Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park VKFF-0117

After leaving Mount Field (10th November 2022) we headed north on Ellendale Road towards the Lyell Highway.

We stopped briefly at the Ellendale road stop admiring the view of Mount Field National Park. Between 1860 and 1970 Ellendale was the home of a thriving timber industry. Swan timbers from Ellendale have been sent to many parts of the world and are included in furniture at Parliament House.

We doubled back along the Highway to the little town of Hamilton. I had wanted to see some of the many historic buildings that are in the town. These include the old school house which was built in 1858 by convict stonemasons. It was designed to allow the Headmaster to live in the room above the central staircase, while the children, according to their sex, entered the school from different doors.

Glen Clyde House was built in 1840 by convicts, originally as a private home. It was licenced as the ‘Tasmanian Lass’ in 1844. James Jacksons Emporium was built in 1854. The foundation stone for St Peters church was laid in 1834. The church was completed in 1837. The church had only one door and this was due to the fact that 50% of the congregation were convicts and the single door made escape more difficult.

Our GPS decided to take us off the Lyell Highway and along Fourteen Mile Road which was dirt, before rejoining the Highway. I’m glad it did detour us as we got to see the wooden hydro pipe at Bronte Park. It is one of the few hydro pipes which was constructed of wood. It was built so that the water from the Clarence River would run in to Bronte lagoon and from there though Tungatinah Power Station. This is one of 30 hydropower stations.

As we drove west along the Lyell Highway towards Derwent Bridge we started to smell smoke and then saw a very large plume of smoke. Fortunately we had internet coverage and Marija found out that it was a controlled burn off. t certainly didn’t look like that.

We then turned off the Highway onto Lake St Clair Road and soon reached our accomodation, the Lake St Clair Lodge. It is one of only 2 resorts built within a World Heritage listed area in the world. 

Our cabin was right alongside of the shores of Lake St Clair, known as Leeawulena by the local aboriginal people.

Lake St Clair was named in 1835 by Surveyor General George Frankland when he visited the area. It was named in honour of the St Clair family who resided on the shores of Loch Lomond in Scotland.

After dropping off all of our bags we headed back down Lake St Clair Road and activated the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park VKFF-0117.

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is 1,614.43 km2 in size and was established in 1911. It is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The park borders the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, the Franklin Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, the Vale of Belvoir Conservation Area, and the Central Plateau Conservation Area.

Above:- The Cradle Mountain lake St Clair National Park. Image c/o GoogleEarth.

Cradle Mountain lies between the Big River and Northern Tasmania people. They were last seen just south of Cradle Mountain in about 1836 following years of persecution by the European settlers.

The first Europeans to explore the Cradle Mountain area were Joseph Fosset (b. 1788. d. 1851) and Henry Hellyer (b. 1790. d. 1832) in 1827. They were surveying the area for the Van Dieman’s Land Company. It was named Cradle Mountain as it bore a similarity to a miners cradle.

From the 1860s until the 1950s, trappers worked in the area. However hunting in the park was declared illegal from 1927. These hunters established huts including Du Cane and Pine Valley. Logging on trees was also undertaken. From 1910 to 1930 cattle and sheep were grazed in Cradle Valley.

On the 16th day of May 2022 the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park celebrated his centenary. The video below shows what the park is like now, and what it was like back in 1922.

The history of how Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair became a National Park is a very interesting one.

Gustav Weindorfer emigrated to Australia from Austria in 1899. He married Kate Cowle in Tasmania in 1902. They were both dedicated botanists and spent their honeymoon camping at the top of Mount Roland. In 1909 Gustav and a friend and botanist called Charlie Sutton set out on an adventure to explore Cradle Mountain. Unfortunately thick fog, and time spent on collecting plant material, thwarted their intentions of climbing the summit.

In January 1910, Gustav and his wife Kate and Major R E Smith climbed the summit. Following this, Weindorfer famously said:

“This must be a National Park for the people for all time. It is magnificent, and people must know about it and enjoy it.”

Above:- Gustav Weindorfer. Image c/o Trove.

Gustav was so impressed with Cradle Mountain that he commenced building a hut called Waldheim (Forest Home). He provided accomodation for friends and others with whom he wanted to share his love of the Cradle Mountain area. In 1913 Waldheim was opened for commercial business.

Following the death of his wife in 1921, Gustav commenced a tour of Tasmania promoting both his accomodation Waldheim and the concept of a Cradle Mountain National Park. In the following year 1922, Cradle Mountain was declared a scenic reserve. In 1927 it was declared a wildlife reserve, and in 1947 it was declared as a National Park.

