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Photographs supplied by Arthur Garland

A cairn at the site of James Fenton's first house commemorates the pioneer and historian. It records the location of the first European settlement of the area. Upon his retirement Fenton wrote A History of Tasmania.

In 1840 Fenton went to this area on the Forth River where he had bought a thousand acres (405 ha) from the government. He was the only settler in the district and the nearest post office was at Westbury fifty miles (80 km) away. He built a hut and made a canoe to cross the river but his greatest problem was the timber.

At the Forth estuary, for the first time in Australia, he applied the technique of ringbarking for clearing forest land. The undergrowth was cut down and burned and, when the ringbarked trees died, grass and crops could be grown among them. After visiting the goldfields in Victoria in 1852, he concluded that they would want timber for rough-and-ready houses and that it could be readily supplied from Tasmania`s north-west forests.

He returned home, engaged men to fell and split the trees, and soon sold half a million palings to Melbourne builders. With the profits he acquired more land at the Forth, Leven and Don Rivers; his first object in acquiring this country was to exploit it for timber. In 1879 Fenton retired from farming and built a home at Launceston where he wrote A History of Tasmania from its discovery in 1642 to the present time (Hobart, 1884). In 1891 he completed Bush Life in Tasmania fifty years ago, a first-hand description of a pioneer`s life.


Address:100 metres from Forth Bridge, Turners Beach, 7315
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -41.163256
Long: 146.248032
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 7th September, 1968
Front Inscription

This cairn commemorates James Fenton pioneer settler at the Forth River who in 1840 erected the first dwelling in the area on this site

Scenery Preservation Board

Unveiled by the Premier Hon. E. E. Reece M.H.A. 
7th. Sept. 1968.


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