A Travellerspoint blog

Bays of Fire

overcast 12 °C

The drive up the East coast is a highlight of Tasmania. There are superb ocean views and marshlands in habited by black swans.

The Bay of Fires (indigenous name: larapuna) is a bay on the northeastern coast of Tasmania in Australia, extending from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point.
The Bay of Fires was given its name in 1773 by Captain Tobias Furneaux in Adventure, who saw the fires of Aboriginal people on the beaches.
The Bay of Fires is a region of white beaches, blue water and orange-hued granite (the colour of which is actually produced by a lichen). The northern section of the bay is part of Mount William National Park; the southern end is a conservation area.[2]

St Helens

Binalong Bay

Eddystone Point Light
To get to Eddystone Point there is an 'unsealed' road about 10 km long
This lighthouse is part of a network of aids to navigate around the Australian coastline managed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority for the safety of shipping.
This lighthouse was established in 1889. It is mains powered and has a range of 26 nautical miles. The light is 42 meters up. Can you spot Eric?
Next to it still remains what may have been the original top, before electricity powered the current lighthouse.

Whilst exploring this area, we stayed in a small 'town' called Scamander. Although the weather was not always on our side, the view from the hotel was still pleasant
and the sunrise and sunsets were quite a sight.

Along the way, there's always chance of seeing some of the local inhabitants. Perhaps a shy crab...
an albino crab who was pretty quick to bury himself in the sand...
a Skink chilling out on the beach when we disturbed him...
tracks of a wallaby who's explored the beach...
even a baby bird that had not yet learnt to fly...

And of course, all of these sights take time to photograph...


Posted by charlystyles 12:43 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Oatlands on onwards to the East Coast

sunny 25 °C

Oatlands was one of a string of military stations established in 1813 during the construction of the midland highway by convict chain gangs, to connect Hobart to Launceston. The road ran through the area of Tasmania corresponding in name and geography to that of the British midlands. Oatlands soon became one of the coaching stops for early travellers. Today it has the richest endowment of the Georgian buildings in the country, mostly made of local sandstone. As a result the township is classified by the National Trust. Its most distinctive building the Oatlands Flour Mill was in operation until 1980.
Callington Mill is unique – the only authentic, working 19th century tower mill in the Southern Hemisphere.
Built in 1836, the mill dominated the growing town’s horizon, a fifty foot tower with walls two foot thick, wooden shuttered seventy foot sails almost doubling it overall height.
By 1837 the Oatland’s district was producing nearly 18,000 bushels (144,000 US gallons) of wheat and generating substantial income in the colony. Callington Mill could grind between 160-240 US gallons of flour an hour.
In 1838 an advert went into the Hobart Town Courier: “For lease one of the first rate windmills in the country, and surpassed by none in its situation for business... it includes two pairs of good stones (French burrs) dressing and smut machines, together with a very respectable dwelling house, attached to which is a counting house and small store, washhouse and servants bedroom. On the premises is a good granary, stable, chaise and cart houses with piggeries and fowl house, and about two acres of garden under cultivation.”
By 1891 however, times had become hard and small local mills were forclosed and Callington Mill was abandoned. In 1913 fire raged through the tower, destroying what remained of the internal machinery and the cap. The door and lowest windows were bricked up, the bottom ten feet of the tower sealed with cement render and the once proud mill became a water tank as it was abandoned once again.
The effort to save the mill began in earnest in 1979. In 1988 the cap was replaced on the tower. It was restored to full working order in 2010.
Expressions of interest are sought for the removal of the old Callington Mill cap, currently situated in the Callington Park grounds. This unique cap was built in the late 1980’s under the guidance of master builder Tom Andrewartha. The interior hardwood that forms the curvature of the cap was steamed on the site to from the curves that shape the mill cap. These timbers are internally visible. An exterior fibreglass later forms the exterior of the cap., The cap was placed on the heritage listed Callington Mill. It was replaced by a slightly amended form at the turn of the century, so is surplus to requirements. Approx. 6mW x 9.5mL x 7mH. Removal of the cap from the site will be the responsibility of the successful bidder by March 2015.
Local farmers grow grains suited to the area and the mill, just as they did in the days of early settlement. Flour from the mill is supplied to high quality bakers and chefs whose skills to transform it into signature products that reflect both baking and cooking traditions and the value of good food.

