Branxholm is a typical north-east Tasmania timber town nestled into the rolling hills. It is notable for its saw mills and its hop fields. It has a sprawling street pattern which makes the small town spread across the valley floor. Branxholm offers the visitor good fishing in the Ringarooma River.
Where Is it?: Branxholm is 93 km north east of Launceston on the Tasman Highway.
Close to the town is Mount Horror, known for excellent scenic views it is surrounded by extensive pine and gum plantations. The Forestry Commission s fire tower is open to the public when attended in the summer. Of historical interest is the disused Mt Paris Dam, located on C425 road, and the Imperial Hotel.
The area was first settled by James Reid Scott who named his property after a small village in his native Scotland. By 1870 there were only three buildings in the valley but three years later, with the discovery of tin, a shanty town had grown up. By 1877 the population was around 300, and by 1883 the town had been proclaimed. Branxholm Post Office opened on 1 August 1876. Tin mining drove the town's economy for many years but gradually declined, to be replaced by timber cutting, and in 1970, the first hop fields were planted.
Mt Paris Dam
Mt Paris Dam, on the Mt Paris Road, is the only surviving pillar and slab dam in Tasmania. Originally named the Morning Star Dam, it was built across the Cascade River using only shovels and wheelbarrows in 1937 and was connected by an 11 Km water race with the Mt Paris Mine. The mine closed in 1970 and the dam fell into disuse. In 1985, a hole was blasted into the 16 metre high wall to release the water. In the middle of the dam, most of the vegetation has now grown back, the only indication it was ever any different is the dam wall which still rises starkly before you in the middle of the bush.
The tiny settlement of Moorina was originally a tin mining centre. It now has a virtually non-existent population. The only interesting landmark in the town is the solitary Chinese headstone and small 'oven' in the cemetery (turn off the main road - it is clearly signposted) which recall the fact that in the late nineteenth century hundreds of Chinese arrived in the area to work in the tin mines. Moorina was once known as Krushkas Bridge (after the Krushka brothers who settled in the area and opened the Derby mine) but was later renamed Moorina, after Truganini's sister.
Transport hub of the Tin Rush, with roads that were wet enough to 'bog a duck', this was the site of a Chinese monument and burning tower. The interpretive marker will hold you enthralled, with stories of success and despair, transport of the precious tin, and of bodies! Find out why the European graves all face east, while the Chinese graves all face west, and the intriguing ritual of the second burial.
Trail of the Tin Dragon
The Trail of the Tin Dragon has been developed to create a trail of experiences between Launceston and St. Helens that tell the tale of our past mining history. Spanning the rugged North-East,the Trail of the Tin Dragon winds its way through stunning scenery and historic townships. The Trail tells the story of tin mining in the North East of Tasmania, focusing on the European and Chinese miners who sought their fortune and risked all for this most remarkable metal.
The Trail of the Tin Dragon is the untold story of the North East of Tasmania. It is a Chinese story. It is a story of Tin mining, of boom and bust, flood and drought, riches and poverty, hope and despair. It is a story of racial hatred and racial harmony. A story of human transience and the power of nature. The trails begins at Launceston, and passes through Branxholm, Derby, Moorina, Pyengana and St Helens. In Western legends and myths, the dragon is usually depicted as a medieval fire-belching monster, representing evil, or a beast to be vanquished by moral force and valour. For the Chinese, the dragon symbolizes goodness, strength, fertility and change.
Branxholm is the site of the infamous 'Showdown on the Bridge' - Tasmania's first race riot in a confrontation between European and Chinese miners. Branxholm was also where the Ah Moy family owned a shop and rich mining leases of Ruby Flat.