B-log ~ August 2020

Submissions to the Lower Gordon River Draft Recreation Zone Plan and Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Tourism Master Plan

Recently these two important master plans came up for review, and public submissions were requested before a final draft is compiled. The LGRZP controls what is allowed in the navigable section of the Gordon River. The TWWHA controls what will be permitted in Tasmania’s World Heritage Estate. Both plans are very important to tourism operators, visitors and users of this vast area of Tasmania.

A few of our friends’ livelihood depend on what is in these documents, and some are worried the governing body wants to curtail river traffic and shut down casual visitors aboard private vessels.

Local Input
We, the locals, and members of Macquarie Harbour Wildcare know this west coast area exceptionally well and can see opportunities to safely and wisely expand and improve facilities in the Gordon River and wider Macquarie Harbour. The local “old families” know there is a considerable history hidden in those forests and waterways that the wider public would love to witness. The Blockade of 1982 at Sir John Falls spawned the Green Movement and stopped The Gordon below Franklin Dam. Also in those forests are historical remnants from the Huon Piners – courageous men who worked under arduous conditions in one of the most magnificent Natural theatres in the world. Inside the World Heritage area are bridges, camps, and tracks that helped open the west. Therefore, many of us spent days studying the extremely complex documents before putting pen to paper writing our submission. You can read our recommendations here.

One part of Jack and Jude’s submission told the committees of the discoveries we made over a four year period. Within what is now World Heritage forested land lies The Goulds Post Track used by explorers, geologists, miners, and pioneers to reach the wild west coast in a time when Tasmania was starving for resources.  But, after World Heritage listing, instead of that track being kept open for the public to witness first-hand the glory of Earth, Nature reclaimed that narrow ribbon used by countless thousands. Jack and Jude made it their mission as private citizens to find that important lost track and record its geodetic position with latitude and longitude. Our images capture a majestic lost land.

Finding Goulds Track
Part 1: Background and History
Part 2: Pain and Pleasure ~ April 2015
Part 3: A Walk in a Park ~ January 2016
Part 4: Bold New Adventure ~ April 2017
Part 5: Baby Steps to Heaven ~ March 2018


 

Background
This story begins shortly after World War II when a group of fortunate men, passionate about Earth, worked for Tasmanian Hydro, and four times a year they took the tourist boat from Strahan to Sir John Falls. Then over several days, they walked south through what is now The Franklin Gordon Wild Rivers National Park to a Hydro camp on the Gordon River just downstream from the Rocky Sprent. Their job was to measure river flow and river heights.

Walking overland, their journey took them through the full display of Tasmania’s lovely land, from thick wet forests near the river’s edge through regions of drier Manuka and Eucalyptus, and then onto one of those magical phenomena of southern Tasmania, a vast buttongrass plain. This one at the feet of the thickly forested King Billy Range.

Plain before King Billy Range

Vast Plain before King Billy Range

History

Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin track

Track from East to West

Tasmania, Australia’s second colony, desperately needed resources by the mid-1800s. But attempts to explore Western Tasmania proved a highly dangerous nightmare. Thickly clad mountains and raging rivers blocked access overland, and turbulent seas and one of the world’s most hazardous passages through Hell’s Gate combined to curtail the colony’s development.

This became so desperate that in 1840, Lieutenant-Governor Sir John Franklin ordered the young surveyor James Calder to find a path west. Given charge of twenty convicts and a dozen soldiers, that daunting task took James Calder’s team two years. Then in 1842, an epic journey, Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin were escorted to the west coast to undertake an exploratory overland tour to ascertain whether any available land could be found between the tract of settled districts and the isolated Macquarie Harbour.

There are two excellent accounts of the magnificent adventure undertaken by Lady Jane Franklin. The wife of Tasmania’s highest officeholder demanded to walk through what is still some of Australia’s toughest country. In 1843, the first account was written by David Burn, a journalist who accompanied the 30-person party. And the second, titled Recollections of Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin in Tasmania was written some years after the event by the expedition leader James Calder.

While the Franklin expedition was a success, the track proved highly weather dependent, and twenty years later, in 1862, a team led by Tasmania’s first Geological Surveyor, Charles Gould (1834-1893) forged a much better route linking the west to the east. The Goulds Post Track carried thousands to a new land and became the main link for supplies and news, as well as the postman’s route. After WWI, the Piners used this track to reach their upper river camps. Then in the 1930s, Jim Morrison enhanced the track to haul chafe and supplies from Goulds Landing, near Sir John Falls, to his Sandstone Camp near the Rocky Sprent. Then Hydro used it to survey the mighty Gordon River. 

Immense Historical Value
The Goulds Post Track to Hamilton has immense historical value. It’s intrinsic to who we are, and epitomizes the courage and never give up qualities that Australians so much admire and want to pass on to coming generations.

This historical track should be re-opened because it travels through a diversity of geology, and by doing that, illustrates how Nature copes with the various conditions of wind, sunlight, rain, terrain, and nutrients.

CONTINUE THE JOURNEY: Pain and Pleasure ~ April 2015


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