Gaoler’s Residence
A stone gaol was built on this site between 1834 and 1836by convicts, replace a wooden gaol built about 18 years earlier. At it’s maximum capcity, the gaol could hold 270 prisoners, this was the largest country gaol ever built in Tasmania. Oatlands, Hobart and Launceston were the only gaols in Tasmania that executed prisoners. Eighteen men met their fate in Oatland. Amidst protests, which the Government ignored, the bulk of the gaol was demolished.
Only the stone perimeter wall remains of the gaol itself, the remnants of the site filled in to house a public swimming pool. Notice how worn the stone steps are!
Regulations for the Oatlands Gaol, 1859. Uncovered during restoration works in 2010.

Oatlands Coach House
The original convict built rubble stone cottage at the rear was built by James Weeding in 1829 and leased to the military that was overseeing convict labour for the construction of the road from Hobart to Launceston. The cottage was used as ain Inn until 1841. Dr Park’s hospital was then based here, followed by a Post Office. In 1855 William Barwick purchased the cottage and built the new two storey Midlands Hostel onto the street front, offering accommodation, drinks and meals to weary travellers. He added stables and a brewery to the rear and a coaching cottage next door.

Oatlands Lodge
was built in the 1830’s for James Weeding using convict cut sandstone procured from a quarry that is still evident about 200m behind the building.
The building has been a girl’s school and a bootmaker’s shop was once attached to the front. According to legend, the lady who kept the shop bribed the men then building the main road through Oatlands with plugs of tobacco, to put a bend in the road to slow traffic thus attracting customers to her shop.

Lake Dulverton Conservation Area
From this view Lake Dulverton extends southwards and slightly east for 2.75km. The area is part of the traditional grounds of the Lairmairanepair, Aboriginal people. The shores of Lake Dulverton have been the scene of a number of industries including sandstone quarries, flax mill, timber sawmill and a railway station. Today black swans make it their home.

Set on the banks of the Macquarie River, Ross, like Oatlands, was once a military station and coaching stop along the midlands highway. It lies at the heart of the richest sheep farming district tin Tasmania, internationally recognised for its fine merino wool. Some of the larger rural homesteads of have remained in the same family since 1820.
The towns most famous site is Ross Bridge, built by convict labour and opened in 1836. It features 186 unique carvings be convict sculptor Daniel Herbert, who was given a Queen’s pardon if his intricate work.
Ross Bridge
This bridge on the former Hoabrt to Launceston road was designed by civil engineer and colonial architect John Lee Archer. The bridge was constructed by two convict stonemason’s, with a gang of convict labour. Herbert created the unique ornamentation of the arches. Both stonemasons were emancipated on completion of the bridge which was officially opened in 1836.

Campbell Town Carvings
These wood carvings by Eddie Freeman of Ross, graphically highlight aspects of out unique history.
The first tree depicts a British soldier guarding a convict labourer during construction of the bridge.
The second tree features Governor Macquarie and, behind him, his wife Elizabeth. Slightly below Martin Cash, the bushranger.
The carvings of the aeroplane and globe honour local born Harold Gatty who in 1931 circumnavigated the earth by air in Winnie Mae. The sheep and wool bales represent the Campbell Town Show, the longest running annual show in Australia.
The third tree displays the rich aquatic and terrestrial wildlife found along the Elizabeth river.

Detour to Stoney Creek
I like nothing better than seeing a wiggley road on a map and going exploring! This one took us down an 'unsealed road' via Stoney Creek to get close to Stacks Bluff - the jaggedy rock in the picture!
and onwards through the tiny 'village' of Mangana, we pass an idyllic chapel set in these beautiful surroundings.

Posted by charlystyles 22:29 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

New Year's Day Running - Mt Field

sunny 18 °C

What better way to start 2015 than with a 10 mile run!
The tall swap gums of Mt Field are amongst some of the tallest trees in Australia.

The route to Tarn Shelf is a bush walkers paradise, especially in Autumn when the glacial lakes, mountains and valleys are spectacularly highlighted by the red and orange hues of the deciduous beech trees.

Ok, I can hear you groaning... so what if I showed you some of the stunning scenery that we took in along the way as we gained over 1,600ft...
Tarn Shelf is a 'delightful series of glacial lakes'.
The route was a mixture of duckboarding...
and, um, rivers...
Yes, the above was the official route!
We covered 10miles and gained a height of 1,700ft.Needless to say, as with every good run, there is cake involved ...cake with a view...
and cake, makes for happy runners...!!


