Speleo Spiel

Speleo Spiel

Material Information

Speleo Spiel
Series Title:
Speleo Spiel
Southern Tasmanian Caverneers
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Regional Speleology ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )


General Note:
The Tasmanian Caverneering Club was formed on 13 September 1946. Initially, information was provided to members through a circular, copies of which exist back to November 1947. "Speleo Spiel, Circular of the Tasmanian Caverneering Club" was first published December 1960. Eight issues of this are known, up to May 1962. In April 1964 a "Circular" was again issued and seems to have continued, irregularly, until March 1966. Then in April 1966, a "New Series" of Speleo Spiel commenced, as a monthly newsletter. In December 1996 The Tasmanian Caverneering Club amalgamated with the Southern Caving Society and the Tasmanian Cave and Karst Research Group to form the Southern Tasmanian Caverneers. The combined group agreed to continue to publish "Speleo Spiel" as its bi-monthly newsletter, as continues today (2015). Speleo Spiel is a vehicle for recording the cave and karst-related activities, and particularly the achievements, of the Southern Tasmanian Caverneers. It also carriers technical and scientific reports, reprints, reviews and other information likely to be of interest to members from time to time.
Open Access - Permission by Publisher
Original Version:
No. 317 (Dec-Jan 1999-2000)
General Note:
See Extended description for more information.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
K26-03903 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.3903 ( USFLDC Handle )
21511 ( karstportal - original NodeID )

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Speleo Spiel #317 N ewsletter of the Southern T asmanian Caverneers P O Box 416, Sandy Bay 7006


1 999 STC Annual Dinner Caving in the 21 s t Century Hugh Fitzgerald keeping clean with “The Virtual Caver” Photo by Jeff Butt Functional, warm and illuminated, Dave Rasch. Photo by Jeff Butt Steve Bunton demonstrating correct use of the Squeeze-o-matic Photo by Jeff B Liz Canning with suction cup ascenders. Photo by Jeff Butt


STC Officers: President: Trevor Wailes Ph: (03) 6229 1382 (h) trite@ozemail.com.au Vice President: Hugh Fitzgerald Ph: (03) 6234 3035 (h) Hugh.Fitzgerald@utas.edu.au Secretary: Liz Canning Ph: (03) 6224 2035 (h) Liz@dpiwe.tas.gov.au Treasurer: Arthur Clarke Ph: (03) 6228 2099 (h) arthurc@southcom.com.au Equipment Officer: Jeff Butt Ph: (03) 6223 8620 (h) jeffbutt@netspace.net.au Librarian: Greg Middleton Ph: (03) 6223 1400 (h) gregmi@delm.tas.gov.au S & R Officer: Jeff Butt Ph: (03) 6223 8620 (h) jeffbutt@netspace.net.au Scientific Officer: Albert Goede Ph: (03) 6243 7319 (h) Albert.Goede@utas.edu.au Public Officer: Steve Bunton Ph: (03) 6278 2398 (h) sbunton@postoffice.friends.tas.edu.au Editor Jamie Allison Ph: (03) 6273 8160 (h) jamiea@dspl.com.au Webmaster: Hans Benisch Ph: (03) 6239 6899 (h) hbenisch@netspace.net.au Cover: Linda Deer abseiling into Wolf Hole (Hastings). Image captured with an Olympus D340R 1.3 mega pixel digital camera (1280 x 960 resolution) with wide angle 5.5mm (1:2.8)lens. Photo by: Arthur Clarke Issue No. 317 December 1999 – January 2000 Editorial ..........................................................................................2 Club Matters........................................................................................2 Club Calendar......................................................................................2 Upcoming Trips...................................................................................2 Growling Swallet by Jeff Butt..............................................................3 JF Number Tagging by Jeff Butt and Albert Goede..............................4 Splash Pot (JF10) and Surrounds by Jeff Butt......................................5 N ewdegate Cave Cleanup by Jeff Butt.................................................5 N ew Access Track to King George V Cave by Arthur Clarke...............6 Big Tree Pot (IB9) by Jeff Butt............................................................9 N ew Caves, Tagging and Unexplored Swallets by Arthur Clarke.......10 Surface Surveying /Exploration by jeff Butt.......................................11 N otes on Karst Features at Lightning Plains by Chris Sharples...........12 Classifieds ........................................................................................16 Copyright 1999,2000 STC This work is STC copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission from the publishers and the inclusion of acknowledgment of the source T he views expressed in the Speleo Spiel are not necessarily the views of the Editor, or of the Southern Tasmanian C averneers Incorporated. The Speleo Spiel Newsletter of the Southern Tasmanian Caverneers Incorporated PO Box 416, Sandy Bay, Tas. 7006 http://www.tased.edu.au/tasonline/scaving/ S TC was formed from the Tasmanian Caverneering Club the Southern Caving Society and the T asmanian Cave and Karst R esearch Group STC is the m odern variant of the Oldest Caving Club in Australia. The Editor would l i ke to recognise the following people: Arthur Clarke and S haron Allison for their time spent proof reading this edition. Without your assistance, many errors would go to the printer unnoticed. Many Thanks -Ed


Club Matters New Member Peter Hollings was voted in at the December business meeting. Welcome to the club. Welcome Back Penelope Lopez is back in town after a 6-month tour-de-fruit of Northern Australia. The good news is that her ankle is A1. From the Gear Store The new part roll of Edelrid 9 mm rope (120 m) has now been put into service; this leaves a single 200 m roll of Beal 9 mm rope in storage. ASF Elections At ASF Council meeting in Canberra (Jan. 29-30, 2000) Arthur Clarke was elected as a Vice-President of the ASF along with: Grace Matts, Joe Sydney and Wayne Tyson. Arthur also picked up the position of Executive Secretary to the ASF Executive. Club Calendar Meetings Shipwright Arms (Battery Point) General business meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month (7:30pm for a 8:00pm start). Social gatherings and special events are held on the third Wednesday of each Month starting at 8:00pm Training Sessions Fruehauf Quarry From 5:30pm on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month during daylight savings. Come along and learn some new techniques, or practise some old. Contact Jeff 6223 8620 for extra information or directions. February 16 Social Gathering February 23 Rope Rescues. March 1 General Business March 8 Wall climbing 1-Scaling Pole March 15 Social Gathering March 22 Wall climbing 2-Aid climbing (using existing bolts!) April 5 General Business March 29 TBA Upcoming Trips Please contact the organiser of any trip for more information Sat Mon March 4-6. Exploration in the Weld River Valley, N/NE of Arrakis. Jeff Butt 6223 8620 Sat Sun March 18-19 Exploration on the flanks of Mt. Picton, Red Rag Scarp area. Jeff Butt 6223 8620 Sat Feb. 26 or Sun Feb. 27 Splash Pot, the surveying continues. Experienced and thin cavers only Jeff Butt 6223 8620 or Dave Rasch 6227 9056 Editorial W elcome to 2000. Hmmm, I have to say that I am sick of anything Y2K or millennium relatedÂ….. enough said. T hank you to the authors and photographers out there for your submissions. Spiel #317 started out real t h in, but as things turned o ut, IÂ’ve had to hold over some articles until next issue. An increase i n postage costs has imposed a weight limit on the Spiel. If your a rticle wasnÂ’t published this time, then rest assured it will be included in #318. With the r i sing costs of producing the Spiel, it may b e time to look at digitally distributing the club mag. This would be o ptional of course but the benefits are clear. Firstly, no distribution a nd printing costs. Secondly, colour images. If you have a colour print e r, then your Spiel would be printed in colour. On the d ownside, download time and local formatting, ie Mac, PC, Word 9 5, etc. This often causes problems when exchanging the mag with m y trusty proofreaders prior to publication. One solution is to use Adob e PageMaker to generate PDF files. PDF files maintain all f ormatting regardless of platform via a free reader. Most printing h ouses also support PDF files and this would allow a better quality S piel at the printer. Send me an email with your comments or expression of interest. Jamie Allison (jamiea@dspl.com.au) Speleo Spiel Editor


