A Travellerspoint blog

February 2015

Maria Island

rain 14 °C

Our last trip in Tasmania was one to tick off another sight I've been wanting to see - the Painted Cliffs on Maria Island.

Maria Island
The entire island is a national park. With it's World Heritage listed convict probation station, sweeping bays, rugged cliffs and mountains, it is a special place. There are no private vehicles and the wombats, Cape Barren geese and kangaroos run with far more freedom than the convicts ever had. The Painted cliffs, Fossil Cliffs and stunning views, all near the settlement of Darlington, are another of nature's highlights.
There are several walks on the island and people spend days exploring. After an informative ferry ride from Triabunna, we set off to see the sites in the far north if the island.
The only accommodation on the island is in the old Penitentiary

We started our walk south along the coast and beautiful beaches that would be tempting...on a warm day!
Painted Cliffs
The sandstone outcrop at the southern end of Hopground Beach is the beginning of the Painted Cliffs.
The exquisite patterns are caused by groundwater percolating through the sandstone, leaving traces of iron oxides.
Despite the overcast weather, the colours and patterns were spectacular.
Aiming to view them at low tides, means you can walk along infront of them for a good view
but even the ground has mesmerising patterns
The details in the layers are incredible
The patterns created in the various colours are unqiue
the rock formations, with the layers and the colours create some very interesting details
In more recent times, sea spray hitting the rock face had dried, forming crystals of salt. These crystals cause the rock to weather in the honeycomb patterns below - perfect for climbing - if it wasn't a protected national park!
The variation in rock types left impressions on the ground
While we admired the Painted Cliffs, a Tall Ship gracefully sailed by and off into the distance

Darlington Probation Station 1825-32; 1842-50
Placed strategically on Maria Island, a place of outstanding natural beauty and heritage, the peaks of Bishop and Clerk and Mt Maria make Maria Island visible from many places along Tasmania's east coast. The focus was on punishment and reform through hard labour, religious instruction and education. At it's peak it housed up to 500 convicts.
Established to take advantage of the many natural resources at hand, life for a convict sent to Darlington was one of contradictions. The island's beauty betrays the hard work that took place here. As one of many probation stations that were built in Tasmania, convicts were sent to Darlington to be reformed through work, education and religious instruction. Though a grand scheme, the vision of the probation stations was ultimately not realised and highly costly.
The island landscape is today covered with evidence of the well organised and structured probation system and plentiful natural resources.
Today, you can look around the Coffee Palace:
The Drawing Room
The dining Room
Reception Room
and see some old photographs from the 1920s, such as these school children, with their toys

Separate Apartment Cells
These cells constructed in 1842-46 were designed to keep prisoners separated at night and meal times.

Oast House
Like most buildings on Maria Island, the convicts built Oast House has had many uses.
It was originally to dry hops (the female flowers or seed cones of the hop plant) as part of the beer brewing process, and as such is one of the oldest oast hoses in Australia. The hop plants were planted in 1820 and by 1847 they were producing 3 tonnes of hops per year.
The two cylindrical parts of the building are the drying kilns. A fire was lit in the bottom of each one (accessed from inside the main room) and above the fire was a floor made of special ventilating bricks – with their smaller holes facing upwards – and a layer of hops sitting on them. The kilns would have been rooved.
Later the building was used for making wine and alterations made.

Cement Works
After the closure of the convict station, the island was leased for farming and used as a base for fishermen.
Darlington was renamed San Diego. Local limestone was exploited for the production of cement.
In 1920s these silos were used to store the cement.

Fossil Cliffs
Spectacular sea cliffs which plunge sheer to the sea to a world-class fossil site.
In the 1920's the limestone fossils were mined and transported by tramway to the cement works near the jetty to be manufactured into cement and stored in the silos.
Looking at the cut face of the quarry, you can see that the grey limestone is studded with thousands of mussel-like shells.
The soft parts of the creatures have rotted away, leaving only the hard shells, which have lasted almost 300 million years.
The stones consit of different rock types, including granite and quartzite.