Posted by charlystyles 12:05 Archived in Australia Tagged mt_field tarn_shelf Comments (0)

Mount Wellington - Hobart

all seasons in one day

Mount Wellington
It rises to 1,271 metres (4,170 ft) over the city.
It is frequently snow-covered, sometimes even in summer, and the lower slopes are thickly forested, but criss-crossed by many walking tracks and a few fire trails. There is also a sealed but narrow road to the summit, about 22 kilometres (14 mi) travel from the city.
An enclosed lookout near the summit provides spectacular views of the city below and to the east, the Derwent estuary, and also glimpses of the World Heritage Area nearly 100 kilometres (62 mi) to the west.
Challenge enough – Charles Darwin wrote in his record of the voyage of HMS Beagle that Hobart Town “stands at the base on mount Wellington, a mountain of little picturesque beauty”. Still, it was attractive enough for him to spend two days in efforts to climb it. ON 10 February 1836 he set off via South Hobart and the brewery at the Cascades hoping to take a direct route to the top. It was a frustrating waste of time. Somewhere above the head of Myrtle Gully near Crocodile Rock he and his assistant were forced to turn back: “ We ere foiled by the thickness of the wood”.
Second Try - The following day was hot and windy but he tried again. This time he engaged a guide. The climb revealed to him the order of the rocks which he had found so difficult to understand nearer the town. He recorded that some layers were up to 280million years old. The views from the top were memorable. "to the south the intricate outline of the broken land & water forming many bays was mapped with clearness before us".


We saw three seasons in one hour whilst at the top, there was sunshine,
and always wind!

At Salamanca Place, Hobart there are a couple of eye catching statues created by husband and wife, Gillie and Marc, Australian contemporary artists who collaborate to create art as one, applying the iconic imagery of the dog/human hybrid to celebrate the powerful spiritual relationship that exists between man and animal.
Happy Birthday Mr President XO – 2014
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” Marilyn Monroe

Salamanca Square Water Fountain

Posted by charlystyles 15:51 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Sydney to Hoabrt Yacht Race 2014

overcast 16 °C

The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is an annual event starting in Sydney on Boxing Day and finishing in Hobart, Tasmania. The race distance is approximately 630 nautical miles (1,170 km).
It is widely considered to be one of the most difficult yacht races in the world. The race was initially planned to be a cruise by Peter Luke and some friends who had formed a club for those who enjoyed cruising as opposed to racing, however when a visiting British Royal Navy Officer, Captain John Illingworth, suggested it be made a race, the event was born. The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race has grown over the decades, since the inaugural race in 1945, to become one of the top three offshore yacht races in the world, and it now attracts maxi yachts from all around the globe. The 2014 race marked the 70th running of the event.
In 2012 Wild Oats XI set a new record by crossing the line in 1 day, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds.
This year, Bob Oatley’s 100-foot supermaxi Wild Oats XI logged a record eighth line honours victory with his other boat, 29 year old Wild Rose, a first grand prix ocean racer, was declared overall winner of the race.

It was great to be able to look at all the boats that had taken part in the race
See all the kit being hung out to dry after a rough few days at sea
and we even saw the oldest boat come in.

Posted by charlystyles 13:39 Archived in Australia Tagged sydney_hobart_yacht_race Comments (0)

Franklin - Huon Valley

sunny 19 °C


Franklin was known as “The Settlement” (circa 1836) until a name change in 1850 recognised the efforts of the Governor John Franklin and his wife to encourage settlers to the area.
The attractive historic ambience of the town stands out through the buildings and the natural features of the Huon River and surrounding hills with farm orchards.
Throughout the town there are the remains of the 100 jetties in the town from the early 1900 and was one of the largest towns in Tasmania due to river transport.

The Franklin Lockup
This small double cell block is one of several 19th century cells of similar design that existed in the Huon Valley. It is likely that the lockup was built by Alexander Adams in July 1889 and designed as a portable holding sell for short-term use. It was later sold to the local mechanic who kept it as a storage shed at the rear of his garage.

Palais Theatre
Originally a smaller stone building in the 1860’sm, it was rebuilt in 1912 to accommodate the Mechanics Institute Library and expand social functions for the valley. By the 1930’s the film-showing era of talkies led to building improvements.
Hotel and Stables – One of six hotels it also served as a schoolroom and lodging. Post-Federation (1901) renamed The Federal, then The Franklin Tavern.

