Location: University of Tasmania and Strahan, Western Tasmania


First meeting details: Meet Anita Parbhakar-Fox at 9am at the CODES conference room, University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay campus

Course contactsAnita Parbhakar-Fox (anita.parbhakar@utas.edu.au), Garry Davidson  (garry.davidson@utas.edu.au)

Please note that there is a minimum enrolment of 5 and maximum number of 20 for this course.

Course description: 

We begin with one and a half days of introductory lectures (environmental geochemistry, geophysics, and hydrogeology) at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, before driving to Tasmania’s west Coast on Tuesday afternoon. We will spend Wednesday and Thursday undertaking detailed field surveys of the downstream effects of acid drainage and mine tailings discharged from the Mt Lyell site on the Queen and King River system and Macquarie Harbour, including a visit to the Mt Lyell mine site. On Friday morning, we examine the abandoned Zeehan smelter site and discuss its legacy of environmental problems, before returning to Hobart on Friday afternoon.

Skills to be taught include field analysis of acid drainage chemistry and mine tailings, piezometer measurement and analysis in porous aquifers, and a range of geophysical techniques, including resistivity and electromagnetics. The course will emphasise integration of these diverse techniques to solve environmental problems.

Participants must be prepared for very cold and wet weather, and are required to bring steel-capped boots for the mine visits, and wet weather gear. 


Field assessments of environmentally damaged sites to be submitted during the trip (25%), plus a report to be submitted in the following week that processes and analyses the data collected on the trip (75%).

Payment Information: TBA

Approximate Field Trip Cost:


$200.00 (this covers 3 nights’ accommodation in Strahan plus ground transportation – it does not include airfares, meals or accommodation in Hobart)

Fee Student (non-VIEPS institution): $250.00
Fee Industry: $600.00 (includes private accommodation in Strahan)

Further information:

Weather conditions are variable on the West Coast of Tasmania. Be prepared for cold, wet weather - bring appropriate wet weather gear, warm hat, gloves, thermals, scarf, change of clothes, etc. Snow is also a possibility. Gum boots are advisable - failing that, sturdy field boots (steel capped gumboots are ideal). Warm changes of clothing, etc. 

Important note: our return to Hobart may be delayed significantly by bad weather (western Tasmanian roads can be affected badly by snow and ice), so do not plan to fly home from Hobart on Friday evening. If enough students from the mainland are interested, we could arrange to return via Burnie or Launceston, to allow departure from either of these airports on Friday evening. Please contact the course coordinators ASAP if you are interested in this possibility.

The accommodation at Strahan Cabin Park will be in cabins.  Most cabins contain a room with a double bed, another room with two bunks, and a self-contained kitchen, bathroom and shower (and heater and television). Three students per cabin. Some cabins are bigger, and accommodate 5 or 8 students.

 Students are responsible for their own meals, so bring money to purchase all meals, or bring your own food.  No food will be provided, although opportunities to buy food at the supermarket will be provided as we drive to Strahan. Strahan has a great pub which does good counter meals, a bakery, and a supermarket, plus several restaurants.

Required equipment: Writing implements (you will have assignments to complete).  Waterproof paper. Hand lens.

Try to minimise luggage as we will have quite a few people to fit into the minivans.

Bedding, linen and towels is provided in the cabins in Strahan.  There is no need to bring any bedding for the west coast excursion. 

Please note that the university is located in Sandy Bay, on the southwestern side of town. It's about a 20-30 minute walk from downtown Hobart to the Uni, so any of the backpackers in town are suitable accommodation venues. Don't stay in North Hobart, which is the wrong side of town (at least in terms of bus travel - you have to catch two buses!).

Further course and assessment information can be found at: https://handbook.unimelb.edu.au/subjects/geol90046