Surrey 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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Special ANZAC stories

I have decided to write this blog to commemorate and remember the men from settlements in and around Surrey Hills who fought in wars.

In Chapter 10 of my book, “Fires, Farms and Forests”, I outlined some of the war service by men from Guildford Junction. This blog goes into more detail and includes stories about men from Parrawe and Bulgobac.

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Reclothing fertile acres – a history of Parrawe

Soon the haunting atmosphere of these forgotten farms will be a thing of the past and stately forests will reclothe these fertile acres”. Cath Lott

Introduction

Parrawe is located on the basaltic plateau immediately west of Surrey Hills, north of the Wandle River, and south of the Hellyer Gorge. This tongue of land ranges from 500 metres to 640 metres above sea level.

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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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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 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

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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Training for bombing raids that never came

In September 1939, at the start of World War II, Japan was embroiled in its invasion of China, and Australia committed its troops overseas to help Britain. By early 1941, Australia had sent three infantry divisions and substantial air and naval resources to the Mediterranean and European theatres. Thus, in December 1941, when Japan entered the war against the Allies, much of Australia’s armed forces were heavily involved in campaigns far from home.… Read more

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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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