Dismal Swamp is located in one of the least developed areas of Tasmania.
The far north west region. Located in the bottom of the largest sinkhole in the southern hemisphere the environment of the swamp has not seen major change in thousands of years and is home to some of the world’s most unique flora and fauna.
The sinkhole itself is 624 hectares (1540 acres) in area and 40 metres (130 feet) deep. Formed over hundreds of thousands of years as acidic runoff from the volcanic soils leached into and dissolved the soft dolomite sediments that underlay most of the region the sinkhole has developed into an oasis for native plants, trees and animals. While natural environments continue to change the sinkhole itself will not get much deeper as between 1.5 metres ( 5 feet) and 3 metres (10 feet) below the surface of the swamp is a layer of marine sediments comprised of ancient corals and shells. This layer acts as a type of bedrock and also as a drainage system that ensures that the sinkhole remains as a swamp and doesn’t fill with water to form a lake as happens in other sites around the region.
In the 1960s and 70s there were plans to log the swamp area and drain it for agricultural use. A man called Wes Beckett, who was a forester with some 5 decades of experience believed that Dismal Swamp should be preserved for its unique values.
As an example of a blackwood dominated forest it was one of very few examples that existed.
After a long campaign wes Beckett was successful and gained reserve status for some 310 hectares of Dismal Swamp.
A later threat emerged in 2012 when a mineral exploration licence was issued for the Dismal Swamp region. The current operators lobbied the Government department responsible and had the greater part of Dismal Swamp excised from the land available for exploration. Consequently a major part of Dismal Swamp enjoys a level of protection enjoyed by very few areas in Australia.
In 2004 a move was made by the Tasmanian government to create “attractions” away from the accepted tourist routes and Dismal Swamp was identified as having the values and natural beauty that would make it an attractive choice.
Forestry Tasmania were requested to develop an attraction that would showcase the unique qualities of the region and bring an opportunity for people to experience the wonders of a near pristine environment. Forestry Tasmania operated the facility until April 2010 when a decision was made to close the operation.
In September of 2010 we, the current operators, re-opened the attraction as a private operated business and have continued maintaining this wonderful site until the current day.