Fern Tree Bower, Hobart, Australia


Hut at Fern Tree Bower, Hobart, Tasmania
Dated 1907
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View (approximate).
Council workshops and later shelter shed(s) were erected at the Bower, but not in the early rustic style. . . . The current shelter shed is built into the bank possibly a little lower down the stream than the original shelter shed.
kunanyi/Mt Wellington History (PDF), pp.30-2

When this part of Browns River became known as the Bower (later Fern Tree Bower) in the 1860s, the scene was very different from what it is today. A dam built across the river in 1862 made a pond, around which grew overhanging tree ferns. It became the mountain’s most famous beauty spot. People walked (or promenaded) along the track following the water line from the saddle at Fern Tree Inn to the Bower, where they could enjoy a leisurely picnic or a walk upstream to Silver Falls before heading home. Over time, rustic benches, tables and shelters were installed.
On the Convict Trail


Fern Tree Bower
Postmarked 1911
Publisher: J.Walch & Sons, Hobart

The Tourists’ Association, of which Henry Dobson is the president, have since its formation done all they could to conserve the beauties of the Bower and at the same time make it more inviting and accessible to across the Straits Tourists. With this end in view Mr Dobson approached the Corporation, and asked this body to assist in co-operating with the Association in erecting a shelter shed near the Bower receiving basin. The municipal authorities fell in with the idea, and offered to contribute two-thirds of the expense of the shed if the Tourists Association provided the other one-third. The Association lost no time in clinching the bargain, and tenders were invited for the erection of a temporary house for pleasure-seekers in a spot surrounded by hills not lofty enough to inspire awe nor to shorten the sunlit day, but of sufficient height to shut out the world beyond and its cares.

The contract was undertaken by Mr Walters, who has carried out his work faithfully and well. The dimensions of the bush house are 24ft by 12ft. It is built on square timber supports, and the back and ends are boarded, whilst the roof is shingled. The shed stands on a space to the west of the storm channel of the Bower Basin. It is not yet completed, but it is intended to make the front of a rustic character and plant ferns around it something similar to the rustic huts in the Brewery reserve. It contains two tables and seats, and the bottom will be gravelled and the interior colored. The shelter shed is on the Corporation reserve, and, of course, will be under the supervision of the waterworks official. The City Engineer (Mr R. S. Milles) superintended the erection of the shed, which, by-the-way it may be mentioned, will be a great boon to ordi­nary visitors in inclement weather. The hut is for the public generally and no special class.
Tasmanian News (Hobart, Tas. : 1883 – 1911), Saturday 9 January 1897

It was a merciful thing that the Silver Falls Gully, immediately above the Bower at the Fern Tree, so well escaped injury by the devastating bush fires on that terrible Black Friday of last summer. The local people say that this was wholly due to the splendid efforts put forth by the employees of the Hobart Corporation, under Mr. Milles’ direction. The gully, with its pair of charming waterfalls, man ferns, and mossy hollows, is the most picturesque and romantically beautiful to be found any-where within easy access of the city. The shelter-sheds at the Bower are proving a great convenience to visitors and picnicking parties. The explorers of the gully have had their rambles made more easy by rustic woodwork footbridges being thrown over chasms, steps cut to facilitate getting over big logs, or else a narrow pathway made clear around them. These things, however, have been done so unpretentiously as to be in keeping with the silvan surroundings of the place. Hundreds of people visit the Bower without knowing what they have missed by not taking a stroll up this gully. The first waterfall is less than a quarter of a mile up, and the second, an exceedingly pretty one, only a few hundred yards further on, whilst having arrived thereat, a short cut may be taken to the Springs, and thence to the top of the mountain.
The Mercury, 7 January 1899

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