Monthly Archives: August 2013

Reflections on Two Midwinter Environmental Conferences


The first two weeks of July marked an incredibly busy time for Australian youth concerned with environmental issues, with the Students of Sustainability conference in Launceston and the Power Shift summit in Melbourne. Organised by the Australian Students Environment Network (ASEN) and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) respectively, these two weeks events attracted young people keen to make a positive impact on the world around them.

Students of Sustainability

The Students of Sustainability conference was organised by ASEN and held over five days in Launceston at the University of Tasmania Newnham campus. Around 200 people of all different ages, from all across the country, set up tents in the cold wet Tassie conditions to enjoy the conference. There was a diverse range of backgrounds and interests, with some participants not currently involved in any campaigns, but were interested in finding out more about issues, and other participants who believed that illegal activity is necessary to protect the planet from concerning environmental issues. The conference focused on educating and teaching skills in sustainability initiatives, ranging from the formation of a new political party to tackle climate change to permaculture workshops. Each day of the conference had a different focus: successes, challenges, asset mapping and pitching, journey, and doing.

Each day began with a morning plenary to introduce the theme of the day and was followed by breakout workshops centred around the theme. One highlight for me was an introduction to the Students Against Racism Living in Between workshop, which is educating school students across the state about what it means to be a refugee. I also learnt how to write performance poetry with Luka Lesson and participated in a practical university divestment workshop run by ASEN and 350.The Students of Sustainability conference had a great focus on working as a community, giving each delegate the responsibility to sign up for two volunteer shifts. My shifts were childcare, where I set up my face paints to create a pig, butterfly and the world’s most colourful tiger, and the safety patrol, where I acted as the first point of contact for anyone in distress during the night. As my safety patrol shift was on Saturday night and there was a fundraiser party planned, I was concerned that we may experience a few incidences. However, my concerns were unjustified and the only excitement that occurred during the night was a group of people decided to get naked and howl at the moon. This was quite impressive, given Newnham was experiencing sub-zero temperatures.

Power Shift

Power Shift, whilst being another event organised by young passionate people for young passionate people, had a very different feel to the Students of Sustainability conference. A three day summit organised by the AYCC, Power Shift mobilised 1200 young Australians to campaign for stronger action on climate change during this election year. The summit followed a similar format to the Students of Sustainability conference, with a plenary featuring key note speakers in the morning, followed by master classes involving people from a diverse range of professional and activist back grounds. The main difference was that all key note addresses and master classes had one primary focus: mobilising young people to take action on climate change. There was a lot of excitement in the air throughout the three days of power shift. The MC, key note speakers and conveners chose their words wisely to fire up and inspire the 1200 young people in from of them.

I learnt about how to effectively engage the media and heard from people from the Maldives and Bangladesh about how their countries are already experiencing the devastating effects of climate change. The highlights for me were the Political Q&A, where delegates questioned politicians on their climate change policies, and the organised Power Shift action that followed. We held a mock youth cabinet meeting, with all delegates participating in a discussion on the legislation we would like to see that would be effective at minimising the worst effects of climate change. I then participated in the most exhilarating rally I have ever experienced, as we walked the streets of Melbourne to present our proposals to parliament. The mood amongst the delegates was electric; we felt we were really making an impact on this issue.

The main difference I felt between Students of Sustainability and Power Shift was the connection between participants. At the Students of Sustainability conference, we were a collective of individuals and groups, sharing ideas and working on different issues. At Power Shift however, I felt that all individuals from all backgrounds created a single unit, a movement with a single goal in mind; to aim higher on climate and speed up the mitigation process before it is too late. The two events appeal to different kinds of people. Students of Sustainability appeals to those who look for an all-round alternative and sustainable way of living, whereas Power Shift appeals more to people who could perhaps be described as ‘mainstream activists’.

Personally I found both to be incredibly well organised, informative, inspiring and practical. However, considering climate change Is the biggest challenge we face this century, it is incredibly important that we have such an organised body such as the AYCC to mobilise and empower the younger generation to take action on this issue, as we are the ones who both experience the full effects of the anthropocene and have the power to change the future of our planet.


Tarkine Rainforest- On the Whyte River Track

The scenery changed just after Zeehan. Approaching Corinna, lush forests popped out of the roadsides. I applied the brakes as the pavement gave way to gravel and the van jolted, spitting rocks up at the floorboards.

At the ferry, I came to a slow stop. I had made it to the edge of the Pieman River, leading into the heart of the Tarkine Wilderness. I watched in anticipation as the ferry captain made his way back to my side of the river, loading my campervan up and over the still flowing Pieman River. The day was grey and rainy, clouds keeping in the mist. The air was cold and crisp. I was crossing over into Corinna, the beginning of the Tarkine, the world’s second largest temperate rainforest.

I was a solitary figure on the Whyte River track, following a forest walk which wanders along the Pieman and Whyte rivers. Through the ancient rainforest, the path revealed mossy trunks intertwined with ground shoots . Everything was covered in rain. The forest was silent but for the crunching of my footsteps. Occasionally, I’d hear the sweetest birdsong, and another bird answering back. I wondered what they were singing about, sitting so high on the weathered leaves.

Several times, I heard a snap of twigs breaking on the forest floor. I paused and listened to the hasty retreat of a wallaby- or perhaps a wombat? I moved on, following the river until I veered away into thick, tall grasses. Giant trees towered overhead, with the large steps of moss attached on its massive sides, making it seem as a ladder of sorts. I imagined myself climbing onto the moss, making my way to the top of the trees to claim my bird’s eye view of the ancient rainforest.

Timelapse: Tumultuous Tasmania

If a picture is worth a 1000 words, what will 65 000 pictures tell you?
If you have a few minutes spare, I invite you to watch this timelapse piece I’ve been working on tirelessly for the past 8 months. My aim is simple. To showcase the beauty of Tasmania through my passion for photography. This is my first attempt at such a project, and it is a huge and ongoing learning experience. Comments are welcomed.

Tumultuous Tasmania from Francois Fourie on Vimeo.


If you are unable to view the video online, you can check out these frame grabs:

The Folded Range and the White Monoliths, Part 1

  • FromThe Irenabyss Gallery – The Photography of Matt Brain
  • Participants : Kent Lillico & Matt Brain
  • Planned Number of Days : 5 Actual Number of Days : 6
  • Camera: Konica Autoreflex T (intermittent light meter) with 50mm Hexanon and 24mm Makinon Lenses, Kodachrome film (got drenched).
  • Interactive Online Map:  The Folded Range Trek 

Sunset from the Folded Range. Southwest Tasmaniaimage

Sunset from the Folded Range. Southwest Tasmania

It Seemed an Exciting Prospect

It was in  September (school holidays) when Kent and I ventured this circuit. I remember talking about it with Dax Noble on the Ben Lomond ski fields in August. It seemed an exciting prospect going on an off-track scrub bash in the south west in early spring. Well, it was. Brutally.