Engine House
The Engine House site is part of what was the major industrial area of Maria Island from the 1820s to 1920.
The valley surrounding this building contains remnants of brick making - including some of the oldest evidence of brick making in Australia - plus reservoirs, roads, clay pits, houses, railway lines, quarrying, drainage, mining, geological exploration, sawmilling and kilns.
the engine house was built by Diego Bernacci in the late 1880s to house the machinery - most likely a steam engine - that would drive a number of industries on the island., including brick making, lime manufacturing, cement making and timber cutting. The vaulted ceilings and buttressed walls suggest that the building was designed to support heavy machinery, while the discarded stone converted to be part of a stream driven machine for grinding cement.
when it was first built, the engine house would have been in the middle of all the activity and excitement about Bernacchi's early plans for the island.
During the twentieth century the cement making moved to a waterfront site and the majority of the quarrying on the island occurred at the Fossil Cliffs. After 1907 the large kilns were partly demolished and the engine house became known as 'the Stables', reflecting the quieter pace of life in the valley, and the continuing story of 'rescue' of buildings and materials on Maria Island.

The Bernacchi Home 1843
In 1886, a Parliamentary party visited Maria Island to view developments.
The island had been leased to al Italian Diego Bernacchi, for 10 cents per year on the condition that certain industries be established.
and of course it would have the best view on the island, looking fow towards thejetty and scross to Darlington

Bernacchi's Barn
This large red brick building dates from the cement works in 1889.
During the convict era this was used to fire bricks, and later for lime-making.
Today it holds a collection of farm machinery recovered form the island.

The Grand Hotel
Late in the 1880's the convict hospital and outbuildings were demolished to make way for another Bernacchi Enterprise - The Grand Hotel.
Lavishly furnished, it boasted billiard, dining, drawing and smoking rooms, as well as bedrooms for thirty of more gusts.
Designed as part of a sanatorium complex, it never met with great success. It claimed to be "A happy hunting ground of the Geologist, Naturalist, Conchologist, Artist and Alpine Climber".

Reservoir Circuit
Through open woodland and tall eucalypt forest to the convict-built reservoir.
During the first convict period (1825-1832) the convicts constructed a dam on the creek in order to make a reservoir to supply the settlement of Darlington. IT is still in use today.

Workman's Cottage
It is remarkable for having survive the years so well.
Its decoration and detailing are quite elaborate for its size and display the best remain joinery on the island.
Some of the newspaper that lines the walls shows the date of 1923.

Around the island, there are plenty of interesting sights, including this Beluga Whale skull,
these great reflections
unusual tree formation
these Naked Ladies flowers
Bright berries in the forest
and this phone box pretending to be a tardis!
and to top off a good day of sight-seeing we were lucky enough to see some dolpins on the ferry ride home. Although they didn't surface much as they were feeding

Posted by charlystyles 13:07 Archived in Australia Tagged maria_island painted_cliffs fossil_cliffs Comments (0)

Local Events - Tasmania

sunny 31 °C

Not all good trips need over night stays and a long journey.
We explored some of the local events happening in the area:

Cadbury Factory
Cadbury's Chocolate Factory is a working chocolate factory belonging to the Australian division of international confectionery company Cadbury Schweppes, and is located in Claremont, near Hobart. Despite being a working production facility, Cadbury's Claremont has a rich history with 18 heritage listed buildings on the site. The factory still features pure granite "Conching" machines which are over 60 years old but are still in use.

Freddie moulds:
Cockatoo & Koala moulds:
East Egg moulds:

Following Cadbury UK's successful 1922 merger with rival chocolatiers, Fry's, Cadbury's decided to expand overseas. As Australia was one of the company's largest export markets, it was decided to be an appropriate location for their new operations. Tasmania was chosen as the location following extensive research, due to the state's cheap provision of hydro electricity by the Hydro Electric Commission, cool climate and the availability of high-quality fresh dairy production and supply.
The building of the new complex was a massive undertaking, and the new facility was modelled upon Cadbury's Bournville facilities, down to the provision of housing, shops, and sports and other facilities for the employees. The new estate was called "Cadbury's Estate" and was located on the banks of the Derwent River in Claremont to the north of Glenorchy.
Various wrappers:
Most of the milk used to make Cadbury's products is sourced from the North-West region of Tasmania and processed at Cadbury's Burnie milk depot. The milk is then transported to Hobart in B-Double road tankers.
Bilky Bandicoot(instead of the Easter Bunny!)
our purchases for the day:
Though it's not like Cadbury's in the UK, as it's made form different sugar, and different milk.

