Somewhat of a ghost town today, Mathinna was once the scene of an important gold strike. After gold was discovered at Mangana, Mathinna was for a time was the third largest town in Tasmania.
Where Is it?: Mathinna is 95 km east of Launceston, 175 km north east of Hobart, 25 km north of Fingal.
The Mathinna goldfield started, like many others, with the discovery of alluvial gold in Black Horse Gully. The area contains one of Tasmania's largest gold mines, the New Golden Gate, which had a total (historical) production of over 260,000 ounces (8 tonnes) of gold. The area is riddled with abandoned mines, prospects and old workings, and is mostly crown land, meaning fairly easy access. Unlike other areas in Tasmania, the bush is fairly open and easy to walk through, though the grades of the hills are steep.
After the discovery of gold in Mangana in 1852, prospectors fanned out looking for alluvial gold in nearby areas. The whole country between Mangana and Mt Arthur was being talked about as prospective for gold, and it wasn't long before gold was being found at Black Boy Plains and Reedy Marsh, as the area was known early on. The name Mathinna was not officially used until 1872.
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Today it is the name Mathinna that seems to have more significance than the history of the town itself. Mathinna was an Aboriginal girl born at Wybalenna on Flinders Island in 1835 who became caught up in the devastating way of life forced onto her people by the white man. At Wybalenna the vivacious Mathinna caught the eye and heart, of Lady Jane Franklin, the wife of Tasmanian Governor and explorer, Sir John Franklin, who decided to adopt her.
Befriended by the Governor of Van Diemens Land, Sir John Franklin and his wife Lady Jane, only to be abandoned two years later, Mathinna and her story epitomise the sad fate of the Tasmania Aboriginal people.
Mangana (10 km north west) became the first gold mining site in the Fingal Municipality and indeed, in Australia, when alluvial gold was discovered there in 1852. A minor gold rush to The Nook, as it was then known, resulted, and soon 500 prospectors were panning the creeks and digging tunnels and shafts. The township of Mangana gradually declined as one by one the mines closed, and none is operational today. A few of the town s original buildings remain.
New Golden Gate Mine, Mathinna
A scattering of old weatherboard and corrugated iron buildings is all that remains of the one-time boom town of Rossarden. Nestled at the foot of Ben Lomond, Rossarden was buzzing as late as the 1960?s, when the Aberfoyle mine was working to full capacity. The mine, which opened in 1931 produced wolfram another name for tungsten operated until February 1982, when its closure sounded the death knell for the town. The mine tried to sell its former employees their home for a dollar, but few took up the offer and the town s population fell from 500 to just 90. Within a month, what was not sold was demolished and carted away.
Soon after gold was found at Mangana, a second and larger find was discovered 20 or so kilometers north at Mathinna. This find led to the opening of the Golden Gate mine, which once established, became the second largest gold producing mine in Tasmania after the Tasmanian mine at Beaconsfield. The town too grew and with around 300 men per shift working at the Golden Gate in the latter part of the 1800s, Mathinna was, for a time, the third largest town in Tasmania.
Mathinna Falls Forest Reserve, like Evercreech Forest Reserve, is one of many attractive spots to break your journey on the A4 between the Midland Highway and the east coast. An easy 30 minute return walk along a well graded track leads to the base of the Mathinna Falls.
A scattering of old weatherboard and corrugated iron buildings is all that remains of the one-time boom town of Rossarden. Nestled at the foot of Ben Lomond, Rossarden was buzzing as late as the 1960's, when the Aberfoyle mine was working to full capacity. The mine, which opened in 1931 produced wolfram another name for tungsten operated until February 1982, when its closure sounded the death knell for the town. In its heyday, Aberfoyle was the biggest tin mine in Tasmania; at its peak in the 1950s, it employed an average of 230 men. When it closed, the mine tried to sell its former employees their home for a dollar, but few took up the offer and the town s population fell from 500 to just 90. Within a month, what was not sold was demolished and carted away.
Story's Falls is a cascading waterfall situated on Story's creek, near Rossarden. The waterfall works it way down from Stacks Bluff, part of the Ben Lomond plateau, and meanders it's way down the side of the mountain. The falls can be reached along Story's Creek Road, which is off the Avoca-Rossarden Road. From Story's Creek Road, you can see part of the waterfall from the bridge that crosses Story's Creek.
Evercreech Forest Reserve (23 km north) is home to the tallest White Gums in the world. They are known as White Knights because they grow to a height of 90 metres. The reserve has many short bushland walks through the forest including a loop past the White Knights and to Evercreech Falls. Apart from these spectacular trees, large ferns and mountain streams abound, many flowing dramatically over falls deep in the forest.
The magnificent mountain of Ben Lomond with its imposing cliffs and peak are visible over much of the northern midlands of Tasmania. Ben Lomond National Park is invaluable for the conservation of the flora communities and species diversity of the imposing Tasmania s alpine areas. The area consists of an outstanding variety of glacial and periglacial features which are considered of national significance. The snowy slopes of Ben Lomond in Winter are a centre for downhill skiing in Tasmania.