Prehistoric Gondwanaland, the Tarkine and Historic Corinna
Sunday, February 09, 2014
Before the continents of today came to be there was a supercontinent known now as Gondwaanaland. As the earth evolved the supercontinent became Australia and parts of Asia. On the island of Tasmania exists a temperate rainforest called the Tarkine. The Tarkine is the largest temperate rainforest in Australia and the second largest in the world. It is the home to flora and fauna and much of this "ancient tract of rainforest shows a world beyond human memory and is a living link with the ancient supercontinent of Gondwaanaland." The name is fascinating as are many names of places in Australia. The Tarkine Wilderness was the name of the ancient land of Aboriginal peoples who left their mark on stoney cave walls and in markings on boulders, and in their middens. Other treasures can be found here from tall tall trees to waterfalls and rivers. This vast land is the present home of at least 60 endangered plants and animals like the Tasmanian Devil, and once the Tasmanian Tiger, thought to be extinct since 1936. The Tarkine itself is endangered by the threat of mining and the loss of this pristine environment would be the death of ecotourism in this beautiful hidden away place where once the tiger roamed.
Corinna was the name of a tiny Tasmanian tiger and is the name of an historic mining town in the heart of the Tarkine. In the mid 1870s a gold rush came to Corinna that lasted into the early 1880s. Corinna was settled by miners in 1881 and as a town it grew to 30 structures many of them miners' cabins, but there were also two hotels, a post office, stores and shops, slauteryards and a landing for sailing and steamships. The town in its heyday had about 2500 people. When the boom was over though the cabins deteriorated and began to become part of the land again. Years later as tourists came to Corinna they needed somewhere to stay and the old town was brought back to life. The old cabins were modernized to house the visitors who came to view the Tarkine. These cabins are charming on the outside, brand new on the inside and surrounded by the rainforest.
At night one can imagine hearing miners talking back and forth about the day's work. Laughter and singing can be heard as they enjoy a drink or two and visit with the ladies there in the old pub. Sometimes when the wind is blowing and the rain is falling one might still hear the clink of the miners picks and shovels or the clip clop of their mules coming home after a hard day's work panning for gold. The beauty of the Tarkine remains today as a jewel in Tasmania waiting to be saved from the miners of today and preserved as the wilderness it is for all. I think the visit to Corinna was the highlight of my virtual Week 3 in Tasmania. I love the history of the place from ancient times to the present, and I recognize its haunting beauty and its ability to refresh the souls of all who visit there.