Shakespeare in the Garden
The sheltered, landscaped grounds of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens hold historic plant collections and a large number of significant trees, many dating from the nineteenth century.
However, it is more than just stunning gardens when Directions Theatre offer up an alfresco experience – Shakespeare's THE COMEDY OF ERRORS.
The Comedy of Errors is Shakespeare's first comedy, and definitely one of his funniest. The comedy is fast and furious, the plot gets wilder and wilder as the play moves to its climax. Done in Bollywood style this production promises plenty of colour and movement.

141st Bushy Park Show
A small country show featuring classic cars, circus performances, western horsemanship displays, equestrian, cattle & sheep judging, yard Dog competition, wood chopping
and mini horse competition

Posted by charlystyles 13:29 Archived in Australia Tagged cadbury shakepeare_in_the_garden bushy_park_show Comments (0)

Dam Day

semi-overcast 23 °C

Down the road from Fentonbury in Tasmania, is a collection of dams used to create power.

The four dams on this integrated power scheme are located to harness the waters of Tasmania’s mightiest river, the westward-flowing Gordon and it’s tributary, the Serpentine; and to capture the headwaters of the Huon River, which meets the sea far to the south. However, you could see from the original tree line how low the water is at this time
The largest structure is the spectacular concrete arch of the 140m high Gordon Dam, which spans a deep and narrow gorge on the Gordon river, creating the massive Lake Gordon.
This lake alone has an area of 272 square kilometres.
But the designers of the scheme saw the potential to greatly enlarge its capacity. Three rockfill dams – Serpentine, Scotts Peak and Edgar – trap the water of the Serpentine River and the upper Huon, which are then diverted into Lake Gordon through the McPartlan canal. This second storage – the 242 square kilometre Lake Pedder – increase the total capacity of the scheme by more than 40%.

Lake Pedder
Full supply level – 307.5m
Total storage – 3,000,000 Mega Litres
Length of Lake – 40km
Lake area – 242m

So, after providing a fine location for anglers, campers, photographers and visitors who simply enjoy the wonderful wilderness views, the water of the Gordon Scheme eventually plummet 183m underground to spin the turbines and generate the electricity we need to warm and light our homes and to power our factories and businesses.

Lake Gordon Hydro Power Station
Roaring 40’s – restless westerly winds that sweep around the Earth’s southern latitudes below the 40th parallel. They touch land only three times in thousands of kilometres – on New Zealand’s’ South Island, the tip of south America and Tasmania. The winds bring rain and snow – the constantly renewable fuel that drive Hydro Tasmania’s power stations. Water bought by the wind flows into our hydro-electric storages, plummets into penstocks an tunnels, churns through turbines and generates the electricity needed every day. The water then flows back to the sea to begin the cycle again. Power stations like Gordon harness the energy of falling water, using dams, but hydro Tasmania is also capturing the power of the rain-bearing winds. In isolated coastal locations in the west, north-west and north-east of the state, the slender blades of wind turbines are spinning, generating electricity from the roaring 40’s.

Gordon Dam
Completed in 1974, this 140m high concrete arch dam was built by the Hydro-Electric Commission.
It is the highest arch dam and Lake Gordon is the largest storage in Australia at 12,450 million cubic metres) The use of double-curvature enabled the dam’s concrete volume and therefore cost, to be significantly reduced. The dam power station are associated with the construction of the first road into southwest Tasmania, and with the controversy over the flooding of Lake Pedder.
Height – 140m
Length of crest – 198m
Thickness at base – 17.7m
Thickness at crest – 2.8m
Volume of concrete – 154,000 cubic metres
Volume of water at full capacity – 12,450 million cubic metres
First excavation – January 1970
First Concrete poured – January 1972
Final concrete poured – November 1974

Looking upstream, at Lake Gordon behind the dam
Looking downstream from Gordon Dam
It's a long way down...140m...
So this cable car has a long way to go...

Gordon Power Station
Built in a cavern 183m below the surface, the power station has three 150MW Francis turbines. Water enters the turbines through a vertical tunnel from the intake tower. It leaves the power station through a tailrace tunnel and rejoins the Gordon River downstream of the dam,.
With their combined surface area of 541 square kilometres, the two interconnected lakes form the nation’s biggest fresh water storage area. This is equal to 27 Sydney Harbours! At full capacity they hold a total of 14,700 million cubic metres of water!