Franklin Working Waterfront Assoc Inc
a community driven initiative with the concept to develop a traditional port and marine precinct on the Huon river for shipwright activities, education and the construction and operation of a merchant trading shooner.. The construction of a traditional merchant trading schooner, restoration and servicing of classic timber vessels and the provision of ancillary shipwright services are key elements of this dynamic, inspirational social enterprise project.
The schooner, built of traditional methods, will carry passengers and local cargo enabling trade and tourism around Australia whilst retaining and teaching shipwright skills.

Posted by charlystyles 15:36 Archived in Australia Tagged huon_valley franklin Comments (0)

Willie Smith's Cider - Huon Valley

The Apple Shed

sunny 19 °C

Early immigrants from England with great faith and a few precious pips, were responsible for the development of an apple industry in Tasmania. About 170 years ago trees were planted at Yorktown on the Tamar and from here the industry began.
Willie Smith’s - William and Elsie Smith inherited land from her parents and planted their first apple trees there towards the end of the 1800s. Aged in his late 40’s when World War 1 began, William was too old to enlist. He kept working, expanding the family business, adding initiatives like beef cattle and the manufacture of timber apple cases to the Smiths’ fruit growing enterprise.
An industry pioneer through the boom years of the 1920’s, William was one of the many Huon Valley orchardists who grew, graded, packed and exported their fruit across the globe. During the 1930’s William gradually stepped back to let his son Ron take over. But when Ron went off to war in 1940, 72 year old William went back to work in the orchard and the packing shed.
Making the grade – Apples were sorted for size through apple graders. Smooth timber rollers and canvas made sure that the precious fruit wasn’t bumped or bruised. Early models were driven by small petrol engines, later electricity turned the roller belts and some machines graded the fruit with an electronic eye. Workers stood alongside the graders, checking and removing and blemished or miss-shapend apples before packing the fruit into boxes.
Done in a flash – here’s the quick way to peel and core and apple – mechanical peelers like this from 1900 were used in factories that produced processed fruit products, like dried apples, jams , sauces and preserves.
Just in case – Before apples were packed in boxes, Huon Valley orchardists used timber apple cases made of rough-sawn local timber. Some growers put their own cases together on a nailing machine, filled them with fruit, pasted their family label on the ends and sent them of around the world. Simple, sturdy and practical, timber apple cases often had a second life – as rustic cupboards, bookshelves and even home-made furniture.

Andrew Smith – A 20year old Andrew Smith made a deal with his Dad – I’ll work in the orchard for sixe months if I can go travelling for the rest of the year. Back home in 1991, he tried to convince his father to make a few changes, instead of 800 tress per hectare, Andrew wanted to plant 2800. After trialling organic techniques in a small section of the property, from the early 2000’s Ian and Andrew worked together to transition the entire orchard to full organic production.
Today the family has the nations largest organic apple orchard – The cider initiative is the Smiths’ latest challenge.
Installing the new apple juicer, stainless steel fermentation vessels and cider bottling plant was a hug investment. There are plans ahead for the family’s organically-grown fruit – calvados liquor, apple spirit, cider vinegar and more.
An internationally famous heritage orchard in our own backyard – The Grove Research and Demonstration Station has been the source of important research and technical innovations that have made major contribution to the nation’s apple industry. In addition the this it is world-renowned in cider circles – it continues to be the supply for the majority of apple tress planted in Australia.

There was even chance to test out one of the apple trucks for size... bit big me thinks...

Of course, all of this is thirsty work, so there had to be some cider tasting...

Posted by charlystyles 12:43 Archived in Australia Tagged huon_valley willie_smith Comments (0)

Mona - Museum of Old and New Art

21 °C

From Hobart, there are many ways to get to the MONA. You can travel by boat on the 'MONA ROMA', by car, even by Sea Plane. We chose to hire bikes and cycle the 15miles return trip to the peninsula. Quite a challenge with three gears, back brakes and uphill the whole way there!
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is an art museum located within the Moorilla winery on the Berriedale peninsula in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, officially opened on 21 January 2011. It is the largest privately funded museum in Australia.
The museum presents antiquities, modern and contemporary art from the David Walsh collection. Walsh has described the museum as a "subversive adult Disneyland." He's even named his parking spaces...
The single-story MONA building appears at street level to be dominated by its surroundings, but its interior possesses a spiral staircase that leads down to three larger levels of labyrinthine display spaces built into the side of the cliffs around Berriedale peninsula. Most visitors approach by ferry up the River Derwent.
There are no windows and the atmosphere is intentionally ominous. On entering the museum, visitors descend a "seemingly endless flight of stairs", an experience one critic compared with "going down into Petra".
To see the art, the visitor must work back upwards towards the surface, a trajectory that has been contrasted with the descending spiral that many visitors follow in New York's Guggenheim Museum.

