The once famed bare hills of Queenstown are slowly shrinking year on year, with just a relatively small area (known as Philosopher’s Ridge, where the actual mine sits) still remaining bare.
With this last area now peppered green with new growth, it can only be a matter of time before the wilderness of Western Tasmania closes over the landscape created by a rich copper and gold mine that has run almost continuously since the gold rush that gave birth to the town in the 1890s
The trees were felled to feed the smelters (long since closed) which gave off sulphurous fumes (like those vented by geothermal springs). The logging, fumes and lashing winter rains combined to strip the earth and hinder regrowth for as long as the smelters remained in operation.
Today Queenstown is a truly unique town that mixes mining with a strong community of artists, creative professionals and escapees from the big cities who have been drawn to the misty forested hills, mountain lakes and the stunning natural beauty of the region.
There are no kangaroos in Austria. We're talking about Australia, the world's smallest continent. That being cleared up, let's dive right in! Australia is a sovereign state under the Commonwealth of Nations, which is in turn overseen by Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth. The continent was first sighted and charted by the Dutch in 1606. Captain James Cook of Britain came along in the next century to claim it for Britain and name it "New South Wales." Shortly thereafter it was declared to be a penal colony full of nothing but criminals and convicts, giving it the crap reputation you may have heard at your last cocktail party. This rumor ignores 40,000 years of pre-European human history, especially the Aboriginal concept of Dreamtime, an interesting explanation of physical and spiritual reality. The two biggest cities in Australia are Sydney and Melbourne. Sydney is more for business, Melbourne for arts. But that's painting in very broad strokes. Take a whirl around the panoramas to see for yourself! Text by Steve Smith.