In the 1800s, ships brought back to Europe discoveries of the natural world. It was an industrialised England, where commitment to science drove the economy. Christie responded to the demand for finding natural cures, remedies and therapies. He became a 'medical gymnast and practitioner' - treating and healing the body, mind and senses, through nature and physical movement. It's a mystery why Christie came to King Island. Maybe he was part of the Island's mid 1800s sheep and wool ventures, an early hunter or involved in King Island shipwreck coast maritime history. There is evidence of old diggings, so he may have been fossicking and after King Island gold. His land grant was located in impassable forests, far away from the King Island camps and pioneer settlements. Maybe he was involved in the failed Tasmanian Timber Co and was one of the few men who didn't return to England. It could be he simply found peace, natural wonders, and was magnetically drawn to King Island's pristine beauty, magic and sanctuary. In the 1880s, with a population less than 20 men, he rode and placed in the first King Island horse races, treated snake bite and contributed to early Tasmanian newspapers.
Throughout the 19th and 20th century the King Island ancient forests were cleared using fire, hand and then machine. Paddocks became agricultural hectares. However, this 100 acres of Blackwood, Eucalypt and giant fern forests remained untouched. When H.F Christie died in the 1930s, the land returned to the Crown. In the mid 1960s the property was purchased by long term King Island sheep grazier, Robert Barratt. The Bronzewing Creek, it's tributaries, the Reserve's forests and bush with towering giant Banksias, Swamp Paperbarks, Eucalypt, Blackwood, King Island scrub and wildlife were mostly left alone by both man and bushfire.
By the end of the 20th century many of the farms developed under the WW1 and WW2 Soldier Settlement schemes had their boundaries merged or moved. Today, lush green pastures, pure air, crystal clear waters and the King Island natural environment produces the in demand, reknown King Island beef, King Island dairy and other quality products. King Island's renewable energy innovations and achievements are attracting national and international awards and global recognition.
In the closing decade of the 20th century, the third owners, Martin and Eva Finzel, recognised the significance of the unique flora, fauna and biodiversity values of this parcel of land, not only for King Island and Tasmania, but also for Australia's Natural Heritage. In December 2001, a conservation restrictive Covenant, National Parks and Wildlife Act 1970, was entered into to ensure protection in perpetuity and to establish a conservation zone reserve. In October 2004, acting with the advice of the Tasmanian Parliament and Executive Council, the Lieutenant - Governor by Proclamation, under section 12(1) of the Nature Conservation Act 2002, declared the property to be reserved land in the class of private nature reserve and was given the name 'Pegarah Private Nature Reserve'.
Building on the work that has gone on before us, it is our philosophy, that while continuing to protect the Reserve, we also want to share this rare and unique King Island 100 acres of bush, so that others can experience the natural wonder and enjoy - in the King Island way.
The Reserve is on the protected east side of King Island, 3km from the Bass Strait shoreline and the village of Naracoopa, and 20 minutes from Currie.
Pegarah Private Nature Reserve began long before our purchase in 2013.
In the 1800s Mr H.F (Frank) Christie was granted a 100 acre, rectangular parcel of bush, located on the forested, eastern coast of King Island Tasmania. This is now known as Pegarah Private Nature Reserve.
From a family of established English carpet designers, Christie mixed with artists, bohemians, wool merchants and traders, scientists, early Australian pioneer settlers and adventurers.