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New car park for Ben Lomond National Park


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Mt Field

Visitor's Guide

History of Reservation

By this reservation a typical example of Tasmanian forest will be retained in its natural state, in order that generations yet unborn may see for themselves what virgin Tasmania was like... It is also to serve as a sanctuary for the flora and fauna, so as to guard against total extinction in some cases... Again, the park will be a scenic and pleasure resort not only for Tasmanians themselves, but for the countless thousands of tourists who will visit our island as time goes on, and its charms become more widely known and appreciated. In this respect it may truly be said that the park will be a thing of beauty and joy forever.

Sir Francis Newdegate, Governor Mt Field National Park opening ceremony, 1917

The first reserve in Tasmania to protect a natural area was created in March 1885 when the 300 acre (121 ha) Russell Falls Reserve was proclaimed under the Waste Lands Act 1863. This reservation came only 13 years after the creation of Yellowstone National Park, the world's first national park. The Falls reserve was created for the protection of scenery, and came into effect largely due to the enthusiasm of Louis Shoobridge and his family, hop growers at Bushy Park.

According to Lord (1918) attempts were made to secure a sanctuary for the flora and fauna of Tasmania, but had not been successful. Freycinet Peninsula was proclaimed a Game Reserve in 1905, but because it was accessible from the sea and had no permanent ranger, the fauna continued to be hunted. Mr. William Crooke organised meetings and deputation's to the Government and formed the National Park Association to support the plan for a National Park at Mt Field. The government of the day offered 500 acres near Russell Falls, but this did not satisfy the Association. Following a change of government, the new Minister for Lands agreed to the reservation of 27,000 acres (10,890ha) which included most of the Mt Field Range, Russell and Lady Barron Falls, and several lakes and tarns.

The park was gazetted simultaneously with Freycinet National Park on 29 August 1916 under the Scenery Preservation Act 1915. They became the first national parks in Tasmania. Mt Field National Park was named for Barron Field, an early (1819) judge of the New South Wales Supreme Court and a keen amateur naturalist. A National Park Board was appointed in 1917 to administer the park with Clive Lord as Secretary, a position he held until his death in 1933. A local resident, Bill Belcher, was appointed the park's first ranger in 1917 and worked in the park for almost 17 years.

There have been many changes and additions to the area of the park since 1885. A block of land at the entrance to the park east of the Tyenna River was donated by the Marriott family in the 1920's as a Scenic Reserve. This land became a State reserve under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1970, but is not included within the boundaries of the park. This land is used as an extension of the day use area, as a staging site for special events in the park, and as a place to leave cars of visitors who have brought their dogs with them.

The most significant change was as a result of the National Park and Florentine Valley Act 1950 which altered the boundaries of Mt Field National Park, "for the purpose of increasing a concession granted by the Florentine Valley Paper Industry Act 1935, to validate the reservation of that Park, to amend that Act for other purposes and to provide for matters consequential thereto.

In spite of active opposition by the National Parks Board to the excision of 1490 ha of the tallest swamp gums (Eucalyptus regnans) in the park for woodpulp and sawlogs, in exchange for 1640 ha of mixed forest, the bill went through Parliament.

Following a fire in 1966, the then Scenery Preservation Board agreed to a proposal by Australian Newsprint Mills (ANM) to salvage fire-killed timber from four areas within the Western and Southern boundaries of the park. Roading, logging and regeneration by ANM of the four areas occurred between 1968 and 1974. In 1975, 40 hectares of former hop fields (now known as the 'Old Farm') adjacent to Lady Barron Creek were acquired from H. Jones and Company.

Gazettal History

Gazettal Date Act Estimated Total Area Notes
10-03-1885 Wastelands Act 1863 121 ha 300 acres proclaimed as a Falls Reserve
09-03-1915 Crown Lands Act 1911 10 931 ha 27 000 acres proclaimed as the National Park Reserve; included previous 121 ha
29-08-1916 Crown Lands Act 1911 10 931 ha revoked previous proclamation
29-08-1916 Scenery Preservation Act 1915 10 931 ha re-proclaimed as a Scenic Reserve, known as National Park Reserve
18-02-1919 Scenery Preservation Act 1915 15 583 ha added 4652 ha (11 490 ac) to National Park Reserve
10-06-1930 Scenery Preservation Act 1915 16 690 ha added 1377 ha (3400 acres) around Mt Lord to National Park
29-05-1940 Scenery Preservation Act 1915 17 028 ha added 68 ha (168 ac)
03-05-1950 Lands Resumption Act 1910
10 ha compulsorily acquired
26-06-1950 Scenery Preservation Act 1915 17 038 ha 10 ha added to National Park Scenic Reserve
14-12-1950 National Park and Florentine 17 188 ha excised 3680 acres (1490 ha) from Valley Act 1950 (No. 71) western boundary, added 4050 acres (1640 ha) to southern boundary
27-02-1957 Scenery Preservation Act 1915 17 189 ha 1 ha added at entrance to park
01-11-71 National Parks & Wildlife Act 1970
came into effect, resulting in Mt Field becoming a State reserve
18-05-77 NP&W Act 1970 17 234 ha added 45 ha known as the Old Farm to the park
26-09-90 NP&W Act 1970 17 242 ha added 8 ha near Russell Falls