Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker

Tasmania specific bushwalking discussion.
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Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker

Postby Speculator » Mon 24 Jan, 2011 12:47 pm

Really sad to see this in the news today:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/24/3119766.htm

Did anyone know of this chap?

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Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker

Postby PeterJ » Mon 24 Jan, 2011 12:56 pm

A reference was recently posted under the International section of the forum, but I thought it worth adding a mention here. The ABC report gives details of James Poland falling to his death in New Zealand. Some on this forum have walked with James in Tasmania (forum member JamesP) and he came on our Pelion Circuit walk last October. There is a photo of James in the gallery from that walk. At the time he talked about his planned holiday and his last communication to me was in December in which he said he was off to New Zealand.
Last edited by PeterJ on Mon 24 Jan, 2011 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker

Postby johnw » Mon 24 Jan, 2011 1:03 pm

Very sorry to hear that Peter, very sad news.
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker

Postby PeterJ » Mon 24 Jan, 2011 1:13 pm

Here is a photo of James on the summit of Perrins Bluff on 20 October 2010
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IMG_4435 Nigel and James on Perrins.JPG
James Poland
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker [merged]

Postby normclimb » Mon 24 Jan, 2011 1:30 pm

Very sad news indeed. Condolences to his family and friends.
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker [merged]

Postby stepbystep » Mon 24 Jan, 2011 1:59 pm

I shared several PM's with James, a nice guy. Very sad to hear of this tragedy - RIP.
The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders ~ Edward Abbey
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker [merged]

Postby stepbystep » Mon 24 Jan, 2011 3:54 pm

There will be a short item on what happened to James on tonights ABC news.
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker [merged]

Postby Nick S » Mon 24 Jan, 2011 4:34 pm

Very sad, I didn't know him personally but know many people who did. He did a lot of work with young people out at UTAS. my thoughts are with his family.
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker [merged]

Postby Taurë-rana » Mon 24 Jan, 2011 6:07 pm

I went into Pandani Shelf with James and his son Michael in January last year, couldn't have found better people to walk with.
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker [merged]

Postby dan » Mon 24 Jan, 2011 10:10 pm

This is unbelievably tragic :(

I have met James a couple of times (not walking circles). Though I do not know him very well I do know people who do (this is Tasmania after all). I feel so very sad for his family and friends.

I know that he will be sorely missed.
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker [merged]

Postby Son of a Beach » Sat 29 Jan, 2011 7:23 pm

Wow, I saw this on the news the other night and didn't realise it was a forum member. From what you all are saying, it sounds like he was a top bloke.

My sincere condolences to James' family and friends.
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker [merged]

Postby MichaelP » Mon 31 Jan, 2011 12:34 pm

Dad was a great guy and he loved the Tasmanian wilderness more than anyone I ever met.
He thought that this forum was a fantastic thing and he used it often.
He'd done some pretty adventurous things and the two of us had a long list of things that we planned on doing in and out of Tasmania.

I know many of the people on this forum knew dad and i'm sure he'd love for anyone who did to attend the Thanksgiving and Celebration Service of his life.
This service is being held this Thursday (the 3rd) at 11am at St. Johns Anglican (St. Johns Street, Launceston)

Thanks to everyone for their support. It's helped a lot.
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker [merged]

Postby whiskeylover » Mon 31 Jan, 2011 12:38 pm

Thanks for posting Michael.
Condolences to you and your family. See you out there some day.
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker [merged]

Postby davidp » Sun 13 Feb, 2011 6:04 pm

Did anyone know this chap? someone asks.
I cry
Yes. James was my brother, my friend and a great walking companion.
We walked together for nearly 40 years.
We lived in different states but each year we would try to meet up and do a walk together -- in the early years just me and him but later with our kids.
We must have shared perhaps 40 walks together over the years.
We skiied from Kosie to Kiandra in the rain for four days sharing family memories at night in the huts.
We floated down the Goodradigbee River on lillos for three days.
We walked the Overland Track together three times with our families. He helped my son climb Mt Ossa at the age of 4
The first overnight walk we did together was from school. He was about 9 and I was about 12. We walked to Burning Palms in the Royal National Park and played sandcastles on the beach damming the little creek.
A decade later I would walk with him for three weeks in Papua New Guinea. Together we endured a flood that swept through our campsite, malaria which we were forced to treat ourselves and vine bridges that were later washed away by swollen creeks. We came across villages where no white people had visited and survived on a meagre diet of sweet potatoe.
Another decade later we walked together in New Zealand. We started near Mt Aspiring and two weeks later we walked almost to Lake Adelaide which we did not quite reach due to poor weather.
Twenty years later he died within sight of Lake Adelaide when he went to admire the view.

