First, there was Charles & Diana.
Then, there was Will & Kate.
Now, there’s Rowena & Geoff.
But who shrunk the Taj Mahal?
Visit Tazmazia for the answers. Or, is that the questions?
First, there was Charles & Diana.
Then, there was Will & Kate.
Now, there’s Rowena & Geoff.
But who shrunk the Taj Mahal?
Visit Tazmazia for the answers. Or, is that the questions?
Welcome to Day 17 of the Blogging A-Z April Challenge.
Today, we’re driving from Hobart to Tazmazia, which is located in Promised Land, a town located on Lake Barrington (Tasmania), Promised Land is 200km from Hobart, and about 80 km south of Launceston. The postcode is 7306.
As you know, we’ve been doing a crazy amount of driving around Tasmania. However, we’ve been rushing so much, that I’ve barely had time to share scenery along the way.
So, before we head off to Tasmazia today, we’re having a horse stop beside the road and taking a look at Mt Roland.
Horses are in my husband’s blood. Both sets of great Grandparents bred horses and his Great Great Uncle, Daniel Griffin was a journalist who not only wrote a lot about horse-racing, he knew the horses and their pedigrees inside out. Another Great Great Uncle, James Newton was very involved in horse racing and cousins upon cousins were involved pacing, breeding, racing…you name it.
That said, it’s can be easy to forget that not so long ago, horses were commonplace before advent of the car. It wasn’t just his family.
Anyway, we had to stop when we spotted these horses beside the road. They were so lovely and friendly.
On that note, we’d better get back in the car and head up the hill to Tazmazia and the Promised Land.
Last week at the Royal Sydney Easter Show, my daughter and I crossed to the dark side and had our caricatures done.
For anyone else, this would simply be a bit of fun, a memory to take home and it wouldn’t also turn into a soul searching analysis of what it’s like to be created, not creating. Of course, yours truly had to analyze the whole experience. Pull it apart and put it back together again…give or take a missing piece or two.
Obviously, you’ve experienced my photography. However, you might not be aware that I did the photography and publicity for my kids’ school for 6 years and gained a lot of experience photographing people. I know what it’s like to peer into a face, observing details, responding to a smile, a twinkle or even the withdrawal of acute shyness to draw someone out. I know how to work with all these personalities to create a story in 6 x 4 and hopefully bring out their best.
However, it’s a rare moment that I’m in front of the lens. Or, as in this instance, at the mercy of the cartoonist. Sure, he might use pen, ink and crayons but he has an inbuilt lens. You have to have a good eye. Be an excellent reader of people to pull off any kind of caricature. After all, you’re not just reflecting the surface, but peering deeply into the pond needing to fish out hidden gems in a very short time. BTW, although I’m usually behind the lens, I’m actually quite an extrovert and all the world’s my stage. I have no trouble performing for the camera, or the artist.
Surprisingly, it was actually my daughter who mentioned getting our caricatures done. I wasn’t entirely convinced.
You see, I’d been forewarned. While I was backpacking through Europe as a 22 year old, I caught up with Mum and Dad in Paris and had my portrait done outside Notre Dame. Being a serious, philosophical poet, I insisted on a more serious, reflective portrait. I did NOT want to look like an airhead. Ever since, my mother, who was standing back watching the proceedings with abject horror, has wanted to get that portrait fixed to show “my lovely smile”. I didn’t know what she was talking about until a few years ago and now I agree. “Smile, Rowie. Look at the birdie!” On the same trip, two of my friends decided to get their caricatures done in the shadows of the Eiffel Tower. They were dreadful and I don’t think those sketches have even seen daylight. My two very attractive friends, had nearly been turned into trolls. Of course, I photographed their reactions in situ. What a friend?!
So, when it came to getting our caricatures done at the show, I wasn’t naive. The cartoonist was warned! Yet, I became so relaxed with him, that I forgot to take my glasses off until it was too late. That is very unusual. Indeed, I’d be surprised if any of you have actually seen photos of me wearing the glasses I wear all the time. The glasses which are all but glued to my nose. I’m terribly short sighted and now near-sighted, and am becoming somewhat thankful for the glasses I’ve always despised.
