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Meetings and excursions 2023

Meetings and excursions 2023 archive


Excursion - Saturday 9th September, 10.30am

Greenhill telescope and observatoryGreenhill telescope and observatory  

Greenhill Observatory and surrounds

We’re having a rather unusual excursion in September in that we are extending our exploration to space. The Greenhill Observatory is located just off the Midland Highway, approximately a 1 hr drive north of Hobart, at Bisdee Tier, near Melton Mowbray. Prof. Simon Ellingsen will provide us with a tour of the facilities.The site has both optical and radio telescopes for the dual purposes of scientific research and to control space missions.

We also have permission to explore the area around the telescopes to see what terrestrial based life we can find. We will meet near the highway turnoff at 10:30 and car pool a short distance up to the telescopes.

 See map of area



General Meeting 7:30 PM Thursday 7th September

Dr. Lisa-Ann Gershwin will present: Things that glow in the dark in Tasmania

This promises to be a very interesting an entertaining presentation. Among other interests, Lisa-Anne is a renowned jellyfish expert, having described over 200 species and written two books about jellyfish.


Book Sales - rare and high interest books from TFN library

A sale of rare and high interest books from the TFN library will be conducted at the conclusion of the meeting. For a book list and to find out more, see here....

 General Meeting 7:30 PM Thursday 3rd. August

Dr Tiana Pirtle will present Deer and other Invasive Species.

Tiana has studied in the United States and Mongolia and currently works for the Invasive Species Council. The meeting will be held at the University of Tasmania Law Seminar Room and access instructions are here: TFN meeting venue

Guests are welcome. Please wear masks.

Excursion - Saturday 5th August, 10am

Risdon Brook Dam & Mt Direction

Risdon Brook Dam and picnic area is located on Hobart’s Eastern Shore about 15 to 20 minutes’ drive from the centre of Hobart. We will walk over the dam and a short way around the lake to pick up the four-wheel drive track to Mt Direction. The excursion will be through grassy woodland. For those wanting to proceed to the top of Mt Direction, from the picnic area, it is an 8 km return walk taking 2.5 to 3 hours at normal walking pace.

 Excursion to Coningham, 10:00 AM Saturday 8th July

The excursion will be along the cliff top track at Conningham. This is a pleasant 3 km walk (one way) through coastal forest and is well protected from winter’s westerly winds. Coningham is located on the D’Entrecasteaux Channel about 35 minutes’ drive from Hobart. Drive through Margate and soon after Snug turn left into Coningham Road for about 2km. We will meet at the main car park at Coningham Beach where recently constructed toilets are available. Halfway along the track is the little-visited Legacy Beach. For those who don’t mind a short scramble, towards the end of the track there is a sandstone cave which would have been used by the Mouheneenner clan.

 General Meeting 7:30 PM Thursday 6th July

Kelsie Fractal will present Recognising the Importance of Seagrass in Tasmania’s Marine Environment.

Kelsie’s work at IMAS is mostly in in coastal marine ecology, in particular restoration ecology, molecular ecology, and anthropogenic effects. She is looking at ways to monitor and mitigate anthropogenic effects in the coastal environment, while finding a balance between environmental health and the social needs of coastal communities.


A Special Resolution with proposed changes to Club Rules has been prepared by the TFNC Committee and will be the subject of a vote by members at this meeting.

Special resolution: That the 6th July 2023 General Meeting of the Tasmanian Field Naturalists Club Inc. endorses the proposed changes to the club rules to come into effect from the 2024 Annual General Meeting.

There is more about the special resolution here.


The meeting is held in the Law Building Seminar Room at the UTAS Sandy Bay Campus. Access instructions below.

 Meeting Thursday 1st. June

Dr Jim Lovell will present Fantastic beasts and where to hear them - bioacoustics in Tasmania.

Single-microphone bio-acoustic recorders have limitations, especially when it comes to counting and identifying individuals, and studying behaviour and movement. Jim has been using his background in astrophysics to develop a bio-acoustic recorder using a 4-microphone prototype system to determine the original locations of the sounds resulting in improved tracking of individuals and their interactions. He’ll also give an overview of the CallTrackers citizen science project which is using bio-acoustic recorders to find and monitor threatened bird species in Tasmania and in which Field Nats members can participate.

Dr Kevin Bonham Life membership

At May’s General meeting, Dr Kevin Bonham was unanimously voted in as our latest life member. At this meeting we will have the pleasure of formally presenting to him his well-deserved life membership.

The meeting starts at 7.30pm in the Law Building, UTAS, Sandy Bay. (see map and directions below.)

