Sunday History Photo / Tas

Submitted: Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 08:01
ThreadID: 88950 Views:3094 Replies:6 FollowUps:1
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Savage River (including Corinna) Mining township in the wilds of the West Coast of Tasmania,
Located 113 km south west from Burnie, Savage River is basically a mining town which fluctuates according to the price of its minerals and the richness of its seams. At the moment there are no signs indicating the name of the town and it could more accurately be called Australian Bulk Minerals - hardly a name designed to attract much interest.
Early sailors knew that there were considerable mineral deposits in the area because the rugged mountain ranges interfered with the compasses. What they didn't know was that the force interfering with their compasses was the huge deposit of magnetite at Savage River some 25 km from the coast.

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It wasn't until 1877 that a government surveyor, Charles Sprent, discovered the Savage River iron ore deposits. At the time the low quality of the ore (about 38 per cent iron) and the difficulty of getting the mineral out meant that it was left untouched. In subsequent years there were various plans (in 1926 Hoskins Iron and Steel - later BHP - carried out a survey) but it wasn't until 1961 that Roy Hudson's Industrial and Mining Investigations Pty Ltd became convinced of the ore deposit's economic potential. It wasn't until 1965 that he managed to find backers but the project went ahead and the town of Savage River was built between 1965-67.
The huge open cut mine sends the ore by a 85 km pipeline to Port Latta on the north coast of Tasmania. Over the years its fortunes have waxed and waned but it is still an important mining town.

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Further down river is the near-ghost town of Corinna which is on the Pieman River. Corinna has a population of about 5 at the moment (it was down to two a few years ago). It is an old mining ghost town which once boasted a population in excess of 2500. Today the Pieman River Cruise is the main attraction. A rare opportunity to experience pristine wilderness on one of the most isolated coastlines on earth. The Pieman River gained its name from the notorious convict Alexander 'The Pieman' Pearce who was responsible for one of the few recorded instances of cannibalism in Australia. In a bizarre footnote to the history of the region Pearce and seven other convicts attempted to cross the island to Hobart where they hoped they could catch a merchant ship and escape to some ill-defined freedom.

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They lost their way and in the ensuing weeks all of the escapees disappeared except for Pearce. When he was recaptured unproven accusations of cannibalism were made against him. The following year Pearce escaped again accompanied by another convict, Thomas Cox. Once again Pearce found himself without food and, to solve the problem, he killed and ate Cox. When he was finally recaptured Pearce admitted to eating Cox and confessed to cannibalism during his first escape. He was subsequently executed in Hobart.
The Pieman River was named after Pearce's occupation - he was a pieman in Hobart

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Reply By: Life Member - esarby (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 08:25

Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 08:25
Hi Doug. Again a very interesting snippet of our Australian history. I remember travelling through that area in 1998. pretty desolate place for people to work in but a beautiful spot in a rugged part of Tasmania. Thanks again. Steve.B...

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Reply By: Off-track - Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 12:46

Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 12:46
Another great SHP, Doug.

A great song by Weddings, Parties, Anything titled "A tale they wont believe" was about this event.
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Reply By: Crazy Dog - Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 12:59

Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 12:59
Makes you wonder what went into his pies???

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Reply By: B1B2 - Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 19:47

Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 19:47
G'day Doug,
Pies are off the menu.
I was working in Rosebery Tas in 1968 when Lionel beat Harada. It was the Wild West then. If it wasn't raining, it was going to rain soon.

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Reply By: ctaplin - Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 19:47

Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 19:47
Hi Doug,

Just saw you on the ABC 7pm news explaining the history of Mt Bundy station. Well done, you did a great job!


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Reply By: Brian (Montrose, Vi - Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 22:05

Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 22:05
Wow, didn't think one of thee places we spent a few years while dad worked as an engineer in the mine was worthy of one of your history photos Doug. Lived there in the early 70's up the end of Burgess St up on the hill overlooking the main road out of town.
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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (NT) - Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 22:49

Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 22:49
Places big or small are all worthy of a mention, you never know where SHP will strike at

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