People get shocked when they hear of asbestos being found somewhere in their neighbourhood, but it's actually pretty common.
There are asbestos fields all over Tasmania, including Ulverstone and Macquarie Harbour.
We've all heard of the Asbestos Range.
Colonel Paterson named it when he found asbestos on Anderson's Creek south of York Town in 1805.
The Asbestos Range asbestos field is centred on Barnes Hill, west of Beaconsfield.
There are six forms of natural asbestos.
The one you find on Anderson's Creek is chrysotile.
It's the least dangerous, and everyone has chrysotile fibres in their lungs naturally.
The West Tamar Historical Society interviewed a former asbestos miner years ago.
He told of coming home to Beaconsfield every night pure white, absolutely covered in chrysotile dust - but he'd never heard of anyone getting sick and he lived to a ripe old age.
Mind you, many chain smokers live to a ripe old age too. Doesn't mean it's safe!
People were fascinated by chrysotile, because that's the form you can easily weave into a cloth.
In the 19th Century, they made handkerchiefs out of it, and you cleaned the hankie by throwing it in the fire and burning off all the gunk.
You could make clothes, and clean them in an oven. Or put it in plaster and paint so that your house was completely fireproof. And being fireproof was a big deal in the old days.
There were many attempts to mine at Anderson's Creek from the 1870s on, but they all failed.
There were mini-rushes several times, and quite a lot of money was lost.
The heyday of the industry was during WW1.
Our asbestos supply from Canada was cut off, and companies like Wunderlich in Sydney became desperate for supply.
Wunderlich produced the Durasbestos brand cement sheet nationally. They also made tiles and pressed metal ceilings, and you can see their beautiful metal ceiling work at the National Theatre, now owned by Foot and Playsted.
In 1917, Wunderlich had a big display at the Beaconsfield Show, with a Swiss chalet next to its stand, built for Nestle entirely from asbestos sheet and asbestos roof tiles.
Wunderlich built a plant on Anderson's Creek, making it out of their asbestos cement sheeting.
People visiting said that the building was a brilliant white.
In 1918, they had a workforce of 48 men and were producing 10 tonnes of asbestos fibre a day.
In 1919, after the war, the plant was dismantled and taken to NSW.