Sidelights on its Geography

"Within 40 miles of Hobart there ¡s a mountain 10 miles long, 500ft. higher than Mt. Wellington, and with many lakes upon It, but which neither has a name nor is marked upon any map."

Mr. A. N. Lewis, in a lecture to the Tasmanian Field Naturalists' Club on Thursday evening, gave some interesting views of Tasmanian geography, and mentioned this startling fact in the course of his remarks. Mr. Norman Walker presided.

Mr. Lewis, with the aid of a map, enumerated the parts Into which Tasmania was divided for geographical convenience - the central plateau, with the Great Lake at its heart, north-eastern plateau, northern coastal region, far north-west, West Coast, south-west, and south-east. A number of slides showed the nature of the country traversed in each case, and gave a far more vivid idea of the construction of the State than any amount of description. From the top of Brady's Lookout, he said, there was the finest view in Tasmania. It was possible to see across the State to Mt. Wellington and the Derwent Valley in one direction, Mt. Anne and the Arthur Ranges out to the north, Launceston, and to the east, Ben Lomond. The speaker described the hydro-electric scheme at Waddamana and the Ouse deviation, passing on to the north coast with its fertile band of coastal land and swift rivers, and mentioning in passing the gorge of the Mersey, 2,000ft. deep. Barn Bluff, the strange peak shown on one slide, he said, was drained on one side by the Pieman River, on another by the Forth, and on a third by the Derwent tributaries. The far north-western segment of the State would probably be the next part to be opened up. Once out of the deep valleys the land was very fertile, and carried a heavy load of timber.

On the West Coast there were a series of peaks named after famous scientists, Mts. Owen, Tyndall, Sedgwick, Lyell, Huxley, Dundas, and so on. The speaker described the Mt. Lyell works and showed a view of Queenstown, photographs of the Gordon River and the Vale of Rasselas between the Denison Range and Mt. Wright, and showed the site of the proposed West Coast hydro-electric scheme in the Crotty Valley. The beauty of the Gordon where it came out into Macquarie Harbour was well known. In the Huon, the Weld River was a miniature Gordon, and in that corner of the State there was a vast area waiting to be explored - an unbelievable number of peaks jumbled together in a small space.

A few photographs of the East Coast were shown, and Its characteristic features - the long sandy bays broken by rocky headlands outcropping from the coastal hills - compared with those of the West Coast, an almost unbroken strip of sand. It was possible to drive from Macquarie Harbour to the far north-west In a cart, if arrangements were made tor ferrying across the rivers. A "West-Coaster" had assured him that after a storm the foam that had blown up on the beaches was almost deep enough to cover the horse as he rode along !.

In conclusion, Mr. Lewis advised his hearers, many of whom were school children, to learn more about Tasmania. It did not seem right for them to know so much about Siberia and Alaska, and so little about Tasmania. They could learn a great deal by taking a map with them on every trip abroad, and not be satisfied until they had found out the answer to all the questions that occurred to them.

Mr. Walker, in moving a vote of thanks to the speaker, said he was surprised that so little use of the lantern was made in schools. Such a lesson as that given by Mr. Lewis made a school-master realise that geography would lose much of its terror for both master and pupil if the aid of the screen was invoked. 1

  • 1. KNOW TASMANIA - The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) 15 June 1929: p 14