2020 Tas Huon Piners The Second Environmentalists
Huon Piners – The second conservationists
Understandable don’t you think that these tough but sensitive and listening men saw the rivers of the south west as their paths to freedom; if they weren’t ex-convicts themselves they were almost always descendants of them and it appears that even though their fathers’ situation under the penal system might have been dire they did not share the commonly held view of the wilderness as a terrible, hostile and inhospitable place. In fact it was a place with which they lived in harmony for 150 years, a peaceful and generous alternative place to live compared to life on Sarah Island, Hobart or back in England for that matter.
The descendant piners will not have known what European life was like so growing up and living in the wilderness would have come more naturally to them, but their convict fathers had learned the felling business during their captivity which they could put to good use on their release. It makes life in the wilderness sound much more accommodating and attractive than the prospect of town life here or back home after their release.
Perhaps partly because of the solitude, some piners did not marry and have families and because felling the mighty pines became outlawed both these factors combined and led to the decline of these interesting men, who learned to harmonise with their surroundings just as the Aborigines had.