My name is Jason Doherty, I was born in Lilydale Victoria. My family bought the Nietta general store in 1971, when I was 2 years old. Nietta was a rural community of about 40 farming families. The general store also incorporated the local post office, in which my parents ran the last plugin telephone exchange in operation in Australia.
I remember every spring Wright’s droving their cattle up through to their summer grazing grounds at Middlesex Plains. My parents shut down the general store in 1974, converting it into a restaurant ‘The Nietta Country Cottage’. In 1980 we sold the restaurant and moved to Loongana, a valley in the upper reaches of the Leven River at the foot of the Black Bluff mountain range. Here we started building a wilderness retreat ‘Mountain Valley Wilderness Holidays, which my parents still run today.
My siblings and I did school at home as it was too far to travel to school each day. So, we spent our teenage years exploring the bush in the area. I enjoyed finding interesting pieces of timber and, using my imagination, started creating my unique, rustic miniature furniture out of them. After my school years I started work as a horticultural apprentice in Port Sorell. Then in 1989 I joined my elder brother in a business venture ‘Tas High Country Trail Rides’, offering people guided horse rides from 1 hour up to 4-day camp outs up into the Black Bluff ranges and beyond.
These campouts made use of trails and mountain huts formerly used by the Wright’s family, early timber cutters, miners and trappers in the region, some of these trails traversing as far into the highlands as Middlesex Plains and the Vale of Belvoir at the top of the Lea river. After running the business for several years, we realised we did not have enough capital to get it up and running properly. I left the state in 1995 to see the rest of Australia, returning in 2008. Since then I have started collecting Tasmanian timbers and creating my miniature furniture again. Which has led to me starting my business Tasmanian Buried Treasures.