Engaging the Giants
A history of sawmills and tramways of Tasmania’s Southern Forests
By Scott Clennett
Published by the LRRSA
Hard cover, 240 pages, A4 size, 170 photographs, 21 maps, bibliography, references, and index
This book describes a complex series of timber tramways which operated in southern Tasmania during the period 1850 to 1974.
It covers the area from Franklin (45 km south of Hobart) to Cockle Creek - the most southerly settlement in Tasmania, and includes Bruny Island. Details of the ships and barges which carried the products of the many sawmills in the area are given, together with an insight into the living conditions and the innovative methods that were used to solve many problems. Gauges of the timber tramways varied from 2 ft 6 in to 6 ft, but the most common gauges were 3 ft 6 in and 4 ft 6 in.
Over a dozen steam locomotives were used, including two Shays, and many of ingenious local manufacture. Three Hobart engineering firms supplied steam and internal-combustion locomotives of unusual design to many of the sawmillers.
The maps, prepared by Mike McCarthy, show the tramways, mills, roads, waterways, and contours.