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«FLINDERS UNIVERSITY MARITIME ARCHAEOLOGY MONOGRAPHS SERIES Number 7 Convict Probation and the Evolution of Jetties in Tasmania Rick Bullers FLINDERS ...»

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Clarke and wanted the jetty to remain at the old site at Cascades (Figure 3) (AOT PWD 18/1/362, 1883b). The PWD sent an Inspector, Robinson, to asses the best site, and in February 1883 he recommended the old Cascades site as being the most practicable and fair. His report noted that the jetty at Cascades would need to extend about 400ft from shore to get 10ft of depth at low water (AOT PWD 18/1/362, 1883c).

Figure 3. Sites being considered for construction of a new jetty at Cascades.

A = old site;

B = proposed Newman’s Creek site. (AOT PWD 18/1/362, R. Robinson, Proposed jetty Cascades, Tasman Peninsula, 6 February 1883) The PWD went with Robinson’s recommendation and the old site was chosen. However, only one offer to construct was tendered, and in February 1884 William Andrews of Hobart was contracted to build the new jetty for £586.0.0, to be completed by 24 June 1884. However, Andrews had over reached himself and had also contracted to build the new jetties at Saltwater River, Carnarvon and Dunalley. By mid-March, Andrews was building a new jetty at Saltwater River and had still not commenced the Cascades jetty. The PWD sent a sternly-worded warning for him to get a move on (AOT PWD 18/1/362, 1884a).


The abutment consisted of rough stone retaining walls to the bottom of the filling (AOT PWD 18/1/362, 1884b). Inspector Robinson prepared a plan for the new jetty (Figure 4), but the structure actually built was shortened to 351ft 6in and narrowed to 12ft. The jetty had a T-head and a 2ft gauge tramway down the centre. Interestingly, the jetty had a fall of 5ft from the shore end to the head to help movement of loaded tram trucks (AOT PWD 18/1/362, 1883d).

Unfortunately, when Robinson inspected the new jetty in July that year, he noted that at the 331ft mark, there was only 2ft 6in of water at low tide. His original plan had shown a shelving shore with over 7ft of water at that position. Therefore he recommended an extension in order achieve sufficient depth for vessels to berth (AOT PWD 18/1/362, 1884c).

Figure 4. A plan of the proposed new jetty at Cascades.

The plan is for a 400ft long, 18ft wide structure, but the jetty that was constructed was actually shorter and narrower. Note the new structure used the old (repaired) convict-built stone abutment, and a shed was already in situ. (AOT PWD 18/1/362, R. Robinson, Proposed jetty Cascades, Tasman Peninsula, 6 February 1883) Accordingly, in September 1884 Parliament voted £400 for extending the jetty to deep water (AOT, 1884a: 200). In the following April (1885) William John Oates of Hobart was contracted to build the extension for £317.0.0, to be completed by 2 September 1885 (AOT PWD 18/1/650, 1885a). The extension added a further 200ft 3½in to the jetty, taking its overall length to 551ft 9½in. It consisted of a further ten piers with piles 18ft 2½in from centre to centre, and a T-head at the end (AOT PWD 18/1/650, 1885b). A further £250 (to be shared with Impression Bay) was voted later in 1885 for completion of the jetty (AOT, 1885: 139). However, enough funds had already been allocated to cover the tendered construction cost, so it is not known why these funds were needed or what they were used for.

In September 1891 Parliament allocated another £200 to build the approach and an extension to the jetty (AOT, 1891: 170). However, it seems that it was not acted upon for four years. It was not until October 1895 that the Flynn Brothers (Michael and Laurence), with brothers Timothy and Laurence Duggan of Woodstock, Huon, were contracted to extend the existing jetty by 80ft.

2. CASCADES STATION 11 They tendered the price of £123.15.2 and the work was to be completed by 15 January 1896 (AOT PWD 18/1/2862, 1895). In March 1896, T. Hoare was contracted to prepare the approaches to the jetty for the sum of £27.19.6, to be completed by 12 June 1896. With this extension the jetty was now almost 632ft in length.

By 1896, the original road to the jetty, via the convict buildings at Cascades, was considered inadequate. A deal was struck whereby the Cascades landowner, James McClymont, received from the Crown the land on which the original road lay in exchange for some land on which to build a new road (Figure 2) (AOT PWD 18/1/2862, 1896). The Governor proclaimed the new road in March 1897 (AOT 18/1/2862, 1897).

By 1926, Cascades (now Koonya) was shipping 15,000 cases of apples – increasing annually.

