Hampshire Hills

Going Home

In this penultimate Surrey Hills blog, I have the privilege of providing a deeply personal story from Brian Rollins about his association with Surrey Hills.

While I provided a shorter, more sanitised version of Brian’s Surrey Hills involvement in Chapter 13 of “Fires, Farms and Forests” under the heading Soothing the Soul and Raising Awareness of Early VDL Co. 

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How the Hampshire Hills became a sea of yellow

Gorse was brought to Tasmania in the early 1800s. Its principal use was as an ornamental hedge by settlers hoping to replicate the paddocks of England. The Reverend Knopwood purchased some English gorse at New Town, near Hobart in 1815. Writer, Louisa Anne Meredith, noted the widespread use of gorse for hedges on the east coast by 1841.… Read more

The formation of Bush Watch in Tasmania and its direct links with Surrey Hills

Bush Watch is a community policing initiative which encourages bush users to report unusual or suspicious activities. It was set up like Neighbourhood Watch to deal with the spate of sabotage on equipment, logs etc. 

The Bush Watch idea was first developed by the now defunct Forest Protection Society (FPS). FPS started from humble beginnings in 1987 in frustration at government policies that increasingly destroyed small timber communities and their families.

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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

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

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 focus turned to forestry and major infrastructure works, including the construction of roads and the harvesting of timber.… Read more

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 notes about my father’s family”.… 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 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