Serpentine Dam
Type – Rock fill concrete face upstream
Crest length – 131m
Max nieght – 41.5m
Rock fill volume – 14,000 cubic meters

Scotts Peak Dam
Built to dam the upper reaches of the Huon River, Scotts Peak Dam is a 43 meter-high rockfill dam with a bitumen upstream face. Its crest is more than a kilometre long.

Edgar Dam
Smallest dam in the scheme, Edgar is a 17 meter high concrete faced rockfill dam near Scotts Peak at the southern end of Lake Pedder. It’s crest length is 426m holding a dam volume of 104,300 cubic meters.

On the way home, we stopped of to investigate the Creepy Crawly Trail. Not a creepy crawly insight, except for us, avoiding the low braches over the walk way! But a very picturesque walk.
There was a hairy tree...
and this 'burl' on the tree was interesting...

Posted by charlystyles 12:11 Archived in Australia Tagged lake_gordon_dam lake_pedder Comments (0)

Classic Car Show - Bellerive

sunny 24 °C

It's always good to look at local advertising posters as you travel. The one that caught my attention near Hobart was for a Classic Car Show.
It was a lovely sunny day as we wandered up and down admiring the shiny paint work and unusual cars.
There's not a lot more to say, except to let you indulge in the photos of pretty vehicles...

A car that I grew up with (although I never used to like the smell of the leather!)... Rover TC 2000

A car my Dad grew up with... MGB

Examples of the popular Mustang
Ford Mustang 1967 Fastback GT:

1960 Cadillac

1960 Cadillac coupe de ville

1958 Alfa Romeo Giuliette Spider

Something you might see in Breaking Bad - wood panelled Ford

A pretty purple Holden Special

One for Mum and Dad if they get tired of their Bedford camper van... especially the addition of the eye lashes!

Something from a previous home - Leyland

Maybe one of these fitted to my car...NOS! Magic button here:
Cylinder in the boot:

and some pictures of the finer details - they don't make them like this anymore...
wooden spokes
bumpy window panel
cool light clusters
petrol cap
air vents
bonnet sculpture
a stick so you can see where the edge of the car is as the bonnet is too high...
a stick so you can hear where the wheel is, as the bonnet is still too high

And to finish off a day in the sunshine, we relaxed at Old Beach

Posted by charlystyles 12:12 Archived in Australia Tagged classic_cars Comments (0)

Wooden Boat Festival - Hobart

sunny 32 °C

The Australian Wooden Boat Festival is an exciting celebration of the nation’s rich maritime culture and one of the world’s most anticipated maritime events.
It only happens every two years.
Held across Hobart’s vibrant and bustling waterfront, the four-day festival brings together the largest and most beautiful collection of wooden boats in the southern hemisphere. From its humble beginnings in 1994, it has grown to become the most significant event of its kind in Australia.
It's a celebration of Tasmania's long maritime history, its active boat-building industry and the traditional skills that keep this legacy alive.
We went down to watch the ships come in - quite a sight with so many boats of all different sorts, in amongst the majestic Tall Ships
There are plenty of beautiful hand-made wooden boats on show.
Below are some of the details that I thought were worth a closer look:
Along with the exhibition of these beautiful boats, the festival delivers a lively combination of incredible local food, live entertainment, music, demonstrations and displays. From the state’s best seafood, Maritime Marektplace and tavern. The Australian Wooden Boat Festival has all the elements of a summer celebration by the sea.

People join in both on shore and in the water, regardless of their type of boat, even the dogs get to have some fun

There were rowing boats, such as this swan boat

Steam boats offering rides for passengers

and Tall Ships to go aboard and investigate

Over looking proceedings was this giant cruise ship.

Over the docks were display from the Squirrel Helicopter Team and the Navy Roulettes (like the Red Arrows!)

