Tasmania

Black rabbits at Parrawe

Over the years, rabbits have generated considerable interest in Tasmania. No wonder, for such a small state, it was estimated there were 40 million of them running around in 1953 just prior to the introduction of myxomatosis and large-scale poisoning using 1080. According to Richard Hilder, wild rabbits were first seen on the north-west coast near …

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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 Fortunately, his son, Lindsay, wrote a couple of unpublished memoirs which beautifully capture some of Donald’s accomplishments and amazing adventures.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 …

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Resistance fighter, unconventional forester, family man and mentor – the life of Dick de Boer (1922-94)

This month’s guest blog is written by David de Little. In my book “Fires, Farms and Forests” I outlined the pivotal role Dick de Boer played in the development of eucalypt plantations on Surrey Hills. David was fortunate to work with Dick from 1975 to 1983 and got to know him very well. There was …

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Lines in the sand

I recall reading an article by demographer Bernard Salt a few years ago about Australia being a continent divided by borders, lines, fences and boundaries. As I travel el around Australia I am reminded of his reference to ‘lines and boundaries’. Being a demographer, Salt referred to imaginary concepts based on social or physical elements, …

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Reminiscing about working on Surrey Hills from the 1950s to the early 1970s

In my book “Fires, Farms and Forests”, Chapters 8 through to 10 cover the development of forestry operations on Surrey Hills. Barry Graham worked in the pre and post-industrial forestry era on Surrey Hills during four separate stints. Endnote 819 on page 248 of the book summarises his career. Barry is only one of two …

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The 1886 embezzlement scandal, and the disappearance of Robert Alston Murray

The story below is peripheral to the main themes in ‘Fires, Farms and Forests’ and is not covered in the book. However, I want to share with you this remarkable incident that occurred in 1886. James William Norton Smith features prominently in my book, particularly in Chapters 2-6. He was born in England in 1846, …

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