How the plough got in the tree on Tamar Island | Photos

Tamar Island's quirky history unveiled | Photos


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Do you believe the legends of Tamar Island?

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Today it’s the end of the boardwalk at Tamar Island Wetlands Centre.

But Tamar Island itself has a bevy of stories to tell.

It’s alive with local legends – the most quirky being that of Bruno the bull, who lived on the island in the mid 1990s.

At that stage, the island wasn’t the tourist attraction that it is today.

When plans began to build a boardwalk out to the island, it was realised that Bruno had to go – he was too fierce and territorial. 

It was a to-do – there was even a petition circulated throughout the community to save Bruno.

But he was eventually moved to a secret location in the neighbouring Tamar Valley, where he lived out his life until 1998.

The island’s history stretches beyond Bruno and his in-grown horn.

It was first named Upper Island by Lieutenant Colonel Paterson, when he landed on the island in 1804.

But for some reason, and no-one can pinpoint exactly why, it was renamed Pig Island by the time early settlement surveyor Thomas Scott made a map of the island in 1824.

Sure, pigs were, at a time quarantined on the island, as well as farmed, but the timeline of the renaming and the pig inhabiting is unclear.

From the 1830s, it was also occasionally referred to as Mud Island.

In 1906, there was finally consistency, when Land and Works Minister Alexander Hean christened it Tamar Island.

Construction began on the island in the late 1800s – it was a key part of operating the channel to the Port of Launceston.

Jettys, paths, and small huts were built to service those who worked on the nearby dredge.

They were built in 1887, but the plan abandoned in 1892 and the workers relocated.

It only took three-odd months for the amount of vandalism to prompt the then-caretakers (the Marine Board of Launceston) to re-instate constant residency for the island.

From late 1892, Thomas Robinson and his wife lived on the island.

They ran a fruit and vegetables farm, and once a week Thomas would take the produce to Launceston city on a small sail boat, to sell.

Those who have visited the island would be familiar with the old plough that has embedded itself and almost been swallowed up by a oak tree’s trunk.

Legend goes that Thomas, saddened and maddened by grief at the death of his wife, struck the plough against the tree.

Caretakers came and went on the island, and the last person to occupy the island left in 1957.

Today, it’s easily walked to from the wetlands centre, from the West Tamar Highway.

The story How the plough got in the tree on Tamar Island | Photos first appeared on The Examiner.

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