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Title: Wayside Sketches in Tasmania

Author: S. H. Wintle

Release Date: September 11, 2021 [eBook #66275]

Language: English

Produced by: Donald Cummings and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from scans of public domain works at The National Library of Australia.)









By S. H. Wintle.

The Corners.

Notwithstanding that Tasmania is noted for the salubrity of its climate, and the magnificence of its scenery from one end of the island to the other, still there are localities which may claim the preference, perhaps, in the eyes of the visitor who is in search of health and the picturesque. There is no part of the beautiful island that offers the same attractions as the North East Coast in the neighborhood of George’s Bay, for here there is a combination of majestic grandeur with Arcadian beauty. To reach this favored locality, the traveller exchanges a seat in the railway car for one in a four wheeled conveyance at the Corners. It is very questionable if such another dreary, monotonous spot exists on the face of the earth as the Corners. Wherever the eye may wander, it meets with nothing but a dismal stretch of a sheep run, dotted with a few stunted, distorted trees, and the solitary, and still more dreary looking hotel rising out of the midst, while its proprietor, and those about him, have become hopelessly infected with the prevailing gruesome air of the detested spot. But this unromantic place is calculated to enhance the beauty of the scenes which await the visitor, and as he bowls along on a hematite gravelled road, as level as a billiard table, with good genial George Avery, the Jehu, he feels a sense of satisfaction as he sees the Corners fading away in the distance and the grand hills rising up before him. On either side of the road for some distance, he will see vestiges of the early days of the colony in the primitive fences of brushwood, and “dogleg.” In eight miles, Stoney Steps is reached where there is a hostelry kept by Herr Shmidt. Here the traveller for the first time since leaving the city, makes acquaintance with that most beautiful river, the picturesque South Esk. While the horses are being changed, he will have an opportunity of watching the falls at the rear of the Inn where the pellucid stream tumbles over a rugged barrier of basalt; and a little lower down observe how it spreads out into a dreamy, apparently motionless reach, reflecting the acacias,[2] casuarina, and gums that thickly clothe its banks. Be the visitor an enthusiast in the icthyial pastime, not the least attractive feature of this stream in his eyes would be the fine brown trout with which it abounds. Fifteen miles further, through country consecrated to sheepdom, Avoca is reached. It is a small village or hamlet with one inn, two stores, and about a dozen cottages, but it is exceedingly picturesque, with the river St. Paul, meandering through it, and it is well calculated to awaken memories of what Ireland’s lyric bard wrote about the “Meeting of the Waters.” Those

Blue Hills

which the traveller saw after leaving the dismal Corners, stretching like a barrier in the dim distance, he is now fairly amongst. Grim, granite mountain heights, flanked and ribbed with the old world palæozoic slates and sandstones, that have been upheaved by the said granite from their originally horizontal position, into a nearly vertical one, rise on either hand before him. At the feet of those gracefully rounded heights, on the left hand, flows the South Esk, and now, and anon, the visitor will get glimpses of it through the trees that he is not likely to readily forget. He will observe that the material of the road is of a very different character to that he has been travelling over for some time past, since he took his seat in the coach. He will observe that it consists of waterworn pebbles of quartz and gravel. In a word, he is in an auriferous region, and that charming river that flows so peacefully at the feet of the high hills far below, is responsible for these pebbles. In the slates and sandstones on these hillsides, there are quartz veins and lodes containing gold more, or less, and these have been worn down ages ago, the result being that deep down in the old river bed the precious metal lies, but it is locked up, and the woolgrowers have the key. On the summits of those granite hills which are table-topped there is tin ore in small quantity. But we must not stay here too long to geologise, for we’ve many a league to traverse yet. Now are we fairly in Saintdom, for we have crossed St. Paul’s river, and two or three miles off the road to our right, rises St. Paul’s Dome—a conspicuously rounded lofty hill, while St. Mary’s, Mt. St. Nicholas and St. Patrick’s Head await us in the distance. Some of the earlier colonists who conferred these names, in most instances quite inappropriate, must have been deeply imbued with Saint Worship. The road now for many miles will skirt the ancient bed of the South Esk, which is perhaps the finest valley in the island; much of it is devoted to agriculture, but more of it to grazing.

