Saving old growth forests in Tasmania

Cradle Mountain
Cradle Mountain

Excerpts from ‘Explorers of Western Tasmania‘ by C.J. Binks

In April 1825, Edward Curr (a former settlor) had by this time accepted temporary appointment as secretary of the new company (VDL Pty Ltd). Bathurst (head of colonial office) agree with the bulk of Sorrel’s (governor of Van Dieman’s Land) recommendations to keep the VDL away from existing settlements and grant land in the more difficult North-West.

“Sorrel advised Curr of the terms under which the establishment of the company in the North West of Van Dieman’s land (Tasmania) could proceed … Curr was in a difficult situation. The ship ‘Tranmere‘ was due to arrive in late 1826 with the first consignment of stock, skilled men and labourers for the new settlement. … Curr knew of Rolland’s (first British explorer of the north west) expeditions and had no doubt a copy of the report and a sketch map which Rolland had sent to (governor) Sorrell on 24 January 1824.

Much of the North-west was at the time covered by tall Eucalypt forest with dense undergrowth, and by quite extensive areas of rain forest. Some idea of the effort put into these months of exploration (by Curr, Hellyer and Fossey) can be gained by a brief outline … Late in April (1825) Curr’s party drove their bullock carts westward … keeping along the foothills of the western tiers (I travelled this route myself as a young man in the footsteps of my great, great, great, great, great grandfather – only difference i hitch-hiked along roads traversed by logging trucks – Ian Curr) .. they entered the district called the Western marshes and built a small hut from saplings and bark on the banks of Lobster rivulet, close to the present town of Chudleigh (see Hellyer’s map).

… Curr, Hellyer and Fossey crossed the Mersey west of were Mole creek flows into it, and climbed Mt Roland by way of the south-east spur … the summit of Mt Roland would have afforded the VDL company’s party the finest vantage point in the north west, and its ascent was a sound and logical initial step. – from ‘Explorers of Western Tasmania‘ by C.J. Binks

Still Wild, Still Threatened
– Media Release: 7th May, 2013.

The implications for native forests around Australia of Tasmania’s controversial new forest law are alarming forest campaign groups around the nation.

They fear that the loggers, state governments and those environment groups party to the forest agreement will now attempt to use this as a model for the rest of the country with dreadful impacts on Australia’s forests.

The constraints on advocacy and peaceful protest are also of great concern, as an extraordinary precedent has been set under which the environment will be punished if groups dare to strongly advocate genuine forest protection and transition from native forest logging, especially to markets and consumers. Already the Prime Minister has demonstrated in her call to silence environmental critics that an era of victimisation and vilification has begun …

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