The plan was to follow the Lake Pedder shoreline around to the base of the Folded Range, traverse the range, then follow a spur just west of the Folded Range summit south to come up near Lake Maconochie on the White Monolith Range. This spur is the natural watershed and was marked white for ‘clear’ on the 1:100,000 map – the only map available at the time. We would then walk east out over the Monoliths, and out via the Old Port Davey track to Scotts Peak Dam car park.

Kent and I had a lot of scrub bashing between us, having knocked off some of the more remote peaks on the peak baggers guide such as The Spires, Mt Shaula, & The Eldons. I was 16 at the time, and failure was not something I had experienced. Kent, perhaps, should have known what to expect, but never one to be persuaded out of a hard trip, I think I would have wanted to go anyway.

Shoreline Rock Erosion, Lake Pedder.image

Shoreline Rock Erosion, Lake Pedder.Southwest Tasmania.

We left Kent’s trusty Nissan Bluebird at Scott’s Peak Dam around lunch time and followed the Port Davey track for the first few kilometres before turning off to pass south of Red Knoll and join the vestiges of the old track that used to run to the beach on Lake Pedder before they drowned it. The first creek below Red Knoll was a muddy crossing but after that it was pleasant walking in the low slanting afternoon light, mainly in button grass, occasionally on the gravel shore of the lake if it wasn’t too muddy.

Eastern Edge of the Folded Range.image

Eastern Edge of the Folded Range. A button grass ridge snakes westward to end abruptly at the first highpoint.

We arrived at the base of the Folded Range at that awkward time of the after-noon when it is too early to stop, but a big step to the next bit of flat ground before the sunset at around 5:40. We pushed on, finding the ascent ridge clad predominantly with sedges and that unique slippery southwest slime. After a pause at some prominent rocks, we continued to the eastern edge of the range. From here, the ridge snakes westward toward the first high point and we made camp amidst button grass clumps below a small knoll. The first warning signs were apparent here – at an elevation of only 710m, we were melting snow for water. I remember looking out the tent door and seeing a lone car driving along the Scott’s Peak Dam Road in the dusk before mist encircled us.

At that time I was using a Macpac Neve sleeping bag. This is a great bag (in summer) that saves weight by having no down on the back but instead a sleeve to slide a ground mat into. I can’t remember if I owned a thermarest at that point or was using a foam mat but it was cold and I had to wear lots of clothes.

Mist below the Folded Range Highpoint.image

Mist below the Folded Range Highpoint. Near the highpoint, more alpine vegetation makes progess easier.

Dax below the first highpoint.image

Dax below the first highpoint. This drop lies at the end of a gulch in the cliff and requires a rope to lower the packs. It was treacherous in the snow of our first attempt.

Away We Went, Up and Down, Along the Range

Next morning a cold southerly breeze blew over the tops as we started toward the first high-point. The gradually steepening button grass led to a rocky summit and here the mist came in and the pain started. The first drop was steep – a 2m wide gulch in a cliff face with head high stiff scoparia in your face, catching your pack and flicking the snow down your neck, knee deep snow on the ground, and then a roped descent for packs at the bottom… and then a traverse pushing through scrub in snow. Away we went, up and down, along the range.

Although the new 1:25,000 scale map shows it well, this wasn’t available then and we were navigating in the pre-GPS era off a 1:100,000 scale map.

The Folded Range. Southwest Tasmania.image

The Folded Range. Southwest Tasmania. Looking east along the highpoints.  This was taken on a later  trip – we climbed every highpoint without any view on the first trip.

We knew we were on the Folded Range but that was about it. Not knowing which was the highest point, we climbed every high point. Frozen feet, frozen hands, torn over-pants, unyielding scoparia, snow, mist– and no sign of any track to follow.

We made camp somewhere above seven hundred metres. I can’t be sure exactly where, only that we had climbed over every major high points Next morning, the mist cleared briefly and we could see the ridge to Maconochie ahead and the jagged spires of the multiple Folded Range summits behind us.

The next day began better – there was less snow on the ground, and it was easier walking through button-grass clumps down open leads until we clambered onto point. From here the button grass became uncomfortably higher and it was either push between waist high clumps or hop from clump to clump (either way chews up energy with a full pack). The clumps were interspersed with taller banksia, but this was only the prelude. Over a rocky spur it began – a steep descent with every botanical difficulty the southwest can hit you with.

From the Western End of the Folded Range, Looking to Mt Maconochie.image

From the Western End of the Folded Range, Looking to Mt Maconochie.  In the middle distance is the ridge joining the two ranges. The days progress was from here to the rocks on the ridge above screen center.

It started with big banksias that wouldn’t yield or break. Initially, these had buttongrass between them but they were soon wired together with bauera, the 1.5mm vine with pretty flowers in spring that forms a menacing 2 or 3m high wall when it has something to suspend it. It is usually easier downhill as you can throw yourself on top of it and fall or roll over it on the next bit. But eventually your foot or your pack gets caught and you end upside down (with your 25kg pack on), more so when it is growing between other sturdier plants. By now it was wet so that soon we were drenched and cold. As we descended it began raining again and by the time we reached the saddle, we were cold and exhausted.

The Folded Range and distant Mt Anne from Mt Maconochie.image

The Folded Range and distant Mt Anne from Mt Maconochie. This image was taken on the 1997 trip to the Monoliths.

The south end of the saddle was a wall of bauera and tea-tree and my sodden pack became a cross between an ice-breaker and a battering ram, being repeatedly thrown forward and then climbed onto to squash the tangle down. It was now late afternoon and by the time we reached some 2cm deep pools at, darkness was falling and we slumped into our wet tent. I was so wearied that Kent actually cooked me dinner. Our progress for the day had been about 3 km, all our gear was wet, and there seemed no end in sight.

The next day started the same way: more wet bauera, more cold. Keep moving or get colder. Short breaks, save your only half damp clothes for the tent. The cruelty of pulling wet cold socks, boots, trousers, and thermals over a body warm out of bed! I remember the joy of smashing out of some scrub into a 3m perfect circle with a King Billy pine in the centre that must have survived some fire that had made skeletons of its brethren. Those 3m of scrub free ground were such a reward before the unrelenting bash restarted that to this day I regret not having photographed it.

Lake Maconochie and The White Monolith Range.image

Lake Maconochie and The White Monolith Range. From the summit of Mt. Maconochie. The Western Arthur Range dominates the right skyline with Wombat Peak and Scrubby Peak in the middle distance. The sun-lit ridge in the center is where we ascended from on the 1995 trip.

Finally around lunchtime, it relented. We climbed onto a more open top and followed an easier ridge with button grass and sedges onto higher ground. The weather cleared briefly letting us look back at the short distance we had come. We first saw Lake Maconochie from the spur, and although the way down to it looked easy, we continued to climb to gain the range crest. Here we dumped our packs and headed up Mt Maconochie- only to have the clouds envelope us again before we reached the summit – rather a disappointment after our efforts (but at least we bagged the all-important points!)

Corner Peak and Greystone Bluff.image

Corner Peak and Greystone Bluff. From below Mt. Maconochie.

