Keith Ernest Lancaster
5 Dec 1910 - 8 Apr 2003

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Pictures of Lake Pedder

Latest Additions:
24 Mt. Projection easiest to date October 193826/10/10


Keith Lancaster on Cradle Mt, Nov. 1938

Keith Lancaster on the Walls of Jerusalem

Lake Pedder, 1961

Note: The reports have been scanned in as written. I have included the height and distance indications (e.g.
(1000'- 12m.- 4.45p.m.)
which read as follows: height in feet - miles for the day - time.
I have set up this page to record some of the bushwalking exploits of my neighbour, Keith Lancaster, who passed away on the 8th April 2003 at the age of 92. Only a few years before, in 1997, he had very reluctantly come to the end of an illustrious mountaineering career which lasted about 65 years. Born in Penguin (or Zeehan?), Tasmania, Keith started his bushwalking and mountain-climbing career from a base in Launceston in 1931. He kept a diary in which he recorded all his walks and climbs in great detail and with formidable precision. The 4-volume diary, (initially) entitled "Mountaineering in Tasmania 1931-1971" contains the story of nearly 250 separate "expeditions", from "We just failed to account for Mt Barrow" in 1931 to "Exploring the Cameron Cluster" in 1997.

Keith's story covers a large part of recreational bushwalking in Tasmania in the 20th century. It is a tribute to his precision and attention to detail that some of his diary reports of walks made decades ago are still of benefit to those attempting the same walks today. Please be careful when using these reports as a guide for your own walks, however, as conditions may have changed.

Dirk Veltkamp

1931-1940, 1941-1950, 1951-1960, 1961-1970, 1971-1980, 1981-1990, 1991-1997

The Walks

Preface (1932) to Mountaineering in Tasmania
1 We just failed to account for Mt Barrow November 1931
2 Ben Lomond: Legge's Peak
November 1931
3 Ironstone Mountain January 1932
4 The Stack's Bluff Failure March 1932

The Conquest of Dry's Bluff May 1932
We capture Mt. Barrow with ease August 1932
Mt Arthur presents no trouble December 1932
Difficulties in capturing Brady's Lookout March 1933
Via the Mole Creek - Lorinna track to Mt Roland solo April 1933
The Majestic Grandeur of Devil's Gullet September 1933
We Scale Ragged Mountain November 1933
Quamby Bluff has no terrors March 1934
The inhospitable Stack's Bluff June 1934
A Repulse on Black Bluff July 1934
15 I visit Mt. Montgomery again July 1934
16 Miller's Bluff is added August 1934
17 Stack's Bluff again uninviting September 1934
18 Ben Nevis alone December 1934
19 Seven mountains whilst on holiday tour February 1935 — Mts. Montgomery, Bischoff, Lyell, King William Range, Mts Olympus, Field East, Wellington
Mt. Amos December 1936
21 Mt. Direction East July 1937
22 Stack's Bluff at last December 1937
23 Mt. Roland inaugurates new era in transport October 1938
24 Mt. Projection easiest to date October 193826/10/10

26 Cradle Mt Barn Bluff and Mt Brown November 1938 — Mt Brown has been renamed Mt Emmett
The first Wyld's Craig failure February 1940
29 Wonders of Mt Field West February 1940
30 The second Wyld's Craig failure March 1940
37 A successful thrust at the Walls of Jerusalem December 1940
— The Walls of Jerusalem are misnamed the Ruggeds in this report


41 Mt Hugel March 1941
42 Near approach to Wyld's Craig April 1941
43 Clumner Bluff Blitzkrieg August 1941
44 Mt Byron September 1941
51 Mt Dromedary March 1944
54 Climbing The Giants in the heart of the Cradle Mt. - Lake St. Clair Scenic Reserve January 1946

63 Mt Owen February 1947
64 A Reconnaisance of the Eldons March 1947
65 Return to Legge's Tor March 1947
66 A Traverse of the Eldons April 1947 + Sketch Map of the Eldon Range
67 A Mid-winter jaunt to Billop Bluff July 1947
68 Molly York's Nightcap July 1947
69 Coal Hill, Gould's Sugar Loaf, and Pyramid Hill October 1947
71 With the Hermit of Gordon Vale December 1947

