Frank Styant Browne, photographer, and Joshua Higgs, painter, undertook an incredible journey by horse-drawn caravan from Launceston to St Helens via the Fingal Valley, returning via Weldborough and Scottsdale.
On Tuesday, December 8, 1896, they left from Wimborne, Frank Styant Browne's house in York Street, Launceston in a horse-drawn caravan pulled by an Arab steed, Desert Boy.
Joshua Higgs was designated the captain and cook, and Frank Styant Browne was appointed chief mate and doctor.
Browne recorded notes of the trip in a log which has been incorporated in the book Voyages in a Caravan edited by Paul AC Richards, Barbara Valentine and Peter Richardson, published in 2002.
The first day's journey took the pair to Breadalbane for breakfast, past Perth, Snake Banks for lunch, Cleveland, and camping overnight at Conara Junction. Unluckily, the butcher at Cleveland had sold out of chops, an essential meal item for the pair.
Next morning, they travelled through the Fingal Valley, passed Hanleith with Ben Lomond as a backdrop, and camped overnight at Avoca, capturing scenes from the Avoca Railway Bridge and of Avoca Church.
On Thursday, December 10, Frank photographed Bona Vista, the home of JF Rigney. They enjoyed lunch at Tullochgorum, and at Fingal met up with the Holder Brothers.
The next day they departed for St Marys, passed the Cornwall coal mine, and lunched on the obligatory chops, negotiated St Marys Pass without mishap, and travelled onto Scamander for the night.
On Saturday, December 12, they set out for St Helens in late morning capturing scenes of Georges Bay and the town. They camped at St Helens for three nights, occupying themselves with more photography and painting of local scenes. A faulty wheel on the caravan needed to be repaired by the local blacksmith.
The return trip commenced on Tuesday, December 15, reaching Goshen for breakfast, passing through Goulds Country, Lottah and Myrtle Forest, and climbing Blue Tier Pass. After Thomas Plains, they camped at Weldborough.
The following day, they travelled through Moorina and Derby, camping close to the Ringarooma Valley Mine. On Thursday, they passed through Branxholm and Billycock Tier, overnighting at Scottsdale.
On Friday, December 18, they travelled through Springfield and Meredith Pass before camping at Myrtle Banks.
On the final day, they set out for Millwood's where Mt Arthur stood out in all its barrenness. An hour was spent sketching and photographing the mountain. From there they passed through Patersonia, St Patrick's River and Waverley before finishing the trip in Launceston.
For the entire journey, they had travelled 204 miles and taken 12 days. Members of the Northern Tasmanian Camera Club recently followed the route taken by Browne and Higgs. Travelling by car on sealed roads, the journey took two days.
A fascinating aspect of the latter excursion was to find a number of the landmarks photographed by Frank Styant Browne are still standing.
Connect with the past, visit Launceston Historical Society - facebook.com/launcestonhistory