We have received some interesting feedback from readers over the years. This letter from Rick Paltridge includes a lot of detail, and with his permission we’d like to share it with you. Carol’s articles about Waratah and tin mining generated a lot of interest from readers; so we figured there would be plenty of people also interested in what Rick had to say.

Rick Paltridge - Memories of Waratah

Waratah (photos supplied by Rick Paltridge)

Waratah Tasmania: Fond Memories

by Rick Paltridge

I found Think Tasmania by good fortune after seeing the most interesting Compass program on the ABC this evening about Augustus Pugin and the early sandstone churches in the south Midlands.

My eye was caught by the contribution on your website by Carol Haberle on Waratah.

Extremely fond memories of the area. In 1976-77 I worked as a young field technician at Que River which was really just a bulldozer track into the scrub just north of Mount Charter back then. As an employee of Cominco, Abminco and eventually Aberfoyle Tin I was proud of being one of the most informed of the bush between the Murchison Highway and what is now the headwaters of Lake Mackintosh.

Either Waratah or Tullah were our two towns for a “night out” but because we worked in conjunction with the geologists based at Cleveland Tin at Luina, we spent a lot of time going in that direction. Our grid leases took in areas around the Sterling River valley south of Tullah, around the Marionoak River west of Bulgobac and of course down into the Southwall River valley.

But my time in the myrtle forests, the horizontal scrub etc. around Mount Charter and Que River were most memorable. For an 18 year old from South Australia, the west coast of Tasmania was literally overseas for me then. The west coast whetted my appetite for bushwalking and photography and I have many memories of my times there. Finding old backtracks in the scrub along which no one would’ve walked since the 1910s are still vivid in my mind.

I returned to SA in 1979 to come back to an historic old property which has been in the family since 1868 but, given a chance I would return to the west coast in an instant if I could. I went back to Tasmania only four times in 2011 and plan to come over again soon as I am seriously keen on building a house extension here in SA out of your sandstone (hence the interest in the Compass article about catholic churches at Oatlands and Colebrook).

I look forward to reading your articles.

Rick Paltridge - Waratah & Mining History

Waratah (photos supplied by Rick Paltridge)

The photos Rick Paltridge provided for us to share on the website feature the following…

  • The old railway bridge over the Mackintosh River just upstream from the confluence with the Murchison. This bridge is now under Lake Rosebery. Wee Georgie Wood would’ve gone over this back in its heyday!
  • Mount Murchison; my second favourite mountain after Barn Bluff! Climbed both.
  • How Waratah used to look like in the 1970’s. I used to play golf regularly at the Mountain Vista Golf Club back then. I have climbed Mount Pearse in the background as well.
  • The old ABT Railway between Strahan and Queenstown. Naturally we had to stop at the “quarter mile bridge”.
  • A building at Teepookana.
  • A typical diamond drilling rig at Que River. This photograph is of a specific event that occurred in 1977.
  • Looking south from the bottom of Lake Mackintosh prior to the flooding of the lake (should be of interest to your correspondent Carol)

Many thanks to Rick Paltridge for taking the trouble to join the conversation about Waratah and mining on the west coast.

Roger Findlay has also written about the Town of Waratah.

Town of Waratah - History

The Town of Waratah: Tasmania (photo by Roger Findlay)