Just some of the displays we saw...
Cement Truck
Full-size cement truck of laser-cut corten steel

Fat Car
Erwin Wurm’s humorous sculpture, Fat Car, can be seen as a comment on 21st-century consumer indulgence. He has taken one of the world’s most desirable material symbols of motorized power, style, design and speed – the Porsche Carrera convertible – and engorged it, distended it, almost but not quite beyond recognition. Although there is something about its form that remains instantly recognisable, and the paintwork is superb, this body sags and bulges with excess. Even the seats inside are bloated.

Wim Delvoye’s work is riddled through with visual and historical references – to religion, art history, mathematics, biology, popular culture and more. Look outside. Here – as in so much of Delvoye’s art – purpose, medium and scale are all transmogrified in relation to expectation.

Bookcase comprising two iron elements with lead books (190-200 volumes) and glass

Greg says good art operates on a 'wider broadband': that which transcends words.
‘To put it baldly, buying a living artist’s work has two advantages – the museum pays less and the artist eats.’
– Lloyd Goodrich in the 1960s, then director of The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York


Posted by charlystyles 12:21 Archived in Australia Tagged mona museum_of_old_and_new_art Comments (0)

Historic Richmond Village

sunny 24 °C

As Tasmania's most important historic town, Richmond is one of the state's most popular destinations, with good examples of Tasmania's stark convict heritage and beautiful historic buildings.
The town is as elegant today as it was in the 1820's, when it was an important military staging post and convict station linking Hobart with Port Arthur. Nestled in the Coal River Valley, this classified historic town is famous for its Georgian architecture.

Richmond Bridge (1823).
Originally named Bigge's Bridge, Richmond Bridge is Australia's oldest bridge still in use. It was built by convicts from sandstone quarried at Butchers Hill and hauled by hand carts to the bridge site. The cutwaters were added in 1884. The bridge is said to be haunted by several ghosts, including Grover, a cruel flagellator.

St John's Catholic Church and burial ground (1837)
This is the oldest Catholic Church still in use in Australia. The church has had three spires. The present one was raised in 1972.

St Luke's Anglican Church (1834).
The foundation stone was laid in 1834 by Governor Arthur. Designed by John Lee Archer and built by convict labour, the church was completed in 1835. James Thompson, the convict who was responsible for the original timber work inside the building, was granted his freedom as a reward for his work.

Richmond Court House (1825)
In the early days, it was also used for church services. It was used as Council Chambers from 1861, when the Richmond Municipality was established, until 1993, when Richmond Council amalgamated with Clarence City Council.


Posted by charlystyles 08:07 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Convict Coal Mines, Port Arthur

sunny 24 °C

The Coal Mines Historic Site was Tasmania’s first operational mine, developed both to limit the colony's dependence upon costly imported coal from New South Wales, as well as serving as a place of punishment for the "worst class" of convicts from Port Arthur, the mine was operational for over 40 years.
The Coal Mines Historic Site is part of the epic story of the European settlement of Australia.
When Lempriere (the Commissariat Officer at Port Arthur) reported on the settlement c. 1839 there were 150 prisoners and a detachment of 29 officers stationed at the mines. Large stone barracks which housed up to 170 prisoners, as well as the chapel, bakehouse and store had been erected.
The Coal Mines formed part of the system of convict discipline and punishment on the Tasman Peninsula. During its busiest years almost 600 prisoners with their jailers and their families lived and worked at the Mines. While the underground workings are no longer accessible, you can still see the ruins of houses, barracks, offices and punishment cells.
By 1847 the main shaft was down over 300 feet with an extensive system of subterranean tunnels and caverns. The work of extracting the coal was carried out by convicts in two eight hour shifts. The men had to extract 25 tons in each shift to reach the day's quota.
Hand-driven winding wheels at the top of the shafts were used to bring the coal baskets up from the working galleries. Once at the top, the baskets were upturned into carts for transportation to the jetty at Plunkett Point. This was done via an 'inclined plane' (self-acting tramway) carrying the coal from each shaft. The line of the tramway from the main shaft constructed in 1846 is still clearly visible.
It gives you a faint echo of those long departed men toiling in the dark, and experience something of the isolation and hardship that they endured.

Posted by charlystyles 02:45 Archived in Australia Tagged port_arthur coal_mines Comments (0)

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