Crowds gathered to watch the events, and what better place to take your MGBGT for an outing

In one display area there was a large collection of hand made model boats. Including everythgin from HMS Victory
to a steamer
a fishing trawler
and these weird and wonderful boats made from bits and bobs:
below, you should be able to find parts of a saxophone and a dentist mirror
and how about a compass and a valve off a trumpet:

Lady Nelson
This little brig is a full size replica of the original ‘Lady Nelson’ which sailed from England to Australia in 1800. She was involved in the first three European settlements in Tasmania and helped to transfer the Norfolk Island settler. In 1825, natives at Barbar Island in the Indonesian archipelago seized the ‘Lady Nelson’ and murdered the crew before burning the vessel. Two small carronades (cannons) are the only known remnants of the original vessel.
In 1980 it was decided to build a Tasmanian tall ship to celebrate the 1988 bicentenary of Australia. Due to it’s historical significance to Tasmania, the ‘Lady Nelson’ was chosen. She was built for the Tasmanian Sail Training Association which conducts sail training, educational charters, harbour sailings and extended cruises.

And if you've had enough of boats - how about a tour around Hobart in this unique taxi

Posted by charlystyles 12:06 Archived in Australia Tagged tall_ships wooden_boat_festival Comments (0)

Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park surrounds

Travelling back from Cradle Mountain, we made a point to stop at any points of interest and going just that little bit further to see the nearby towns.
Even the little things that make me smile
First stop was Stahan, a small town and former port on the west coast of Tasmania. Although this is a significant tourist draw, offering scenic flights and boat rides across Macquarie Harbour into the relatively inaccessible Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. We were most taken by the local saw mill, producing beautiful pieces of furniture and trinkets from all the local type of wood including Huon Pine, Myrtle, Sassafras and Blackwood.
Heading back on our way, we drove through Queenstown, in a valley on the western slopes of Mount Owen on the West Coast Range. Queenstown's history has long been tied to the mining industry. This mountainous area was first explored in 1862. It was long after that when alluvial gold was discovered at Mount Lyell, prompting the formation of the Mount Lyell Gold Mining Company in 1881. In 1892, the mine began searching for copper. The final name of the Mount Lyell company was the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company. Some of the originals buildings are still prominent in the town centre, including the Empire Hotel
and Railway Station, complete with turntable at the end of the track

Throughout the town are some great statues, and reminders of it's mining past
Miners Sunday – the transition from a prospectors camp to a settled community commissioned by the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Co. Ltd, to commemorate the Lyell district centenary, 15th October 1983. Ten decades of man and mining.
21 facets of life and mining in the Lyell District from 1883 to 1983.
Even the Empire Hotel is recognisable

Looking down on Queenstown, it is easy to see the impact it's history has had on the town
The smoke produced however was a toxic gas – sulphur dioxide. It clogged the air and left the surrounding landscape covered with a poisonous yellow dust. Within a few years the surrounding hills were void of any vegetation.

The Iron Blow – In January 1883, while following mountain creeks upstream in the search for reef gold, the McDonough brothers noticed a large outcrop of gossan – the kind of oxidised rock formation prospectors look for as an indication of rich mineralisation below the surface. Through the mid 1880’s the mine struggled, despite the rich potential of The blow, in 1890 the directors decided to wind up the company. By 1896, the investment climate had recovered and the company was able to raise enough finance to complete it’s ambition building program. In June that year the first two smelters were lit. Four months later it was reported in the London press that ten furnaces would product an annual profit of nearly £800,000. Mt Lyell was touted as the greatest copper mine in the world.

Moving on along the Lyell Highway, with Cradle Mountain-Lake St.Clair National Park on one side, and Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park on the other, we stopped for lunch at Nelson Falls, tucked away in the rainforest

Further on, at Donaghys Hill we got a great view of the World Heritage Area
The Franklin River is famous throughout Australia and overseas and about 500 people travel down along it each year. It takes up to three weeks to complete the 93 km trip, from Collingwood River bridge to Butler Island on the Gordon River. Inflatable rafts are generally used and many choose to do the trip with a professional guiding company.
In the distance you can make out Frenchmans Cap, standing proud on the horizon.

Further down the valley we stopped to investigate a rather long swing bridge.
This is the beginning of the 3-5 day trek to Fenchman’s Cap (1446m) – the dazzling white monarch of Tasmania’s western wilderness. It’s distinctive white quartzite peak, ice-sheared on its south-east face, rises abruptly from rugged rainforest-clad ranges and jewelled mountain lakes, with the entire region almost totally encircled by the great Franklin River. This is one of Tasmania’s most challenging, most spectacular, and most rewarding bush walks.
Starting here with this impressive swing bridge

Posted by charlystyles 12:49 Archived in Australia Tagged queenstown nelson_falls franklin_gordon Comments (0)

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