3 Growling Swallet-27/11/99 Party: Mike Weeding, Susan Ingram, Ben Rhee, Ric Tunney, Janine McKinnon, Hugh Fitzgerald, Dave Rasch and Jeff Butt. by Jeff Butt The pre-dinner (3rd Annual STC dinner trip) trip had a couple of purposes: 1. to remove the decaying scaling pole from ‘Scaling Pole Aven’, 2. and to re-rig Slaughterhouse Pot (which had been rigged with this set of gear since 7/3/98). Dave and Hugh set off down Slaughterhouse Pot (SHP) with three ‘new’ pieces of 11 mm Bluewater (~1986 vintage) and 6 maillons to replace the gear that has been in the cave for the last 20 months. Incidentally, for future reference, the rope lengths for the three pitches are 37 m, 20 m and 22 m. Meanwhile, our large party set off down Growling. Ric said that he was part of the original party that carried the pole into Growling in the early 1980’s. To make life easier for our new prospective members (Susan, Ben and Mike) all the climbs were rigged en-route. The two parties more or less arrived at the same time at Slaughterhouse Aven. Four of us then headed down to grab the scaling pole. Getting the 7 sections of pole out was extremely easy, for obstacles a human chain passing the sections through was extremely efficient, whilst in the stream way it was very easy to carry a couple of pieces each. Those down the back of the queue didn’t even see a section of the pole on the way out. Carrying the sections was advantageous through the plunge pools, as they could be used as support sticks....perhaps this is why those that had the sections were reluctant to give them up! A fun trip was had by all; Ben, Susan and Mike were suitably impressed with the Growler. We then headed back to Tyenna Valley Lodge for a convivial evening of fun and eating at the 3rd Annual STC dinner. On the clean up the three pieces of rope removed from SHP were found to be extremely ratty. Of the 80 m of rope, half was scrapped. The scaling pole cleaned up very well after its ~20 year stint in the cave. (Without doing an extensive literature search, I did find reference to the Scaling Pole being in the cave since 1981, by Stefan Eberhard in Spiel 204 1984/5.) All it needs is a new set of bolts to bring it back to mint condition; it might then be educational and fun to have some practise with it at Fruehauf Quarry. Who knows, it might get used underground again.....bolt laddering is fine, but it isn’t always possible or the most expedient method of accessing high level passages. !"#$ % & '( % # (


4 JF Number Tagging-28/11/99 Party: Albert Goede, Dave Rasch and Jeff Butt. by Jeff Butt This was the day after the 3rd Annual STC dinner. We headed up to Scratch Pot, and affixed the JF250 tag. Then surveyed our way across to Itchy Hole, linking in the 5 m hole under the log found on a recent visit (Andras went down this, see Spiel 315, p18). We affixed the JF261 tag to Itchy Hole. From here we set of surveying out towards Splash Pot, using the GPS as a guide. We actually made a mistake here, and were surveying towards JF12, not JF10. We ran across the KD track, and tied the survey into one tape on this track, then headed off in the correct direction! We eventually linked the survey to JF9. During our surveying, we stopped for lunch in the region where Hairy Goat Hole (HGH) is supposed to be (flattish area, lots of bracken and exposed limestone, no tree cover). I found a new small hole, given the name Hole19 and obtained a GPS fix on this. A survey cairn nearby will allow linking this into the surface traverse. Dave relocated Hole16 (Spiel 315, p15) which was not far away. After completing the survey we headed back to Hairy Goat Hole country, via the contact. Quite an impressive 8 m shaft on the contact (DaveÂ’s Hole12, Spiel 315, p14). Without caving gear it was not possible to number this cave. Dave found his bearings and we soon found the two small horizontal caves (Hole 17 and Hole 18, referred to in Spiel 315, p14). We numbered these two as JF262 and JF264 respectively (there was no JF263 tag in the collection of tags that Albert had). We continued looking around, Dave knew the area very well, but there was no sign of that mythical HGH. Perhaps the only way HGH is going to be found is by making a grid over the whole area and doing a systematic search of the whole region. Still it was an interesting day, and we did add to the work in the area by completing our survey. However, there is still more work to be done!!! More JF Number Tagging-28/11/99 Party: Albert Goede, Dave Rasch and Jeff Butt. By Albert Goede JF-250: SCRATCH POT Cave initially known as Hole 10. Entrance is located on a NW facing slope. Entrance is approximately 3 m in diameter and mostly covered by four fallen logs. Number was placed on sloping limestone face the only one visible. The entrance is vertical with an initial 4 m drop. Next two drops are 12 and 50m Speleo Spiel (SS) #315 p13. After the 12 m drop, there is a large chamber with extensive areas of flowstone and a small amount of horizontal development. There are many bones in this area. In the flowstone apron around the 50m pitch, there are many deep animal scratches. At the base of the pitch a small trickle of water goes into a tight rift with many decomposing animal corpses and bones. Cave has been surveyed and total depth recorded as 77 m (SS #315 p14). No draught at lowest point. Named after animal scratches found in large chamber (SS #315 p17-18). JF-261: ITCHY CAVE Cave initially known as Hole 11. Entrance faces west and is in a dry valley at the base of a hill slope and has a diameter of 1 x 1.5 m. Entrance is vertical with 4 m climb down. Number has been placed on sloping rock face on left hand side of entrance when facing inwards. Cave ends in small chamber with a draught issuing from a 10 cm wide slot (SS #315 p13-18). JF-262: Referred to as Hole 17 in SS #315 p14. Sloping entrance is approximately 1.2 x 1.2 m. An 8m long horizontal passage leads to a constriction and boulders. Number tag is installed one metre inside entrance and one metre above floor on left hand wall facing inwards. Entrance is in a clump of small trees (Musk Olearia argophylla). JF-264: Referred to as Hole 18 in SS #315 p14. Entrance is a 1m wide rift with a 1m drop into a horizontal passage leading to a 4m free-climbable pitch, which is blocked. Number tag is installed inside entrance 0.6 m above floor on right hand wall when facing inwards. Entrance is located in a clump of small trees (Musk Olearia argophylla). [Editors Note: Jeff and Albert both submitted grid references and GPS data to give the exact location of each hole visited. I have removed the data from this edition. The issue of publishing cave locations in the Speleo Spiel will be discussed at the next General Business Meeting (March 1, 2000). If it is decided that the data should be published, then it will appear in the next issue. My apologies to Jeff and Albert for making such a major change to your respective articles. -Ed


