Melaleuca, Southwest Tasmania – birdlife, mining & walking

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Melaleuca is the starting or finishing point for the South Coast Track, the access point (if you don’t come by boat) to Bathurst Harbour and it was also the arrival and departure point for my recent visit to the Southwest.

IMG_7034  - orange-bellied parrot nesting boxes - 270It’s also ground zero for the Deny King story, his activities here ranged from tin mining to saving the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot. The parrots breed here during the summer months and then migrate north to mainland Australia during the winter, they can be found (with great difficulty since there aren’t many of them) in several locations around Melbourne. Captive orange-bellied parrots are being bred in several places in mainland Australia including the Healesville Sanctuary outside Melbourne.

◄ The species’ survival in the wild is not assured, although they get a great deal of loving attention at Melaleuca. There was still one late straggler at Melaleuca when I visited although I didn’t see it. I had to make do with these bird boxes.

I did see a ground parrot and quite a few elegant little firetail wrens. ▼IMG_7046 - firetail wrens - 540

Deny King - 270◄ I am part owner of Text Publishing which publishes King of the Wilderness: The Life of Deny King by Christobel Mattingley. If you fly in to Melaleuca with Par Avion – like I did – you’ll find it on sale at their terminal in Hobart.




The rather Heath Robinson looking tin mining set up is a survivor from King’s time at Melaleuca. He also constructed the Melaleuca airstrip, it looks like a little salt lake, although in fact it’s simply the subsurface after the peat topping was stripped off with a miniature bulldozer used with tin mining operations. ▼IMG_7049 - Deny King minesite, Melaleuca - 540

IMG_6925 - Needwonnee Circuit, Melaleuca - 540▲ The Needwonnee Circuit is a walking track from the airstrip down to the dock on the inlet and back through the forest on grating boards.