72 A vain attempt at Federation March 1948
73 The Adam River Country
October 1948
74 Down the Pillinger Track
December 1948
75 Federation Failure January 1949
76 Adamson's Peak February 1949
77 Along the Mueller Range March 1949
78 Week-end on the Snowies April 1949
79 Back to the Reserve Easter 1949
Federation Peak October 1949
81 Rock Problems of Cyrian [Geryon] January and March 1950
82 LWC trip to Vale of Rasselas (Easter 1950) April 1950 — "The party comprised: Misses Anne Husband and Margaret Williams and Messrs. Jim Turner, Norman Hoyle, Chris Binks, Martin Scott and myself.". Norman Hoyle has kindly supplied some photographs of this trip. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
86 The Mount Anne Group December 1950
Success on the Foresight & a circuit of the Du Canes December 1950

In 1999 there was some publicity surrounding the 50th anniversary of the first climb of Federation Peak in Tasmania's south. John Bechervaise and a party from Geelong College made it to the top in January 1949 and were the first to conquer this difficult peak. However, in the same year, Keith Lancaster made 2 attempts to climb Federation Peak solo. The first, Federation Failure, ended disastrously in January 1949 when a sprained ankle forced Keith to retreat. The second, Federation Peak, was undertaken in October 1949 and saw Keith as the first person to make it to the top of Federation Peak solo. These reports have been taken from Keith's diary.


88 Frenchman's Cap with LWC January 1951 — "Party: Misses Betty Grierson, Joyce Walker, Bess and Ann Husband, Betty Bell and Margaret Williams and Messrs. David Pinkard (driver), Trevor Giles, Eric Newman, Norman Hoyle, Mark Smith, Lindsay Crawford, Ken and Keith Lancaster (leader)"
89 In the Heart of the South Western Mountains February 1951 — "Arthur Colbeck, Noel Semple, Keith Harcourt and John Pittle (all of Melbourne) and Bessie Husband and myself (Launceston)" Mountains climbed: Razor Back, Mt. Lot, Lot's Wife, Mt. Sarah Jane, Isolation Peak (=Mt. Solitary), Mt. Orion, Mt. Sirius, Procyon Peak, Mt. Hayes, Secheron Peak, Frankland Peak, Mt. Bowes
90 Easter at High Dome March 1951 — "Party: Anne and Bessie Husband, Margaret Williams, Chris. Binks, Norman Hoyle and Keith Lancaster (leader)"
95 Mt Pillinger via Forth track
June 1951
96 Mt Maurice with the L.W.C. October 1951 — "PERSONNEL OF PARTY: Betty Hutton, Fay Hutton, Betty Pinkard, Lois Cleaver, Pat Wilson, Yvonne Blake, Jo Gardner, Helen Jones, Judith Doig, Melva Stocks, Ken Church, Bruce Ellis, Ian Cox, John Traynor, Geoff Lutwyche, Tony Holland, Gordon Whitaker, Eric Chaplin, Mark Smith, Jim Turner, Norman Hoyle, David Pinkard, and Keith Lancaster (leader)."
97 Back to the Walls of Jerusalem November 1951
98 Ridge-traversing the Southern Mountains December 1951
- Jim Turner, Max Cutcliffe, Una Williams, Geoff Bratt and Keith Lancaster set out from Lune River to conquer Mt La Perouse, Pinder's Peak, Mt Wylly, Precipitous Bluff, Mt Victoria Cross, Mt Bisdee, Mt Bobs, Mt Hopetoun and Andersons Bluff.
99 The Weld Wash-out January 1952 — "Party: Dave Pinkard, Chris. Binks, Norm. Hoyle, Gordon Whitaker and Keith Lancaster (Leader)"

100 The Dial Range March 1952

101 Mt Sedgwick and the Tyndall Range April 1952
An L.W.C. alternative walk during Easter of 1952. "Party: Mavis and Henry Hudson, Lindsay Crawford and Keith Lancaster (leader)."
102 Gordon Vale again June 1952
103 Thetis in the rain October 1952
104 St. Patrick's Head November 1952
"a small private party comprising Ken Church, Jim Turner, Frank Turner, Pat Willson and myself"
105 Mts Vandyke and Claude November 1952