Above:- Article from the Examiner, Launceston, Thu 10 May 1923. Image c/o Trove.

Native mammals found in the park include Tasmanian pademelons, Bennetts wallabies, quolls, Tasmanian devils, short-beaked echidna, platypus, common wombats, and possums. The park has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) due to it providing vital habitat for numerous birdlife including the Flame Robin and Pink Robin, and the Striated Field Wren.

We found a nice little quiet spot alongside of the Derwent River off Lake St Clair Road.

We ran the Yaesu FT857, 40 watts, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation. We operated from inside of the 4WD as the mosquitoes were relentless.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2MOP
  2. VK2VH
  3. VK4AAC
  4. VK3GRX
  5. VK2MET
  6. VK1AO
  7. VK3SMW
  8. VK3APJ
  9. VK3ACZ
  10. VK2EXA
  11. VK3PF

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2MOP
  2. VK2VH
  3. VK4AAC
  4. VK3GRX
  5. VK2MET
  6. VK1AO
  7. VK3SMW
  8. VK3APJ
  9. VK3ACZ
  10. VK2EXA
  11. VK3PF
  12. VK5BJE
  13. VK2WE
  14. VK3TX
  15. VK3ZPF
  16. W2ARX
  17. VK2YK
  18. VK5GA
  19. VK3YV
  20. VK2MOE
  21. VK3GQ
  22. VK4TJ
  23. VK7LTD
  24. VK7FAMP
  25. VK8GM

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK8GM
  2. VK7FAMP
  3. VK7LTD
  4. VK5BJE
  5. VK2EWC
  6. VK2EXA

References.

  1. Aussie Towns, 2023, <https://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/hamilton-tas>, viewed 2nd January 2023.
  2. Aussie Towns, 2023, <https://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/lake-st-clair-tas>, viewed 2nd Janaury 2023.
  3. Aussie Towns, 2023, <https://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/cradle-mountain-tas>, viewed 2nd January 2023.
  4. Lake St Clair Lodge, 2023, <https://www.lakestclairlodge.com.au/>, viewed 2nd January 2023.
  5. Tasmania Real Life 4wding/Touring, 20223, <https://www.facebook.com/RealLife4wdingTouring>, viewed 2nd January 2023.
  6. Wikipedia, 2023, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cradle_Mountain>, viewed 2nd January 2023.
  7. Wikipedia, 2023, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cradle_Mountain-Lake_St_Clair_National_Park>, viewed 2nd January 2023.

Mount Field National Park VKFF-0347

After packing up at the Derwent Cliffs State Reserve (10th November 2022) we visited the New Norfolk Distillery which is Tasmania’s only rum dedicated distillery. We undertook a short our which included some tastings at the end. I walked away with a nice bottle of rum and another bottle of liqueur.

After talking with our guide at the distillery, we decided to take a detour from our planned route and we drove out to Bushy Park, the hops capital of Tasmania.

Hops are the green cone-shaped flowers of the Humulus lupulus plant which is the the source of bitterness, aroma, and flavor in beer.

The Bushy Park are was first called Humphreyyille after one of the first European settlers A.W.H. Humphrey who arrived in 1812. In about 1850 William Blyth, who had arrived in Hobart in 1835, bought out Humphrey. The name was changed to Bushy Park to honour the Blyth family estate near Hampton Court in England.

As were were now close to the Mount Field National Park VKFF-0347, we decided to detour out to the park for the park activation for the Wodl Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program

Above:- Map of Tasmania showing the location of the Mount Field National Park. Map c/o Google maps.

Mount Field National Park is located about 64 km northwest of Hobart. Its highest point is the summit of Mount Field West which is about 1,434 meters above sea level. The park is 162.65 km2 in size and was established in 1916.

Above:- An aerial view of the Mount Field National Park. Image c/o Google maps.

Along with Freycinet National Park, Mount Field is Tasmania’s oldest National Park. Russell Falls which is located within the National Park has been protected for its natural beauty since 1885. At that time it was set aside as Tasmania’s very first nature reserve.

Above:- Article from The Mercury, Hobart, Mon 17 Nov 1913. c/o Trove.

The Mount Field National Park is named in honour of Judge Barron Field (b. 1796. d. 1846), an English born Australian judge and poet. He visited Van Dieman’s Land as an itinerant judge in 1819 and 1821.

Above:- Barron Field. Image c/o Australian Dictionary of Biography.

In 1933, the last known wild Thylacine was captured in the vicinity of the Mount Field National Park.  The Thylacine, also known as the Tasmanian Tiger or an extinct carnivorous marsupial. Intensive hunting of the Thylacine encouraged by bounties brought about its extinction.