Towering far above all other hills proudly rises


Ben Lomond,

the highest mountain but one in Tasmania, and the fountain head of several rivers. Here is another instance of topographical mis-nomenclature in Tasmania. If the truth were known, it probably, in no particular, resembles the Ben Lomond of Scotland. Its bold broken and rugged outline at once arrests the visitor’s attention. It, in this particular, presenting such striking contrast to the smoothly rounded hills in the neighborhood. This feature is due to the fact, that its summit consists of diorite, i. e. trap rock used as metal for the roads. The granite, as already stated, has burst through the stratified formations, and it in turn has been disrupted by the diorite which covers it with a capping, and this occurred during a far subsequent period known to geologists as the great Volcanic Epoch. Many, and diverse are the forms the outline of this mountain present as the traveller speeds along. At one time its southernmost part presents the appearance of a lion couchant. A mile or two further on, and this resemblance no longer exists, and is like anything the imagination of the spectator can supply. On the eastern escarpment, near the foot of the mountain there is coal, and also auriferous quartz lodes. The latter only is worked.

When about half the distance to Fingal is accomplished, there is another short stoppage to change horses at a roadside stable, and a little further on the visitor sees an antiquated vestige of former days in the shape of a ruined dwelling. It is known as Grenbers Haunted House. Tradition has it, that a horrible murder was committed there in the early days of the colony, and no one will live in it on account of the nightly visitations of the ghost of the murdered man. Yonder lofty hill, with the peculiar cone-shaped rock-mass rising high from the centre of the summit, is Tower Hill, where gold mining in the quartz lodes is carried on with apparently not very satisfactory results. As the traveller proceeds along the smooth and winding road, he will observe that some of the cuttings have been made to a considerable depth through very rounded pebbles and boulders of quartz, and granite, interspersed occasionally with slate, sandstone, and greenstone, while bands of gravel are frequently interstratified. These are the ancient bed of the South Esk river, rolling now more than one hundred feet below, through the valley, and they tell him that many ages ago at this height that river flowed. These exposed terraces alternate with cuttings through the Silurian beds, exposing in vertical sections quartz veins, traversing the almost vertical, and very much contorted slates and sandstones. He has now reached “Tullochgorum,” the fine property of James Grant, Esq., where the neat villa is just discernible through the[4] foliage of willows which surround it. In half an hour more he will enter the township of


A quarter of a century ago this place was the scene of much stir and excitement, owing to it being the locale where payable gold was first found in Tasmania. But the excitement was of comparatively brief duration. Much money was lost, and the place sank into unimportance. There are two large, substantial hotels, a bank, two or three stores, a jail, surrounded by a high brick wall, and a church which has remained unfinished for years. Immediately behind the township is an immense precipice several hundred feet high, as smooth on the face as a wall, and as vertical. This marks the line of a very extensive fault, which runs for many miles through the district to the East Coast. There is a stoppage here, long enough to enable travellers to partake of refreshment, post letters, or send telegrams. “All aboard” again, and in a very few minutes the coach is crossing the Break o’ Day rivulet on a very neat and substantial bridge, lately thrown across. Before him stretches the magnificent Break o’ Day valley, about 12 miles long and from 2 to 3 miles in breadth. It may be considered as an easterly extension of the South Esk valley. It is the cream of this part of the country, and is in the tight embrace of the octopus arms of two or three woolgrowers. According to tradition it was the haunt of one of the bands of bushrangers in the olden days, and many thrilling tales are told of the daring exploits of some of these desperadoes, as from the lofty heights on either side of the valley they could look down unperceived, and observe what was going on below. To the naturalist the stream that flows through the vale is of interest for the number and size of its freshwater mussels, (unio) their shining, nacreous shells strewing the banks—the work of the voracious cormorant. Here, and indeed for some miles back, at intervals along the valley of the South Esk he will hear a peculiar half cackling cry, and then perchance see an apparently wingless bird about the size and shape of a barn-door fowl, dart through the tall grass with the speed of the emu and make for the rushes and sedges which line the banks of the stream. This is the native hen. I have never heard of them being shot for the table, as an impression prevails that they are tough. The most striking feature about them is the remarkable speed they attain when running, for there are very few dogs that can catch them. The traveller is now passing through a district in which there is much that is geologically interesting and most paradoxical. High ranges shut in the valley on either hand. That, on the left hand with a huge precipice ascending from one side of a “saddle” is


