- getting there:
- despite its small size, the exploration of Tasmania took many years,
with some areas in mountainous south-west still being opened up as late
as the 1970's.
- 1st explorer to explore more than a few km's inland was Lieutenant
John Hayes who sailed up the Derwent River in 1793 as far as New
- Matthew Flinders & George Bass surveyed the estuary of the Tamar
River to within kilometers of present day Launceston.
- last consignment of convicts arrived in 1853.
- historic city and state capital on the Derwent River at the base of Mt
- the base for Australia's Antarctic expeditions and research
- nearby attractions:
- Cadbury chocolate factory
- Australia's largest private art gallery opening 2009 - moorilla.com.au
which emphasises art's representations of life's two main motivations -
sex and avoidance of death.
- founded on the discovery of gold, copper and tin which was to change
the West Coast forever, with 11 smelters working between 1886 and 1922
when the Mt Lyell Copper Mine was an industrial titan
- Its hills are permanently scarred by years of sulphur fumes while
Queen River was choked with sludge & tailings, and yet many find it
disturbingly romantic even in the drizzle, & unlike Strahan,
it seems impervious to change.
- make sure you make time to walk around the town & pop into the
magnificent Empire Hotel.
- the West Coast Wilderness Railway:
- the copper barons who ran Queenstown, built the Abt Wilderness
railway, workers living for months in rain-soaked tents in the
forest in fearsome terrain which took 18 months just to survey the
- although only 34km long it had 50 hand built bridges
- when the price of copper collapsed in the 1960's, the smelters
were shut & the railway was abandoned in 1963. Queenstown
station became a supermarket, the salvage gangs took everything
except one loco & a few meters of rusting track.
- the track has been rebuilt & 39 bridges replaced, and the old
Mt Lyell No.3 loco built in Glasgow in 1898 is now used burning oil
instead of coal but still producing plenty of steam and still uses
the 2nd set of toothed rack-and-pinion rails - a steam-age version
of 4WD invented by the Swiss engineer Dr Roman Abt, to negotiate the
steep 1:16 inclines
- the railway penetrates some of the toughest & most remote
mountain country in Australia providing fine river & forest
- passengers can:
- pan for gold at Lynchford
- explore a mine at Rinadeena
- bushwalk along forest trails around Dubbil Barril Station
where the train stops for lunch
- finally, explore the fishing port of Strahan at journey's end,
a mecca for tourists who want to explore either Tasmania's
blood-curdling convict past or the hauntingly beautiful Gordon
& Franklin rivers.