Monday, 14 May 2007

Icehouses in the "Tasmanian Tramp"

Northern (short) wall of the upper icehouse, Mt Wellington, Tasmania - 10 May 2007 The Tasmanian Tramp is the Hobart Walking Club's biennial bushwalking journal. Issue 21 from January 1974 contained an article by Jack Thwaites about the Icehouses. The following interesting points are made in the article.
  • The original driver for the building of the icehouses was a desire for ice-cream.
  • The first icehouse, the one highest up, shown in the photo in the photo, was built in the 1850s by convict probationers. It took a few months, and they also made the bridle path.
  • The roof was made of turf and brushwood, to provide the necessary insulation.
  • The upper icehouse has an outside measurement of 9.1m x 5.5m. It was 3.5m deep, 2.5m being below the surface. The walls are 1.2m thick. The volume of ice stored should thus have been approximately 68 cubic metres. I suppose this was about 60 tonnes of ice, if it was properly compacted, and this was just one of the icehouses.
  • In 1974, it was possible to see the paving stones on the bridle track, near the lower icehouses, around the area where the track first levels out.
  • The bushfires in 1967 revealed the lower icehouses, which had been hidden and long forgotten. In 1974, they were already being covered again.
  • The upper icehouse is clear and easy located. The lower icehouses are more difficult to find. The lowest icehouse is right beside the new track, but it is easy to walk past it. See the map. It is 45m short of where the previous version of the Icehouse Track joins the current track, just after it starts to level out above the Springs. There is a gap in the brush beside the track, and you can step down into the bottom of the icehouse. The wall facing Hobart has collapsed a lot, but the others are partially intact. It might be worth clearing the scrub away from it.
  • I haven't found the other 2 yet. The icehouses are shown on the Mt Wellington walk maps, so it may be possible to find them using these maps. I have a diagram from The Tasmanian Tramp, and this should be useful.

Previous posts on icehouses here and here.

Interestingly, the Walking Club have a list of harder daywalks. I'll have to see which ones I've done!

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