Thanks for all your messages of support
Walking is a great way to get know someone. It strips you of this modern lifes trappings and together you can share your real self.

To paraphrase his memorial
James has packed up his tent for the last time and moved on to another campsite.
I will miss him terribly.
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker [merged]

Postby Chris » Sun 13 Feb, 2011 11:36 pm

David and Michael,
Thank you for posting some of your experiences with James. Though I did not know him, I have been very moved by his loss. It was reminiscent of the skiing accident which befell our local Neurologist Stan Siejka in NZ not much over a year ago; both remarkable people.
How thankful you must be to have stored up more than a lifetime of memories of walking with your brother and father in so many wild and wonderful places.
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker [merged]

Postby LetsGo » Mon 14 Feb, 2011 9:41 am

I feel terribly sad for his family and friends. My condolences to you all during this tough time.
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker [merged]

Postby Kelly Jones » Wed 16 Feb, 2011 5:09 pm

I met James through the Launceston Philosophy Cafe, facilitated by Graham Wood. He also participated in getting the online forum going, "Philosoph-e Cafe" (he actually invented the name). I didn't know he was into bushwalking. My memory of James is someone who said he was open to investigating rationally his Christian beliefs, which is pretty brave. I think it's probably braver to do that sort of thing than tackle a rugged mountain. Very difficult for an emotionally comfortable belief system to be challenged, especially when there's a lot of social and emotional support for such things.
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker [merged]

Postby davidp » Sun 09 Oct, 2011 5:03 pm

For those who are interested the coroners inquest for James Poland was held recently in New Zealand.
Here is a link to the newspaper article.
Forever he will remain in my memory especially when the wind is in my hair and the sun is low on the horizon.
Farewell my dear brother.
Thanks for all those splendid trips we did together.

David Poland

http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/ ... book#share
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker [merged]

Postby tas-man » Mon 10 Oct, 2011 12:06 pm

Thanks David for that link. I explored the Gertrude Valley area on Google Earth and the photos that people have linked to that area, and its a truly stunning landscape and I can understand James's desire to complete this walk. I walked the Hollyford many years ago and remain in awe of the peaks around that valley.

Picture 2.jpg
Google Earth simulation of view to Milford Sound from Barrier Knob.
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker [merged]

Postby davidp » Sun 16 Oct, 2011 11:59 am

for completeness Here is inserted a recent newspaper article on the inquest into James Poland's death

Tourist could have been 'misled by book'
Last updated 05:00 07/10/2011SharePrint Text Size 0 comments JAMES POLAND: Was on the Barrier Knob, between Gertrude Saddle and Lake Adelaide, when he slipped and fell to his death on January 21.Relevant offersAn Australian tourist who plunged 130m to his death while tramping in the Darran Mountains area of Fiordland National Park might have been misled by a tramping guide book, a coroner suggested yesterday.

The inquest for 48-year-old Tasmanian James Peter Raimund Poland was held in Te Anau.

Mr Poland was on the Barrier Knob, between Gertrude Saddle and Lake Adelaide, when he slipped and fell to his death on January 21.

He was in the South Island on a one-month tramping holiday with his wife and children, but was doing the walk alone.

Mr Poland's wife, Elizabeth, told Otago-Southland Coroner David Crerar her husband had walked half of the Gertrude Saddle route 23 years earlier and wanted to complete the whole distance.

Mrs Poland said her husband was an experienced tramper, but was not experienced at rock climbing.

He was fit and well prepared and had walked what she considered to be insanely unsafe routes in Tasmania. He knew the Gertrude Saddle walk was dangerous and precautions were required, she said.

He did not return from the tramp on the evening of January 22 as planned, so Mrs Poland notified authorities early the next morning. A Southern Lakes rescue helicopter crew found his pack on Barrier Knob and his body was found 300m away, at the bottom of a 130m sheer drop off a prominent rocky knob.

He was about 1 kilometre from the normal tramping route. He suffered extensive head injuries and would have died instantly.

Mr Crerar said he believed Mr Poland had gone off track and was looking for a safe route down when he slipped on rocks and fell. He had left his pack behind while looking for an escape route in bad weather.

Mr Crerar, himself an experienced tramper, said a guide book he read of the route was "a bit misleading".

It said there was an alternative route where Mr Poland was walking, but did not describe it.

Mr Crerar suggested Mr Poland might have been looking for the alternative route before his death.

Having listened to the evidence of Dunedin rock climbing instructor David Brash, Mr Crerar said he agreed the guide book authors were wrong and he would be writing to them asking that advice on the route be reviewed.

The coroner added that solo tramping came with risks, and Mr Poland might have been more careful if he had been tramping with his family.

