Learn about local Chinese tin mining heritage with this short walk through an old alluvial mine site on our property at Tin Dragon Cottages.
Interest from Chinese tourists and descendants of the original Chinese miners has rewarded Tin Dragon Cottages’ efforts to recount Branxholm’s local Chinese tin mining history. The walk is available to Tin Dragon Cottages’ guests and to others by appointment.
Chinese Tin Mining Heritage Uncovered
Your hosts had no idea of the area’s rich history when they purchased their property in 2001. Because their initial exploration revealed old mining activity, Graham and Christine were curious to learn more. Old maps supplied by the Tasmanian mines department showed historic mining leases on their property. Although one lease had been owned by an Anglican Priest, most leases had been owned by members of the Chinese community. These included Ah Moy, Fon Hock, and Ah Back. The Ah Ping tin mining lease was on Tin Dragon property.
The Ah Ping alluvial tin mine has remained undisturbed for 100 years. In this time it has re-vegetated with man ferns, Myrtle and Sassafras. With some remaining tall eucalypts this has formed a natural grotto. However you can still see evidence of the manual mining techniques used by the Chinese miners. There are fern and moss-covered rock heaps and a tail race that flows with water in the wetter months. Your hosts felt this peaceful site and its history should be made accessible to their guests.
Henry Ah Ping Sculpture Walk
In 2008 Tin Dragon Cottages won a Tasmanian Tourism grant to develop a walk through the alluvial mine site and to research the history. Graham (co-owner of Tin Dragon Cottages) worked on track construction while Christine researched the history of the site. Graham and Christine commissioned Folko Kooper (Mangalore Tasmania) to create steel silhouettes to depict the hard working Chinese tin miners. These silhouettes slip quietly into the landscape as ‘gifts’ for the observant walker.
The Heritage Walk
Ah Ping’s Sculpture Walk is an easy 2km walk taking you along the Ormuz/Arba water race and through the historic alluvial tin mine site. At the centre of the tin mine there is a meditation area with sandstone seats (sourced from mainland China). A steel bollard has the inscription, “when you put yourself in another’s position, your wisdom reveals”. Graham and Christine can provide a brief history of Henry Ah Ping and the Chinese miners of Branxholm upon request.
Chinese Descendants at the Opening of the Heritage Walk
The Minister for Tourism, Michelle O’Byrne, opened the walk in 2009. Graham and Christine were privileged to have Mr Norman Moy (grandson of William Ah Moy) and 6 members of his extended family present for the opening. Norman spoke with great passion about his family ties to Branxholm.
Other Chinese descendants have visited Tin Dragon Cottages, including descendants of Ah Ping and Henry’s wife Louisa Seelin, Maa Mon Chin (Weldborough), Fon Hock (Chung), Teuon, Chin Kit and Chintock. For your hosts this has been a greatly rewarding experience and they continue to learn more about the local history.