Mount St. Nicholas,

celebrated for a very thick seam of coal and three or four smaller ones which make their appearance on the side of the range 500 feet above the valley. The large seam is 16 feet in thickness, but the coal, although bituminous, is of a quality that renders it unfit for steam, or gas making purposes. For one or two inches of good bright coal, there are on the average from 12 to 15 inches of inferior earthy matter—in fine bituminized clay. On the opposite side of the valley this seam again appears at the same altitude at Mt. Legion 4 or 5 miles away, and again at the back of Fingal. There is a bullock dray road to the big seam, which is surrounded by some very romantic bits of scenery. For 500 feet above the upper seam of coal, volcanic rock obtains, which on the summit of the hill rises in very fine columns, a characteristic of the greenstone of the same age in Tasmania. The beds of clay above and below the coal furnish very fine specimens of fossil ferns conspicuous among which, are the tongue-fern Glossopteris, the wedge-fern Sphenopteris, the nerve-fern Neuropteris and the tooth-fern Odontopteris. All of which are long since extinct it is believed.

That mansion just discernible through the poplar and other acclimatised trees on the right hand of the visitor, is Killymoon, the largest and most imposing structure in the district, and is the residence of S. Ransome, Esq. Its founder, the late Mr. Steiglitz, was evidently a man of good architectural taste, and in it one is strongly reminded of much that characterises the structures of medieval times. The freestone of which it is built was quarried close by, and is associated with the coal seams. It possesses the remarkable property of resisting, to a great degree, the action of fire, and in this respect much resembles itacolumite sandstone, which is employed for the floor of furnaces occasionally in Europe. When it is closely examined it is found to consist of small, well rounded grains of quartz, bound together by an argillo-siliceous cement.

The visitor is now passing through Cullenswood, by which name this part of the Break o’ Day valley is known. A few cottages, and cultivated fields, with a church and its resting place for the dead, are its chief features. Two miles further on it merges into St. Mary’s. This village boasts one inn, one general store, and a smithy. The inn is situated on the brink of a clear, cool mountain stream which is never failing. St. Patrick’s Head, with its perfect pyramid form, rises grandly in front, while another conspicuous,[6] though less aspiring hill, the Black Elephant, forms the eastern boundary of the vale. Horses are changed at the inn and soon the traveller is being hurled merrily along through an avenue of fine old wattle trees, whose branches meet over-head, and if it be Spring time the perfume from their golden blossoms is intoxicating. He must now be prepared to witness in a very few minutes, one of the grandest sights in natural scenery of the Southern hemisphere. There are few persons who have resided long enough in these colonies to become acclimatised that have not heard of

St. Mary’s Pass.

It is a proverb, “See Venice and die,” I would say, See St. Mary’s Pass, and live to describe it if you can (for it will sorely tax your descriptive powers, be they ever so good) to your friends. It alone is worth travelling a thousand miles to behold where expense is not a consideration.

