Ben Lomond (Tasmania)

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Ben Lomond
Summit run.jpg
Ben Lomond Summit Run
Elevation 1,572 m (5,157 ft)
Location Tasmania, Australia
Coordinates 41°34′S 147°40′E / 41.567°S 147.667°E / -41.567; 147.667

Ben Lomond is a plateau in the north of Tasmania. It is east of Launceston in the Ben Lomond National Park. Tasmania's premier Alpine skiing operations are located at Ben Lomond with downhill skiing facilities in the State.

Its accessibility from Launceston, together with the existence of a ski village on the plateau make Ben Lomond an all year round favourite for tourists and hikers. Access to the village and summit can be made via several walking tracks or via a zig-zag road known as "Jacobs Ladder".


The National Park's name is taken from the Scottish mountain of the same name and was given by Colonel Patterson, who founded the first settlement in northern Tasmania in 1804. In 1805-6, Colonel Legge explored the plateau.[1]

Aboriginal land-owners of Ben Lomond[edit]

The Ben Lomond tribe consisted of three and possibly four bands totalling 150–200 people who occupied 260 km2 (100 sq mi) of country surrounding the 182 km2 (70 sq mi) Ben Lomond plateau. Until 12,000 years ago, the plateau was covered by an ice cap, leaving it largely devoid of soil and lacking in resources.

In September 1829, John Batman (aged 28), with the assistance of several "Sydney blacks" he brought to Tasmania, led an attack on an Aboriginal family group together numbering 60–70 men, women and children in the Ben Lomond district of north-east Tasmania. Waiting until 11pm that night before attacking, he "...ordered the men to fire upon them..." as their 40-odd dogs raised the alarm and the Aborigines ran away into thick scrub, killing an estimated 15 people. The next morning, he left the place for his farm, with two badly wounded Tasmanian men, a woman and her two-year old boy, all of whom he captured. However, he "...found it impossible that the two former [the men] could walk, and after trying them by every means in my power, for some time, found I could not get them on I was obliged to shoot them." The captured woman, named Luggenemenener,[2] was later sent to Campbell Town gaol and separated from her two-year old son, Rolepana, "...whom she had faced death to protect."[3] Batman reported afterwards to British Colonial Secretary, John Burnett, in a letter of 7 September 1829, that he kept the child because he wanted " rear it...".[4] Luggenemenener died on 21 March 1837 as an inmate at the Flinders Island settlement.[5]

Later, Rolepana (aged 8 years), child-survivor of a massacre by a 'roving party' led by John Batman, travelled with him as part of the founding party of Melbourne in 1835. After Batman's death in 1839, Rolepana would have been 12 years old. Boyce notes that Rolepana was employed by colonist George Ware at 12 Pounds a year with Board on Batman's death, "...but what became of him after this is also unknown."[6] However, Haebich records Rolepana as having died in Melbourne in 1842 (he would have been about 15 years).[7] She also says that:

Batman openly defied Governor Arthur and [George Augustus] Robinson by refusing to hand over two Aboriginal boys in his employ: Rolepana (or Benny Ben Lomond) and Lurnerminer (John or Jack Allen), captured by Batman in 1828. He claimed the boys were there with the consent of their parents,....He also demonstrated a strong proprietorial interest in the boys, when he told Robinson they were 'as much his property as his farm and that he had as much right to keep them as the government'. Indeed Batman was convinced that the best plan was to leave the children with the colonists, who clothed and fed them at no expense to the government and raised them to become 'useful members of society'. In a series of letters to Governor Arthur, he 'pleaded hard for the retention of youths educated by settlers and devoted to their service'.[8]

In late 1830, as the infamous 'Black Line' (also known as the Black War) was being disbanded elsewhere in Tasmania, George Augustus Robinson spent a week in north-east Tasmania, searching without success, for the "Ben Lomond-Penny Royal Creek people".[9] In December, 1830, with 33 Tasmanian Aborigines having been removed to nearby Swan Island, Robinson sent a party to look for the Ben Lomond people, again unsuccessfully.[10]