That’s not to say I was entirely at ease in my new role. Not that I’m a control freak. However, I did feel more than just a little curious watching him sketch away, especially when passers-by stopped and inspected OUR portraits in detail when WE couldn’t see it. Well, as usual, I exaggerate a tad. We did get to see quite a lot of the work-in-progress and I know both my daughter and I were noting which pens he used for what. She has a good chance of doing the tools justice, while I dream. I do a much better job writing about drawing (and dancing, skiing, playing my violin and making Nigella’s Nutella Cake) than actually doing it. However, I am starting to wonder about this life as a voyeur…Isn’t life meant to be lived?
However, of course, you also learn a lot watching…including the remote possibility that I might be a control freak after all!
That’s why I wondered whether the artist would ruin it by adding colour and whether the finished product would self-destruct when it went through the laminator, even though it was meant “to protect it”.
However, the thing about control freaks is that we like control for a reason. That when we don’t have control, things can go wrong. Get destroyed. Just like our caricatures when that blasted laminating machine turned us into a piano accordion. Been there, done that myself at home. That’s why I wasn’t sure about the laminator. That’s why I become the control freak. Things conspire against me.
It was at this point, that being a creator myself made such a difference. As much as I was very disappointed to see our portraits seemingly destroyed when they looked SOOOO good, I knew what it meant for Graeme to watch as his creation almost met its death. From this point, we were no longer artist and client. We were united in our desperate efforts to salvage the artwork. Performing CPR, twice we fed it back through the very laminator which almost destroyed it, largely melting out the creases. He said it was his best work of the day and that he’d struck a chord with us. Got a vibe. I know what that’s like and what his creation meant to him. It was no longer just a piece of paper. He’d poured heart and soul into each and every detail and you look at our larger than life smiles, and a real sense of joie de vivre really springs from the page. To have that destroyed in front of your very eyes, was horrible. Sure, much worse things can happen, but it’s a hard thing for a creator to see their creation munched up like that. Yet, like the subject, the phoenix has largely risen from the ashes and is about to sojourn underneath our exceptionally think Webster’s Dictionary, which is the width of two city phone books…HUGE and weighs a tonne!
By the way,I’d like to give a huge shout out to our cartoonist…Graeme Biddel at http://www.caricature.net.au
How have you felt being the subject, instead of the author? The creation instead of the creator? Or, perhaps your creation has been lost in some way? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave your thoughts in the comments.
Love & smiles,
Welcome to Day 16 of the Blogging A-Z April Challenge.
As you may be aware, we are Travelling Alphabetically Around Tasmania at Beyond the Flow this year. This morning, we left Port Arthur ridiculously early for the 5 hour (340 km) drive to Queenstown, on the West Coast. We will be going on a very quick detour to check out Russell Falls, which is a quick 10 minutes walk from the Mt Field Visitors’ Centre. So, if you’re wanting to get onboard the West Coast Wilderness Railway at Queenstown, we’ll have to hurry up. After all, we’re only here for one day.
The route we are taking today retraces my journey from Port Arthur to Devonport via Queenstown on my first trip to Tasmania in 1995…a trip I have always considered a big mistake. Back in the days long before I’d met Geoff my favourite Tasmanian, I’d flown down to Tassie to see the end of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. I was staying in the youth hostel in Hobart, when I hooked up with another backpacker and we hired a car to get around. When I tell you that we headed straight for Queenstown on the West Coast after leaving Port Arthur, you’ll know I hadn’t done my research because we completely missed the beauties of Freycinet National Park, including Wine Glass Bay.
Instead, we experienced Russell Falls, which were amazing from memory (I more remember photographing the falls, which won’t surprise you). From there, we kept travelling west and needed somewhere to stay. That’s how we ended up in Queenstown. It was a large dot on the map and off we went. For those of you who are uninitiated into travelling around Tasmania, you won’t appreciate the implications of this. Back then, Queenstown was nothing but a decimated moonscape after years of Copper mining:
“The copper smelters wreaked havoc on the surrounding landscape. Not only did the sulphur fumes kill off plants in the area but the eleven furnaces required vast quantities of timber and the mining company simply cut down the forests to fuel the fires. It has been estimated that hundreds of men were employed as timber cutters and that over 3 million tonnes of timber were cut down between 1896 and 1923. At its peak the furnaces were consuming 2,040 tonnes of wood each week. The combination of timber felling, the sulphur fumes and the heavy rainfall in the area (which washed away the top soil) ensured that by 1900 the whole valley looked like a desert.”
