The Waratah Museum and the Philosopher’s Hut

Over the road from the Tarkine Interpretation Centre sits two additional sources of information about the district and its history.  Unfortunately the Waratah Museum was not open on the Museum displays a detailed history of the district with photographs and artefacts. The Discover Tasmania site shows photographs of a selection of artefacts and displays inside.

The exterior view shown below has been reproduced from the Aussie Towns website and more information is also available here.

Waratah Museum.jpg

Next door to the Museum stands a replica of a hut similar to that in which Philosopher Smith, who discovered tin in the 19th century, lived. This building was open and easily accessible; a one room rectangular hut constructed of large wooden beams with a  corrugated iron chimney. Very basic. This website  explains the hut opened during the 1988 Bicentennial year and “commemorates the discovery of tin at Mt Bischoff by James ‘Philosopher’ Smith in December, 1871 and the founding of Waratah.” The interior is laid out to give an idea of the equipment a prospector would have possessed in the 1870s when he was searching for minerals. This replica of a miner’s hut is apparently typical of those from the 1880s and 1890s. The photograph of the hut below is reproduced from here.

Philosophers Hut waratah.jpg

I assume this type of dwelling would have been paradise for those who had built one, compared to those living in tents. Winters are exceptionally harsh in this part of Tasmania, and the Waratah district has one of the highest rainfalls. Photos of snow on the ground each winter are easily located on the web. For example,  the photo below from an ABC news story shows part of the town and you can see the Tarkine Interpretation Centre in the distance at the left.

Snow at Waratah.jpg

The snow scene at the Mt Bischoff tin mine, Waratah taken around 1921 shown below comes from here.  The mine is only about one kilometre out of the township.

Snow scene at Mt Bischoff c1921 v2.JPG


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