5 Splash Pot (JF-10) and Surrounds: 2/12/99 Party: Dave Rasch, Jeff Butt. by Jeff Butt This was a return trip, to continue with the surveying commenced on 10/7/99 (see Spiel #314, p10). The weather had been warm and dry in the week leading up to our trip, which meant that the ‘splashes’ were just that, as opposed to the ‘deluges’ on our previous trip. We speedily rigged to the bottom and started our surveying. On the last ‘step’ the less “rain” allowed us to locate an old bash-in bolt on the LHS, but this was not used as it would have put us more in the water than the convenient natural spike on the RHS. From our last station, we surveyed steeply ascending upstream passage till it choked out with dolerite boulders. Then we headed back down to survey a rather grotty and gravely muddy side-passage till it terminated at a less than body-sized hole (which could be dug if you were keen). This passage was referred to by Shaw et al (Spiel 79, p7-10, 1973), but not investigated at the time. Then it was back to our lowest station to start the bit I was dreading, the survey of the ‘Close to the Bone’ extension. We set off: the pace was slow and the survey-legs painfully short. Just getting oneself into a position that you could read instruments or write in the book was nearly as arduous as progressing along the passage. Being a little larger than Dave, I found the going somewhat harder; in fact I’d be so rash [no pun intended -Ed] as to say, this is the hardest caving I’ve done. Dave would disagree with me on this one, but I must say I’d rather be carrying a humungous pack, or bridging over a wicked void, than be forcing my body through cave passage of sub-human dimensions. Anyway, we passed a number of squeezes, until the confinement was starting to get to me, this being exacerbated by my shredding trog-suit catching on projections and stopping me moving. It was nearly our turn-around time, when a rib-cage compressing vertically downwards squeeze told me that it was time to go. I probably could have got through, but my mental energy for being in this place was depleted; my brain told me that I’d rather be elsewhere. So, we headed out....which in itself was a slow process. We had surveyed about 30m of passage to this point. We did leave the cave rigged for a return trip.....but it will take a little while for the arduous nature of this passage to fade from my mind. We were back on the surface with plenty of daylight, so we set off for another thrash to try and locate that now mythical Hairy Goat Hole (JF-15). We found some new territory down the hill a bit from where Dave had looked before; (it is amazing just how much surface area there is in this region). We found one good shaft (Hole 20) of about 2m diameter and 15m deep (adjacent to a 5m high tree stump and hidden by a small bush), with a single piece of blue tape on the ground nearby. We suspect this is JF-22 from the description in the karst index, but could not locate a number tag to confirm or deny. From here we visited every tree in the region, as apparently HGH is at the base of a ‘significant tree’, near some small limestone scarps. Not sure what a ‘significant tree’ is, but there were many unique looking trees (and a couple of fallen ones) visited in the hope that they were “the significant tree”. Unfortunately none were, but Dave did find a new hole (Hole 21), which he had to uncover to be able to look into (a narrow body sized entrance that falling stones suggest must be 20m deep or more). So, that’s something for another trip. It is amazing to be able to find new holes on successive trips to the area. This is a rather interesting region and will no doubt occupy more of our time in the months to come. We are getting more and more familiar with this area, and are now perhaps a bit blas, as we didn’t have any compass or GPS to assist us with our navigating. As it was time to go, we decided to head off down the hill, with the hope of locating the Scratch Pot (JF250) gully. As soon as we got into the forest we found ourselves in familiar territory, a handful of ‘significant trees’ no less (one is a double leader) told us exactly where we were. We then followed some of our footsteps from the other day (28/11/99), and were soon back on the KD track and back to the car. Newdegate Cave Clean Up: 11/12/99 Party: Steve & Kathy & Grace Bunton, Peter and Jill Hollings, Hugh Fitzgerald, Liz Canning, Dave Rasch, Ian Houshold, Kelly Miller, Rick Tunney, Janine McKinnon, Sarah Boyle, Jeff Butt. by Jeff Butt The aim of the day was to remove about 1500kg of bagged up rubbish/waste material from Newdegate Cave. Much of this waste was clay that the early cave developers had dumped on flowstone when excavating paths through the cave. STC member Roger Griffiths and co-worker Peter Price had bagged up this material into 10-15 kg ‘Blood and Bone’ bags (which led to my cartoon below) and stock-piled this material out of the way [Roger and Peter are both cave guides employed by Parks and Wildlife who have been involved with the rehabilitation of Hastings for the last 4-5 years -Ed]


