This work is published under the intials J. S. and many libraries have ascribed its authorship to James Stirling, the manager of the Emu Bay Railway Comany. Other researchers have attributed it to James Smith, and others to John Sandes on the basis that it contains a poem 'The Children of the Mist' by John Sandes. Both Sandes and Smith appear to have been familiar with the area - Smith having written about it in the Argus, 14 April 1888, in an article titled 'Across the Straits' by J.S. [James Smith]. There is also a column in the Argus, 'Passing Show'. 21 February 1903, by 'Oriel' (John Sandes) which indicates he too had some familiarity with the North West and Western Tasmania. Although James Smith also wrote as 'Oriel', he left the Argus in 1898.
The poem 'The Children of the Mist' appears in George Mackaness's poetry anthology The Wide Brown Land (1934) with the note 'Written in the Tasmanian Bush'; in letters to Mackaness dated between March and April 1933 Sandes refers to 'a large wad of verse in typescript' that he has sent to Mackaness, and volunteers that 'I shall be very glad to let you include one or two pieces in your anthology if you care to do so' (George Mackaness, Correspondence and Literary Manuscripts 1918- , NLA MS 534 / 816). This confirms Sandes's authorship of the poem which in turn provides strong evidence for his authorship of In Tasman's Land.