If you only have a couple of days in Tasmania, places like Penguin and Deloraine, might not come up on your radar. However, getting off that well-worn tourist trail, takes you into real the Tasmania. It’s places like this where you’re meeting and chatting with locals, that you get a much better sense of the place.You might even cut through all the nefarious layers, and even sense it’s pulse.
Well, make that locals from Northern Tasmania. There is a distinction!
While it might appear like we’re heading off the beaten track going to Deloraine, it was “going into town” for Geoff’s grandmother, Molly Griffin. Molly went to school, got married and was buried in Deloraine. So, for us Deloraine is a thread in the family fabric. Indeed, we still have family living in the region.
Our first port of call was the Deloraine Folk Museum in search of relics from the former convict Probation Station in Deloraine. I recently found out that during an outbreak of convicts from the Probation Station, a gang of absconded convicts turned up at the Griffin’s farm, Mt Patrick, wielding hammers demanding provisions. These are the same desperate brutes who hacked the leg off a lame oxen still attached to its wagon. What a tale and naturally I am trying to find out more!
However, the Deloraine Folk Museum contained so much more than these convict relics. They have converted a former hotel into a living, almost breathing, pioneer museum. Inside, there’s a nursery, servant’s room, school room and master bedroom. They have dressed old mannequins in period clothing and I swear one of them felt hauntingly real. She definitely spooked me a few times.
Outside, there’s all sorts of farming equipment. Personally, this was from my grandfather’s era. However, my dear husband recognised much of these tools and equipment from home. There was more than one moan of: “I’m so depressed. I feel old. I’m too young for my life to be in a museum.”
The Folk Museum also includes an incredibly impressive community embroidery project called: “Yarns of Deloraine”. I’m going to be writing more about this down the track (when I’m not madly running around day and night trying to squeeze too much of Tasmania into our meagre 3 week holiday). The quilt has four panels for each of the seasons and while watching a film about the quilt, they played Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in the background. It’s an incredible display and when you get up close and check out the technical skill and creativity which has gone into recreating these recognizable local landmarks and features, it will blow you away…OMG!
After finishing up at the Folk Museum, we drove into town. The kids desperately wanted to go to the Alpaca Shop. We just made it in there before they shut and found that virtually all the shops in Deloraine shut bang on 5.00PM. Well, I guess that was good for the budget but I was quite disappointed as Deloraine is quite an artistic community and I would’ve like to see what was there. I am still hoping to get back. Deloraine is only 30 minutes from where we’re staying.
We did find a take away food place, which was open and we took our dinner down to the local “train park” by the river with its historic steam train in situ.
I am notorious for talking to strangers, especially dogwalkers and while chatting to a local and her dog, found out that platypus live in the local river (the Meander River). Wow! That was exciting as I’ve never seen a platypus in the wild. I switched my eyes on and started scouring the tea-coloured waters. Nothing. I wasn’t surprised. The platypus is notoriously shy and difficult to spot. It was a bit like trying to spot “Nessy”.
However, finally our son spotted one. At first, we were rather sceptical but then he pointed out it’s dark brown “beak” sticking out of the water. Eureka! We’d seen a platypus in the wild. Oh happy days!!!
We walked around a bit more and by the time we arrived back to the car, the sun was setting. I’m a sucker for a sunset but being heavily into photography, these days it has to be a particularly good sunset for me to bother with the camera. However, with the sun setting behind the hills and all those layers of colour, we had to pull over.
By the way, we also spotted a Church with its own flock of sheep. So much could be said about that, but I’ll leave that up to your imaginations.
Have you ever been to Tasmania and what do you like best? Or, perhaps there’s something you’d love to see here?
Well, now it’s time to try uploading the photos. It’s taking about 15 minutes per photo so it’s very painful and I definitely miss my NBN connection back home.