From the time the last inn was left, the road gradually ascends a gentle acclivity, and when the top is gained the visitor is at the entrance of the Pass. An abrupt turn of the road, and lo! opening far beneath him on his left hand, is a yawning gulf, with almost perpendicular mountains ascending on both sides. From this point it is facilis descensus. As he looks down the awful chasm from the narrow rock-hewn road, he involuntary recoils with a shudder. Genial George observes this, for he was prepared for it, and a suppressed smile, with a humorous twinkle in his eye records it. Whatever exclamation of surprise, fear, or appreciation of the sublime grandeur of the scene, may escape the lips of the traveller, it is drowned with a crack of the whip and “Come, get along there, lazy bones” as the vehicle rattles over the adamantine, tortuous road, leaving barely room for a foot passenger to pass between it and the verge of the gorge; for there is no fence, except at very sharp turns of the road. Down—down—down, sweeps the terrible gulf. Higher—higher—higher, ascend the tree-crowned heights, and looking from the road, the traveller feels it would be possible to shoot a bird on the opposite side. There is not a foot of ground but what is densely covered with timber and undergrowth. Far below, in the cool mossy depths can be seen the ever beautiful plume-fronded fern trees, waving in graceful undulations with the breeze, born of the great chasm; their tender green, contrasting favorably with the darker, harder hue of the surrounding gum trees. High over the tops of[7] patriarchal forest giants, the eye sweeps the great abyss and through the ambient air, can distinctly see the mosses of green and gold draping the rocks and trees in the depths of those sunless shades. It may be Spring time, and if so the blossom of a wattle tree here and there, stands out in strong relief among the myrtles and sassafras, scenting the air with its rich perfume. Another turn of the Pass, and there is a stone trough at which man and horse may drink of water as pellucid and cool as the pendant dew-drops. A mountain rill, which is almost vertical, comes leaping down in tiny falls, and is then conducted by a little flume into the stone trough. At one time the pass appears to have turned back on itself—at another it is taking a course at right angles—so numerous and acute are its windings as it rounds the heads of the many gullies. Considering that the pace at which the coach is being driven, which is very little, if indeed, anything less than that before the Pass was reached, apprehension of danger in the coolest and most courageous spirits is excusable, but the horses as well as driver know their work so well that a mishap is of very rare occurrence while a fatal accident as far as I know, has never yet been chronicled. St. Patrick’s Head which the visitor saw from St. Mary’s rising into the upper air, like a mighty pyramid he is now careering along. A little over two miles of the descent is accomplished, when another sharp turn unfolds to view the boundless ocean rolling in long lines of foaming, curling, surges on the shore—the hollow booming roar of which, is, and has been for some time past distinctly audible. That little hamlet consisting of one weather-boarded inn, and barely half a dozen primitive cottages is Falmouth. The inn which stands on a small headland overlooking the surf-beaten shore, is as solitary-looking as a light-house. Down, and still down, with its apparently endless windings, goes the Pass. Deeper and still deeper seems to grow the mighty gorge. On one hand is a high wall of rock, produced by forming the road. It is compact greenstone, i.e. trap rock, and testifies to the vast amount of labor and engineering skill in constructing the Pass in days long past. High overhead the mountain soars, and huge masses of rock are impending like Damocles sword, and seem ready to come thundering down on the slightest provocation, carrying destruction and death in their course. This threatening aspect have they presented for untold ages, and for untold ages it they may maintain. Much room for marvel there is as to how the trees continue to grow and hold their own[8] on such steep mountain slopes, looking much like Natural Selection at fault. But then gumtrees in Tasmania will grow anywhere. Here, and there, the gracefully formed, and tender green foliaged Exocarpus (native cherry tree), and the lightwood tree fringe the edges of the Pass. For eight miles the traveller winds along this remarkable chasm and then finds himself on the sandy plateau of Falmouth at the bottom, with the heaving ocean in front, and a large sheet of imprisoned seawater on his left hand, into which the collected waters of the gorge empty themselves. That large and commanding brick house standing by itself is the residence of Mr. Steele, who owns all the available land for dairy farming in the locality. Horses are changed at the inn where dinner can be had and then a start is made to cross the Styx, but genial George, in this case, is old Charon. From Saintdom we have entered the regions of classical history, and instead of being rowed over the Styx we go through it on wheels. Somewhat exciting is the transit, the horses belly deep, and the traveller has to lift his feet till his knees are level with his nose, while the wheels of the coach stir up the black mud which emits the antithesis of an agreeable odor. This continues for about a mile. The road now runs along the sea shore, and is separated from the surf-beaten beach by sand dunes, covered with stunted vegetation, chiefly boobyalla. There are 16 miles of sand road between Falmouth and George’s Bay to which latter place I will assume the visitor is going. It is one of the most trying roads to horses in the island. Flat, swampy land, stretches for nearly two thirds of the distance. Where swamps do not obtain, a profusion of gay blossoming heath, chiefly epacridae, and the elegant and sand loving grass tree clothe the ground. After crossing the Styx, and having proceeded a mile, the picturesque Scamander river is reached. It is spanned by a very neat and substantial bridge lately built. The old bridge in ruins is seen a short distance on the right. If the traveller be a classical man, he will find the topographical nomenclature of this region awaken associations of his Alma Mater. I do not know whether the old-world Scamander was distinguished for good fishing, but I do know that this one offers splendid attractions to the lovers of the rod and line. The water is half salt and half fresh, being separated from the sea by a sand bar. During rough weather, the waves break over this bar and when there is a fresh in the river the reverse action takes place. The water is always beautifully clear, and large[9] bream, and perch can be seen, in untold numbers, swimming about among the seaweed. But they are often very shy of the bait, owing, it is supposed to there being an abundance of their natural food.

