The Track Cutter

Author(s): Patsy Crawford

Regional History

Thomas Bather Moore is considered the preeminent track cutter of his or any other day. 

On the basis of the ground he covered, the country he explored and the places he etches onto the bush map of Tasmania, he has staked his claim to this assertion. Yet he was more than this. Tom Moore, or T B as he is generally referred to, was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, with skills far beyond the cutting of tracks into the fiendishly difficult bush that gripped the west coast. Well educated in England, he studied geology, biology and botany; became extremely informed on glaciation; wrote papers for the Royal Society; corresponded with men of science such as the geologist Robert Mackenzie Johnston and the botanist Ferdinand von Mueller; was adept at surveying and mineralogy, and was an accomplished geographer. His solo trek into the south-west is still regarded as one of the most gruelling ever undertaken. He was born in New Norfolk and spent most of his life on the west coast. Together with his wife Mary (Solly) he established a home at West Strahan, from where he set out on his long, often lonely expedition with his dogs. The story is also filtered through the eyes of a wife born into a family whose antecedents included John Cliffe Watts, the architect and aide de camp to Governor Lachlan Macquarie. That Tom and Mary's marriage eventually foundered on the rock of missed opportunies and loneliness, owed much to Tom Moore's inability to get the bush out of his system. 

This is a story of astonishing endurance and physical challenge of the one hand and personal regret on the other. Moore's name and that of his fellow bushmen is barely remembered. Yet they brought us to where we live, they showed us the way forward and they cleared the paths to our homes, our communities and our townships. If the fortune of Tasmania was built on the words and deeds of its legislators and captains of industry, it was equally built on the broad shoulders and physical endurance of men such as Thomas Bather Moore F.R.G.S. 


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General Fields

  • : 9780648804598
  • : Patsy Crawford
  • : Patsy Crawford
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Patsy Crawford