Complaints were made to the PWD that the T-head was too small for a horse and cart to turn around on, causing extensive delays in loading (AOT AD 266/1/814, 1926a). The PWD Inspector supported the Council’s request for a larger T-head to be built. Council wanted the present 28ft x 22ft T-head to be extended to 48ft x 32ft (according to the Inspector, the overall length of the jetty was 622ft). He estimated the cost to be £392.6.8 (AOT AD 266/1/814, 1926b).

Accordingly, authority to expend £400 on making the extension was granted (AOT AD 266/1/814, 1926a).

During 1929, £46.0.0 was spent on repairs including replacement of broken piles, and emergency repairs to the stone abutment, which had been badly damaged by recent heavy seas (AOT AD 266/1/814, 1929). More orchards were planted and as the trees came into bearing, pressure on the loading infrastructure mounted. In 1931, the Tasman Council requested yet another extension to the T-head (AOT AD 266/1/814, 1931a). The PWD allocated £70 for the task, and the T-head was extended to 60ft x 60ft (AOT AD 266/1/814, 1931b, 1934a). The jetty was now becoming increasingly rotten, and £214 was spent on repairs including replacement of girders, decking and kerbs. The tramway was intended to be replaced, but because produce was being carted to the Thead by both horse and motor lorries, residents requested that no new tramway be laid as it would be more impediment than help (AOT AD 266/1/814, 1934b).

By 1939, excessive congestion was occurring at the head of the jetty. The neck was fairly narrow and there was not room for two vehicles to pass, necessitating vehicles to wait on either the shore or the head while another vehicle was on the neck. Yet another extension to the head was requested, this time to diagonally “fill in” the neck of the T on the western side (AOT AD 266/1/814, 1939a). The PWD expended £43 on this extension (AOT AD 266/1/814, 1939b).

By 1943, the state of the jetty was becoming a concern and there was some talk of completely rebuilding it. One sector of the community tried to use the opportunity to have the new jetty built more conveniently for them at Shelley Beach Point (AOT AD 266/1/814, 1943a). However, the engineer’s report did not see any advantage in this, and therefore the PWD decided to make extensive repairs to the existing jetty (AOT AD 266/1/814, 1943b). The repairs amounted to almost a complete rebuild with new piles, beams decking and abutment and were nearly complete in early February 1944. However, it seems that further works were required because in June the amount allocated to the work was increased from £900 to £1,150 (AOT AD 266/1/814, 1944a). In November, yet another £10 was spent on repairing the cattle-loading ramp, which had become unsafe for use (AOT AD 266/1/814, 1944b).

In 1949-1950 The Koonya jetty, along with five other jetties, was repaired for £3,766 (AOT, 1950: 9). It seems Koonya jetty took a disproportionate amount of this, requiring £1,120 for its repairs (AOT AD 266/1/814, 1950). The jetty was plainly in its sunset years. By 1953, the PWD produced an estimate of £1,720.0.0 for its demolition (AOT AD 266/1/814, 1953). However, Mr A.B. Clark of Cascades requested the opportunity to purchase the jetty shed in 1954, and was


told that the jetty would stand for some years yet and that the shed was not for sale (AOT AD 266/1/814, 1954). A photo of the jetty in c.1950 shows a shed in the elbow of the “L” (AdamSmith, 1983).

However, once the M.V. Naracoopa and the M.V. Cartela stopped using it in the 1950s, the jetty quickly fell in to disrepair, and eventually broke up and washed ashore (Guiler, 1998: 174).

Coal Mines Station Establishment In 1833 surveyors Woodward and Hughes discovered coal on the Tasman Peninsula at Plunkett Point. Mining commenced at Plunkett Point as a government operation in 1834 using convict labour (Evans, 2000: 14). Despite its inferior quality, the coal from Plunkett Point found a ready market in Hobart because it sold for less than half the price of coal that had, until then, been imported from Newcastle (Jackman, 2004: 36). The presence of coal seams at various locations in Van Diemen’s Land had been known since 1804, but the operation at Plunkett Point was the first to be mined successfully (Brand, 1987: 14).

Under the convict assignment system, mining was originally initiated as a punishment for the worst behaved convicts at Port Arthur. However, in 1841 the assignment system was superseded by the probation system. When the Coal Mines became a probation station, the mines were worked by prisoners who had mining experience instead of using forced labour as a result of punishment (PWS, 1997: 8).

