Mount Owen (Tasmania)

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Mount Owen
Lake Burbury.jpg
East Mount Owen wall and Lake Burbury from Bradhsaws Bridge
Highest point
Elevation1,146 m (3,760 ft) [1]
Prominence774 m (2,539 ft) [1]
Isolation8.53 km (5.30 mi) [1]
Coordinates42°05′24″S 145°36′00″E / 42.09000°S 145.60000°E / -42.09000; 145.60000 (Mount Owen)Coordinates: 42°05′24″S 145°36′00″E / 42.09000°S 145.60000°E / -42.09000; 145.60000 (Mount Owen)[2]
Mount Owen is located in Tasmania
Mount Owen
Mount Owen
Location in Tasmania
LocationWest Coast, Tasmania, Australia
Parent rangeWest Coast Range
Easiest routefrom North West along track to TV tower

Mount Owen is a mountain directly east of the town of Queenstown on the West Coast Range in Western Tasmania, Australia.

With an elevation of 1,146 metres (3,760 ft) above sea level,[1] like most of the mountains in the West Coast Range, it was named by the geologist Charles Gould after Richard Owen; the taller mountains were named after opponents or critics of Charles Darwin, the smaller after his supporters. The north western slopes are clearly seen from Gormanston and the Linda Valley 'Long Spur'.[3]

Features and access[edit]

North side of Mount Owen from Linda Valley taken in 1970s

Historically, the tree line on Mount Owen was to a high level. However, timber on the slopes was used by the local mining operations. In the early days of settlement, fires started on the slopes destroyed housing in Queenstown [4] and threatened the North Mount Lyell Railway.[5]

By the early twentieth century, the slopes of Mount Owen were denuded and had limited remnant vegetation.[6][7]

A map in Geoffrey Blainey's The Peaks of Lyell, sourced from 1900–1910, calls the north west peak the 'North Spur'; the northern slopes, clearly visible from the Lyell Highway passing through the Linda Valley, show the extent of degradation due to fire, smelter fumes and heavy rainfall. It has small glacial lakes on its upper eastern slope, indicating the extent of glaciation in the King River valley; the western slopes loom over Queenstown and in winter are regularly covered in snow. The eastern wall to its north eastern peak hangs over the western shore of Lake Burbury and, in earlier times, the North Mount Lyell Railway which passed beneath.

In the late 1890s a number of mining ventures that utilized proximity to mining leases with the name Mount Lyell as an attractor of investment, tried to elicit interest in leases on the lower slope of Mount Owen.[8][9]

Current conditions[edit]

There are TV and communications towers on its north west peak (North Spur), which has been used a vehicle access track. Other geological features near Mount Owen include Mount Lyell to the north and Mount Huxley to the south.

Mount Owen is accessible on foot along a formed four wheel track; as early as 1938 suggestions were made to create a formed track for tourists and visitors.[10]

The surface is gravel and rocks, it is a moderate to hard walk and takes about 4 hours including the return trip. The walk starts at Karlson's Gap, the saddle between Gormanston and Mt Owen.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Mount Owen, Australia". Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Mount Owen (TAS)". Gazetteer of Australia online. Geoscience Australia, Australian Government.
  3. ^ Baillie, Peter (2010). "The West Coast Range, Tasmania: Mountains and Geological Giants" (PDF). Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania (reprint ed.). Hobart, Tasmania: University of Tasmania. 144: 1–13. ISSN 0080-4703. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  4. ^ "BUSH FIRES IN TASMANIA". The Brisbane Courier. National Library of Australia. 27 December 1899. p. 5. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  5. ^ "FIRES IN TASMANIA." The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 9 October 1914. p. 11. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  6. ^ "LYELL DISTRICT DESCRIBED". Zeehan and Dundas Herald. Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 12 September 1917. p. 1. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  7. ^ "FLORA AND FAUNA". The Mercury. Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 22 July 1933. p. 3. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  8. ^ "MINING MEETINGS". The Age (12887). Victoria, Australia. 19 June 1896. p. 7. Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ "MOUNT OWEN LYELL EXTENDED COMPANY". Launceston Examiner. LVII, (277). Tasmania, Australia. 23 November 1897. p. 3. Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  10. ^ "Track to Summit of Mount Owen". The Examiner (Tasmania). XCVII, (83). Tasmania, Australia. 18 June 1938. p. 5 (LATE NEWS EDITION and DAILY). Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  11. ^,%20near%20Gormanston.pdf

Further reading[edit]