To the naturalist the long beach offers great attractions. Close to the sandbar of the Styx there are numerous rock pools where anemonies, chitons, a large variety of Radiata, and choice algae abound. Add to these, a profusion of sponge and litoral shellfishes. Dead shells strew the beach in myriads, and it is owing to this feature that many families make Falmouth a place of resort during the summer season. Five or six miles from Falmouth

The Lagoon

is reached. This is a picturesque sheet of imprisoned sea water into which two or three streams disembogue. This lagoon is a favorite haunt of that strange bird the Musk Duck which on the near approach of man darts along the surface of the water with great speed, by using their rudimentary wings as paddles, with which they beat the water into foam, uttering at the same time a peculiarly discordant cry. The great dunes of blown sea sand shut out the ocean from view for a great part of the distance to George’s Bay, but the deafening roar of the surf is an accompaniment all the way. At Freshwater Creek, where a stream flows through a compact reticulation of rushes, sedges, and ferns, horses are changed. We are now half way to the township of St. Helens. Densely timbered heights on the one hand, the ocean on the other, and a gay blossoming heath-covered parterre intervening. A mile or two further on, and the sand dunes lose much of their height and consequently glimpses of the ocean are obtained. Yonder island, rising some five miles off, is Marouard Island, by some called Rabbit Island, owing to the large number of rabbits it contains. It is granite, and what in geology is known as an “outlier.” How the rabbits manage to find a living upon it is matter for marvel, for it has all the appearance of a barren rock. Coasting crafts avail themselves of it for shelter in rough weather. It affords but a poor haven at best, but there is no other between Falmouth and George’s Bay. The small islet nearer the shore is Paddy’s Island. Both, in days gone by were the resort of seals. The road now passes through some fenced-in land, and after crossing a streamlet and a gentle eminence where until very lately before the new road was made it was the custom of the driver of the coach to call out, “Now[10] gentlemen” which being interpreted signified the passengers getting out and walking up the hill to relieve the jaded horses. This custom has departed now. Upon descending the opposite side the visitor finds himself face to face with one of the most charming saltwater lakes in the world. It is

