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About this website

The forests of Circular Head were first explored by Europeans in the 1820s and first exploited a few years later. The district's forests have been burned, logged, cleared for farms and converted to plantations. Some parts of the forests have been reserved for timber production, others for nature conservation. The Circular Head forests as a whole have been argued over by politicians, forestry companies and environmentalists, and regarded as wastelands by local farmers. The story is long, complicated and unfinished. You won't find it here.

Instead, what I've placed on this website are selected, little-known documents from Circular Head's forest history. I've annotated and illustrated these documents to explain their importance. In one case I've summarised a set of documents in newspaper-style reportage.

This website will probably make very little sense to people who have never visited Circular Head, but will connect long-separated dots in the minds of many Circular Head residents. I hope that people who know the forests will find it an interesting read.

The current version of the website (2014) has five sections. I hope to add more sections in future, and would be happy to hear from readers who want to contribute other little-known documentation.

Bob 'Spider' Mesibov
Penguin, Tasmania
robert (dot) mesibov (at) gmail (dot) com

About units

In forestry-related documents from early 20th century Tasmania, super feet usually means superficial feet hoppus in the log. Conversions are 1000 super feet = 3.05 cubic metres, and 1 cubic metre = 328 super feet. (Some sources give 1000 sfh = 3.01 cu. m.)

1 acre = 0.405 hectare and 1 hectare = 2.47 acres, so 1000 super feet per acre = 7.5 cubic metres per hectare.

In the pre-metric days, surveyors and forest workers measured their distances in miles (m), chains (ch) and links (l). 1 mile = 80 chains and 1 chain = 100 links. Conversions are 1 mile = 1.61 km and 1 chain = 20.1 metres.

Australia's pre-metric currency was based on the British system of pounds (£), shillings (s) and pence (d), where 1 pound = 20 shillings and 1 shilling = 12 pence.

About me

I first visited the Circular Head forests in 1974. From 1977 to 1986 I worked as a research officer for the State forestry agency (then called the Forestry Commission) in Smithton. From 1987 to 2002 I did contract research in forest and invertebrate conservation; many of these contracts were in the Circular Head bush. Also in the 1980s, I made and sold baskets using bark, vines and rushes sourced from the Circular Head forests. Since retiring in 2004 I've been studying (native) millipedes, and I regularly visit Circular Head on millipede hunts.

Unlike Green admirers of the Circular Head forests, I don't object to logging and reafforestation, and I find young forests just as interesting and respectable as old ones. My one concern for the future is that the remaining forests on Circular Head's better soils might someday be cleared for farms. I hope not.


Unless otherwise credited, the text and images on this website are my own work or compilation, and are copyright under a Creative Commons license (attribution + non-commercial, cc by-nc). You are welcome to use or copy the information on this website for non-commercial purposes. Please cite the Forest History in Circular Head URL in your work together with the date you accessed the information.