6 Anyway, we assembled and headed into the cave, equipped with back-packs and carried the material out of the cave, where it was wheel-barrowed to the car-park. The numbers and enthusiasm of the people made light work of the job, and somewhat embarrassingly we had completed the job in under 2 hours. Now approximately 15 tonnes of rubbish/waste material have been removed from the cave, Newdegate Cave was perhaps the most degraded and rubbish strewn tourist cave in the country prior to the ongoing cleanup and rehabilitation which has been going for several years. With that out of the way the motley crew headed up to King George V cave (KGV) to have a look at the new track cut by the Hastings Caves Enterprise / Parks and to have a look within KGV. The old log that covered the gate has been chain-sawed and removed, and so access is now very easy. A new locked gate has been fitted to the old gate-frame, and an aluminium extension ladder has been semipermanently added to the entrance climb to facilitate the commercial adventure caving trips. [See following Article -Ed] We had a look around the cave; for many people this was their first visit to KGV (once a tourist cave). With the caving out of the way we retreated to the thermal pool for a dip. The walls and floor of this pool have now been painted brown to make it not just another swimming pool. Whilst in the pool, if you look at your feet, they now seem to be blue in colour; making it quite a weird sight. After the swim it was time for our reward, Jenny Robson fed and Ian Household watered us all with an extremely well catered for BBQ. All up it was a really fun and productive day. Thanks to all who attended and helped make this day a success. Days like these foster good relations between cave managers and cavers and are fun to boot. New Access Track to King George V Cave and Wolf Hole Reviving a Little Bit of History About Hastings Tourist Caves Party: Robyn Claire and Arthur Clarke (STC); accompanied in part by CEGSA members en route to Wolf Hole : Marie Choi, Tracy Colhoun, Linda Deer, David Glowacki and Simon Kendrick by: Arthur Clarke Some visiting CEGSA members (from South Australia) had requested to do a short vertical cave and do some cave photography – maybe in another area apart from Ida Bay or North Lune, so it was decided to have a look at Wolf Hole in the Hastings karst area. I was also keen to have a look at the new access track to King George V Cave and the recent developmental works for a “new” breed of cave tourists at Hastings – with the establishment of King George V Cave as a site for adventure caving tour parties. The development of King George V Cave including new access track, entrance gate and ladder access etc. have been undertaken by Parks and Wildlife on behalf of the Hastings Caves Enterprise. STC member: Mick Williams had alerted me to a newspaper article in The Mercury and expressed his concern about an article which stated that adventure caving was due to commence in King George V Cave on January 20th, 2000. I knew that there was talk about starting adventure tours in Newdegate Cave, going into Binney Chamber via Binney Tunnel but it had come to me as quite a surprise to learn that King George V Cave was in fact now being developed for adventure caving, although the idea has been talked about and under consideration for


7 nearly a decade. The concept of adventure cave tours in King George V Cave was discussed with members of the Australasian Cave and Karst Management Association (ACKMA) who visited the cave in May 1995, following the 11th ACKMA Conference (held at Gowrie Park and Derwent Bridge in Tasmania). The overwhelming response of the ACKMA Conference delegates had been against the proposal for adventure caving in King George V Cave due to concerns about possible speleothem degradation, the historical significance of the site, interference with stream flow channels and the effect on cave fauna – especially by disturbances in the entrance zone where the sediment deposit of forest mulch and organic material is “home” for many important cave invertebrates. This entrance deposit is one of the few site localities for the holotypes and paratypes of two rare cave invertebrates: the tiny, rare cave harvestmen: Lomanella thereseae plus another arachnid the equally rare cave pseudoscorpion: Pseudotyrannochthonius tasmanicus This entrance deposit is also a regularly frequented site for the Hastings cave beetle: Idacarabus cordicollis the larger, more common harvestman: Hickmanoxyomma cavaticum (variety 2) and some macrochelid mites. En route to the North Lune karst area the previous day, I had made a tentative arrangement to meet Keith Vanderstaay (the Hastings Caves manager) on Wednesday morning (January 19th) to check out the recent development works in King George V Cave I was particularly keen to see inside the cave entrance, where it is proposed that adventure cavers will be belayed into the cave while climbing down a fixed ladder, then escorted (or guided) through the sediment deposit, possibly along a pathway from the base of the ladder, excavated through the fauna-rich, organic entrance deposit. Unfortunately, Keith Vanderstaay had to cancel our arrangement on Wednesday morning, due to other meeting commitments with Parks, so Robyn Claire and I checked out the new access track by ourselves, while the CEGSA members went off in search of Wolf Hole The new track to King George V Cave (and Wolf Hole ) enters the bush from Chestermans Road about 120-150 metres up the road from the old track to the caves, on the same (left) hand side of the road. The start of the new track is marked with two yellow plastic tapes, about five metres in from the roadside. Immediately opposite and slightly uphill, there is parking space for three or four cars on the roadside verge. The larger logs or fallen trees have been cut through along a short section of narrow walking track which winds it way uphill for about 70-80 metres through lyrebird territory in the wet sclerophyl forest, before doing a sharp dog-leg turn to the left contouring along the hillside. This more or less horizontal, but narrow track then leads to a recently cleared 1.5 2.0 metre wide benched track: an extension of the eastern end of the more or less horizontal section of the previous track through ferns to King George V Cave. A short distance along here there are the side tracks to Wolf Hole are located and the remains of two tracks on the lower side: the former main access track to King George V Cave and the branch track to Wolf Hole The old more or less horizontal track through the ferns was itself, the original former walking track for tourists to King George V Cave in the 1930’s, when the cave was then known as the King George Cave (Clarke, 1999b). Although not conclusive as a record of cave discovery by Europeans, the evidence of speleograffiti (cave signatures) in caves suggests that the King George Cave was discovered on January 23rd, 1918, about a month after the discovery of Newdegate Cave (a few days before Christmas, 1917 Clarke, 1999a). These two caves plus Beattie Cave (discovered March 1918) were regularly visited around this time, particularly by local residents, many of them being taken to the caves by local cave guides (Clarke, 1999a; Clarke 1999b). A tally of the number early pre-1939 dated signatures in these three tourist caves at Hastings suggests that the King George Cave ( King George V Cave ) was by far, the most popularly visited cave, with over twice as many signatures found in there than in Newdegate Cave (Clarke, 1999a). Figure 1: Arthur Clarke, holding wall-bolted chain above the new steelp late entrance gate to King George V Cave. Photo by Robyn Claire.


