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The Mole Creek Pack Track between Central and Western Tasmania

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Brown, PJ (2011) The Mole Creek Pack Track between Central and Western Tasmania. Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

This thesis examines a pack track made in the late 1890s to tap the emerging
mineral wealth of the isolated West Coast of Tasmania. It was built as part of a
parochial conflict over access to the West Coast which focused largely on
railways, which has now been called the railway wars. The Mole Creek Track
was surveyed and built as a sop to northern Tasmanian interests, as were tracks in
southern Tasmania. As well as its historical interest the Mole Creek Track is
remarkable in that it largely survives as a physical artifact.
In keeping with the practice of the day, a professional surveyor, Edward George
limes, determined the practicality of a route for this track using skills that are little
understood today. The standards that he set for the route were much more
rigorous than those of the pioneering bushmen who knew the country. This
difference in approaches led to conflict within his survey party and within the
local community.
The Mole Creek Track was built by day labourers, even the overseers were on day
rates, although they all worked under the general supervision of the Public Works
Department. The overseers, chiefly Richard Broomhall and Henry Coleman,
were essential to the construction of the track because they determined how it was
built based on their experience, rather than written instructions: The track-cutters
who made up their work gangs were drawn from both the Mole Creek and
Rosebery areas and brought different skills and expectations to the work. A major
aim of the thesis is to document the effects of this through a combination of field
surveys, excavation and archival work. The Mole Creek Track was considered to be largely lost but by employing a
combination of research methods it has now been located for much of its length.
Based on the results of this research the thesis argues that the remains of the track
have considerable cultural heritage value but neither it, nor any other track, has
been listed under Tasmanian heritage legislation. Even though much of the track
lies within the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park — its cultural
heritage values have been degraded and continue to be threatened by high visitor
numbers on sections of its route now taken up by some of the Overland Track and
the Arm River Track. Conducting a cultural heritage assessment based on a New
Zealand model would provide the basis to manage the over-used sections, and the
'lost' sections before they are rediscovered by significant numbers of walkers.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Master)
Keywords: Innes, Edward George, Surveying, Trails, Wilderness areas
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2011 the Author

Additional Information:

No access or viewing until 18 October 2013. After that date, available for use in the Library and copying in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968, as amended. Thesis (MA)--University of Tasmania, 2011. Includes bibliographical references. Ch. 1. The track now and then -- Ch. 2. Surveying the track -- Ch. 3. Building the track -- Ch. 4. The men of the track cutting gangs -- Ch. 5. The success of the track -- Ch. 6. Bushwalkers -- Ch. 7. Managers

Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2014 00:59
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:53
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