Mrs Poland said she wondered if the tragedy could have been avoided had there been signs warning of the difficulty of the terrain, the dangers of walking alone and the sudden changes in weather.

Ad Feedback Mr Poland's father Peter, of Sydney, said after the hearing: "My wife made the comment that James died in a beautiful landscape."

- The Southland Times
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker [merged]

Postby HughvN » Tue 11 Dec, 2012 7:46 am

The search for James featured on 'High Country Rescue', a TVNZ doco, last night. Here in NZ at least it can be viewed at "http://tvnz.co.nz/high-country-rescue/s1-ep3-video-5263854" .
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker [merged]

Postby davidp » Tue 11 Dec, 2012 9:50 am

Thank you for letting us know. I was aware of this movie but not that it had been shown and I will be interested to see this. The rescue team must have worked hard and deserve recognition. It is almost two years now since James died and the family still remembers him fondly. Having researched the matter I feel fairly sure he was not lost . It is most likely he deliberately walked across the saddle to the East of Barrier Knob perhaps to visit an unmarked bivvy near this saddle which he had marked correctly on his map in pencil. In Februray as part of a ten day walk I visited the area where he fell. A small cairn near the exit from Lake South America now stands as a poignant reminder to his life, to the beautiful view and to mark the place beneath where he fell that he never reached. This existing cairn also marks the start of the route down past Lake Adelaide. In loving memory of my "little" brother James - David
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker [merged]

Postby wayno » Tue 11 Dec, 2012 4:39 pm

you may not be able to view outside of new zealand
out of respect your brothers body was blurred out of the film footage and he was only shown at a distance.
the rescuers discussed what they thought had happened, they showed his pack perched on the rock, sitting upright and they surmised he dropped his pack to go and have a look for there down the slope to try and find a way down but he was way off the correct track and they surmised he slipped when he went for a look. there have been two other deaths there in recent times, one was roped up. another was a top alpine climber who once held a top international prize for a climb he completed.
experienced mountaineers often have to be rescued from the area...
theres nothing to suggest someone slipping to their death there is not competent... the rock can be slick in the wet.
the series may be available on dvd when the series finishes you can contact tvnz and find out..
shot in HD so the scenery is shown in great detail
from the land of the long white clouds...

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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker [merged]

Postby wayno » Thu 13 Dec, 2012 3:13 pm

The search for and discovery of James from High Mountain Rescue

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ShyAkyMsgg
from the land of the long white clouds...

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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker

Postby Son of a Beach » Thu 13 Dec, 2012 7:31 pm

That was heart-breaking to watch. Condolences again to David and the rest of James' family.

PS. If family find it difficult to have this material here on the forum, please let us know. I found it hard to watch, and I don't even have any connection apart from being just another bushwalker.
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker

Postby wayno » Fri 14 Dec, 2012 3:15 am

i wouldnt have posted it if i didnt think the footage was handled tactfully.
in this series this is teh second time they have had to recover a body and they have thoroughly blurred out the people concerned in both cases, you only know someone is there because they are telling you. when they are closer they focus on the work of the sar people rather than pointing the camera at the deceased person, appologies if the footage does offend still....
the sar people involved were happy with the way the programme was made i dont know if they had input into how footage of teh deceased people was managed but compared to a lot of programming on tv this seems to have been handled pretty tactfully thank goodness...
from the land of the long white clouds...

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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker

Postby stepbystep » Fri 14 Dec, 2012 5:15 am

I think the situation is handled respectfully by the program makers. I'm sure seeing this would still be very confronting for James' family. I can only imagine they may take a little comfort in seeing the respectful and professional nature with which the SAR team operated.
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker

Postby wayno » Fri 14 Dec, 2012 5:35 am

yes very professional work all round. like a well oiled machine, the helicopter pilots are incredible in their skill.
the sar workers show they are well versed in making the correct decisions rapidly.
they are extracting people from very difficult locations, they make a very difficult task look deceptively easy, theres a lot of risk operating in that terrain and they excel at it...
from the land of the long white clouds...

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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker

Postby Nuts » Fri 14 Dec, 2012 7:27 am

Interesting and really well made, though i personally think id find it confronting as a family member. The newsreel isn't viewable in au?? As I said to Nik, a useful and thought provoking scenario that will probably get a lot of views here but i wouldn't have just taken it on myself to post it (if that irks anyone pm please, no place for an argument) if we haven't seen it there is a good chance the family hasn't..
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Re: Death of Tasmanian Bushwalker

Postby wayno » Fri 14 Dec, 2012 7:40 am

i'm happy to revoke the link if anyone thinks it warranted,
from the land of the long white clouds...

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