ROADS IN THE HUON DISTRICT.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE MERCURY..
4th March, 1861.
Sir,-Would you favour me by giving inser- tion in the Mercury to the enclosed corres- pondence. The settlers of this district will bo glad to find that their claims to the considera- tion of the Government have not been over- looked, and that if evcu too long delayed justice will be at length done them.
There is a previous correspondence with the Survey Department in reference to the subject of these letters, which I shnll not at present trouble you willi. Tho inclosed boars the mosl practically on the vat ions points discussed, and will, I am sure, be the most satisfactory.
I thiuk it but right to observe, that in a per- sonal communication with the Surveyor General lie informed mc, thal the country I referred to %s being unexplored, has boon long since thoroughly examined by Messrs. Wedge and Scott, but Ihut their reports have never been published, aud are of- courso unavailable to the public as sources of information.
Public meetings in various parts of the dis- trict to discuss how far the propositions of the Board of Works will meet the requirements of the various localities indicated in the memoran- dum, would in my mind bo very desirable. L know a very decided feeling exists in the Port Cygnet and other districts, in favour of con- necting Port Cj'gnel and Woodstock by a road
with the now road from Victoria lo Hobart Town. The contemplated road from the Sand- fly J'ivulel to the Huon Track, is I should sup- pose intended to cany out this project ; but in the mean time I would suggest the propriety of holding public meetings, for tho purposo of collecting information and opinions on this tho most important of all public questions-tho
roads of the district.
I cannot close my observations while on tho subject of roads, without calling attention, through the press, to tho splendid road now all but opened between Hobart Town and the Huon. Por tho first time since this long de- nounced road was surveyed, 1 passed over it last week on my way to and from Hobart Town. To say that I was delighled with the journey, would but ill describe the feelings with which this great and useful work inspired mo. I had no conception, sanguine as my hopes have always beon, as to the practicability of opening ii good road between Hobart Town und the Huon, that one, with such favourable pradienls bordered on each side by such an uninterrupted succession of matehlcsi.scouery,jintural beauties, and rich soil, could have over been made acco-" siblo to the publio on this side of tho Island, at such a trifling cost 1 am afraid to trust myself lo givo a description of the Now Huon Hoad. Prom its very commencement at tho Huon to its termination at Holbrook Place, the traveller passes from one scene of unrivalled beauty and attraction to another. During the firnt four und a half miles the road passes through an open forest, lovel almost as a bowling grcou, you thon ascend a gentío gradient of about one foot in ninety-three, up
what is called " Bullock Hill." For throe or four miles tho different views obtained of tho New Norfolk rango of mountains, presont every conceivable characteristic of mountain landscape. Collins's Cap is a singularly attrac- tive object, resembling us it does, from every point of observation, an exact protile of the *' Old Duke." Somo sandy, fenny country ia next traversed ; you then come to Crawford's allotment, then to Butler's, the road still comparatively level, and, with the excep- tion of one short section, which I sup poso ? is by this limo cleared of the timber-open to horsemen to travol by. This land on each side of you for somo milos exhibits unmistàkeablo indications of its good quality. Up to Crawford's allotment the'road is levelled from twelve to iiftoon feet in breadth. About oight miles from Victoria you como to the bouutifulmountain defile calledPeniTableCreek or Gully. I will not attempt to describo the im- pressions which the variousntidrichcombinatious of wood, water, and mountain scenery to be mot with in this chosen spot made upon me, while passing through* ils richly decorated ombank ments ; but, until I had crossed tho North West
Bay ltiver, aud reached Coonoy's farm, about eight miles ironi Hobart Town,I tlibughtnothing could have exceeded in romantic interest tho ravine of Pern Table Creek. I was, however,* agreeably surprised to find that from Cooney's into Hooart Town, a succession of sylvan scenery-occasionally relieved by unexpected views of the ocean, and the murmuring of waterfalls-was so constantly presented, aud of such a character, that tho beauties of Fern Tablo Creek woro forgotten in the suporior splendour of innumerable rivals. I never m my life passed ovor any road whoro bo many attractions for tho admirers of the beautiful and grand iu Nature's operations are to bo mot with as on tho Huon road-particularly on thal .portion of jt from Degraves' to Coonoy's. It does not requiro the foresight of,a prophet to 'predict that'this road, as soon as it is oponed, will bo the most attractive outlet to tho citizona
'of Hobart Town that has ever yet been accessi- ble to them. ;. Who could miss the opportunity ,of seeing the beautiful waterfall on Millhouse's farm, [pouring its gurgliii<; tribute to the ocean over a rook some" 50 or 1 .) feet in height, just beside the roadway, overhung « ith rich cone shaped sassafras, gracefully pendent fern trees, and deep green myrtles ? There is not. an- other road in Tasmania, for the same extent, a ride over which would so well repay the exertion. Once it becomes'familiarised to the citizens of Hobart Town the wonder will he that so UBeful, so easily accomplished, and so inexpensive a source of profit and amusement, was so long locked up against thom. Leaving the beauties of the scenery, &c, I may add a few words about the road itself-so far a3 it is a work of practical utility. The levels are all that could be desired -from the Huon to Hobart Town there is not a single gradient of more than ordinary difficulty -nothing like Grass Tree Hill ou the Bichmond Hoad. There will be only one expensive bridge to construct,'that over the North West Bay Biver, ' estimated' cost about £100. With the exception of about a mile and three-quarters between Watchorns Hill and Cooney's. and the small section at Crawford's, the whole line
