A road in Van Diemen's Land: Bell's Line

Establishing the land link between Hobart Town in the south and Port Dalrymple (now Launceston) in the north was essential for the success of the new colony of Van Diemen's Land. Major Thomas Bell was responsible for the section between the Derwent River and St Peter's Pass. He was not an engineer but he must have been a good organiser and manager of men. He succeeded with few men, primitive tools, poor materials, and across difficult terrain in what was effectively virgin territory. The remains of Bells Line which have been rediscovered tell much about him, the convicts and their overseers who built the road, the settlers and military who used it and Bells inevitable critics. Archaeological and documentary evidence illuminate which route was chosen, the methods of its basic construction and the increasing wear and tear which damaged the fragile road. Superseded by better routes and modern construction, Bells Line already evinces a sense of the historical cultural landscape through which it passed. Its potential as a tourism asset would benefit from more research and better interpretation. (a) For the covering entry of this conference, please see ITRD abstract no. E214188.

  • Authors:
    • Thompson
  • Publication Date: 2005-11


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01043162
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ITRD, ATRI
  • Created Date: Mar 6 2007 8:24AM