Mt Field IV: A Flawless Morning in 1934

In 1934, the Hobart Walking Club decided to hold its Easter Camp at National Park. Sheila Brough wrote about the trip in the club’s magazine, The Tasmanian Tramp.

“Eight brave souls” spent three hours in a train and, at 9pm on a summer night, set out for a “long six miles”, walking from the park entrance to the Lake Fenton huts, with packs weighing around 40lbs. There was no water along the trail. The walk took six hours.

lake Fenton huts Olaf Moon
Lake Fenton huts in winter by Olaf Moon

Sheila said that by 7am they were all wide awake again, heading out into the flawless morning for a plunge into Lake Fenton. She writes passionately about the trip.

Lake Fenton 1957 NS3195-1-1673
Lake Fenton 1957 NS3195-1-1673 courtesy of Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office

“The mornings were bright and sparkling; the mid-day warm, hushed and sunny; the evenings soft and balmy; and the nights nippy and gleaming with moonlight.”

near lake fenton by odillesphotos
near Lake Fenton by Odille’s Photos

After the swim, the group were ready for more walking and decided to cross Wombat Moor to visit Lake Dobson.

“What lovely, thrilling places moors are, with the brilliant green mosses clothing the rocks, stunted pines, kerosene bush, and Mountain Rocket flaming away in all its glory, and Lemon Thyme filling the air with its sweet, pungent odour. It was heaven on earth.”

near government huts3 by odillesphotos
by Odille Esmonde-Morgan

More walkers arrived that night and they had a large meal in front of a huge fire.

In the evening they paddled around Fenton on a piece of board, looking for a platypus.

One of the aims of the Hobart Walking Club was to find “new and different routes to places of interest” (Brough, p44). On Good Friday, the group walked to the Tarn Shelf via Eagle Tarn and the ridge above Lake Seal, a hike of twenty miles, with no made paths.

“We climbed over logs, over boulders, over trees, under trees and around them. We got scratched and stung and prickled and bruised.”

to tarn shelf by odillesphotos
by Odille Esmonde-Morgan

 

tarn Shelf by Bogong on Ski.com
The Tarn Shelf by “Bogong” of ski.com.au

At the extraordinary beauty of the Tarn Shelf, Sheila claimed to be lost for words … but then found some:

“Picture after picture unfolded itself before our eyes, rocks, moss, stunted trees, towering mountains and miniature lakes, each vista lovelier than the last.”

Mt Field_National_Park James Tarn wikimedia JJ Harrison
by JJ Harrison via Wikimedia

These were long days.

“… slipping and stumbling we made our way down the thousand foot drop to Lake Webster, and up the long steep incline to Kangaroo Moor. As we crossed the Moor the sun was setting and we turned to look back. Mawson, black and jagged, was revealed against a flaming sky, while, as we turned back towards Fenton, the moon rose and sent a pathway of pure silver down the centre of the lake.”

Reference

Brough, Sheila (1934), “National Park and the Tarn Shelf”. Tasmanian Tramp, 3, p43-4.

https://odillesphotos.wordpress.com/2016/04/

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