After lunch, we continued south over a shallow depression with occasional signs of a pad to Corner Peak. The summit of this peak requires a very small amount of rock climbing but there were now gale force winds buffeting us and in our demoralised state we actually piked and continued on. From Corner Peak around to the 976m highpoint, there were signs of a pad and we felt things might get easier- but it petered out in more scoparia on the ridge to Stonehenge Peak.

Wombat Peak from Sculptured Mountain, The White Monolith Range, image

Wombat Peak from Sculptured Mountain, The White Monolith Range, Wombat Peak is on the right skyline with Scrubby Peak and Stonehenge Peak center.

We camped in a saddle, again having the ‘luxury’ of snow for water. Escape was in sight, or so we thought and the next day we ploughed on again, heading through snow, pandani and scoparia over the southern shoulder of Scrubby Peak before breaking out onto button grass below Wombat Peak. The remaining 3km of walking along the ridge crest to Sculptured Mountain went quickly and was most enjoyable as the weather cleared enough for us to see the surrounding mountains and the plains below as we traversed the large boulders near the summit.

Thinking we might have a chance of getting out that night, we slipped and slid down the side of Sculptured Mountain on a predominantly button-grass lead to the plains below. We had identified a narrowing in the dense forest around Dodd’s River where the button grass nearly reached the banks and it was a pleasant but rapid march through the button grass plains in blissful sunshine.

The Crossing Plains from Wombat Peak. Southwest Tasmania.image

The Crossing Plains from Wombat Peak. Southwest Tasmania. After days of rain, the mist began to clear as we neared the eastern end of the White Monolith Range.

Worn Out By This Wild Land

The plain ended abruptly at a sharp drop off around 30m from the river bank, and the pleasantness fell away with it. This is where things got dangerous. The rains and snow melt had left the Dodd’s River in flood – a dark mass of water moving swiftly south to its meeting with the Crossing River. Foolishly, we decided to attempt the crossing. We were cold, worn out by this wild land, desperate for home, and had no confidence in the river subsiding anytime soon. We had no communication device (light-weight EPIRBs and mobile phones didn’t exist then) and not enough food to return the way we had come even if we had had the inclination. We had both crossed flooded rivers before, but not of this volume. We found a place where the current appeared to wash into the opposing bank with very few sticks visible that might mark underwater snags and we were away.

The Western Arthur Range from the west at sunrise. Southwest Tasimage

The Western Arthur Range from the west at sunrise. Southwest Tasmania.Clouds cover the Arthur Plains on a cool winter dawn.

Crossing a Flooded Wilderness River:

Opinions change with time. At the time, the advice was keep your rucksack on for buoyancy with the waist belt unbuckled and the harness slightly loosened so as to be able to get it off at any time. Losing your pack and ability to warm yourself and eat may be as life-threatening as drowning, if a little slower. Keep a pair of thermals on for some insulation and keep your boots on – it will protect your feet and allow you to stand on a sharp bottom. I am not sure about the last point if it is clear you won’t be touching the bottom, because what you don’t want is to be snagged by a bootlace or a hidden log – death. My advice NOW is- don’t cross a river like this. My subsequent experience in Tasmania is that you can nearly always find a log jam spanning the river if you move up or downstream (there never seems to be a shortage of them on our river descents), although it may require a lot more demoralising scrub bashing along the bank to find it. 

Last light on the Folded Range.image

Last light on the Folded Range. Mt. Hesperus and the Western Arthur Range are on the skyline.

We Were Out of Our Depth Immediately

The bank dropped away steeply, we were out of our depth immediately. The current had full control and we floated initially along the near bank to some immersed trees where we briefly rested. Kent at this point took his pack off and clasped it in his right hand. We then let go and entered the main current. It was terrifyingly fast and we shot off round a bend, Kent slightly ahead of me. Futile swimming motions of legs and arms just used energy but did nothing.

Suddenly I was at the far bank but it had a 2 foot drop. I grabbed a tea-tree that leaned out and was instantly dragged under by the current. I was convinced I was going to drown here but didn’t let go-and a second or so later bobbed up against the bank and grabbed a second tea tree, keeping my head up. There was nothing to put my feet or knees on and I was shaking with cold and fear. My arms were at full stretch and I couldn’t pull myself out. My boots and pack were heavily waterlogged and pulling me back into the current. I couldn’t get my arms out of the pack harness without letting go. This is the point where I got really scared.

Fortunately Kent had landed further down and by having his pack already off, managed to get himself and pack out of the river. He was able to take the weight of my pack while I climbed out and then together we pulled the now sodden thing out. I then set off like a mad man for the Port Davey track, smashing through the riverine cutting grass and tea-tree. I remember Kent wanting to stop and check the map and bearing, but I could see sunlight on Mount Hesperus ahead and was going that way no matter what. We broke onto the crossing plains, now in the shadow of the western mountains and charged across them. What brought me to a halt was falling waist deep in mud – a thing that normally only happens on the tracks.

A few years later, coming out of The Norolds we found a tent fly about 3km from here at the Crossing River draped around tree branches as the water subsided. The river had risen rapidly overnight after an incredible day of rain and was huge. We worried that someone had been camped there and been caught in the night by the flash flooding. A couple of weeks later, a search was being conducted for a man missing on the South Coast track (early 1999). It may be coincidence but we then reported the tent fly and within two days his body was found downstream on the Davey River into which the Crossing flows. The press reported that he may have been attempting to raft the river. However, I am not sure he wasn’t swept away in the night. I think I am lucky that I also wasn’t found lifeless downstream on the Crossing or Davey River.

We continued on and set a cracking pace along the Old Port Davey track but daylight was slipping away and the sun set behind Sculptured Mountain as we rounded the end of Hesperus.

Sunset  from the Old Port Davey Track between north of the Crossimage

Sunset from the Old Port Davey Track north of the Crossing River. Greenhead on the southern ridge off Greystone Bluff dominates the skyline. The De Witt Range is in the distance.

I think I intended to walk out by torch light, but Kent couldn’t see well enough with his glasses constantly fogging and we turned into the Moraine A campsite, pitching our tent in the darkness. It was a miserable night for Kent, his sleeping bag was saturated and I remember several times waking up to the sound of the foil crinkling as he re-arranged a space blanket around his body.

We arose early the next day and raced for the cars. The swollen Junction Creek was simply waded as we were saturated anyway and by late morning we were at the car. By afternoon I was on the bus back to Launceston, reflecting on the adventure.

The Folded Range Highpoint. image

The Folded Range Highpoint. This view is from the eastern summit. On our first trip it was not clear which was the highest point of the range.


We’ll look forward to reading more about the Folded Range and the White Monoliths in the upcoming Part 2.


TG #2

Hello again!

Mid-August marks the peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower, as Earth drifts through a region of space with shards and fragments. There have been some spectacular fireballs spotted as they blast down into our atmosphere…and if you see one, you can make a wish. So if the clouds clear- keep your eyes on the sky!

Hobart has also just celebrated the first Aurora and Night Sky Festival- you can see the photos from this exhibit at Mt. Nelson Signal Station. It’s also National Science Week, so spare a moment’s thought about all the things there are to learn on the earth, in the ocean, and in the sky.

