31st  Australian Speleological Federation Conference – The Darkness Beneath: Caving Tasmania

30 December 2018 – 4 January 2019 to be held at Devonport, Tasmania.

Situated on the beautiful North West coast of Tasmania, Devonport offers a range of outdoor activities from bushwalking, mountain bike riding, kayaking and more, just minutes from our Conference venue Reece High School campus.

Join us for the 31st ASF Conference where we will celebrate and explore what Tasmania’s underground has to offer cavers from beginners, families and veterans alike. With a variety of caving adventures Pre and Post-Conference as well as activities during the Conference aimed at all age groups, this Conference will be the best yet!

Book your passage to Tassie early or risk missing out.

Diary Alerts:

  • 1 November 2018 – Merchandise orders close
  • 1 December 2018 – Photo Competition entries close
  • 28 & 29 December 2018 – Two days Pre-Conference caving
  • 30 December 2018 – 4 January 2019 – 31st Australian Speleological Federation Conference
  • 5 – 11 January 2019 – Five days Post-Conference caving (Mole Creek and other northern and southern regions)


  • Powered campsites are booked out, un-powered sites available.
  • Mole Creek Pre-Conference caving is full. Waiting list only, alternatively, Post-Conference caving on the 5  -10 January 2019 available.
  • Oral presentations are closed. Posters, maps and art submissions are open.
  • Mount Cripps Post-Conference trip is full, waiting list only.

The Darkness Beneath: The Name, a  tribute to Stephen Blanden (1957 – 2012)

Stephen Blanden was a member of Savage River Caving Club (SRCC) and Northern Caverneers. An avid caver and surveyor in the Gunns Plains area, Stephen published several books about the Gunns Plains area and karst features. He was responsible for finding and surveying many of the caves in the Mount Cripps and Gunns Plains areas. In 1999 he published the text The Darkness Beneath, a name suggested by Lyndsey Gray,  SRCC. It included information about the surveying, management, documentation and preservation work the SRCC had done in and around 100 caves in the Gunns Plains area. Stephen later updated this book calling it Caves of Gunns Plains. Stephen was a great bushman and his passion for caving and exploration was well known.

When we were brainstorming names for our Tasmanian conference, Lyndsey Gray came forward and suggested the name The Darkness Beneath and explained how Stephen had used it. We gladly took on the name in remembrance of Stephen and his contribution to caving in Tasmania.

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