 Excursion to Pelverata Falls, 10 am, Saturday 3rd. June

Pelverata Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in Tasmania (114 m). The Pelverata Falls Track starts about 50 minutes’ drive from Hobart. Take the Huon Highway, turn left into Sandfly Road at Sandfly and almost immediately turn right into Pelverata Road. When you reach Pelverata, turn left just after the Pelverata Memorial Hall into Crosswells Road and the car park is reached after about 600 m.
The track to the Pelverata Falls lookout is 5.2 km return. For the first 20-25 mins walk, it follows vehicular tracks through forest and then becomes narrower and undulating. Near the falls, the track goes across some screes of small rocks.


General Meeting Thursday 4th May

Laura Williams from Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens will present "From the miniscule to the mega herb, the flora of sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island."

The meeting will be held at the University of Tasmania Law Seminar Room and access instructions are here Guests are welcome. Please wear masks.

 Excursion to Franklin Forest, 10am Saturday 6th May

The Franklin Forest is tall eucalyptus forest and rainforest located 7 kilometres’ drive from Franklin in the Huon Valley. It was due to be logged in 2021 but lobbying by the Friends of Franklin Forest saw it taken off the logging schedule. The Friends of Franklin Forest have constructed a 1-kilometre-long circuit through the forest. More information, track notes and a map are available from
We will be visiting the forest during the peak of fungi season.
The Franklin Forest is about 45 minutes’ drive from Hobart. In Franklin, turn right into New Road and drive past Franklin Primary School. After a few kilometres, New Road turns to gravel and enters recently logged areas. While in some places the road is rough, it is suitable for 2WD vehicles. At about 6 km from Franklin, there is an intersection of several roads. Take the left-hand road, across the logged saddle. On the other side of the saddle, there is a “T” intersection and take the road on the right, in a westerly direction. The start of the Franklin Forest Track is located 500 metres along this road. It is poorly marked, so look for members’ vehicles parked on the roadside. For good directions, type “Franklin Forest” as a destination into Google Maps.
From the roadside parking, we walk 20m along a disused logging road before taking a rough track for 200m down to the Castle Forbes Rivulet. This goes through an area burnt during the 2018 fires before entering a healthy grove of manferns. The 1 km circuit starts once you have crossed the bridge over the Rivulet.


 General Meeting Thursday *13th April, 7:30 PM

Dr Jemina Stuart-Smith will present: "Safeguarding red handfish from extinction"

Dr Jemina Stuart-Smith will talk about the critically endangered red handfish (Thymichthys politus) – an endemic marine species considered to be on the brink of extinction. With a wild population of one hundred adults, conservation strategies have focussed on bolstering the wild population though captive-rearing, mitigating threats causing loss of habitat, and early efforts to restore its habitat.

*Note that this meeting, rather than being held on Easter Thursday, will be held on the Thursday after Easter.

 Excursion to Ida Bay Railway - 10 am, Saturday 15th April 2023 

Meet at Ida Bay Railway at 10:00 AM. This is about one hour and 40 minutes drive from Hobart.

The Ida Bay Railway is a historic railway established in the early 1850’s to transport logs. Around 1919 it was extended to carry limestone from Marble Hill to Deep Hole Bay. After limestone production ceased about 1975, it became a narrow-gauge tourist railway. Since the railway closed in 2018, the bush has started to reclaim its own.

We will meet at 10:00 AM at the now defunct but still clearly marked Ida Bay Rail Station and Café. This is about 1 hour and forty minutes’ drive from Hobart. Take the Huon Highway through Dover and proceed one kilometre past Lune River to the hamlet of Ida Bay. There is ample parking available at the rail station. We will walk along the railway line, through buttongrass, heathland and eucalyptus forests. After about one kilometre, we will pass Ida Bay which is shallow and should have wading birds. More bays are located further along the railway.

 Annual General Meeting Thursday 2nd March 2023, 7.30 PM

The AGM will be held in the UTAS Law Building, Sandy Bay. Access instructions are here .

Eddie Gall will present this year’s President’s address, Forty Winters in Tasmania’s Mountains, a visual celebration of snow-capped mountains and frosted valleys from throughout the island’s wild areas.

You are invited to nominate for any position on the committee. The nomination form is here. In particular, the club will need a new secretary and your nomination for that position would be greatly appreciated.

Only financial members will be able to vote at the AGM so please pay your annual subscription prior to the meeting.