106 Christmas at the Franklands December 1952
107 The Mt. Weld scrub-bash January 1953 "L.W.C. Party: Chris. Binks, Norm. Hoyle, John Davis and Keith Lancaster (leader)."
108 Probing the Propstings November 1953
109 To Sprent and Wedge December 1953
110 Mt Albert March 1954
111 Mts La Perouse and Hippopotamus April 1954
112 Tasman's Peninsula June 1954
113 Nicholl's Cap July 1954
114 Freycinet Peninsula July 1954
115 Mt. Cameron East October 1954
116 Across the Mueller Range November 1954 "Party: Miss Bessie Husband and Messrs. Bill Thompson, Bob Rusher, Tim Hume and Keith Lancaster (leader)."
123 Mt. Inglis in the Snow September 1955
130 Around Port Davey December 1955 — On this walk Keith meets Dennis King and Trevor Burrell at Melaleuca.
140 Rogoona or bust! March 1957 - John Olding, John Wanless, Bob Rusher, John Daniel, Eddie King and Keith Lancaster - "There was some query about the wisdom of continuing as it was dusk now, but how could one acknowledge defeat so easily after coming so far and enduring so much?"
154 Over the high tops to Pedder December 1958
155 The Highland Lake Country January 1959

156 Walls of Jerusalem via Mersey Road February 1959
The 1960 Trip to the Franklands and Arthurs February 1960


Slides of Lake Pedder 1960-67
158 Traversing the Loddons March 1961 "I was leading down a rocky incline when a shout behind brought us to a halt. Pushing back, I found that Judith had fallen down a short escarpment when a rock gave way under her weight. Arthur Simons had just made a quick inspection and announced that Judy's leg was broken. Poor Judy!"
159 L.W.C. Trip report: Mt. Young
October 1961 - Party: Misses Jill Dunstan, Roberta Bramble, Pauline Hepworth, Jean Legge, Gail Bowditch, Janet Risk, Bernadette Sexton, Mary Cordell, Diana Lawrie and Margaret Wilson, and Messrs. Alan Catford, Maitland Vertigan, Terry Gill, Ken Church, Peter Moore, and Keith Lancaster (Driver and leader).
160 Frankland Traverse and Bombardier Track
December 1961
161 Algonkian Jungle Mountain February 1962
162 The Snowies and Jubilees February 1962
163 The Ben Lomond Traverse February 1962
164 To Back Peak and Mt. Bell April 1962
165 The Asbestos Range April 1962

166 Mts Peter and Paul October 1962
167 Mt Mayday and Stormont November 1962
168 Mount Remus climbed February 1963

169 Christmas 1963 in the South West December 1963 - Dick Janes, Arthur Rowlands and Keith Lancaster

170 On Schouten Island February 1965

175 Mt Nereus at last December 1968
176 Schnells Ridge October 1970


177 Cape Pillar January 1971


185 Pencil Pine Bluff February 1987
186 Loyetea Peak March 1990
187 Mt Everett March 1990
188 Rocky Mt and Mt Cattley March 1990


200 Hobbs Quoin and Brown Mts November 1991
201 The Mount Styx Foray December 1991
204 Rebuffed on the Fields March 1992 - Including a mistaken 'conquest' of Abbotts Lookout, site of the proposed Maydena Hauler lookout. - "It was not a pleasant decision to envisage a walk up Mt. Mawson in what daylight was still available, but there was much to be learned by tackling it."

217 The Dial Range again December 1993
225 Ben Lomond Once Again April 1994
253 Exploring the Cameron Cluster July 1997
This was Keith Lancaster's last entry in his mountaineering diaries. He may have made short trips after that, but at age 87 he suffered an increasing number of falls and other mishaps which made it difficult for him to undertake the kind of walks he had been used to doing all his life.


For more information on Tasmanian bushwalking and mountaineering, please visit these sites:

Bushwalk-tasmania ForumJohn Chapman Home Page Hobart Walking Club
Launceston Walking Club North West Walking Club John Evans' Website
David Noble's Bushwalking SiteLuuk Veltkamp Photography

If you would like more information on Keith Lancaster's diaries, please feel free to send me an email.
Site last updated 15 February 2012

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