I also came across this piece about Queenstown written by Alan Banks, age 13 and particularly loved his description of the Galena crystals (Geoff has since told me his sister had such a lump):
“QUEENSTOWN, Tasmania, has a recorded population of 2800, but this has shrunk a great deal, for there were many people prospecting for gold some years ago. Nearby is Mount Lyall, the source of much copper. Many metals are mined here, including gold, silver and lead. Silver-lead ore, the galena crystal for wireless sets, for which one pays so much in the Sydney shops, was often dug up in lumps the size of a football in back yards and gardens. Sulphur is also extensively found here, and whenever the north-east wind blows Queens-town smells horribly, (Mt. Lyell is to the north-east of the town.) Bush fires in summer frequently occur; they presented a magnificent sight to us at night time, for our house was just opposite the mountain and we had splendid views of the broad sheet of flame rolling down the steep mountain side. The crackling of the fires could be heard in the town. Not far away are the pleasant sea side resorts of Zeehan and Strahan. Zeehan, where boating and swimming facilities are ideal, is famous, even in Tasmania, for fishing. Tourist trips on the Gordon River are very popular. Parties arc taken up the river in launches, and spend several days in camp on the edge of the impenetrable jungle. The rain fall is extremely high here, which, with the fertility of the soil, accounts for the heavy growth of trees and vegetation. The average annual rain fall is 100 inches.”
Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 – 1954), Sunday 3 January 1932, page 2
While I’m pleased I made the trip in hindsight, I was a bit pissed off with myself once I’s seen photos of Wineglass Bay and saw what I’d missed. I’d only had about a week in Tassie at the time, so every day was precious and on your first visit, you want to do the best, rather than the more “educational” stuff.
Since that first trip, I’ve been back to Tassie about five times with Geoff and we really do tend to stick around the North and North-East with fleeting trips down south to Hobart and more recently Port Arthur. This means I’ve never been back to Queenstown and we’ve only made it down as far as Strahan on a previous trip. This has not been due to last of interest, but lack of time. There really is so much to see in Tassie and we tend to explore in detail, rather than spreading ourselves thin. However, we are planning to explore the West Coast on our next trip and take the West Coast Wilderness Railway.
That means we’d better start saving our pennies. We can’t get enough of Tasmania.
“At least, you’re consistent at something,” her husband smiled. “Even when you photographed your shoes, the horizon’s drunk.”
“Huh?” Julie sat up, peering over her book.
“Look at the angle on those books. They’re completely out of kilter and that urn’s about to commit suicide.”
As much as she started to fume, he was right. No matter how much she jiggled the camera, she couldn’t get that damned horizon straight. Still, she posted the photo on eBay. After all, she was selling the shoes, not the books.
That’s when the penny dropped.
“Hey, Dave. I can’t touch my nose…”
This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields and thank you to © Magaly Guerrero for this week’s photo prompt. I highly recommend you check out the wide diversity of responses to the prompt. It’s more than interesting. It will open your eyes. Here’s the link
My take on this prompt is personal. I was born with a dormant form of hydrocephalus, which was largely asymptomatic until my mid-20’s when it pushed the accelerator to full throttle and I was thrown into a dreadful chaos from within. The horizon bounced up and down as I walked. I fell over a lot and the room used to spin. I also lost my short-term memory. Thinking it was stress, I moved to Western Australia and when I came home for Christmas, I went back to the GP who’d been treating me since I was 11 and I couldn’t touch my nose in what was a basic neurological exam. I had a battery of tests includes a brain scan, which showed what I refer to as “the harbour in my head”. I flew back to Perth and deteriorated very rapidly and had a VP shunt inserted 6 months later. That put an end to me living in Western Australia and I moved back to my parents’ place in Sydney and underwent intensive rehab for six months. It was a long road back with many stop starts. I have largely recovered from it, unless I’m under a lot of stress and I can’t really multitask or manage time well.
Despite being good at photography, I have great trouble getting the horizon straight. I don’t believe it’s related to my hydrocephalus and quite often I like a quirky angle. Yet, my husband always notices the horizon and even in a creative shot, he’ll comment on it saying: “the ocean doesn’t do that”.