After the failure of the 'Black Line' in 1830, Colonial Governor George Arthur announced on 14 March 1831 his new policy of the removal of Aborigines from Tasmania.[11] By then, 34 Tasmanian Aborigines were interned on Swan Island.[11] In August, 1831, Robinson "....gave an unequivocal commitment that if hostilities ceased, Aborigines would be protected and have their essential needs met by the government while being able to live and hunt within their own districts. These concessions, combined with the promised return of their women from the sealers, were the documented terms under which Mannalargenna joined [Robinson's] embassy."[12] But Robinson's commitment was deceitful. As Boyce notes, "Robinson must have been well aware that the agreement he had reached with Mannalargenna contradicted his own undertakings to the Aborigines Committee and the executive council [to Governor George Arthur]."[12] Mannalargenna insisted in his August 1831 negotiations with Robinson on "...a direct meeting..." with Governor George Arthur[13] and in October 1831, he got this in Hobart.[14]

Mannalargenna, an Aboriginal leader who organised guerrilla attacks against British soldiers in Tasmania during the period known as the Black War, was a Plangermaireener (one of the 3 bands) elder, and in 1835 became the first Aborigine in Tasmania to be given a "Christian" burial.

Historian Henry Reynolds notes of George Augustus Robinson: "His [Robinson's] guilt and need for self-justification were clearly apparent in a eulogy he delivered on the death of Manalargenna in December 1836. He paid generous tribute to his old companion's intelligence, resourcefulness and affability. Robinson clearly thought him a great man. What is more he understood and sympathised with Manalargenna's political views. The chief was, Robinson explained, 'fully sensible of the injustices done to himself and people in the usurpation of his country by the white intruders'. But now Manalargenna would go to heaven, he told the [Tasmanian Aboriginal] community [interned on Flinders Island], which was much better than returning to his homeland.[15] Mannalargenna died of pneumonia as an inmate on the Flinders Island Aboriginal settlement.[16]

Mannalargenna is also recorded as the leader of the "Oyster Bay Tribe".[9]

Walter George Arthur, son of a Ben Lomond elder, was the Wybalenna "activist" who petitioned Queen Victoria in 1846.[17] Historian Henry Reynolds book, Fate of a Free People, covers the activism of Walter George Arthur.[18] Walter George Arthur was born about 1820. His father Rolepa, was a "...leading man of the Ben Lomond tribe.." and known to Europeans as 'King George'. Walter was separated from his family in unrecorded circumstances and lived for several years around Launceston, Tasmania as one of numerous vagrant children. When taken into custody by George Augustus Robinson he was a "professional thief". He was sent to the Boy's Orphan School in Hobart in 1832.[19] In 1835, he was sent to Wybalenna settlement on Flinders Island where he remained until 1838.[20] He and his wife Mary-Anne went with Robinson when he was appointed Protector of Aborigines at Port Phillip [Victoria], returning to Flinders Island in 1842.[21] In 1856,while living at the government settlement of Oyster Cove, he applied (but was refused by the Superintendent] for permission to hire a convict pass-holder to work on his farm.[22] In 1858, he and his wife applied for land in the Huon Valley near Hobart under the Waste Land Act. They were told they would have to abstain from alcohol for a year before he would be considered.[22] Soon after May 1861, he drowned in a boating accident on the Derwent River as he and another Tasmanian Aborigine, Jack Allen, were returning to Oyster Cove from work on a whaling ship.[22]

The 19th century artist, John Glover (artist), captioned one of his Tasmanian paintings, Batman's Lookout, Benn Lomond (1835) "...on account of Mr Batman frequenting this spot to entrap the Natives."[23] Between 1828 and 1830, Tasmanians in this region were shot or rounded up by bounty hunters like John Batman.[23]


Legges Tor from the summit looking towards the Ben Lomond Ski Resort.
Ben Lomond snowfields.

