South Sister St. Marys, Tasmania

South Sister Correspondence

cultural heritage values

Denise Gaughwin
Senior Archaeologist
Forest Practices Authority
30 Patrick Street
23rd January 2006

Dear Denise,


I write in respect of the above Plan to request a variation to take into account cultural heritage values which have not so far been addressed and which have significant values to the local community, and are of major significance in the context of the history of the network of communications (tracks) between isolated communities in the area.

It has not been appropriate to raise this issue while proceedings regarding the coupe have been listed before RMPAT.

While the matters I outline below are specific to communications in the 19th and 20th centuries between the settlements of Germantown and Cornwall, these are in turn only a subset of a wider network of tracks linking Cornwall, Germantown, St Marys, St Patricks Head, Gray and the Elephant Pass (Mount Logie) area, which involves not only the physical network but also the history of migration to the area from the German States in 1855 and 1870-71, the history of coal mining since 1886 and of railways from the same date. The track network is intimately connected with the social, cultural and economic history of the area, and the Derricks Marsh Track running through Coupe NI114A is a vital and integral part of that network. There is a need to evaluate the track within this context, and to make a professional determination as to the need to vary Plan PWJ 0010 to protect the cultural and heritage value of the track and its environment.

Derricks Marsh and the track would seem to be named after John Derrick, who occupied property in the area at the time that the settlements at Germantown and Dublintown were being established by the Lohreys, Speers, Styles et al in the 1870s. The family of Mr P V Wright, direct decendents of Richard Styles, who has only recently removed from the area to Scamander, have owned and farmed land in the area since before 1880, as has the family of the former Minister for Forests, Mr Andrew Lohrey. Mr Wright in particular recounts how over 100 years his grandparents, parents and himself used Derricks Marsh Track as a droving route to move cattle from their Daisy Dell property on Top Marshes Road through the coupe area to grazing land near Webbers falls, adjacent to Derricks Marsh.

A newspaper article (attached) from The Australasian pages 26/7 Jan 4th 1896, titled 'Picturesque Tasmania - St Marys by 'Peregrine'' specifically refers to the track, 'feasible for a horseman, which leads over Mount Nicholas to the Cornwall Colliery, whence the visitor, if not inclined to return the way he came and climb the 'Sister', can return via Cullenswood to St Marys'.

As a part time local historian, previously having been librarian at St Marys for 16 years, I am conscious of the way members of the various isolated settlements around St Marys were connected by family, marriage, occupational and social activites, and in physical terms by the track network of the area. Anecdotal evidence, Valuation and Assessment Rolls, Electoral Rolls, family and local histories etc all attest to these connections. Currently there is a project to revive track networks in the area for heritage, community recreational and tourism purposes.

On behalf of members of Save Our Sisters I ask that you visit the coupe in the company of 2 or 3 local residents to physically evaluate the Derricks Marsh Track, and to attend a discussion at St Marys on the same day with several residents to receive more information about the track and the wider network, with a view to forming a professional opinion on the cultural, social and heritage significance of the track. In the event that your view was that the track was significant, we would ask that the Plan then be varied to protect the track by an appropriate exclusion zone.

I look forward to your early response.

Yours sincerely

For and on behalf of Save Our Sisters

We have received no response for days

Default Colours Less Contrast More contrast

5201 (1, 4, 13, 86)