 Excursion to Big Bend Trail - Saturday 4th March - 10:00 AM

The Big Bend Trail on Mt Wellington has been improved making it a much easier track to walk on. We will meet at the Pinnacle Road Car Park about 500m past the Big Bend Trail. This is about 2km past the Chalet. From the car park we will walk back down the road to the Big Bend Trail. The track features subalpine heaths and snow gum forest and in early March should have good insect life. Those fleet-of-foot might like to climb Tom Thumb or make a circuit by returning via the Devils Throne Track and Thark Ridge Track.

 Return to Vale of Belvoir Excursion

Regatta Day Long Weekend, Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th February 2023

Where to meet
On Saturday, we will be going to the Corbett’s property near the Vale of Belvoir. About 1.5 km west along Belvoir Road (also called the Cradle Mountain Link Road) from Cradle Mountain turnoff (Learys Corner), there is a white gravel road going off to right. This is about 10 minutes’ drive from Cradle Campground.  Our first meeting point will be 200m along the gravel road at a large yellow Hydro gate. See here for a map of the location that includes a photo of the turn off.

Cradle Valley/Vale of Belvoir is about four and a half hour’s drive from Hobart.

The Corbett’s Property
The property has a range of vegetation types from rainforest through several eucalypt woodland types to various sedgelands to open grassland and daisy meadows. The vegetation map shows the distribution of these various communities. To help find our way around, Keith has supplied a map of roads, walking tracks and names of his block’s locations. There is a toilet in the Home Paddock. Shade and water will be available. Water from the Fall River is safe to drink. For more information about the Vale of Belvoir, please look at Keith’s 2012 article in The
Tasmanian Naturalist . There was a Bioblitz in the main part of the Vale and plant list from it is available here.

Here is a map of contours.

Saturday’s program

Keith and son John will take us through the yellow Hydro gate at 10:00 AM. The road to the property is a good quality 4WD track so some rationalisation of vehicles may be necessary. We will start with a familiarisation walk around the block which should take about an hour and a half. After that, we will be able to break up into smaller groups to enjoy the block or survey areas of particular interest. Sunday’s program This will be decided upon on the Saturday. It is likely we will visit the nearby Lake Lea at the north end of the Vale, where there is good swimming and walking around the lake shore.


Being a tourist area at the peak of tourist season, most nearby accommodation has been booked out. At the time of writing, some expensive accommodation options were available nearby. Hotels and motels in Sheffield, Burnie, Ulverstone, Penguin and Devonport may have available rooms. Free camping is available on the Corbett Block, in the First Paddock, provided people are self-contained. Contact Keith on 0419 593 059 if you’re interested.
Irene MacFarlane has kindly offered members camping at her Ecoshack. It is located a few kilometres east of Waratah, about 30 or 40 minutes’ drive from the Vale of Belvoir. Waratah has a roadhouse, petrol station, café and hotel. There is plenty of flat land. You will need to supply your own water and porta-potties and share kitchen facilities. There is plenty of room for a campfire, but at this time of year there may be a fire ban. There are no
barbeques available, so you are welcome to bring your own. It would be preferable for campers to be fully self-contained. Campers can arrive on Friday and stay as long as they like.

If you are interested, please contact Irene by email .

Food, Fuel, and Pharmacy
You’ll have to look after yourself as far as all meals are concerned. Bring your own lunches
and refreshments for both days in the Vale. Fuel, groceries, and counter meals/restaurants
are available at Sheffield, Cradle Mountain, and Waratah.
The nearest pharmacy is Turnbull’s Pharmacy at 57 Main Street, Sheffield.

Updated 26 January 2023



Informal Excursion for the Miena Jewel Beetle

Sunday 5th February 2023, meet in Bothwell at10:15 AM

The current intention is to meet at 10:15 AM at Sealy’s Store Café, corner of Alexander St and Dalrymple St, Bothwell. This is 1 hour and 15 minutes from Hobart. After a cuppa, we will drive to Liawenee, about a further hour’s drive, to search for the Miena Jewel Beetle, Castiarina insculpta. In the afternoon, we may also look in the Lake Augusta area. Emergence of the beetle is dependent on the coincidence of the flowering of the Ozothamnus hookeri and warm temperatures. Consequently, please check this website close to the 5th February for any last minute changes. An announcement will also be made at the February General Meeting.


 General Meeting - Thursday 2nd. February - 7.30pm

Dr Magali Wright will present: 'Orchid conservation in Tasmania'.

Dr Magali Wright is the leader of the Orchid Conservation Program of the Landscape Recovery Foundation. Many of Tasmania's threatened plants are orchids and with their obligate mycorrhizal relationship with fungi, are some of the most challenging species to propagate.