared by hand.

As I wrote in the book, I believe it is the longest wooden tramway built in the world.

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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 the eucalypt plantation program.… Read more

More memories of growing up in Guildford

Almost all the kids that grew up in Guildford Junction recall there was something magical about their experience. Whether it’s the memories of their one-room school and teachers, the adventures in their big surrounding playground called the bush, the snakes, the cold and the snow, the isolation, the waratahs in flower or just the scented lupin paddocks dotted around the town.… Read more

Surveying on Surrey Hills Part 2 – From Chain to GPS

Technological Developments that changed surveying

In the first blog, we discussed the labour-intensive and time-consuming aspects of surveying. In this second part, we will look at the changes that occurred as a result of technology and how they made surveying a completely different vocation, and how these developments led to some major civil projects undertaken by the Roading & Survey Team at AFH/NFP.

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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 Lindsay didn’t provide specific dates, I cannot find them.

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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. … Read more

Living on the buttongrass plain – a history of Bulgobac

I grew up in a sawmill town on the edge of the buttongrass plain
Beside a railway track in the town of Bulgobac
Where the locos stop for water from the water tank
It also fed the sawmill and the town of Bulgobac

Gravel roads were twenty miles away and people very few
With mountains all around us with panoramic views
At night we sat at the table to a meal of wallaby stew
And mother read the bible at night by the kerosene light its true

Drivers wait from the loco as it headed south to Boco
On the way north they passed our shack in the town of Bulgobac
I was part of a big family with no power to our home
The times are gone but memories live on living on the buttongrass plain

Mother cooked from a wood fired oven Anzac biscuits she baked by the dozen
Life was tough but we never complained living on the buttongrass plain

I still recall the good old days and how we lived back then
In the sawmill town called Bulgobac growing up on a buttongrass plain
I’ll never forget with no regrets of life way back then
The times are gone but memories live on living on the buttongrass plain
 
The times are gone but memories live on growing up on a buttongrass plain

Mott Ryan “Buttongrass plains” from his CD “The Boy from the Buttongrass Plains”

Introduction

Bulgobac is a small siding on the Emu Bay Railway at the 55 Mile.… Read more

Picking the eyes out of Surrey Hills

This blog has involved many hours researching historical deeds and has taken a long time to put together. It has been challenging to access information while travelling full-time, well away from Tasmania.

I have called upon others to assist me in completing this story. Thank you to Brian Rollins for his patience and kindly sharing information on how to work through the historical Tasmanian title index cards and historical deeds, all found online.… Read more

The Burridge family – synonymous with Guildford Junction

Last month I shared a blog written by Lloyd Wilson, who grew up in Guildford in the 1940s and 50s. This month I want to share another Guildford story from Margaret Brown who was born at Guildford in 1935 and lived there until 1958.[1] She is the longest-serving resident born at Guildford.… Read more

Growing up in Guildford

This month’s guest blog is by Lloyd Wilson. I met Lloyd online and on the phone when writing “Fires, Farms and Forests”. He enthusiastically provided me with a lot of material for the Guildford chapter of the book. Born at Guildford in 1946, Lloyd spent his childhood living there.

Despite its isolation and persistently cold and wet weather, Lloyd provides a fascinating account of what life was like at Guildford and how the kids occupied themselves to keep out of mischief.… Read more