Diana’s Basin

and one can well conceive the fair and fleet goddess selecting such a spot to bathe her limbs. Yonder dwelling, partly visible through the trees, which flourish to the water’s edge, is the Summer retreat of F. Groome, Esq. of “Harefield” at St. Mary’s. This lake is like the others which we have passed—an inlet of the sea enclosed by a large and high sandbank. Wild ducks, teal, and the never-absent cormorant, haunt it in vast numbers, for it abounds in fish. Here for the first time since leaving the eastern extremity of the pass we come upon granite the prevailing rock of the stanniferous district we are about to enter. A very interesting and instructive tale of cosmical change does this same granite tell, but time and circumstance alike forbid us staying to listen to it now. It will have been observed that there is a most decided change in the character of the vegetation in these parts. The gum trees no longer have the white, smooth bark which mark them a few miles to the south-east. Instead of this the bark is rough, thick, and deeply furrowed. They are the iron bark, or redgum of the colonists, an exceedingly hard, and durable wood and it is much prized for sluice boxes by the tin miner. Five miles more, and as the sun is setting over the blue and distant mountains in the west—an abrupt turn of the road occurs, and lo! the truly magnificent

George’s Bay

opens to the view, with its numerous points, promontories, inlets and emerald flats. It is justly considered to be the most picturesque bay in the colony, and as a fishing ground is second to none. All the year round fine flounders can be had while crayfish are a drug. There are some very fine oyster beds which yield largely of these molluscs. The township of St. Helens consists of about twenty houses. There are three hotels which is just two too many. The Telegraph hotel is considered the principal one. There is a Bank, Post Office, and Telegraph Office in one neat building. A Police Office and Commissioner of Mines combined. There are two general stores. The climate of George’s Bay is unquestionably the finest in Tasmania.[11] It is warmer than the Capital and not subject to such sudden transitions of temperature. There are very keen frosts in Winter, and also occasional frosts in Summer, but the sun beams out with resplendent glory through soft blue skies, flecked with fleecy clouds, after them. St. Helens is approached through Jason’s Gates, spanned by a bridge at the mouth of the Golden Fleece, an estuary which an artist would love to transfer to canvas. Here the names again carry the memory back to the beautiful poetical legend of the ancients. The traveller is now in the region of tin mines. Try where he may, in the sands of the sea shore, the gravel of the roads, he will obtain tin ore, but it exists only in payable quantity from three to six miles from the coast.

There is a fine river the George, rich in sylvan scenery, and teeming with fish. The chief features of the district are the hills of granite, with their smooth rounded crests. These swell up in all directions, giving the country a highly undulating appearance. There are some very rare scene studies for the artist in the ravines. The Leda Falls on the Saxleby tin claim is one of these. The stream is divided into two falls at the edge of a granite precipice in a deep rock-bound gorge.

Within one mile of the Falls is a singular “weathered” granite mass which I have named Truganini’s Throne. These spots and several others in the neighborhood are well worth a visit, I may be excused for quoting here a description of these two scenes which I lately published in the Australasian Sketcher.

Leda Falls.

These Falls are situated on the Saxleby tin claim, seven miles from George’s Bay, and in the centre of the tin mining district. A stream which takes its rise in the high granite hills of the district after flowing through button-grass marshes, and dense thickets of banera, cutting-grass and ti-tree, suddenly plunges down a deep romantic rocky gorge. Here it is broken into numerous miniature falls—now eddying round the walls of a granite basin which it has carved out through untold ages, and anon babbling among the moss-covered stones which interrupt its course, till when halfway through the gorge it leaps over a deep vertical precipice with deafening roar. At the verge of this precipice the stream is intercepted by a projection of rock which divides it and causes it to fall in two streams into a depression of the granite. At[12] the sides of the ravine, huge overhanging masses of worn granite—some of them thousands of tons in weight, give rise to numerous recesses of sepulchral gloom. Over their portals hang festoons of delicate climbing plants and feathery-fronded ferns grow in profusion, gum-trees, acacia, dogwood and others whose branches meeting overhead form a canopy which excludes the noontide sunshine. If I might venture to call to aid metrical composition I would describe it thus:—

Forth from its secret mountain source it flows
Through em’rald swamps and tangled ti-tree dells;
Now making music soft ’mong granite stones,
O’er-mantled with bright moss of green and gold;
Now stealing dreamlike, through deep sunless shades,
Where never ripple ruffled its cool breast.
Thus flowing sea-ward in its chequered course
Till where a deep dark chasm twixt two hills
All unexpected opens to the view.
There at the verge divided into twain
It plunges down into the gloom profound
Where noise and mist and wild confusion reign.