8 The former Geeveston-based Municipality of Esperance Council excavated the original track to the King George V Cave in the early 1930’s. This was part of a longer zig-zag, graded track from the main Hastings Mill tramway (which the Hastings caves road now follows). The council track to the cave entrance, follows the line of a former logging tramway spurline which branches off from the main Hastings mill tramway. The council constructed wooden stairs leading down into the entrance chamber. In the early 1930’s, prior to the construction of the Caves Road, the Esperance Council had constructed graded walking tracks to the three main tourist caves at Hastings: Newdegate Cave Beattie Cave and the King George Cave and employed two regular cave guides: George Aird from Hastings and Councillor Henric (“Eck”) Brown from Dover, to take visitors to all three of the caves. This arrangement by the Esperance Council continued up until a few months before the official opening of Newdegate Cave in January 1939. Even when the government Tourist Bureau operated Newdegate Cave as the main (and only) government-run tourist cave in this area, there were still frequent requests by Esperance Council and other bodies for an extension of the hydro-electricity scheme into this southern region in order to have lighting installed in both the King George Cave and Beattie Cave. As well as in Newdegate Cave. The new tourist cave had been illuminated by a generator powered from a 10 horsepower Kelly and Lewis diesel engine (Clarke, 1999b). [STC members might be interested to know that Ted Nicholas, father of one of our life members (Stuart Nicholas) had the onerous task of being the person required to maintain the Kelly and Lewis diesel engine and attend to repairs, often being called out in the dead of the night to ride his motorbike along the then narrow and torturous, winding gravel road (Huon Highway) from Hobart down to Hastings Caves.] Now, leaving history alone for a moment: back to Wednesday’s story! After leaving the CEGSA cavers, Robyn Claire and I walked along this recently cleared former Esperance Council walking track to King George V Cave The large log that used to straddle across the old entrance gate has gone – or at least most of it has, certainly that section of the log that was immediately above the old gate. The former gate (a steel bar affair) that used to be discreetly hidden under a sheet of rusted corrugated iron underneath a thick covering of forest mulch, twigs and bark, has now been replaced by a solid steel plate set into an angle iron frame – situated in an otherwise cleared and open area, devoid of forest mulch at the foot of a small bluff of dolomite. On the dolomite wall or bluff above the new steel plate (gate), there is a small length of chain attached by a large bolt set into the rock; this is an anchor chain to hold the new gate open (see accompanying Figure 1). This steel plate “gate” has a small square hole in the centre, just giving enough room for an arm to get in to unlock the new padlock. Peering through this hole in the steel plate you can see the new cave access: a square-runged aluminium ladder disappearing down into the gloomy darkness, presumably resting on the organic sediment slope (see Figure 2). Having sighted this new entrance to King George V Cave we figured it was time to catch up with and join our visitors from South Australia, who had now become “lost” in the bush uphill from Wolf Hole (but that’s another story). And now for just a little more history again – about Wolf Hole Despite being also recorded in the ASF Karst Index as Wolfs Lair there is no firm evidence to suggest that Wolf Hole was so-named because of the presence of “wolf” or Thylacine remains. The naming (and discovery) of Wolf Hole has actually been accredited to a former local resident Amos Wolfe, who worked in the area as an early cave guide, along with notables such as Fred Estcourt, taking visitors to the “newly” discovered caves at Hastings in the 1920’s (Clarke, 1999b). Amos Wolfe reportedly found a number of other caves which he used to take visitors into, including other caves near F igure 2: Aluminium ladder (with square rungs) leading down from new entrance gate in K ing George V Cave. P hoto by Arthu r Clarke.


9 Wolf Hole and some cave entrances on the lower (eastern) side of Chestermans Road. Some of these caves reportedly had cave formations and it is probable that he may have found some sites that are unknown to cavers today! There is an unconfirmed report of an early 1920’s newspaper article describing Wolf Hole as a potential tourist site, with the suggestion of constructing a winding or circular staircase walkway around the entrance collapse walls to allow tourists or cave visitors to see the site. Just a little footnote about King George V Cave : this cave still retains its “Limited Access” or “Permit” Cave status and will still be accessible to cavers, despite being used by the Hastings Caves Enterprise as a tourist site. In keeping with its status as a permit cave, the Enterprise will only be permitted to conduct one adventure tour-caving trip per week. Hopefully, by maintaining this limit of only one trip per week. Mike Driessen (the WHA Zoologist for Parks) has vetted the cave site and given the OK for development works in King George V Cave. A string lined walking route has been positioned thrugh the cave. In order to avoid impacts to sensitive sites and a biological monitoring process has been established to regularly check cave fauna sites and seniment banks. (Clarke, 1999a) An analysis of early speleograffiti in three caves at Hastings, southern Tasmania. ACKMA journal Number 35 (June 1999), pp. 33-37. (Clarke, 1999b) The early history of Newdegate Cave and its development for tourism. (Paper presented to 13th ACKMA Conference, Mt. Gambier, April 1999.) Cave Management in Australasia 13: Proceedings of the Thirteenth Australasian Conference on Cave and Karst Management pp. 118-125. Big Tree Pot (IB-9): 12/12/99 Party: Andras Galambos, Jeff Butt. by Jeff Butt After being on the wheel-barrow at the Newdegate Cave Clean up the day before, I felt like some real caving, as did Andras. So we thought we’d have a trip to Big Tree Pot. I’d been there about 10 years ago, but never had a look around at the bottom, and so this was deemed to be a good enough reason to go. The day was fine, but windy, the walking pace to the cave fast. So, we arrived in a sweat and were relieved to retreat to the cooler caverns below. Since my last visit in 1990, three bolts have appeared in this cave....all of which really aren’t necessary as there are excellent natural anchors the whole way!! Anyway, for the record, here are some rigging details, which you might like to update your copy of “Vertical Caves of Tasmania”, by Rolan Eberhard and Steve Bunton. Note that we had the perfect amount of rope, so don’t make rope lengths any finer, or else you won’t bottom the cave! The first 4 pitches can be done on a single piece of rope (~80m), as can the last two (~120m). Entrance pitch (26m): Natural bridge up high, a jug on the left; rebelay from the chock-stone wedged at the top of the shaft. (28m rope, 3 tapes) 2nd pitch (14m): large pillar on the RHS, plus tieback. (16m rope, one long tape) 3rd pitch (15m): small stal. on the RHS, about 3m above the pitch. Bolt on the LHS 1m above the lip, plus tieback. (20m rope, one tape, one bolt bracket) 4th pitch (14m): Bolt on the headwall, 2m above pitch, deviation from the block projecting over the pitch. (14m rope, one bolt bracket) The 4 m ‘pitch’ is an easy climb. 5th pitch (90m): Tie back to large column in chamber on right, then a Y-belay using broken stalagmite base on the LHS and bolt on the RHS. Need a protector (empty pack) below the bolt. And, yes the old rock spike 3m up on the RHS is still there, and is an alternative to the bolt. (110 m rope, one tape, one bolt bracket) 6th pitch (9m): A block adjacent to the edge and tie-back. (10m rope, one tape) We cracked a new 9mm rope for the big pitch...it’s a magnificent pitch! At the bottom we had a good look around. Following the rift up high one can feel a slight breeze, which seems to disappear in the formation alcoves in the top of the rift. The stream way was followed to it’s termination, where if you were keen it might be worth a dig. However no breeze at all can be detected anywhere in the stream way. Given the proximity of Mini-Martin, this area can’t be that far from Exit Cave, but then I’m not sure what direction the rift at the bottom is actually heading. We found ourselves back on the surface 5 hours later, it was a very smooth and fun trip. If you haven’t experienced the delights of Big Tree Pot, then I’d recommend it as a great trip. STC has caving lamps and helmets available for hire to Schools, Scouts and other groups with responsible caving leaders. Contact the Equipment Officer: Jeff Butt on 6223 8620 for details.