Since our first issue, there has been a much appreciated influx of interest and stories, an interview about Tasmanian Geographic with a leading daily newspaper, and an opportunity to speak on the radio about this new project. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy publishing it!

If you are inspired by the stories you read, please forward along this issue to a friend. If you are reading this and would like to get all the future issues by email, check out the subscription form on the web site. It’s free- enjoy and share!

Hope you are keeping warm this winter,

— The Editor

P.S. Ideas? Comments? Suggestions? Find us on social media!

Judah Solomon and the Building of the Hobart Synagogue

The gravesite of Judah Solomon, Cornelian Bay Cemetery, Hobart

The gravesite of Judah Solomon, Cornelian Bay Cemetery, Hobart

The Hobart Hebrew Congregation Synagogue at 59 Argyle Street, Hobart, is the oldest remaining synagogue in Australia. Consecrated in 1845, this Heritage-listed building has been used as the home of Jewish worship in southern Tasmania continuously ever since. The building of a synagogue was raised as the Hobart Jewish community began to emerge in the 1830s. Hardly anyone would be more instrumental to its building than a former convict from England by the name of Judah Solomon.

Judah Solomon is not to be confused with another famous “Solomon”: Isaac (Ikey) Solomon, upon whom the fictional character of Fagin in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist is based. While the life paths of these two Jewish convicted criminals who shared the same surname apparently actually briefly crossed each other in Hobart – Judah was said to assist Ikey with money for surety at one occasion – there is no evidence to suggest that these two were related to each other.

Part I – Judah Solomon is Transported from England, and Arrives in Hobart

Ocean, the convict transport that carried the first Jews to Van Diemans Land. It initially carried convicts to establish a settlement in Port Phillip. When that was abandoned, Ocean, in two journeys, relocated the settlers to Hobart (Wikipedia)

Ocean, the convict transport that carried the first Jews to Van Diemans Land. It initially carried convicts to establish a settlement in Port Phillip. When that was abandoned, Ocean, in two journeys, relocated the settlers to Hobart (Wikipedia)

Judah and his brother Joseph were born in late eighteen-century London. The brothers – belonging to a small Jewish community which supplied goods to the Royal Navy – would have undoubtedly profited from the boom years of the Napoleonic Wars. However, in the wake of these wars, the presence of so many demobilised sailors and soldiers created unemployment, poverty and crime. The two Solomon brothers were caught dealing with stolen goods generated by this crime wave.

With the relatively recent discovery and colonization of Australia, it was chosen to serve as a penal colony in order to accommodate the increasing number of offenders caught in this surge of crime. The Solomon brothers were sentenced to the capital punishment for their role in promoting criminal activity, and – as was usually the practice at that time – had this sentence immediately commuted into transportation for life in the penal colony.

The Hobart Synagogue, 59 Argyle Street

The Hobart Synagogue, 59 Argyle Street

The Solomon brothers arrived to Tasmania, known as Van Dieman’s Land in those days, via Sydney in 1820, on the transport Castle Forbes. The brothers worked in Hobart as assigned convicts, and, eventually – unusual as this was for convicts – using money brought from England, were able to start their own business, probably a general store, in Hobart.  The combination of their resourcefulness and having arrived with their own funds enabled the brothers to engage in business and prosper.

Soon the Solomon brothers acquired more businesses in Hobart and, after securing a permission from the authorities to leave the town of Hobart, spread their emerging business empire to Launceston as well. This increasingly prominent mercantile family acquired land on the intersection of Liverpool and Argyle Streets in Hobart. This property, later named the Temple House, was developed around the mid 1820s as a combination of residence and business premises.

By the 1830s, the Solomon brothers acquired a reputation for their hard work and sound business practices. After twelve years operating as convict businessmen, the Solomon received conditional pardons in 1832. In 1841, the partnership between the brothers would be dissolved, and Judah was left to own the Temple House by himself.

Part II – a Jewish Community Emerges in Hobart and Judah Solomon’s Generosity

At the Jewish Cemetary, Cornelian Bay

At the Jewish Cemetary, Cornelian Bay

There have been Jews living in Hobart ever since 1804, when a few Jewish convicts arrived from the then failing colony of Port Phillip to Sullivans Cove – the initial landing site in what is now the city of Hobart. As with other convicts, the struggle for survival consumed most of their resources, and the Jews – initially only convicts – had little time in those early days for religious practices. By the 1830s, however, a number of the Jews living in Hobart would start gathering for worship in various venues.

One such venue was the Temple House – Judah Solomon’s property which consisted of his home and warehouse. Records from these early days reveal that in this and other venues around Hobart, a Jewish community was starting to emerge. A newspaper report of the early 1830s, for example, records a wedding “according to the Mosaic Law (i.e. the Law of Moses; a now rather obsolete reference to Judaism.)”. In 1836, the first formal Jewish group, “the Jewish Benevolent Society”, was formed.

Location of Hobart Synagogue (Map via OpenStreetMap)

Location of Hobart Synagogue (Map via OpenStreetMap)

In 1841 this Jewish organization would be renamed “the Hebrew Philanthropic Institution”. By the early 1840s, the building of a dedicated synagogue began to be contemplated among the emerging Jewish congregation, and that led to further name changes: first, “the Hebrew Congregational and Philanthropic Society”, and then: “the Hebrew Congregation of Hobart Town”.  In the 1880s, it would finally be renamed to its current name, “the Hobart Hebrew Congregation”.

Following a meeting of the community in 1842, it was decided to establish a “synagogue building fund”. In 1843, it was announced that Judah Solomon had donated a portion of his garden as a gift to the site, as well as making a generous donation to the said fund. The Hobart Jewish community had earlier requested the then Governor of the colony, Sir John Franklin, that the government grant them land. However, they were refused, because of government policy of only granting land to Christian organizations. Judah Solomon’s finances and property would therefore be instrumental to the building of the Hobart synagogue.

Part III – The Building of the Synagogue

The interior of the synagogue (Hobart Synagogue online gallery)

The interior of the synagogue (Hobart Synagogue online gallery)

The building was designed by Hobart Town architect James Thomson. Thomson was a Scot who was transported at the age of twenty in 1825 for attempted jewel robbery. He was later assigned to the Public Works department where he worked with architect firms, and in 1839 received a Free Pardon. It has been suggested that this building showed great Masonic influences: Thomson himself, as well as leading members of the Jewish community, were Freemasons.

The building was designed to be built in the Egyptian Revival style. The Napoleonic Wars – which contributed to Judah Solomon’s presence in Hobart- seemed to have also shaped the style of the synagogue. Napoleon’s recent conquest of Egypt had has made interpretations of Egyptian style popular. It symbolizes both a new world of knowledge, as well as a sense of history- an appropriate combination for a new congregation of an ancient religion.

