and Searches - 1937 to Present-Day
Search 2 - November
The second and third
searches organised by the Animals and Birds Protection Board were led by
Arthur Leonard Fleming. Charles Gossage (2004)
writes of Fleming:
"Stories of the feats
of Tasmanian Highland Wilderness bushmen have persisted and become legends
mainly because there is a lot of truth to them. One such person has
assumed almost super-human status. He was well known by all the older
population who have lived in the Central Highlands or the South-West regions
of the Derwent Valley. The mention of his name prompts fond memories.
Often the word 'legend' is used. Memories of a big strong superbly
capable bushman with exceptional intuitive knowledge of the quirks of Tasmanian
climate. That big quiet man was Arthur Fleming".
Area 2 (Cardigan River & Raglan Range). Satellite image: Google Earth.
your pointer over the map to magnify.
| In a letter to the
Chairman of the Animals and Birds Protection Board, Fleming writes:
"On the 28th November
1937, accompanied by Mr. Leslie Williams, a Prospector, I proceeded to
the Cardigan River on the West Coast Road where we camped for the night.
On the following morning we set off into the bush, and after climbing the
hills to the south of the Raglan Range, we continued in a southerly direction
along a valley leading to the Franklin River near Frenchman's Cap.
Frenchman's Cap, western
| After travelling
some miles along this valley we pitched camp and remained for the night
- not, however, before we had found the tracks of several tigers.
The next morning we left camp and followed the valley referred to for some
miles to a point near the Franklin River where we tracked one more tiger.
We then turned west and climbed out of this valley and searched the hills
and valleys to the west of Frenchman's Cap, and during the afternoon found
the tracks of a large and small tiger.
The Franklin River in
| In the
late afternoon we climbed a high mountain and looking in a south westerly
direction, could see what appeared to be a wide river or lagoon.
It was really an inlet from the sea. From the mountain we headed
back towards our camp, and whilst crossing a valley near the camp, we came
across the tracks of a large and small tiger. Next day early, we
returned via the Raglan Range to our motor vehicle at the Cardigan River.
Beginning at the
southern end of the Raglan Range and travelling in a southerly direction
within a radius of 10 miles, we found tracks of tigers in eleven different
places. It may be that more than one of the tracks were made by the
same animal, but I would say definitely that they were at least four different
animals which made the marks.
This country is particularly
mountainous, and was densely covered with an undergrowth of Ti-tree and
cutting grass until bush fires swept through some years ago. At the
present time it is ideal tracking ground as the earth has not recovered
from the effects of the fire. In many places the soil consists of
a blue coloured clay which takes a perfect print of feet passing over it,
but after leaving the main valley tracking was not easy excepting on the
well worn Wallaby and Kangaroo runs, and there had been so much traffic
on these, that a particular track soon became obliterated. There
were more Kangaroo and Wallaby tacks than I have seen in any other part
of the bush. I was struck with the almost total absence of Wombats,
and I concluded that the tigers must have destroyed them.
The Sydney Morning Herald,
4th March 1938 (p. 10).
The country to the
south of the Ragland Range has never been either hunted or snared, and
until the bush fires passed through, the place was so densely scrubbed
that it was sealed against any trapping activities. Even now the
gorges are so steep and so numerous that I think it quite safe from hunters".