The Chinese heritage of north east Tasmania has been highlighted in Branxholm. The Henry Ah Ping Walk was the brainchild of Graham and Christine, owners of the Tin Dragon Trail Cottages. The walk begins at their property from an interpretation centre housed in a settlers hut.
Chinese Heritage: Tin Mining
At the start or the end of the 2km circuit walk, visitors can inspect the information boards in the settlers hut. Christine meticulously researched the life of the walk’s namesake, Henry Ah Ping, for the impressive display. His life as a tin miner in north east Tasmania is an interesting story, and is based around the region’s Chinese heritage.
The Henry Ah Ping Walk follows the Ormuz/Arba water race (1887), and gives the visitor an insight into the construction of the trenches used to channel water for tin mining. The Jubilee race is also incorporated, leading walkers to an historic alluvial mine site in the bush.
Bushwalking: Sculptures in the Forest
Sculptures placed along the walk also depict the Chinese heritage theme. Some of the sculptures blend into the natural environment so well, they could easily be missed. The Henry Ah Ping Walk weaves through a shady section of bushland; the well defined and sturdy track is surrounded by Sassafras, Myrtle and tree ferns.
Visitors are advised to allow 20minutes for the walk, but I’d suggest allowing a bit more time. Not because it’s a difficult bush-walk… in fact, other than one section with about 20 steps, it’s a gently graded slope. It’s just a pleasant place to wander; to appreciate and contemplate the tin mining and Chinese heritage of the area. What would life have been like for the immigrants working such labor-intensive mining jobs in a strange country back in 1889?
Walk in the Bush: Free for All
The Henry Ah Ping Walk is completely free of charge and open for all to visit, not just guests of the Tin Dragon Trail Cottages. For those looking to undertake a longer walk, the Guiding Star Briseis Race Circuit Walk (6.7km) also starts near the Chinese Heritage Settlers Hut.
The longer walk also features regrowth rainforest and historic mining leases and one section follows the Ringarooma River. You could even collect some of the great local produce of north east Tasmania, and enjoy a picnic on the banks of the Guiding Star Creek. Don’t forget your camera: local fungi makes a great photography subject.