A tender from Kirk and Fisher to construct the building for £717 was accepted on 5 June 1843, and on 20 October 1844 another tender, from John McLoughlin, for £385, was accepted to finish the interior. As the community did not possess sufficient funds to finish the building, an appeal was sent to the Board of Deputies of British Jews in London through Sir Moses Montefiore. Sir Montefiore himself responded, as did other prominent British Jews; donations were also received from prominent Jews in Canada and New Orleans in the USA. The remaining difference between the funds available and the total cost would eventually be loaned from several members of the congregation.

A plaque inside the synagogue commemorating the founders of the Synagogue including the Treasurer, Judah Solomon (Hobart Synagogue online gallery)

A plaque inside the synagogue commemorating the founders of the Synagogue including the Treasurer, Judah Solomon (Hobart Synagogue online gallery)

The foundation stone for the synagogue was laid on 9 August 1843 by the President of the congregation, Louis Nathan. He was a free settler who immigrated to Australia on the encouragement of his emancipist brother-in-law who lived in Sydney. His brother-in-law would later become the President of the Sydney Synagogue. At the laying of the stone, Louis Nathan placed a sealed bottle in a specially prepared cavity.

This bottle contains a record, on parchment, written in both English and Hebrew, of the occasion. It states:

“On the fourth day of the week … in the year 5603 [of the Jewish calendar], the seventh year of the reign of Queen Victoria, the first stone of this house of Assembly… was laid… on this portion of ground given as a perpetual gift by Judah Solomon Esquire.”

The bottle is believed to still be in a cavity in the foundation, though where exactly is unknown.

The ceremony was attended by many prominent non-Jewish citizens as well. The ceremony was concluded in refreshments served in Judah’ s home – the Temple House next door. There, the day’s proceedings were concluded with the usual afternoon service.

A prayer for Victoria and the Royal Family (Hobart Synagogue online gallery)

A prayer for Victoria and the Royal Family (Hobart Synagogue online gallery)

The completion of the synagogue took almost two years. The dedication and official opening took place on Friday, 4 July 1845, in the presence of some of the leading citizens of Hobart Town. The opening ceremony received wide coverage in the press in Tasmania, as well as beyond: a Sydney Morning Herald article from 19 December 1845, praised the building and its generous contributor, Judah Solomon, stating:

On the north wall of the building a white marble tablet is placed, having engraved on it in gold letters the following inscription: “The ground on which is erected this edifice was presented to the Hebrew Congregation of Hobart Town by Judah Solomon Esqre., who also handsomely contributed towards its erection. To commemorate this event, and to inform posterity of his zeal and liberality, this table is inscribed.”

The synagogue’s completion and initial operating years still coincided with the convict era in Tasmania. Not inconsistent with similar policies for Christian prisoners, instructions were given that “all prisoners of the Jewish persuasion” not actually under a sentence would have leave to refrain from work and attend the synagogues on Sabbaths. The synagogue contains to this day (now unused) numbered benches for use of the prisoners, perhaps the only such synagogue in the world.


An example of a numbered convict bench in the synagogue (Hobart Synagogue online gallery)

An example of a numbered convict bench in the synagogue (Hobart Synagogue online gallery)

As for the one particular convict who was so instrumental to the building of the synagogue – Judah was never able to return to England. While his success in the business world amassed him a great fortune that placed him among the most affluent and prominent families among the citizens of Hobart, he was never able to receive full pardon from His Majesty’s Government.

It is possible that a reference to Judah’s Jewish religion, included in his application to petition the Christian, middle-class Governor for this pardon in the 1840s – made by this very enthusiastic member of the Jewish community- had a negative effect which made all the difference on its outcome. Perhaps, had mention of Judah’s Jewish identity been neglected, his pardon would have been more favourably considered by the Governor. Judah would die in Hobart in 1856.



A Motoring Guide To Mt Wellington

Welcome to the Mountain

It is said that 300,000 people visit Mount Wellington each year. This is no doubt due to its unique situation – an alpine mountain located next to a temperate Australian capital city. You really can go from the surf to the snow in 20 minutes. What’s more you can see the surf from the snow and vice versa. The views are awesome, and the surroundings spectacular.

You could easily spend several days on the mountain, as long as you were happy to walk a lot. Anyone can find enough to enjoy a few hours in this magnificent natural environment, unrivalled in proximity to any other Australian city.

Mountain Conditions and Considerations

Mobile phone reception is generally good, but spots do exist on the mountain where the signal is lost. Be a smart walker- bring sungear, raingear, warm clothing, a torch, water, and whatever else is required. Don’t disturb the wildlife or vegetation, and take your rubbish out with you. Tell someone where you are going, and keep to the trails. Mount Wellington is a big mountain- it is and will always be a wild place.

People DO become lost on this mountain. A GPS with charged batteries will assist in retracing your steps if required.

Mount Wellington can be quite harsh weather-wise. It rises to 1271m, and at that height it’s in the way of the Roaring Forties oceanic winds. There are mountains further south and west that get a bit more of a battering, but Mount Wellington is hit by bad weather as hard as most of Southwest Tasmania. I would recommend always taking a jumper and waterproof coat, and perhaps a hat and gloves. Otherwise, you might want to just sit in the car.

Part of the Mount Wellington experience is the weather. You might find it’s a warm sunny day, still and clear, and you’ll be able to walk around in a shirt and shorts. Then again, it might be cloudy, sleeting, and blowing so hard that you can’t stand up. You will probably find the lower parts of the mountain more hospitable on days like that, but it can be pretty impressive just to experience the Antarctic blast on a wild day at the summit.

Be careful though, the wind can damage car doors and car occupants. For example, on 9th September 2012, a gust of 156km/h was recorded. The comedian Billy Connolly said there was “no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing.” Take the right clothing up Mount Wellington to test out his theory. (You can check current conditions at the Bureau of Meteorology.)

Take care on days of high bushfire danger. The mountain is sometimes closed on hot and windy days. Be especially careful with cigarette butts. Most of the forests on this side of Mount Wellington burnt in 1967; the massive trees and steep ground means that bushfires can be infernally hot, dangerous, and uncontrollable.

Warnings for Drivers

Fortunately, there’s a road to the top, but it is narrow and winding in places. It has steep drop-offs protected by good cable barriers. You will need to drive carefully, and walkers and cyclists will thank you for it. You may want to share the driving, as looking at the view while driving is not recommended.

Be prepared to stop to enjoy the views. There are various places to stop along the road, some good, some not. I will try to note for you all the places where it may be worth stopping, but some of the parking areas are tiny and/or dubious. Use your own judgment, and ensure you pull over as far as possible. Other vehicles will need the whole width, as you will see. If you stop in the roadway, you may cause a problem, even a hazard if you are stopped around a blind corner. If the road is snowy or icy, it will have an extra level of difficulty. Many people stay off it at such times, and you may find it is closed at some point. There are signs to warn of this as you approach the mountain.

Using This Guide

You might be someone with a couple of hours to spare, who just wants to get out of the car a few times to look at the view, and walk on fairly level ground in your normal shoes. Then again, you might have all day, want to get out and see all the wild and rough tracks on the mountain, and be happy to clamber up and down anything in all kinds of weather. You might also be somewhere in between, and I’ll try to cater to all tastes. When there’s a walk to do, I’ll try to let you know what you’re in for.