On that note, I’d better get back to the real world. I don’t even have a list of what needs to get done today.
Welcome to The Nut at Stanley on Day 13 of the Blogging A-Z April Challenge. As you may recall, we’re Traveling Alphabetically Around Tasmania and now we’re halfway.
Well, I Hope you’re not all dying from a chocolate overdose, because we’re about to Carpe Diem, seize the day, and get back on the road. While I’m cruising around taking photos, I thought you could all go and climb the Nut…chocolate belly or not!
Just to recap. We’ve been camping beside the Meander River in Deloraine and today we’re off to The Nut in Stanley on Tasmania’s North-West Coast. That’s just over 2 hours’ (176.9 km) drive away.
By the way, I should warn you to make sure you specific Stanley, TASMANIA when you go into Google Maps. On my first search, I was directed to Stanley, VICTORIA and could have ended up submerged in Bass Strait instead. What the???!! Even with my dreadful sense of direction, I knew that was wrong!
Now, before you start getting cheeky and asking whether I’ve moved to Stanley, the Nut is an old volcanic plug discovered by the explorers Bass and Flinders in 1798, who named it Circular Head. It’s also been referred to as Tasmania’s “Gibraltar”. It has steep sides and rises to 143 metres with a flat top. It is possible to walk to the top of The Nut via a steep track or via a chairlift. However, we’ve been to Stanley twice and haven’t done either. On our first visit, we were on a day trip from Bridport in the North-East and didn’t have time. Unfortunately, when we were there in January, it was ridiculously windy and the chairlift was closed. Indeed, it was so windy, that you could barely eat your ice cream without it splattering all over your face, in your hair and would have been heading across Bass Strait into Victoria, if the wind had been heading that direction.
Before the arrival of Europeans, the area around Stanley was occupied by the Tommeginne Aboriginal people, who were slowly decimated as Europeans arrived and settled. In 1798, English explorers Bass and Flinders were the first Europeans to sight the Nut when they circumnavigated Van Diemen’s Land in the sloop Norfolk in 1798, proving that Tasmania was detached from the Mainland. Flinders described the Nut as a ‘cliffy round lump resembling a Christmas cake’. In 1825 the Van Diemen’s Land Company was granted land in north-western Van Diemen’s Land, including the Stanley area. Employees of the company from England started settling in the area from October 1826.
Recently, I found out that Geoff’s 3rd Great Grandfather, William Burke, worked in Stanley for the Van Dieman’s Land Company after they first arrived in Van Dieman’s Land in 1830. I can’t imagine what it would have been like living there for him and his wife Catherine and young sons John and Daniel (I mentioned the Burkes in a previous post about Jail Journal. They were one of the families who assisted Irish Exile John Mitchel escape to New York). They didn’t stay long.
Anyway, as you may recall, I put together an amalgamation of newspaper snippets on our last stop when we visited the Meander River. That was so much fun, that I’ve sandwiched together a few tales about The Nut:
“STANLEY. Octopus Grassed: An octopus was caught at the back of the Nut on Thursday by Capt. WE Leggett, and brought in to the wharf, where it attracted attention. When outstretched it measured about 7 feet from tip to tip of the tentacles. It was provided with a beak, much like that of a parrot, about three quarters of an inch long. Although it was not a large one, it could be seen that an octopus of this size would be a formidable object to meet in the water. During the past few days a large shark has several times been seen cruising about near tho deep end of the breakwater wharf.…Large Whales: On Friday morning four large whales were watched with interest as they sported in the bay, not a great distance from the breakwater…During the past two or three weeks dogs have been worrying sheep on the Nut. A number of sheep have been lost. War has been declared on dogs going on the Nut, and already some have met their doom. EXCITEMENT AT STANLEY.THE NUT DECAPITATED.STANLEY, May 23.About 3 o’ clock this morning the top of the Nut fell. Many thousands of tons of rock have fallen and the wheel of the large crane was smashed. There was a remarkable scene at the breakwater. The event caused great excitement. Fortunately it happened when the men were not working, otherwise many would have been killed…As a, deep-water port, Stanley, with its Old Barracks and Chapel (a relic of the “bad old days”), has attractions that more modern ports fail to possess, and if your “wind” is stout enough, a climb to “The Nut’s” top is well repaid by the entrancing view obtained….STANLEY.Lady Lost on the Nut: Some excitement was caused at Stanley last Saturday night when a rumour spread round the town that a lady had been lost round the Nut, and parties with lanterns went out in search… A Circular Head Phenomenon.’THE NUT CRACKED.’ TO THE EDITOR.Sir,— The old Nut still stands, though report says it is cracked, and no one can tell what queer prank may take place next, but it will take something to frighten us into opening our doors and windows, and fleeing for refuge to the open air about a mile distant a second time, leaving everything to the mercy of burglars…When perusing your journal of the 20th inst. I was somewhat amused on reading an interesting article giving a graphic account of a monster of gigantic proportions which the writer, signing himself. “The Nut,’ affirms to have seen stranded on Pelican Point some time back… BLOWING UP THE NUT FOUR THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED POUNDS OF DYNAMITE IN ONE CHARGE.UNSUCCESSFUL RESULTS (BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT ) [BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH] STANLEY.”