10 New Caves, Number-Tagging and Unexplored Swallets at North Lune Party: Robyn Claire and Arthur Clarke (STC); Tracy Colhoun, David Glowacki and Simon Kendrick (CEGSA) by Arthur Clarke On Monday January 17th, the five visiting cavers from CEGSA (Cave Exploration Group of South Australia) had a long day’s caving in Midnight Hole Mystery Creek Cave in the Ida Bay karst, i.e., they became geographically embarrassed while trying to find an exit route out from Midnight Hole Despite their long day’s caving, the CEGSA team had been suitably impressed with the magnificent glow-worm display in Mystery Creek Cave (particularly spectacular at present) and rated it as significantly better than the famed glow-worm caves at Waitomo in New Zealand. On Tuesday 18th, three of the CEGSA cavers were still keen to get into our southern Tasmanian forests (and maybe some caves), but wanted something less strenuous. They were also hoping to look at another karst area and maybe some more lyrebirds, so Robyn and I took them to the North Lune karst area with its surrounding sassafras and myrtle dominated rainforest. We followed the Mesa Creek track from the Hastings Caves car park at the end of Caves Road and soon found plenty of evidence of lyrebirds – lots of fresh scratchings along the track and about 7-8 active “parade” mounds. Although there are a few patches of Gahnia (cutting grass) en route, the basically flat walking track was still in good order and 35 minutes later we reached the limestone and first dolines where a male lyrebird was performing its repertoire of bird-calls. While Arthur and Robyn used a cordless percussion drill to place an “NL-10” number tag at the entrance of Slippery Hole (formerly NL-X6), the CEGSA members checked out the 2-3m high, fern and moss covered rundkarren pinnacles, then went looking for caves. After number-tagging NL-10, Arthur re-discovered Gloveless Grotto (NL-4) and Robyn found a new draughting entrance (NL-X8) in a mulch-covered, rock choke at the base of another nearby doline. Further west towards Mesa Creek, Simon and Tracy re-discovered the large doline with Cave Coral Cave (NL-7) and David reported a few small entrances uphill near ”nests” of dolines. While Arthur re-traced David’s footsteps (locating David’s lost glasses strap), Simon and Tracy assisted Robyn digging out her new NL-X8 cave entrance – still bowing a strong draught, but now requiring a crowbar to remove a few rocks. Arthur followed a prominent ridge of exposed and fissured limestone uphill, adjacent to an equally prominent dry valley with dozens of small steep-sided dolines and a few larger depressions. On the upper RHS (northern) flanks of one large doline, Arthur located another new cave entrance (NL-X9) in a 2m long narrow fissure rift, partially covered with tree roots and forest mulch. Although it has no discernable draught, it appears to be about 10 metres deep (requiring a rope for descent) and has speleothems on the fissure walls; this entrance was marked with two yellow tapes and left for another day! Following a circuitous route downhill, a small dry streambed was encountered with evidence of recent stream flow, this terminates in a mud-choked swallet in front of a 2m high headwall. While waiting for Arthur’s return, David assisted in the gardening process at Robin’s draughting entrance. After that he then descended Gloveless Grotto and found a small inclined passage extension at the base of the entrance rift, which could have potential if it was enlarged by digging. Although most of the caves and entrances in the glaciated North Lune karst are small, this “new” karst area still has considerable potential for cave A rthur Clarke emerging amidst tree roots from Gloveless Grotto (NL 4 ) at North Lune. P hoto by R obyn Claire


11 discovery (and perhaps even larger caves), as well as for hydrological studies. Only a small section of the karst has been explored where the few known (twenty) caves and the previously mentioned unexplored entrances are located. The limestone of the North Lune karst extends across a seven to eight kilometre distance from Gleichenia Creek in the south to Hot Springs Creek in the north, where it forms a fault contact with the Hastings dolomite (Clarke, 1990). There are unconfirmed reports of cave entrances and swallets in the upper reaches of Hot Springs Creek reportedly discovered during geological mapping of this limestone/ dolomite fault contact. (There are additional unconfirmed reports by bush-walkers and forestry workers of limestone and caves further south beyond the Lune River in the upper reaches of Moonlight Creek and adjacent to forestry spur roads that run south of the South Lune Road, in the region northwest of the Ida Bay karst.) Although the limestone geology of the North Lune karst has been partially mapped (Sharples, 1979; Clarke, 1990), the subterranean hydrology has not been studied. During a recent surface trogging trip to the area, two STC members: Mick Williams and Charlie Crofts reported the discovery of several gravel-soak swallets below waterfalls tumbling off mudstone cliffs, immediately above the North Lune limestone, uphill from the known caves and karst northwest of the Mesa Creek track. Further west, there are two large unexplored stream swallets ( Mesa Creek Cave and Top Sink ) in the vicinity of spectacular streambed dolines in Mesa Creek itself. Both these swallets take considerable volumes of water, especially when Mesa Creek is in flood and it is likely that these inflow points and other North Lune karst swallets are source waters for the cold water springs on the Lune River plain. It has also been suggested that these two swallets in Mesa Creek might contribute to the source waters for the warm springs on the Lune River plain, including the scatter of warm springs that are located near the Hastings Thermal Pool (Clarke, 1998). There is also an unconfirmed report of another stream swallet further southwest, in the upper reaches of the dry limestonefloored creek bed of Gleichenia Creek (Clarke, 1990). References: Clarke, A. (1990) North Lune – A “new” limestone karst area in southern Tasmania. Tasmanian Cave & Karst Research Group journal Number 4: pp. 2737. Clarke, A. (1998) Ferns and bryophytes from the North Lune karst of southern Tasmania. ACKMA journal No. 31 (June 1998): pp. 49-54. Sharples, C.E. (1979) The Ordovician System in the Ida Bay area Unpublished BSc Honours thesis, University of Tasmania (Department of Geology), Sandy Bay. Surface Surveying / Exploration in the Scratch Pot to Splash Pot Area: 9/1/00 Party: Dave Rasch, Andras Galambos, Jeff Butt. by Jeff Butt This was another ‘workshop’ in the Hairy Goat Hole area (or at least the area in which we think it is). We first headed up to Splash Pot, and since Dave had the flu and I had a gut thing we stayed on the surface to survey in the nearby holes (Dave’s Holes A3, A4, A5 and A6, see Spiel 315) whilst Andras bopped Splash Pot for a quick work-out. Andras’s trip was aided by his own gut work-out, he had to high-tail it out of the cave to answer a call of some urgency. After that we headed around the hill looking for new holes....which we did find. Most of them are small and not worth tagging or a further look. A summary of what we found is listed below. We relocated Hole 24 (see trip report for 15/12/99, in this Spiel) which was had a noticeable draft!! That was very interesting, as it’s the first hole we’ve found with a draft in the area. A constriction 2 m down prevented Andras from getting into it. Then we wandered back to the JF19 and JF20 area. Andras checked out Hole 23, then we headed south. Again more holes were found in bracken/exposed rock country, but nothing of note. We headed over the ridge and found some steep country and ended up in a dry valley with a large head-wall (“Feature 1” in the list below). Not too far from here we found a large gaping rift (Hole 29) in the valley floor, two blue tapes were on an adjacent tree. This is probably the feature referred to by Stefan Eberhard in Spiel 222, in the article “Resurrection of the Hairy Goat,10th August 1986”. Andras descended this, but we did not have any gear to tackle the 2nd pitch, but some draft was noted. Stefan reported that the 2nd pitch was 7 m, but did not have any gear to descend this. A promising rediscovery? From here we headed south, and again found some more holes (Holes 30-33), which we surveyed to each other, but did not link into the earlier traverse. We did however get a good 40 minute averaged GPS fix here, so we can temporarily add these holes to a map with some accuracy. En-route home down a ‘new’ gully, we found Hole 34. We got a rough GPS fix here, and left tapes in the gully floor to enable us to relocate this hole. The vegetation in this particular area is very sticky and