This article is illustrated using a digital Google, and you can find other geographic resources at the links above.

I also suggest that if you want to spend the whole day or longer on the mountain, and especially if planning to do the longer walks, go and buy the Mount Wellington Recreation Map. Sold wherever maps are sold, but especially at Hobart Service Tasmania and the Hobart Map Shop. You might also find that the Wildside Café at Fern Tree has them.

Distances shown against items are from the intersection of Huon Rd with Pillinger Drive. You can set your car odometer here to zero to help you locate places on the mountain.

Drive Description

From the city, navigate onto Davey St, enter the right hand lane and continue straight ahead. At the last set of traffic lights, make sure you don’t head left in the dual lanes onto the Southern Outlet heading for Kingston. (If you do, don’t panic! Drive up the hill and turn off left to Mount Nelson, then return down the hill and turn left again, back onto Davey St.)

Having avoided driving towards Kingston, follow Davey St uphill, as it becomes Huon Road and heads to the small town of Fern Tree. Before entering Fern Tree, there is a sign which will indicate you if any of the gates on the mountain road are closed due to hazardous conditions. If they are, usually for snow and ice, decide for yourself if you want to proceed anyway. You can always park somewhere below the closed gate and walk.

To head straight up the mountain, turn right up Pillinger Drive in a sharp switchback corner that is well signposted. If your vehicle can’t make this tight turn, proceed along the Huon Road a short distance, to the Fern Tree Tavern carpark which has sufficient space to enable buses to turn.

Highlight: Fern Tree

Instead of turning up there immediately, you can proceed a little further along the Huon Road to the [1] CBD of Fern Tree before heading up the mountain where you will find:

[1a] The Fern Glade Carpark – This is the best place to park if walking from Fern Tree. There are various walks from this point, including the main walk to the summit.

[1b]  Ferntree Tavern and Café A good spot to get a newspaper, coffee, sandwiches or rolls for lunch, some information about the mountain or to go for a feed and/or beverages afterwards. Larger vehicles use the carpark as a turning circle. Open 10am to late, 7 days a week. See them here or phone on (03) 6239 1171. (Note that the Wildside Café has been incorporated into the Tavern by the new owners of both establishments.)

[1c] Fern Tree Park – Over the main road from the tavern, this is a good lunch spot. There’s a playground for the kids, rudimentary toilets, a shelter with a fireplace, tables and chairs, and 3 wood-fired BBQs. Several walks also commence here, including the short walk to Silver Falls.

Silver Falls Short Walk – 30 mins return- Along 4wd track through forest to small waterfall, even surface with moderate climbing.

Park at the Fern Glade parking area and walk around the road carefully to the entrance to Fern Tree Park. Alternatively, park in the short road running between the tavern and the café if there is room. There is some space across the road from the bus stop. Enter the park and turn left. The track is wide and easy, and after about ten minutes reaches an intersection. Turn right and climb to Silver Falls. The water cascades down a mudstone and sandstone cliff. The falls may have been higher in past years, as the base may have been filled in after flooding. Retrace your steps to Fern Tree.

Along the track, there are various artifacts of Hobart’s water supply infrastructure, and it is worth pausing to read the signs.

[2] To continue upwards, head up Pillinger Drive . Just above the intersection is another information sign advising of any road closures. Care is required driving amongst the houses which stretch a short way up the narrow road.

[3] The Bracken Lane Carpark (0.8 km) – Driving beyond the end of the houses, this small parking area is on the right. Park here to walk to O’Gradys Falls. Don’t block the fire trail.

O’Gradys Falls Short Walk – 35 mins return- Mainly along 4wd tracks through forest to waterfall, views of mountain, some climbing, some uneven surfaces.

Park at the Bracken lane carpark. Head off down the Bracken Lane Fire Trail. Bear left on the higher track at the fork reached after about 5 minutes, where there is also a sign, and head onto the O’Gradys Falls Track. This affords good views to the imposing Organ Pipes cliffs high above, and ends at an intersection, beyond which the sign indicates continuation to the Falls slightly to the left on the Betts Vale Track. This narrower walking track takes you shortly to O’Gradys Falls. Retrace your steps to the car. It is unclear whether the falls are actually natural, or may have been modified to improve the ‘cascade’.

[4] Radfords Track Carpark (1.25 km) – Continuing up the road, there’s a small parking area on the left where Radfords Track crosses the road.

[5] Woods Track Carpark (2 km) – A little further, there is a small carpark on the left hand side just past Woods Track. You can walk carefully back down the road, and then steeply uphill to find Rocky Whelans Cave.

Rocky Whelan's Cave

Rocky Whelan’s Cave

Rocky Whelans Cave Short Walk – 15 mins return- Short steep climb on uneven surfaces through forest to small cave/overhang in sandstone cliff.

Park at the Woods Track carpark. Walk up the steep Woods Track for about 150m. There is a narrow track marked for Rocky Whelans Cave to the right heading up a bank. The cave is just a minute or so along here, in a sandstone formation.

It is not really clear whether Rocky Whelan, a bushranger who was hanged for murder, ever used this cave. It would provide some shelter in the rain, but it wouldn’t be too comfortable. Some historians believe he probably used another cave closer to present-day Kingston.

[6] Carpark for the Octopus Tree (2.6 km) – Further along on the left, a medium-sized carpark is just below the hairpin. The walking track to the Octopus Tree leaves behind the barrier on the tight bend, on the other side of the road. This is the Shoobridge Track, which also leads to various other locations on the eastern face of the mountain.

The Octopus Tree

The Octopus Tree

Octopus Tree Short Walk – 15 mins return- Walk through forest on narrow track to where a huge eucalypt grows on a boulder, some climbing and some uneven surfaces.

Park at the Octopus Tree Carpark just below Shoobridge Bend. Shoobridge Track leaves on the outside of the hairpin bend – take care with the traffic here. Walk along Shoobridge Track through the damp forest, taking the left fork where the Circle Track departs to the right. The forest here has abundant fungi in autumn.

The Octopus Tree is signposted just to the right of the track. It is a huge eucalypt which has grown on top of a large boulder, and its roots drape around the boulder looking like a monster octopus. (Editor’s note- take a look for the tiny caverns known as “tafoni” in this boulder.) The Shoobridge Track continues beyond here,  and Sphinx Rock, the Lenah Valley Track and Junction Cabin can all be accessed.

[7] Roadside Springs Lookout (4 km) – Driving about another 1.4k m, you will find a low wall on the left on a tight bend, with space for a few cars to park. The view is available here for no effort whatsoever. If you’re OK to walk for a couple of minutes, I suggest driving a little further.

[8] Springs Lookout Carpark (4.2 km) – Another 200 m up the road, the carpark on the right allows easy access to the main lookout, as well as being closest to the North-South Cycle Track. Sometimes there’s space here when the main carpark at the Springs is busy. I recommend a walk to the lookout, which is signposted. You can walk from here to the main Springs site in a couple of minutes through the trees. Also, this is the start of the North-South Track, a cycle track that descends to the Glenorchy Mountain Bike Park. Take care when walking on this steep track, as cyclists are moving at high speeds.