Above:- A Thylacine. Image c/o WIkipedia.

Native mammals that call the park home include wombats, platypus, eastern barred bandicoot, echidnas, and Tasmanian devil. Mount Field National Park is also home to an enormous diversity of fungi. The Fagus, a deciduous beech can be found in the park. It is one of only a handful of deciduous native trees in Australia.

During winter, the National Park is one of Tasmania’s two popular ski fields. The park is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

We set up in a car parking area alongside of the Tyenna River. Tyenna means bandicoot in aboriginal. It is one of the best trout fishing rivers in Tasmania.

Above:- Map showing our operating spot in the park. Image c/o Google Earth.

We ran the Yaesu FT857, 40 watts, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.

We found band conditions to be extremely poor and there were long stretches of calling CQ with no response. A tune across the 40m band found no other stations. We were the only ones calling CQ.

Marija made the following QSOs on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3UAO
  2. VK2MET
  3. VK1AO
  4. VK3AFW
  5. VK3PF
  6. VK3KAI
  7. VK5DW
  8. VK3ZLP
  9. VK3VIN
  10. VK3PF/m
  11. VK3KAI/m

I made the following QSOs on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3UAO
  2. VK2MET
  3. VK1AO
  4. VK3AFW
  5. VK3PF
  6. VK3KAI
  7. VK5DW
  8. VK3ZLP
  9. VK3VIN
  10. VK3PF/m
  11. VK3KAI/m

I made the following QSO on 20m SSB:-

  1. ZL1TM

We had both scraped in and qualified the park for the VKF program with more than 10 QSOs each.

We packed up and drove further into the park and went for a walk at the Tall Trees trail. It is a 1 km loop which takes you passed the tallest flowering plants in the world, massive Eucalyptus regnans ‘Swamp Gum’. Some of the trees that you see here were growing when explorer Abel Tasman first sighted Tasmania in 1642. The trees can live for hundreds of years nad can reach over 100 metres in height.

We wished we had more time to explore this magnificent National Park. But it was time for us to continue along the Lyell Highway to our destination at Lake St Clair Lodge.

References.

  1. Aussie Towns, 2023, <https://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/bushy-park-tas>, viewed 2nd January 2023.
  2. Discoveer Tasmania, 2023, <https://www.discovertasmania.com.au/>, viewed 2nd January 2023.
  3. Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service, 2023, <https://parks.tas.gov.au/explore-our-parks/mount-field-national-park/tall-trees>, viewed 2nd January 2023.
  4. Tyenna River Cottages, 2023, <https://tyennarivercottages.com.au/sights/>, viewed 2nd January 2023.
  5. Wikipedia, 2023, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hops>, viewed 2nd January 2023.
  6. Wikipedia, 2023, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Field_National_Park>, viewed 2nd January 2023.
  7. Wikipedia, 2023, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barron_Field_(author)>, viewed 2nd January 2023.

Day fifteen and Derwent Cliffs State Reserve VKFF-1794

We were now over the half way mark of our holiday and it was day fifteen (Thursday 10th November 2022). Today we wee travelling from Hobart to Lake St Clair. We had spent six very enjoyable nights in Hobart.

Above:- Map showing our route from Hobart to Lake St Clair. Map c/o Google maps.

We headed north west out of Hobart on the Lyell Highway which takes its name from Mount Lyell where copper was found during the late 1800s. Mount Lyell was named by Tasmania’s first Geological Surveyor Charles Gould in 1863 in honour of geologist Charles Lyell.

Above:- Charles Lyell. Image c/o Wikipedia.

It wasn’t long before we reached the little town of New Norfolk, about 32 km north west of Hobart. When the Norfolk Island settlement was closed, 554 folk resettled in other parts of the colony of Australia. A total of 163 of those were settled around the current town of New Norfolk between November 1807 and October 1808. In 1825 the original name of the town, Elizabeth Town, was changed to New Norfolk to honour their former home of Norfolk Island.

Our first stop was Willow Court, Tasmania’s oldest continually run asylum on the same site. Willow Court opened in 1827 and closed in 2001. It was named ‘Willow Court’ due to Lady Franklin planting a willow in the courtyard. It was originally established as a despot for sick and inform convicts.