between Victoria and Hobart Town is open and levelled wide enough for a cart to pass through. There are yet, of course, some small bridges to construct over the creeks." A strong body of laborers under tho superintendence of # Mr.' Dawes operates on the Hobart Town side while another under Hr. HawkeB advances from the Huon direction. In about two months it is expected the whole line'tvillbe open.and nothing left to complete this first essay to open a road communication between the Huon and Hobart Town, except the erection of a bridge over the North West Bay Biver. It is, without excep- tion, taking it for its length, Ihe most level and practicable road on this side of the island. No one can view the work accomplished for the £5,000 granted for this undertaking without being greatly struck with the remarkable economy, tact, and ability displayed by the Hoad Trustees of Victoria. No other body of men could have done half the work for the same money. Their practical experience, tho great interest they possess in having the road opened, their zeal, knowledge, and self-sacrifice, haye enabled them to perform a work which will for ever associate their names with the pros- perity of tho district ; and entitle them to the grateful remembrance of the people of Hobart Town. The time given gratuitously to this undertaking by the Trustees was in itself a great tax upon them. 'I heir selection of over- seers to superintend the works marks too the value of practical experience. The new road to the Huon is now a great fact. It will require henceforth no advocates. It speaks for itself.
1 remain yours,
J. D. BALFE.
6th February, 1861.
Sin,-It has been officially announced, that £ 1000, being one, third pf the sum appropriated by Parliament, during the last session, to the opening ol' New Hoads &c , is reserved by the Board of Works, as the proportion to be ex- pended no the Southern division of the colony.
As yet 1 have seen no special objects indi-
cated to the service of whicu this sum has been appropriated, it will not, therefore, be too late, I presume, to call the attention of the Executive to the clain« the district of the Huon has to particular consideration, when the distri- buting of the above mentioned sum among the various Southern districts is about being
' I. . li -IO ".- 1 .1.1_!.",.
A return ODtaiueci last ¡session uy mo uiumuui
for WestDury (Mr. Field.) bIious that the unappropriated Crown Lands of this district, aro considerably over two millions of acres. Of the peculiar character and qualities of the gre.itor proportion, of this immenso extent of unappropriated Waste Lands, comparatively little or nothing is known. The general char- acter of the country--the proportion of good to bad land-or, indeed, any conclusive or satis- factory data, whereby its value, us a whole, either for pastoral or agricultural purposcs,hiivo never as yet been ascertained. Tho low imporfectly organized parlies.'that have as yet made attempts to explore the country -nero so wanting in means-so deficient in all the physical requirements, essential to tho obtaining of decided resulU, that their reports are all but valueless, further than they confirm a belief, that even within a comparatively short distance of the settled districts, the soil and timber are equal to m hat thej' ure in the most fertile and prolific of the river and sea-board settlements. The reports of the different surveying parties, who have traversed the long beaten tracks to the Gordon and other rivers to the west, tho practical experience of every Huonito teaches aim to distrust-for so singularly intermixed is the good with bad land, tho valueless with the valuable timber throughout every known por- tion of the district-that no exploration, except by parlies thoroughly familiar with the charac- teristics'of the district, can possibly be pro-
ductive of conclusive and reliable data. For instance, along a great proportion ot the old track from Hobart Town to the Huon, the land and timber in the immediate vicinity are very inferior. Any stranger passing, would pronounce the whole country about to bo uttoily birren and « ortlilcss ; while a few hundred yards from him on cither side, soil and timber ol' excellent quality are met with in abundance. But this, * ho experienced can easily account for.ln making tracks, the driest and least scrubby portions ol' the bush iiro.selected as matters of course, and these are invariably the most barren and valueless in every respect. Then again good rou and timber aro 'comparatively speaking rarely found immediately on the banks of I he Huon. The faithor you recede from the river banks and the sea shore, the belter appear to bp both soil and timber. All the available land from one lo three miles ulong the river banks and shores, is I may pay now appropriated, The necessity for extending i: land is therefore becoming absolutely pressing, and if obstacles to tho expansion of settlement inwards do exist, which aro beyond the reasonable o liabi- lities of privato resources to overcome, and that Parliament and the Executive give no effective assistance to remove thom, the results must be, that any further expansion of settlement in this district will, if not altogether stopped, be most ruinously delayed.
