Marathon at Deddington, Tasmania.
‘Marathon’ is a 1,430 hectares grazing and conservation property in the Nile Valley. In the foothills of Ben Lomond on the edge Northern Midlands plain, it is run by Diana and Andrew Cameron. The farm has been in Andrew’s family since 1906 and was primarily used for rangelands sheep and cattle grazing and some timber harvesting over the last century. Andrew took over the farm in 1977 and up until 2005 focused mainly on running merinos for super fine wool production. In 2005 Andrew and Diana moved away from running merinos for wool, and converted their flock to a New Zealand breed of sheep known as Coopworths, which are renowned for their hardiness and ability to rear fat lambs.
Landscape & Conservation:
The bulk of ‘Marathon’ is characterised by a large wooded ridge and system of spurs running from the top of the Stringy Bark Tier down to the Nile River. The property has about a 6 kilometer frontage to the Nile River on the southern boundary. On the eastern and western sides of the property are creek flats with the Nile River tributaries - the Marathon Creek and Blackmans Creek.
Today sheep farming is largely confined to about 300 hectares of semi developed farmland along the two creek flats. In 2003 we established a permanent private forest reserve to protect 1,100 hectares of woodlands, forests and native grasslands in the hills. This reserve combines with an additional 1,500 hectares of reserves, established on neighboring properties, to protect a significant proportion of the Deddington landscape in perpetuity. Our primary motives for protecting this land are the love of the bush and the landscape that Andrew and Diana live in.
A Brief History of the area:
The Deddington area would most likely have been hunting grounds for migrating Tasmanian Aboriginals. The artist John Glover (1767–1849) was granted land and moved to the valley with his family in 1832, when he was 64 years of age. Glover named his farm ‘Patterdale’ after a village in the Lake District in England. 'Patterdale' is the neighbouring property, bordering the Nile River, to 'Marathon'. John Glover has become known as "the father of Australian landscape painting". He has also been credited as the designer of the Nile Chapel at Deddington (1842). John Glover and his wife Sarah are buried on the western side of the chapel.
One of John Glover's neighbours was John Batman who was the founder of Melbourne with his friend, the Launceston publican, John Pascoe. The famous Australian painter, Tom Roberts, took an interest in John Glover and painted in this district in the early 20th century . Robert’s second wife was Jean Boyes from ‘Lochmaben’ in Nile. Roberts ashes are buried at Christ Church, Illawarra near Longford.
In 1828 a young Henry Reed was given a grant of land (259hectares) in the Nile rivulet. This land is now part of ‘Marathon’. Reed went on to be an evangelist and a very wealthy philanthropist. Henry Reed's grandson was John Reed. He and his wife Sunday Reed were champions and supporters of modern art in Australia after the Second World War. John and Sunday Reed lived in and established ‘Heidi’ in Melbourne, which is now known as The Museum of Modern Art at Heide.
We acknowledge Tasmanian Aboriginals and their elders past and present as the traditional owners of this land.