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Barnbougle Gold Course


local history

Derby Museum

Originally known as Brothers Home, the Township of Derby was settled after the discovery of a very rich deposit of tin. The story of tin and the history of Derby can be found at the Derby History Museum, housed in the old School house in the main street of Derby.


The Museum is run by an enthusiastic team of volunteers who will be happy to tell you all about the incredible riches the discovery of tin brought to some of the early settlers. The devastation and tragic  loss of life to during the 1929 floods can also be recalled at the next door Tin Centre. 


As a visitor you can also experience the bygone days of the old school room, view Chinese artefacts, war memorabilia and many photographs of an earlier era of the township.


The Museum is open 7 days in Summer 10-4

                                   6 days in Winter 11-3 – Closed Saturday



Briseis Water RaceThe Great Briseis Water Race

The Briseis water race is a channel that was constructed to transport water between Ringarooma and Derby in North East Tasmania to assist tin mining at the Briseis Tin Mine at Derby.

History and Facts

  • The 1876 Melbourne Cup, Crown Oaks and All Aged Stakes (three big events in the same week) winner, Briseis inspired the Briseis Tin Mine name.
  • The Briseis Tin Mine Company at Derby required greater quantities of water for large-scale hydraulic mining. (…”water rushing from great iron nozzles, with such force as will burrow into the earth, and wash out large holes in a few minutes …. the mine resembles a huge quarry or gravel pit”.) Quoted from John Beswick’s ‘Brothers’ Home the story of Derby Tasmania’ published 2003.
  • Mr Donald Fraser from Ballarat in Victoria was engaged to survey the route of the proposed ‘race’ in April 1900.
  • In January 1901, the race construction commenced and was completed by March 31st 1902.
  • It was constructed to convey water at a precise gradient of 4 feet per mile (1:1320).
  • Three gangs of men, with approximately one hundred in each, simultaneously constructed each section over 15 months until they met.
  • Water was harnessed behind Ringarooma and channelled along the 48km race to Derby, taking three weeks for the first release of water to reach the mine.
  • Constructed at a cost of £60,000.
  • Designed and built to carry a minimum of 100 sluice heads of water per hour (24 million gallons daily).
  • Touted at the time to be the largest project of its kind ever undertaken in Australia.
  • Travelled through forests and rocky terrain with four ‘great’ siphons (pipes) constructed to transport the water over rivers and across gullies. (“great iron pipes resembling a mighty sea-serpent, stranded full length in the forest”) Quoted from John Beswick’s ‘Brothers’ Home the story of Derby Tasmania’ published 2003.
  • The forests surrounding the race was harvested with ‘spot’ sawmills providing the timber required during the construction of the race.
  • The race was still in use for mining purposes in the 1950’s by the Ormus Tin Mine (Arba Tin Mine) owned by the Edwards families at Branxholm.
  • A portion of the race still conveys water to the Branxholm water Reservoir.

Recent developments

  • Branxholm community member Trevor Smith recognised the historic value of a small section of the race near Branxholm and commenced sensitive track clearing about 8 years ago.
  • In 2002, the Branxholm Progress Association began negotiations with Forestry Tasmania, discussing land ownerships, liabilities, track potential and partnerships.
  • The Branxholm Briseis Walking Track site is now recognised as a cultural heritage site in an informal reserve.
  • June/July 2003, severe wind-throw damage to the forest buffer zone adjacent to a logging coupe, damaged portions of the Race. Forestry Tasmania conducted the debris clean up in February 2004.
  • Cultural and historical linkages with the Trail of the Tin Dragon, a thematic interpretative touring trail between Launceston and St Helens, telling the story of North East Tasmania’s mining and Chinese history.
  • The intact forest surrounding the latter part of The Walk is regrowth forest as much of the forest was harvested during the race construction in 1901-02. 
  • In February 2004, Conversation Volunteers Australia was engaged with Forestry Tasmania’s assistance, to commence one week’s track upgrade on a short section of the Briseis Water Race near Branxholm.
  • Winner of the inaugural 2004 Premier’s Active Town Award for Town population with less than 300 people. (Nominated by the Branxholm Progress Association.)
  • To protect the fragile integrity of the site a partnership with WILDCARE members and Forestry Tasmania has achieved further improvements since August 2004:
    – a natural viewing platform
    – three small wooden crossings
    – weed control
    – on going track care
    – Interpretation
  • The Briseis Water Race Interpretation Project was funded by Tourism Tasmania’s 2005 Local Tourism grants.

Today’s features of the Briseis Walking Track ‘walk with history’ near Branxholm are:

  • Deep four metre cutting through solid rock.
  • Sections of original stonewalling.
  • Remains of the single strand wire and insulators of emergency telephone communication line between the Race caretaker and the Briseis Tin Mine.
  • Remains of timber trestle fluming structure that was built to transport water around rocky areas.
  • Timber marker pegs indicating the miles and chain distances from the mine.
  • Tree stumps with “shoes” where planks were inserted for tree fallers to stand on to saw through the tree.
  • An insight to the character of the mine owners, managers and the three hundred labourers constructing the fifty kilometre Race and the conditions experienced.
  • Any person of moderate fitness is able to access this relatively level walking track which meanders through dry Tasmanian sclerophyll forest
  • The walk is in close proximity to the Tasman Highway (North East Trail Touring Route).
  • In Branxholm, turn into Donald Street from the Tasman Highway (A3) and continue for 2 km to the Ruby Flat Road and Briseis Water Race junction.

EME updated 2/5/2020.

Oakdene Gardens and Museum

 At Jetsonville just off on the road between Scottsdale and Bridport is situated Oakdene Gardens and Museum. A privately owned establishment the Museum and Gardens opens by appointment with an admission fee.


The Museum houses a big collection of ladies’ fashions dating from c1890 to 1966.  The visitor can also view old household memorabilia as well as old farm equipment/tools from the early days.  Many photographs from an earlier era are also on display.


The owners have a passion for the history of the entire North East of Tasmania so the visitor may also be interested in their collection of :

  • Files on family’s of the North East
  • Legal documents, newspaper clippings
  • Cemetery records
  • History books
  • BDM until 1899


For further information contact Sheryl Martin -63522697.

Address:- Oakdene Gardens & Museum, 80 Oakdene Road, Jetsonville.


Ringarooma Museum


Ringarooma was proclaimed a township in November, 1888 but was settled much earlier with mining explorations in the early 1860’s bringing pioneers to work the gold and tin mines as well as farm the fertile land.  Today agriculture is the predominant industry.


The Ringarooma Community, Cultural and History Association houses its collections in the former Christ Church, situated in the main street of Ringarooma.

The building is un-manned, but there is information about the area including who to contact if you want copies of photographs or to buy the book Ringarooma One Hundred Years 1888-1988.


The centre is open 7 days 9-5 and donations are gratefully accepted.


Bridport Film Society

Bridport Film Society, Thurs weekly Community Club Main Street
An eclectic selection of feature films, some art house, some movie classics shown on the big screen in the clubrooms. And still with icecreams at interval.