[9] The Springs (4.3 km) – Driving another 100 m, you will find the main Springs carpark. I recommend walking back to the lookout. It can be busy here, and if there’s no space, you can also park at the Upper Carpark 300 m above. At this main Springs site, there is a shelter hut with fireplace, toilets, information signs, places to sit and eat lunch, a water tap* and the start of several walking tracks. I recommend a walk to Sphinx Rock. (*The water taps here and at The Chalet are untreated and fresh out of the mountain streams. The Council have put big warning signs on them to cover themselves in case you have a delicate constitution. I drink the water and I think most local walkers do too, but then we might be immune to any bugs after all these years. ) The walk to Sphinx Rock commences from here along the Lenah Valley Track.

The Summit from Sphinx Rock

The Summit from Sphinx Rock

Sphinx Rock Short Walk – 40-45 mins return- Walk along well-made tracks through attractive forest to a viewpoint above a sandstone cliff, minimal climbing, even surfaces.

Park at The Springs main carpark, or walk here from one of the others. The track leaves behind the toilet block. This is the Lenah Valley Track, and will lead you all the way to Lenah Valley eventually. Walk first gently uphill and then level and gently downhill through lovely forest for 15-20 minutes. You will find a turnoff to the right. There is a steep cliff here, so keep kids close. Access is through a kid-proof gate to lessen the chance of accidents.

Sphinx Rock is a small cliff (large enough to kill you) in the sandstone underlying the dolerite rock which forms the upper part of the mountain. There are good views from here, and there can often be clearer skies here than higher on the mountain.

[10] Upper Springs Carpark and Springs Hotel site (4.6 km) – Drive up the one-way access road opposite the main carpark and have a look at the site of the old Springs Hotel. It’s worth getting out and doing some exploration around the grassy area. Seems a great place for a hotel. Maybe, but the substantial hotel that was once here was never very successful financially, and was not rebuilt after it burnt down. The view of the mountain is good from here, and it’s a quieter place to have lunch than the lower carpark. Some longer walks depart from this carpark up the set of steps to the right of the open hotel site. This is the main route up the mountain from The Springs.

[11] Climbers Carpark (6.9 km) – The road now heads along the front of the mountain. Some distance up the road, you will detect that this small parking area is near when you see a “turning traffic” sign. It is small and only has room for 5 cars. However, it allows rock climbers quicker access to the Organ Pipes up a very steep track. For the rest of us, there are more scenic ways to get to the Organ Pipes. You may only want to use this carpark if it’s empty and want to get a photo from here. If so, look out for traffic.

The Chalet on Mount Wellington

The Chalet on Mount Wellington

[12] The Chalet (8 km) – Continuing up the hill, the road turns around the curve of the mountain, and you will find good carparks on both side of the road at the Chalet. Take care when you get out, as some cars move at high speeds- as do the push bikes. A couple of walks depart from here, but the main attraction is the “Chalet” which is a good shelter with a wood-fired barbecue, tables and chairs, and a fireplace. This is a good spot to stop for lunch or other breaks, especially on rainy, windy or cloudy days. Sometimes the fire will be going, which is lovely. It is a welcome interruption from a cold walk. A good walk to the Organ Pipes can be undertaken from here. Other tracks also depart this point, including Hunters Track heading downhill and a very steep concealed track to the summit. You can collect drinking water here from a pipe with a tap just above the roadside waterfall, or from the waterfall itself. Same health warning applies here as at The Springs.

The Organ Pipes

The Organ Pipes

Organ Pipes Short Walk – 45-60 mins return- Walk on the face of the mountain to arrive beneath the organ pipe cliffs, moderate climbing, uneven surfaces including boulders.

Park at The Chalet. The track leaves up the left hand side of the shelter. Climb steeply up the hill behind The Chalet, and cross the small creek where the track turns left. Walk along here for 20 minutes or so, until you find yourself closely beneath the Organ Pipes to your right. You can walk along further if you like, or turn back when you’ve seen enough or used enough time. There are good views from here. The track is rocky in places, and can be damp underfoot at times.

[13] Panorama Track Carpark (8.9 km) – Continuing above the Chalet, the road heads for a distance away from the summit and out onto Mount Arthur. Here you will find a small carpark on the right. Stop here to walk up the Panorama Track.

Panorama Track Short Walk – 50-60 mins return (but longer with variants described)- Climb through alpine forest with great views, moderate and steep climbs mainly on uneven surfaces.

Park in the small carpark near the lower end of the Panorama Track. The track leaves about 50 m up the road on the left. Follow the track as it winds upwards through boulders and snow gum forest to rejoin the road about 1 km below the Pinnacle. This track is rough underfoot in many places, and can be quite wet, muddy and slippery.

To return, just retrace your steps. However, you can continue walking once you rejoin the road and walk to the Pinnacle if you wish, or walk back down the road. If you walk down to Luckmans Hut (see below), it is possible to continue down past Luckmans Hut and rejoin the Panorama Track, but the track is quite indistinct. Please note that in poor visibility, navigation may be required.

Hobart from the Blockstream carpark

Hobart from the Blockstream carpark

[14] Blockstream Carpark (9.1 km) – Just a short way beyond the Panorama Track, this carpark on the left sits where a view can be had of Hobart below a boulder field known as a “blockstream”. Dolerite boulders can be seen above and below the road. The stream is actually slowly moving downhill as the boulders weather. This slow process would see the road disappear one day without maintenance.

[15] Lost World Carpark (9.4 km) – Only a few hundred metres further, the road turns sharply back towards the summit, below Mount Arthur. There’s room for only two or three cars in a poor carpark on the left side inside the corner. Beware of the blind corner when exiting this carpark. You could also park at the Blockstream Carpark below here, or the larger carpark above here and walk along the road a little way. The Lost World Track starts on the outside of the tight corner. The track to Collins Bonnet starts on the East-West Fire Trail a few metres above the corner.

The Summit viewed from the Big Bend

The Summit viewed from the Big Bend

[16] Large Carpark (10 km) – This part of the mountain is now very open, with only sparse and low tree cover. It can be very exposed to the weather here. The road towards the summit passes through a large carpark. In the snow, this can be a good spot to stop and play. It may be less exposed than the summit, and possibly less busy. A rough, poorly marked and often wet track leaves here for Thark Ridge and Mount Montagu on the plateau. This track should be left to those with experience, plenty of time, good equipment and navigational knowledge.

[17] Luckmans Hut (or Skating Rink) Carpark (10.5 km) – Another 500m up the hill from the large carpark, several small and rough spaces for cars can be found on the left hand side. Short walks to Luckmans Hut and the old skating rink can be made from here.

Luckmans Hut (10 mins) and Skating Rink (5 mins) Short Walks- Two very short walks high on the mountain, off-track and on minor pad, some climbing and uneven surfaces.