Those remarks apply with equal force to cve,,yi portion of the district ; for oven the Crown Lauds purchased within tho last two or three years, at a distanco ol' more than three miles from the river and scà-boards, in the hope that a liberal and wise system of opening com- munication between the interior and the outlets for the conveyance ol' produce to market, would bo adoptod by Government, are still in a state of nature-somo of thom abandoned, and moro certain to be so, if no' immediate steps
towards improvement in tho old system of ' dealing with the roads toko3rplaco.
A road is being now laid out from ono portion of ' the, Franklin towards the interior. The
funds appropriated -to this purpose, as you aro awaro, form no portion of the £12,000 voted bv Parliament j so that out of tho £4.000 appropu ated to the Southern division of tho island, thara may yet bo available, to the use of this district, such a sum, as if applied judiciously in localities selected after a practical examination of their claims and merits, would at least bo sulUcie'.t to make a good beginning, by opening at three or four points on both sidas of tho river, good passable rbiick roads from tho river into the
crowndaadi at the back of the settlement.
The oxponsos of such undertakings, the soltlcrs, I know, are universally proparod to sharo with the Government, which would bo far more benefittod by the sale of the lands tims oponed, and tho increase of population aud trade,
than the settlers could be, by even tho use ol' the roads. But previous to any outlay being made, it would bo essential that an exploration of the country inland nil along the coasts should bo made, and that, too, by competent' persons, familiar with the characteristics of the Huon district and furnished with ample means to mako such explorations effective. The prcsont would bo just tho season, lo carry out such an undertaking, and many intelligent persons accustomed, to tho .bush, would bo'found here to assist in tho effort to supply that which we roally have not, namely, any roliablo information, as to the trúo oliiiruotor of the immonso couutry upon tho opening of which,""and the profitable application of its. resources, tho prosperity of Hobart Town is ns much if not more largely interested than the people oftlio Disttictit-elf.
It appears strange at first view, that for somo time past, neither the Northern nor Southern division of the Huon has had the advantage of
a resident district surveyor. This fact can be
easily accounted for. Applications for land I are not now sufficiently numerous to employ
constantly the time of oven one surveyor; where butlately there was employmentfortwo. Butwhy have the applications fallen off? Because nearly all the lands within two or three miles of any outlet to market are already occupied. Applications for land beyond the already settled limits have therefore naturally decreased and will altogether cease, if the Government do not tako some such stops as I have indicated.
To conclude-may I request to be informed if any portion of the £4000 is available towards tho opening up new roads in this district -and if it is the intention of the Government, to take steps this season, to-explore any portion of the district, or to avail itself in any practical way of the report of Mr. Tully, laid before Par- liament during the last'Session, in relation to
the Huon ?
I have the honor to remain, &c.,
J. D. BALFE.
P.S.-I may add that a public movemeut over the whole district is about being made, in reference to the subject of this eommuication. It is particularly desirable _ therefore to have
the intentions of the Executive in reference to it before us.
J. D. B. The Colonial Treasurer.
22nd February, 1861. Sir,-I have the honor of informing you that I have been directed by the honorable the Colo- nial Treasurer to reply to the enquiries con- tained in your letter of the 6th instant, which refers to the contemplated expenditure of £4000 on bush roads through the southern dis- tricts (chiefly bordering on the Huon river).
I think I cannot deal better with the question at present than by giving you an extract of a proposi'ion which was submitted to the Board of Public Works by a committee of three of its members, Messrs. Calder, Gunn, and Tully, (which is being carried out), having especial re- ference to tho expenditure of the above-named sum in the districts in question.
Mr. Tully's Report, I am to inform you, was had duly in view, and its suggestions very generally adopted, by the committee (of which he himself was a member) in their communication
with the Board.
I remain, Sir,
Your very obedient servant,
J.E. CALDER. J. D. Balfe, Esq., M.L.A.,
[Extract from a memorandum drawn up by order of the Board of Works by Messrs. Calder, Gunn, and Tully, with reference to the various roads required to give access to the good Crowu Lands in.tho counties of Buckingham and "ient, &c, and which was confirmed by the Board.]
In the county of Kent we have to recommend the adoption of three roads, of which tho cost
will be about £1800.
1st. A road lo open up the country situated bet« een the rivers Huon and Arve, for which a special grant of £/43 has boon alroady voted. Distance 20 miles. Cost, £1000.
2nd. Extending and improving the road from Surges Bay to South Port. Estimated cost
3rd. A road from Hospital Bay in a south 1 west direction for about six miles, £300.
In the county of Buckingham we would bring under the notice of the Board tho importauceof a thorough exploration of the country lying between tho township of Victoria and Sew Nor- folk, and have reserved tho sum of £1S00 for tho purpose of extending roads into this quarter if found dosirablo, or for any other appropria- tion which the Board may decide on. Altogether the sum of £2200 has been set apart for this district, bul at present we only fool justified in recommending the adoption of one road, from tho Sandfly Rivulet to tho Huon Track, which will absorb' about £400.