Federation Peak

G Collingridge and WC Piguenit, 'Arthur Range', 1888, (Tasmaniana Library, SLT)

Although not the highest mountain in Tasmania, Federation Peak (1224m) is a difficult climb that for decades resisted every challenger. Despite many attempts, this jagged fang of quartzite at the eastern end of the Arthur Ranges was not climbed until 1949.

Sprent referred to it as 'The Obelisk' when he viewed it from Mt Picton. Paintings of the peak by Piguenit on his way to Port Davey spread its fame further. TB Moore applied its name in 1901, honouring the Federation of the Australian States. In 1905, Richard Geeves penetrated as far as Lake Geeves under the southern cliffs of Federation Peak. Several unsuccessful attempts in the 1920s followed.

Persistent summer exploratory work after the Second World War paved the way for attempts on the final summit block in the late 1940s. Four members of a larger party from the Geelong College Exploration Society, led by John Bechervaise, climbed the peak in January 1949. Bechervaise acknowledged advice given by members of the Hobart Walking Club, who had done so much of the exploratory work. His party used ropes to climb the gully explored two years earlier by Leo Luckman, Bill Jackson and Nancy Shaw when severe weather had turned them back 60 metres from the summit.

Further reading: K Collins, South-west Tasmania, Hobart, 1990; J Chapman, South west Tasmania, Melbourne, 1978; C Binks, Explorers of western Tasmania, Launceston, 1980.

John Cannon