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Archive for the The Story Behind Category

Songs of praise

Mason & Hamlin bellows organ from the church at Nubeena, now on display at the Tasman Historical Museum.

Songs of praise

Churches were a strong part of the early pioneers' life, offering the chance to gather as a family to catch up with friends and neighbours on a Sunday and generally enjoy a morning out.

This bellows organ was made by Mason & Hamlin in Boston, Massachusetts and is operated by a foot pump.

It came to the Museum from the local church at Nubeena where it was no doubt used at many a happy family celebration and sad farewells. Imagine the voices it has heard in its history... some delivering the weekly sermon, others in devout prayer and those raised up in song as one.

Locke’s idea for tree and stump pulling

Patent registration for Locke's Champion Self-Gripper Sampson

Locke's "Champion Self-Gripper Sampson" for tree and stump pulling

The early settlers were often faced with big challenges, both physically and mentally. Building a home and clearing land for food and livestock were very hard physical work. Sometimes the settlers worked in collaborative teams but they were often alone or just with a friend or neighbour to help out.

This hardship frequently inspired ideas with new skills uncovered and practical minds prompting all sorts of ingenious contraptions to make work a little easier.

Thomas Locke of Impression Bay on the Tasman Peninsula was very keen to make clearing and moving trees a lot easier so designed his "Champion Self-Gripper Sampson"  for pulling stumps, trees and rolling logs . He duly registered a patent which can be seen in the Tasman Historical Museum along with the instrument itself.

The discovery of osmiridium at Adamsfield

Instrument and tool relics from the Tasmanian osmiridium mining town of Adamsfield.

Black Gold! The Discovery of osmiridium at Adamsfield

Back in the early 1900s, osmiridium, a naturally occurring alloy, was used to make a variety of items – from fountain pen nibs to munitions. from jewellery to gases. It was much sought after and when the price rose to seven times that of gold, it became known as Black Gold and generated its own mining boom.

In December 1924, a prospecting party took to Tasmania's remote South West. They worked along the South Gordon track as far as the Gordon River, and then back along Marriot track to the Adam River Valley and it was here they discovered the valuable osmiridium.

Thus Adamsfield, as it was subsequently named, quickly became a thriving mining town with over 1,000 people working and building.  Today if you stand where once the miners toiled, there remain just relics and the remnants of buildings. The valley no longer resounds with machinery and men hard at work, and the town is slowly being reclaimed by the surrounding bush.  

The original prospecting party consisted of Messrs. E. Boden, A. J. Stacey, and C. B. Stacey and a certain Albert Wright, Colin’s great uncle.

The artefacts in this image were found at Adamsfield and are on loan to the Tasman Historical Museum from Dennis Turner.

Roses from the Heart – Tasmania’s female convicts

Convict bonnets created by Tasman Peninsula residents in honour of convict women. On display at the Tasman Historical Museum.

Roses from the Heart - convict women in Tasmania

25,566 female convicts were transported to Australia between 1788 and 1853.  They faced tough lives and uncertain futures at the various convict female factories in Hobart, Ross and Parramatta and, until relatively recently, their history was largely unseen and known.

In 2007 Christina Henri began a project to commemorate all those women inviting people to make a bonnet embroidered with the name of a female convict, the name of the ship she arrived on and the date she started her life as a convict on the other side of the world.

Over ensuing years thousands of bonnets have been created, often by descendants of the convict women themselves which in turn brought families closer to their own histories.

In 2015, Tasman Historical Museum held a ‘Blessing of the Bonnets” . These bonnets were made by local people in remembrance of their female ancestors and are on permanent display at the Tasman Historical Museum.

Read more on the incredible Roses from the Heart project here