The Northern Tasmanian Alpine Club formed in 1929 and pioneered trips to the mountain and improved the access track. In 1932, a chalet was built at Carr Villa, and construction of a road from Upper Blessington to Carr Villa began soon after. It was finally completed in 1953.[1]

In 1950 a Parliamentary Standing Committee recommended that Ben Lomond be developed as a ski resort. The Australian National Championships were held at the site in 1955. In 1963 the access road was extended to the top of the plateau via the steep and scenic "Jacobs Ladder". Subsequent developments have included new ski lifts, visitor facilities, a licenced inn and accommodation, sewerage system, and improved access. The Ben Lomond Skifield Management Authority was formed in 1995 to manage the Skifield Development Area.[1]

Today, Tasmania's premier Alpine skiing operations are located at Ben Lomond, 60 km from Launceston.[24] Located in the Ben Lomond National Park, the village is at 1460m and the top elevation is 1570m.[25] A number of club lodges provide accommodation and the mountain has fine views which stretch to the ocean.[26] In 2010, the Department of Parks and Wildlife released a plan for the Ben Lomond ski area recommending snow making machines, the enhancement of snow play areas and the development of a possible snow board park.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Ben Lomond National Park". Tazmania Parks & Wildlife Service. 
  2. ^ Rosalind Stirling, John Batman: Aspirations of a Currency Lad, Australian Heritage, Spring 2007, p.41
  3. ^ James Boyce (2008) Van Dieman's Land, Black Inc, Melbourne, pp.200–201
  4. ^ Henry Reynolds, (1995) Fate of a Free People: A Radical Re-examination of the Tasmanian Wars, Penguin, Melbourne, p.81
  5. ^ Kristyn Harman, Send in the Sydney Natives! Deploying Mainlanders against Tasmanian Aborigines, University of Tasmania Web site <>, p.14
  6. ^ James Boyce (2011) 1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia, Black Inc, Melbourne, footnote #136 on p.236
  7. ^ Anna Haebich, 2000, Broken circles: fragmenting indigenous families, 1800-2000, Fremantle Press, p.101
  8. ^ Anna Haebich, 2000, Broken circles: fragmenting indigenous families, 1800-2000, Fremantle Press, p.100
  9. ^ a b Vivian Rae-Ellis (1988) Black Robinson: Protector of Aborigines, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, p.65
  10. ^ Vivian Rae-Ellis (1988) Black Robinson: Protector of Aborigines, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, pp.66-67
  11. ^ a b James Boyce (2008) Van Dieman's Land, Black Inc, Melbourne, p.284
  12. ^ a b James Boyce (2008) Van Dieman's Land, Black Inc, Melbourne, p.286
  13. ^ James Boyce (2008) Van Dieman's Land, Black Inc, Melbourne, p.288
  14. ^ James Boyce (2008) Van Dieman's Land, Black Inc, Melbourne, p.290
  15. ^ Henry Reynolds (1995) Fate of a Free People, Penguin, p.155
  16. ^ Henry Reynolds (1995) Fate of a Free People, Penguin, p.187
  17. ^ >Henry Reynolds (1995) Fate of a Free People, Penguin, p.197
  18. ^ Henry Reynolds (1995) Fate of a Free People: A Radical Re-examination of the Tasmanian Wars, Penguin Books, Australia, p.159 ff
  19. ^ Henry Reynolds (1995) Fate of a Free People: A Radical Re-examination of the Tasmanian Wars, Penguin Books, Australia, p.16
  20. ^ Henry Reynolds (1995) Fate of a Free People, Penguin, p.17
  21. ^ >Henry Reynolds (1995) Fate of a Free People, Penguin, p.19
  22. ^ a b c Henry Reynolds (1995) Fate of a Free People, Penguin, p.20
  23. ^ a b Bill Gammage, (2011) The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, p.40
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Ben Lomond | Offpiste | Piste Maps | Snow Conditions / Reports | Ski Images". Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  26. ^ "Home and away". 2008-11-13. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  27. ^ "Businesses want Govt snow job - ABC Northern Tasmania - Australian Broadcasting Corporation". 2010-07-02. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 

External links[edit]