The Tarkine area of NW Tasmania has been in the news a fair bit lately. The conservation movement in Tasmania has been lobbying for a large part of the Tarkine to be listed as a World Heritage site - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural organisation’s (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee (WHC) -by the Commonwealth Government, but this has been opposed strongly by the State Government.
The Australian Heritage Council recommended to the Minister for Environment in 2010 that a large area of the Tarkine (447,000 ha) be listed and protected. The Council concluded that “The Tarkine is a beautiful remote part of Tasmania which supports Australia’s largest tract of cool temperate rainforest.” (P14 of its assessment - http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/ahc/national-assessments/tarkine/
On the 8th February 2013 the Minister for Environment, Tony Burke, rejected the advice from the Australian Heritage Council and only listed 21,000 hectares, none of which was rain forest. He cited several reasons for not listing the whole area, including that there were many areas that were not pristine and concerns about loss of potential jobs.
The problem is that much of the area, including where the temperate rain forests are, is on basalt soil that is likely to be rich in mineral deposits. The Minister’s concerns (and that of the State Government and trade unisons) is that World Heritage would prevent exploration and possible mining. Some of the area is already used for forestry and there are several old and operating moines in the area.
The following proposals are already before the Minster for consideration.
- an iron ore project in the north-west (Shree Minerals);
- a magnesite project in the north-east (Tasmania Magnestite);
- a tin, tungsten, copper and iron ore mining complex in the south (Venture Minerals);
- a tin mine proposal in the central-eastern region (Bright Phase Pty Ltd); and
- an extension of the Savage River open-cut iron ore mine, which has been in operation since the 1960s (Grange Resources).
The photos below tell some of that story and the widely differing views held by members of the local community there.
I have also shown photos of Corinna - a small village on the south-wets edge of the Tarkine.
2 Photos showing the rainforests in the Tarkine
2 landscape lies of the Tarkine, the first is of the forest away from the coast and the second shows the vegetation closer to the coast.
There are also several significant canyons in the area, one of which is Leven Canyon. There is a formal walk trail though the area, albeit very steep in places, leading to two viewing platforms over the canyon. Here are a few photos of the Canyon and walk trail.
As noted above, there are several active mines in the area, one of which is the Savage River mine - photograph below.
Many of then local oppose the area having its conservation status increased, as they see the area as a working forest both mining and also for ancillary industries like bee-keeping. These locals even protest against there area being called 'Tarkine' as the two photographs below show. This is one of the information/interpretation signs erected describing the areas history and values. You will notice that the word ‘Tarkine” has been removed and the pristine nature of the area challenged.
On the south-west edge of the Tarkine is a small remote community called Corrina. Corinna is a small remote village on the Peiman River in the middle of the Tarkine wilderness in NW Tasmania. Corinna was originally settled by Europeans in the 1880s during a gold rush and reached a population peak of around 2,500. From 1900s onward the town went into decline and was revitalised as an eco-tourist site when the hotel was re-opened in 2008. There is no power or scheme water - all power is via solar panels. The only access to and from the site to the south is via a barge across the Pieman River. Below are some images of Corrina.
First, the barge crossing from the south.
The camping area.
There are also a small village with huts available for hire.
The only source of power is solar, and the only service here is the hotel/store/restaurant.
There are still evidence of the old settlement here -
Finally, the Pieman river is a peaceful and picturesque backdrop to the settlement - see banner photo and below.