Truganini’s Throne

is distant about one mile from Leda Falls on the western bank of the same stream. It is a remarkable example of weathered granite about 40 feet high. Large gum-trees grow out of the joints of the rock 70 to 80 feet in height. This is also well worth a visit from the tourist.

The Tin Mines.

The vallies intervening the granite hills are the scenes of the operations of the miners. These vallies are chiefly occupied by button-grass marshes through which creeks and smaller streamlets flow and which take their rise in the higher mountain ranges in the interior. This button-grass which may not be widely well-known grows in tussocks from one foot to three feet in height and detached. Its leaves are long and wiry, and its seed-vessels consist of spherical, hard rough knobs about the size of marbles, closely resembling the old brass buttons of that form, from which it derives its name. These knobs are supported upon long smooth wiry stems often four and five feet in length. In passing through one of these marshes these knobs frequently spring back with considerable force, and owing to their hard rough nature, and the flexibility of the stems are capable of inflicting pain on the exposed face and hands. The creeks running through these valleys are fringed with belts of dense ti-tree among which is the[13] flowering melaleuca of the botanist, banera, or the river-rose and tall cutting-grass oftentimes so thickly interlaced as to form an almost impenetrable barrier. The soil on the hill-slopes is usually poor and gravelly formed by the decomposition of the coarse porphyritic granite of the district and yet it is thickly clothed with ironbark gums, peppermint gums, prickly acacia and those arboraeolian harps the sombre-hued Casuarina, on which, to indulge a figurative expression the zephyrs love to play with viewless fingers. The tin ore, for the most part is obtained at a depth from the surface of the vallies of from four to six feet, in a pebbly drift occupying the depressions of the granite which is usually decomposed so as to present a soft clayey consistency. It would seem to be what is known as “erratic”—that is it has come from a distance as the pebbles with which it is associated have been supplied by rocks which are not to be met with in the locality.

At 10 miles inland to the west is the Land of Goschen, a flat well grassed plateau on the banks of the George river, with a mountain rising out of the midst. Four miles further on Gould’s Country is reached, with its lofty mountain ranges of granite and deep gullies, densely covered with myrtle, sassafras, and tree ferns. Here are situated the principal tin mines of the East Coast.

Profoundly grand are the gullies of this region as the road winds along the mountain heights. Now on the right hand, now on the left the sides of the mountains sweep down into apparently bottomless ravines. High above the tops of trees over 300 feet in height in many instances the eye of the traveller sweeps the terrible chasms so thickly covered with tree-ferns and other shade and moisture-loving vegetation as to be sunshine proof. The scene of St. Mary’s Pass is a combination of the grand and picturesque. That of Gould’s Country is the awfully grand alone. Here there is a slab some miles in length traversing the sides of the mountains. There are two inns, several stores, and cottage dwellings. Sixteen miles further to the West is Thomas Plain on which stands the township of Weldborough surrounded for many miles by tin mines. This is reached by a narrow pack-track from Gould Country which is knee-deep in mud except in the very height of Summer. All the tin ore raised here has to be packed out on horses to Gould’s Country and Morina and owing to the continual traffic of the heavily-laden horses and the exclusion of wind and sunshine by the dense vegetation the track is a very “Slough of Despond.”


Thomas Plain is situated in the centre of the Ringarooma district and enclosed by an amphitheatre of lofty tree-crowned heights. Several cool pellucid never failing streams flow through it. It is the most picturesque in Tasmania.

Such are the salient features of the North East Coast of Tasmania, and I believe the visitor in search of a salubrious clime and choice scenery will allow that these fully repay the journey.

Transcriber’s Notes:

Obvious punctuation and spelling inaccuracies were silently corrected.

Archaic and variable spelling has been preserved.

Variations in hyphenation and compound words have been preserved.

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