The two towns have similar histories, having prospered – boomed, in fact – because of mining in the late nineteenth century but dwindled during the twentieth. In this they resemble Charters Towers and Ravenswood in the Townsville hinterland, and all four towns have public buildings out of all proportion to their current population.
The Grand Hotel incorporated the Gaiety Theatre, bigger than Hobart Town Hall or the Theatre Royal, when built in 1898 and it was fortunate enough to become part of the tourism-led preservation effort; the Central Hotel across the road was not so lucky.
Queenstown and Horsetail Falls
Queenstown (Wikipedia) lies between Mt Lyell, which gave its name to the copper-gold mining operation of the early twentieth century, and Mt Owen. The narrow road from Strahan winds steeply down into Queenstown and even more steeply back up out of it. We paused to visit the Horsetail Falls, just before the road began to level off, and were rewarded with good views over the famously denuded hills.
The falls themselves, however, are likely to frustrate most itinerant photographers. The road is so narrow that the walking track carpark is the only possible place to stop to view the falls, but the shoulder of the hill blocks the best view of the falls from the track. Furthermore, the falls have a very small catchment so they will only flow well after heavy local rain.
Putting those constraints together, one has to conclude that the best photos of the falls can only be taken on a sunny winter or spring afternoon (good luck with that – annual rainfall is 2400 mm) from a point on the road a couple of hundred metres downhill from the carpark (taking care not to be flattened by a passing semi-trailer) with the good telephoto lens which just happened to be in your car. Never mind: here’s what I could do from the track on the day.
• Introduction and index to Tasmanian blog posts 2020-21.