Mining continued under Government control until June 1848, when it was leased to private operators (Lord, n.d.: 29). The lease passed through a number of hands over the next half century: Alexander Clarke (1848), James Fulton (1851), William Nichols and John Thomas (1856), and James Hurst (1858) who retained the lease, in conjunction with Messrs Rheuben and Turner, until 1876 when Hurst died and work at the mine was aborted (Evans, 2000: 28-29).

Lease records are inconclusive after 1876. In 1878, Thomas Perkins and a man named Goldsmith made separate lease applications. Goldsmith’s application was refused, and it is not known if Perkins’ was successful (Evans, 2000: 29).

By the late 1880s enterprising locals saw the potential of the site as a tourist destination, but there was some government resistance (Evans, 2000: 29). In 1894 Cheverton and Gordon acquired the lease on certain areas of the Coal Mines including two along the foreshore in order to collect coal shale that had washed up on the beach. These leases expired in 1901, and no records of further mining leases exist. In the early part of the 20th century, the land was being leased for sheep grazing. Lessees included Jacob Burden (from 1901) and John Price (from 1925). During this period the infrastructure was left to decay and theft was prevalent until 1938. Materials from the site were used elsewhere on the peninsula for building projects. For example, in the 1920s the


commissariat store was dismantled and the stone was used to build a church at Dunalley (Evans, 2000: 35).

In 1938, four hectares of the Coal Mines area were gazetted as a Scenic Reserve under the Scenery Preservation Act 1915. In 1949, the area under protection was extended to 81 hectares.

In 1966, the area was proclaimed a State Reserve (No. 195), and increased in size to 214 hectares. In 1971, the site was declared a Historic Site under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1970, and management was transferred to the Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS, 1997: 5). The Coal Mines Historic Site was incorporated into the Port Arthur Historic Site in December 2004 (Jackman, pers. comm.).

Mining Operations Coal seams were first mined in 1833 from the shingle beach; workings were accessed from adits driven from the shore (Jackman, 2004: 17). The operation used the “bord and pillar” technique (Pearson & McGowan, 1998, cited in Evans, 2000: 14). With this technique, wide (up to 9m) galleries known as bords were mined; pillars of coal were left between the galleries to support the roof. Later, the coal in the pillars was removed in cross-drives between the bords, leaving a grid pattern of passages at regular intervals. Adit passages were also supported by timber crossbars and uprights produced at Impression Bay, which were delivered to the Coal Mines

daily by a launch operated by convict boatmen and a paid coxswain (AOT CO280/549, 1846:

512). A shaft, some two or three hundred meters inland, was sunk to connect with the inland end of the adits. By June 1834, a second shaft was sunk, and another coal seam discovered (PWS, 1997: 7). It was reported that 500 tons of coal was being shipped from the mines every month (Nicholson, 1985: 30).

Coal from the face was shovelled into skips or carts, and a plateway1 conveyed the coal to the adit entrance. The coal was screened to remove rock and oversized coal Pearon & McGowan, 1998, cited in Evans, 2000: 14). The screened coal was then stockpiled on the wharf ready to be conveyed to a transport vessel at the jetty head via the plateway (Jackman, 2004: 17).

Joseph Lacey, a convict with mining experience, initially supervised the operations from 1833, and in 1837 Dr John Lhotsky arrived to provide professional assistance (Brand, n.d.: 11). Dr Lhotsky promptly surveyed the mines, noted potentially dangerous aspects of the mine infrastructure, and commenced boring deeper and surveying for new coal areas (Bacon, 1991, cited in Evans, 2000: 15). Soon, driving was occurring on two levels from the base of the underground shafts, and coal production averaged 35 tonnes per day (Jackman, 2004: 17; PWS, 1997: 7).

In 1839 a new shaft was sunk inland and to the northwest of the foreshore adit. By April of that year it was 106ft deep (Evans, 2000: 16). The mines were always troubled by water seepage.

Initially, manually operated windlasses pumped the water out (PWS, 1997: 7). However, continued water seepage in the shaft caused work to cease and from December 1841 another new shaft was sunk north of the 1839 shaft (Evans, 2000: 16). To combat water seepage, a 10hp steam engine was installed above the 1841 shaft to drain the water and hoist the coal. By this stage production had increased from 8,600 tonnes to 10,600 tonnes per annum (PWS, 1997: 7).

In 1842, convict mining engineer William Dawson recommended sinking a main shaft from the top of the hill to facilitate drainage of the works, and provide sufficient elevation to enable a counter-weighted inclined tramway to self-transport coal to a new loading jetty built at Plunkett

A kind of tramway using timber boards as rails (see Figure 7).3. COAL MINES STATION 15

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