12 slow going....not a place to be by preference, but there was a new cave there! Since both Andras and myself are off to New Zealand for a month, investigation of Holes 24 and 29 will have to wait for a bit, as will surveying in Holes 22, 30-33, 34 and number tagging of the significant holes. It’s always good to do some work, but everytime we do, there is always more to be done! Details of Holes investigated: Hole 23: Pothole with 3m diameter entrance. 12.5m passage inclined at 60, then 3m down into chamber. Small aven on left of chamber. Hole 25: A small hole under a fallen tree butt. Hole 24: A body sized hole with a constriction 2m down. Can see it opens up beyond this point. A draft noted. Hole 26: A small hole which needs digging out. Hole 27: Body sized hole, 4m deep with 1m horizontal passage at the bottom. Hole 28: 18m deep, about 25m of passage. Feature 1: Limestone scarp about 10m high at the head of a dry valley. Hole 29: Approx. 25m entrance pitch, then 15m passage leading to an undescended 6m pitch. This is probably the feature referred to by Stefan Eberhard in Spiel 222, in the article “Resurrection of the Hairy Goat,10th August 1986”. Hole 30: Body sized entrance, with approx. 5m passage heading down at 45. Rocks blocking progress at this point, but can see beyond a short way. Hole 31: “Nettle Trap”, a small man-trap. Entrance 1m by 0.5m and 2m drop. Approx. 7m sloping passage to a rock bridge that prevents progress. Hole 32: Pothole 8m deep. Entrance 1m by 2m. 6m shaft, then 2m sloping passage till too small. Hole 33: “Knee Deep” Tiny hole in base of 4m diameter doline, would need a dig to get much more than waist deep. Hole 34: A large JF9 style cave in a stick forest. 4m by 2m entrance with 2 m climb leads to large rockfall chamber about 4m by 10m, 5m high. Approx. 30m passage at the end of this, which ends in collapse rockfall. The interesting thing is that we are finding holes, and sooner or later will find Hairy Goat Hole, or maybe something even better!! Stay tuned for the next instalment. Notes on Karst Features at Lightning Plains, Western Tasmania By: Chris Sharples Intoduction Lightning Plains is situated immediately south of the Frenchmans Cap massif in western Tasmania ( see figure 1 ). Although the presence of carbonate rock at the plains has probably been known since 1842 (the date of Governor Franklin's visit; see below), there appears to be little record of karst features in the area although Kiernan (1995, vol. 2, p. 47) provided a brief description based on an earlier unpublished version of these notes. The writer visited the area during a bushwalk in the summer of 1982/83, and observed karst features there including several caves. This brief note which has existed in unpublished form in a dusty folder for quite a few years! is a record of the preliminary observations made at that time. Access was obtained by easy walking down the South Loddon Plains from the point at which the Frenchmans Cap track turns west up Philps Lead. From the south end of the Loddon Plains, Calder Pass was crossed in about one day to Lightning Plains via moderately scrubby untracked forest. Lightning Plains provided relatively open going and was crossed in 3 or 4 hours. From Christmas Rock ( see Figure 2 ) at the western end of Lightning Plains, Bagota Falls was reached after approximately one day, of sometimes difficult scrub-bashing and creekwading, southwards up New Years Valley, then down the headwaters of the Acheron River. Historical Notes The access route described above is virtually the same as that used on a famous overland expedition from Lake St. Clair to Macquarie Harbour undertaken in 1842 by Governor John Franklin and his wife Jane (Binks 1980, p. 148-156), on which they took part in one of the first explorations of the region subsequent to the closure of the Sarah Island Penitentiary. The expedition followed a track cut expressly for the purpose by the surveyor James Calder between 1840 and 1842. On Christmas eve 1840, the trackcutting party camped under a large overhanging rock on the plains below the eastern side of the Deception Range. That evening they watched a fierce lightning storm from their "rocky fortress", in consequence of which they named the place Christmas Rock, and the surrounds Lightning Plains. An account of the Governor’s expedition was written by one of its participants, David Burn (Burn 1842). This account is readily available in reprint form, and is of perverse interest for two details of karst features which appear at variance with the present writer's own observations: Firstly, Burn's account implies


13 that Christmas Rock is located at the eastern end of Lightning Plains; however only small outcrops are seen in the latter area, none of which were seen to have notable overhangs. On the other hand, the hum described below is the only notable and obvious dolomite eminence on the plains towards which explorers might be drawn, and it does have an overhang large enough to camp under. This hum is the only known feature on the plains corresponding to the historical descriptions of Christmas Rock and is assumed to be the same by the present writer but it is at the western end of the plain. Secondly, Burn's gives an account of standing below Bagota Falls with the spray from the Falls dashing in his face. In fact, water would only flow over the cliff face of the "falls" at times of very high flood (of which Burns gives no suggestion); normally the cliff face is dry, with the creek disappearing into a sink a few F IGURE 1: Map of Lightning Plains area, showing outcrops noted by the author, some geological interpretation, and p laces mentioned in the text.