Park in one of the scrappy spaces on the left of the road. Luckmans Hut is below the road. Find a faint pad heading down the open alpine herb field. Luckmans Hut is about five minutes down here. You can continue past the Hut and rejoin the Panorama Track.

The Skating Rink is on the other side of the road, only about 75m from the corner. Head roughly southwards across the heath. It’s a bit rough and wet in places. The skating rink is a quite obvious concrete structure, built in the late 1930s. It is truly tiny, so was probably not used for very spectacular skating.

[18] Upper Panorama Track Carpark (11.5 km) – Another kilometre up the hill, this tiny carpark is on the right, near the top of the Panorama Track which arrives at the road from the left. There are several very small parking spaces along the uphill-side of the road between here and the summit. On snowy days, beware of children throwing snowballs.

The Pinnacle of Mt Wellington

The Pinnacle of Mt Wellington

[19] Mount Wellington Summit (12 km) – Finally, you will arrive at the summit. The parking lot is a one-way loop- you drive clockwise around the pinnacle to find the carpark. A number of features here are worth visiting, and you can also just sit anywhere you like and marvel at the view. Some people have trouble with their car’s remote locking here (the radio antennae interfere with the small transmitter buttons built into the key). If so, there are instructions inside the visitor shelter for solving the problem.

[19a] The Pinnacle itself – The Summit of Mount Wellington. You should climb up here if you can, especially if you have walked to the top! On top is a “trig” point. The “point” is actually the metal point in the ground, and the pyramid structure above it enables people at distant locations to see it (with good optics). They were used for trigonometric surveying, and are largely useless in the GPS age. This one is most useful for holding onto as you climb to the top.

[19b] Visitor Shelter – Overlooks Hobart east of the carpark, and has interpretive panels inside along with a panoramic guide (complete with errors).

The visitor shelter overlooking Hobart

The visitor shelter overlooking Hobart

[19c] Summit Boardwalk – This runs down beside the visitor shelter. Great views can be had from here on clear days, and it is worth a walk for those who can.

[19d] Walk around the roadway – It is worth walking all around and seeing the views in all directions. Keen walkers will be able to spy interesting walking destinations all over the place.

[19e] Westerly viewpoint – To the west of the carpark, this view looks out across the summit plateau. There are informative signs here about the Aboriginal history of the mountain.

The Summit boardwalk

The Summit boardwalk

[19f] Walkers’ Hut – You can see this on the right of the road below the pinnacle as you arrive. It’s a small, rough shelter, but away from the crowds.

[19g] Walking Tracks – To the south of the carpark, beside the compound around the large concrete transmission tower, a walking track heads away. This is the top of the Zig Zag Track, and it also leads to the track across the summit plateau to South Wellington.

[19h] Toilets – These are newly renovated in 2012.

Along the Zig Zag Trail

Along the Zig Zag Trail

Zig Zag Track Short Walk – 10-60 minutes- A well-made track to start with, has great views. Soon heads steeply downhill becoming rougher. Walk as far as you like.

Having parked at the summit, the Zig Zag Track heads southwards next to the enclosure around the tall transmission tower. The Zig Zag Track takes you a little (or a long) way downhill on the front (east) face of the mountain. Head along this track, which gradually steepens and becomes rougher.

You can walk as far down here as you like, bearing in mind that unless you’ve arranged a ride, you’re going to have to walk back up. In fact, you can walk all the way down to The Springs or Fern Tree. The vegetation is interesting, and the views are quite spectacular, with the vista framed or bordered by the steep mountainsides.

Summit Plateau Short Walk – 30-100 minutes- A rougher walk on the exposed plateau, track marked by snow poles. Superb views and lovely alpine environment.

Warning: this walk is very exposed to poor weather, and navigation can become difficult if cloud descends.

This walk also departs alongside the transmission tower enclosure to the south.

This track is rough and in places poorly marked. In poor weather you can easily become lost. I strongly suggest you only undertake this walk on clear gentle days unless you know what you are doing. If the cloud comes down, you are going to find it very disorienting. This part of the mountain is extremely exposed in poor weather. If you walk far enough across the top of the mountain, you come to the Smith Monument. It was named for one Dr. Smith, who became lost when walking with friends and was never found again.

The track to South Wellington is marked about 200 m along the Zig Zag Track, and heads obliquely off to the right. There are poles all the way along this track, although in places they are hard to find. Follow the track for as long as you like. Eventually it descends quite a lot to South Wellington, but this is described in the longer walks. The views are good from various points, and you can turn left and head out to the steep edges to sit and look at the views anytime you like. After about 45 minutes you will come to a sign pointing left to the Rocking Stone. This spot provides good views, although the large perched boulder no longer rocks, its plinth having moved in recent years. Take care to retrace your steps accurately. There are views south from along this track that can’t be obtained from the summit, and the plateau vegetation and boulders are interesting and stark.

➤ You can view the route map at Google Maps and download a KML file atMount Wellington by Car 

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Towering Sea Cliffs – Six Views of Tasman National Park

Tasman Peninsula, in the south east of Tasmania, has a number of scenic highlights protected within Tasman National Park. The cliffs of Cape Pillar, Cape Raoul, and Cape Hauy are truly spectacular.   The dolerite cliffs are three hundred metres directly above the ocean, making these the tallest sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere. You can visit these sites by trail, or by boat. Join camera-wielding Michael Fuller as he zooms to the base of the Tasman cliffs via speedboat from Hobart.

Learn more at the Parks and Wildlife Service web page for Tasman National Park

Fifty People One Question — Launceston


About the making of 50 People 1 Question – Launceston:

After finding the 50 people and 1 question videos on YouTube, I was hooked. I think I watched almost every one of the films because it was interesting in seeing people from all over the world react to these unusually deep questions.

I then decided to give one of these videos a go for myself and see what we would get. So I got in contact with Mel and together we planned it out. We then went into the city and just started asking, “What’s your happiest memory?”

The video is my first major project and I am quite happy with the results. I looking forward to making more videos showcasing what Tasmanians have to offer.


About the Fifty People One Question Project at

Fifty People One Question is an ongoing social experiment and film series exploring human connections through people and place. The project began in New Orleans in 2008 and has since traveled across the globe, touching millions of viewers. Along the way, the films have captured a small slice of humanity; to discover dreams, losses, reflections, stories and secrets, some shared and some completely unrepeatable.

Remarkable individuals have shared countless responses to the films’ questions, both through the lens and in written form. This website has captured written responses from over 1,000 cities worldwide. Everyone is invited to see, hear, and explore our deepest human connections. And please, share your response to these simple, timeless questions.

So go ahead, ask yourself…

Original Project Credits

Fifty People One Question created by Benjamin Reece of Deltree and Nathan Heleine of Crush + Lovely. The original film was produced in New Orleans, LA by Benjamin Reece and Tung Bach Ly. Ongoing production is supported by a partnership between Crush + Lovely and Deltree, and through additional sponsors and partners.

For additional questions of your own, feedback, suggestions, partnership opportunities and random love, please contact the producers via email:



Invitation to Contribute

Invitation to Contribute

Your stories, photos, enthusiasm, and ideas are kindly requested.

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