We then visited the Peter Hudson memorial in Arthur Square, New Norfolk. Peter John Hudson was born in 1946 in New Norfolk. He is a former Australian Rules footballer who played for the Hawthorn Football Club, the New Norfolk Football Club, and Glenorchy Football Club. He is a legend in the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

We then visited Tasmania’s oldest church, the Anglican Church of St Matthew in Bathurst Street opposite Arthur Square. The church was built in 1823 and was consecrated in 1828 by Archdeacon Scott from Sydney. The church has been significantly modified over the years. All that remains of the original church are the walls and flagged floor of the nave and part of the western transept.

Our next stop was the Bush Inn, one of the oldest hotels in Australia, and believed to be the oldest continuously operating hotels in Australia. It was built in 1825.

In April 1825 the Hobart Town Gazette and Van Dieman’s Land Advertiser reported that”‘a widow lady named Bridger has just now completed a very commodious two-storey house of public entertainment, which is deservedly well frequented”

In October 1825 Ann Bridger received a licence to sell spirits, wine and beer at the Bush Inn, New Norfolk.

Above:- Extract from an article in the Hobart Town Gazette and Van Dieman’s Land Advertiser, Fri 22 Apr 1825. Image c/o Trove.

Unfortunately the pub was closed otherwise we would have ventured inside for a drink.

Above:- The Bush Inn, 1834. Image c/o Trove

We then drove out to the old Methodist church on Lawitta Road, Magra, not far from New Norfolk. We wanted to visit the grave of reputedly the first white woman to set foot on Australia.

Elizabeth Thackery (b.1765. d. 1856) was a native of Manchester, Lancashire in English. At age 20, she was tried and convicted in May 1786 for the theft of five handkerchiefs valued at one shilling. She was sentenced to seven years transportation to the colony of Australia. Thackery is the last-known female survivor of the First Fleet, and she is also is reputed to have been the first ashore at Botany Bay upon her arrival aboard the Friendship on the 26th day of January 1788.

Prior to leaving for Australia Thackery spent a year as a prisoner aboard the prison hulk Dunkirk. She was then transported to Australia board the Friendship where it was reported that she was placed in irons on numerous occasions during the voyage.

She received 25 lashes in July 1791 following her arrival in Australia for “coming in from her settlement without permission”.

Thackery subsequently ventured to Van Dieman’s Land where she married and settled in the Dwerwent Valley. She died on August 1856 at the rope old age of 93 and was buried at the Methodist church cemetery at Magra.

We then drove up to the Pulpit Rock lookout. Initially as we parked the car we did not think there was going to be much of a view. But after a short walk we were rewarded with some brilliant views of New Norfolk, the Derwent River, and the surrounding countryside.

We then decided to do a park activation and headed to the Derwent Cliffs State Reserve VKFF-1794, which is located at New Norfolk.

Above:- Map showing the location of the Derwent Cliffs State Reserve. Map c/o Google maps.

The Derwent Cliffs State Reserve is 3.72 hectares in size and is located on the southern side of the Derwent River. You can get some very good views of the park from the Pulpit Rock lookout.

There was quite a bit of birdlife in the park during our visit, including both native species and introduced species such as Blackbirds.

There was no where to drive into this park. We parked at Tynwald Oval and walked along the walkway adjacent to the Derwent River until we entered the park.

Above:- An aerial view of the park showing our operating spot. Image c/o Google Earth.

We found band conditions to be extremely challenging during this activation and we sturggled ober the line to get 10 contacts to qualify the park for the VKFF program.

Marija made the following QSOs on 40m SSB before the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK2HQ/p (Brundee Swamp Nature Reserve VKFF-2547)
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK3ZSC
  5. VK3UAO

Marija made the following QSOs on 40m SSB after the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK3UAO
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK3BEL
  4. VK2MET
  5. VK1AO

I made the following QSOs on 40m SSB before the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK2HQ/p (Brundee Swamp Nature Reserve VKFF-2547)
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK3ZSC
  5. VK5BJE
  6. VK3UAO

I made the following QSOS on 40m SSB after the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK3UAO
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK3BEL
  4. VK3NCR
  5. VK2MET
  6. VK1AO

References.

  1. New Norfolk, 2023, <http://www.newnorfolk.org/>, viewed 2nd December 2023.
  2. Wikipedia, 2023, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyell_Highway>, viewed 2nd Janury 2023.
  3. Wikipedia, 2023, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Lyell_(Tasmania)>, viewed 2nd January 2023.
  4. Wikipedia, 2023, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Norfolk>, viewed 2nd January 2023.
  5. Wikipedia, 2023, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Hudson>, viewed 2nd January 2023.
  6. Wikipedia, 2023, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bush_Inn,_Tasmania>, viewed 2nd January 2023.
  7. Willow Court History Group, 2023, <https://www.willowcourttasmania.org/>, viewed 2nd January 2023.