14 metres above the falls, and re-emerging quietly from a cave at the foot of the "falls". There have apparently been only relatively infrequent visits to Christmas Rock in this century, although it was visited by a Hobart Walking Club party in 1953 54 (Luckman 1979). At the time of the present writers visit, the only half-used remains of a 12kerosene tin airdrop was found stashed in the main cave at Christmas Rock. Apart from copious supplies of rusting tins, unused salt, weetbix, spagetti, peanut butter, oxo cubes, lentils, flour and other delicacies, a tin of Bushells Tea was found with the date "1952" stamped on its base. This drop could have been used by the HWC party, although Luckman makes no mention of it. Geology Spry (in : Spry & Banks 1962, p.112-115) mapped Precambrian dolomites correlated with the Jane Dolomite at Lightning Plains on the basis of unpublished work, and also located Christmas Rock in the same position as the feature described below under that name. No subsequent geological mapping of Lightning Plains appears to have been undertaken. The Jane Dolomite is considered by Calver (in : Burrett & Martin 1989, p.54) to be a possible correlate of the Late Precambrian Weld River Group, the Success Creek Group of western Tasmania, and the Hastings Dolomite. The Jane Dolomite consists of great thicknesses of clean dolomite with thin basal siliclastics resting unconformably on older metamorphosed Precambrian rocks, and has associated mixtite units in some areas ( Ibid ). The present writerÂ’s observations indicate that dolomite generally outcrops poorly at Lightning Plains. While it can be suspected that dolomite underlies much of the plains, it appears to be largely obscured by Quaternary swamp and alluvial sediments (and possibly by glaciofluvial deposits derived from the nearby Lake Whitham glacier). Minor dolomite outcrops were noted at the eastern end of the plain, but the major outcrops are the small hum of Christmas Rock, and some outcrops on the edge of the plain about one kilometre east of Christmas Rock, at the foot of Mt. Llewellyn ( see Figure 1 ). The only other dolomite outcrop seen was at Bagota Falls. Metamorphosed Precambrian quartzites occur on all the slopes surrounding the plains, including at Milligan Falls, O'Boyles Sugarloaf, Mt. Llewellyn, and at least halfway down the slope from FIGURE 2: Memory sketch plan of Christmas Rock showing karst features


15 Calder Pass to Lightning Plains. At Christmas Rock, the dolomite is fine-grained, grey, and appears to be unmetamorphosed or of only very low metamorphic grade. Prominent planar beds several metres thick are lying horizontally with no sign of folding, cleavage or foliation. The presence or otherwise of other sedimentary structures, or the silicification characteristic of many Precambrian dolomites in Tasmania, was not recorded at the time by the writer, and his memory has grown dim... Karst Features Dolomite outcrops seen at the eastern end of Lightning Plains are small (up to five or ten metres across), and no attempt was made to examine them. However, about a day was spent exploring Christmas Rock and the dolomite outcrops about one kilometre to the east thereof, and the Bagota "Falls" were examined briefly en route to White Hill Plains. Christmas Rock Christmas Rock is a small isolated hum, or residual karst hill (grid reference DN053101), estimated to be approximately 30 to 40 metres high and about 200 metres in diameter. The major karst features observed are illustrated in Figure 2. Two arches occur on the eastern side of the hum, the space under the larger one being about 5 metres high and 20 metres wide. A small arch with a space about 2 metres wide and four metres high adjoins the eastern buttress of the main arch. On the southern side of the hum, two long joint-grikes about two metres wide and 20 metres deep cross at right angles, and are floored in parts by a thick bed of moss. On the north-west side of the hum, a low cave varying from one to three metres high opens to both sides of a ridge whose top is the summit of the hum. This cave, which could almost be described as another arch, is dry and, with its overhanging north-west entrance, is likely to be the "overhang" from which Calder's track-cutters observed their lightning storm at Christmas 1840. The airdrop debris described above was found near the NW entrance of this cave. A small stream enters the rock at the north-eastern base of the hum, and flows for several metres through a cave which can also be entered through a "skylight" adjacent the stream entrance. The stream disappears into a sump within the cave, but it is possible to follow the spacious dry cave passage for another twenty or thirty metres before exiting via another hole onto the eastern slope of the hum. Speleothems are poorly developed in the cave. A stream resurgence at the south-western foot of the hum is probably the same stream which enters at the north-east side. One other small cave passage was observed on the western side of the hum. Outcrops 1 km East of Christmas Rock Dolomite also outcrops on two small isolated hillocks close to the southern edge of Lightning Plain (grid reference DN061105). One of these was visited and is a blocky mass about 15 metres high and approximately 20 metres wide by 50 metres long in plan. It is split into a row of steep closely spaced towers by a series of deep parallel grike chasms. A small arch with a space about four metres across and two metres high occurs at the base, and a steeply inclined enterable cave entrance was noted nearby, but at the time no attempt was made to explore the cave. Bagota "Falls" Bagota Falls on the upper Acheron River (grid reference DN041064) is of interest in that the fall of water occurs behind the cliff face rather than in front of it! The cliff is vertical to overhanging, and is at least ten metres high. The rock appears to be a Precambrian dolomite similar to that at Christmas Falls. The stream of the Acheron plunges into a sink filled with large boulders several metres upstream of the top of the cliff, whose face is dry. The stream reemerges from a cave entrance about two or three metres high at the base of the cliff. The cave narrows rapidly and can only be entered for a few metres. Archaeology Small rock flakes and split marsupial bones were noted beneath the main arch at Christmas Rock, and appeared to the writers untutored eye to be possible evidence of aboriginal occupation. Unfortunately, the lithology of the rock flakes was not noted at the time (non-dolomite flakes would be compelling evidence of human transport of the materials). Given the obvious potential of Christmas Rock as a shelter, prehistoric human habitation seems plausible. References: BINKS, C.J., 1980: Explorers of Western Tasmania ; Mary Fisher Bookshop, Launceston. BURN, D., 1842: Narrative of the Overland Journey of Sir John and Lady Franklin and party from Hobart Town to Macquarie Harbour 1842 ; Published by George Mackaness in : Australian Historical Monographs ; (Reprinted by Review Publications Pty. Ltd., NSW, 1977). BURRETT, C.F., & MARTIN, E.L., (Eds. ), 1989: Geology and Mineral Resources of Tasmania; Special Publication No. 15, Geological Society of Australia Inc. KIERNAN, K., 1995: An Atlas of Tasmanian Karst ; Research Report No. 10, Tasmanian Forest Research Council, Inc. (2 vols). LUCKMAN, J., 1979: In the Steps of Lady Franklin; The Tasmanian Tramp No. 23, p. 101-110, Hobart Walking Club, Tasmania. SPRY, A., & BANKS, M.R., 1962: The Geology of Tasmania; Journal of the Geological Society of Australia, Vol. 9 (2), Adelaide, South Australia.


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The Tasmanian Caverneering Club was formed on 13 September
1946. Initially, information was provided to members through
a circular, copies of which exist back to November 1947.
"Speleo Spiel, Circular of the Tasmanian Caverneering
Club" was first published December 1960. Eight issues of this
are known, up to May 1962. In April 1964 a "Circular" was
again issued and seems to have continued, irregularly, until
March 1966. Then in April 1966, a "New Series" of Speleo
Spiel commenced, as a monthly newsletter.
In December 1996 The Tasmanian Caverneering Club
amalgamated with the Southern Caving Society and the
Tasmanian Cave and Karst Research Group to form the Southern
Tasmanian Caverneers. The combined group agreed to continue
to publish "Speleo Spiel" as its bi-monthly newsletter, as
continues today (2015).
Speleo Spiel is a vehicle for recording the cave and
karst-related activities, and particularly the achievements,
of the Southern Tasmanian Caverneers. It also carriers
technical and scientific reports, reprints, reviews and other
information likely to be of interest to members from time to


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