Well, after all that excitement, you’ll probably feel like some fish and chips, or a scallop pie, followed by an ice cream or possibly even some chocolate. I really enjoyed checking out the historic buildings in Stanley and you can even visit the birthplace of former Australian Prime Minister Sir Joseph Lyons.
You can read more about our visit to Stanley here: Blown Away By Stanley.
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed our trip to Stanley and are still somewhat conscious after climbing that monstrosity? Hopefully, we’ll make it up on the chairlift on our next visit.
Welcome to Launceston on Day 12 of the Blogging A-Z April Challenge, where we’ve almost made it to the halfway mark.
I must admit that I almost fell off the wagon after exploring Jail Journal. My husband’s family, the Burkes, helped John Mitchel escaped from Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) and rated quite a few mentions throughout. Unfortunately, he didn’t always clarify which of the two Burke brothers he was referring to. Consequently, I had to do quite a bit of family history trawling to get my facts straight. Don’t you love how it takes a day or two’s research just to tick a box…grr!
Anyway, while I’ve been writing about the Irish Nationalists exiled to Tasmania, Jail Journal and also introducing you to the Forester Kangaroo, we’ve taken a leaf out of John Mitchel’s book. We’ve been hiding out with friends in Launceston, feasting on pizza.
Launceston is the business centre, or hub, of Northern Tasmania. By the way, if you want to fit in around here and not be classed “a Mainlander”, you’d better get the pronunciation right. It’s pronounced “Lonceston” NOT “Lawnceston”.
Historically speaking, Launceston didn’t have as many convicts as Hobart and was mostly settled by free settlers, which has quite an impact on the social makeup. In Jail Journal, John Mitchel said: “she took an early occasion of informing me `she came out free’; which, in fact, is the patent of nobility in Van Dieman’s Land.1” (While John Mitchel was an Irish Nationalist seeking Irish Independence, he clearly believed in the class structure and was also overtly racist. Defending his support for slavery, he cited Benjamin Franklin, who helped draft the American Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution, yet owned slaves himself. Obviously, I do not support these views!!)
Probably my favourite place to visit in Launceston is Cataract Gorge. Launceston’s Cataract Gorge and Basin are renowned for their rugged, natural beauty and it’s hard to believe you’re only 10 minutes drive from the CBD. Indeed, you could almost believe you’ve wandered into a lost wilderness…another dimension…not unlike wandering through a wardrobe into mythical Narnia. I was spellbound photographing the rapids and trying to harness their almighty power within the impossible bounds of 6 x 4. While absolutely unachievable, I know I “see” so much better through my camera lens, almost seeing through things to their essence. So, it is always more than worth the effort.
Meanwhile, probably the most touristy attraction in Launceston has to be Penny Royal Adventures. Geoff and his sister fondly remember going to Penny Royal as kids where they had an actual functioning cannon foundry where they made the actual cannons and the tram was operational, “instead of being a museum piece”. Unfortunately, by the time we’d finished our walk through Cataract Gorge, Penny Royal was shut and we were lucky to grab some Gourley’s sweets from hotel reception. This of course reminds me of one of my pet gripes about travelling round Tasmania that virtually entire State shuts down on the dot of 5.00 PM, which was difficult for us to get our heads around when the sun didn’t set until something like 8.00PM and we were trying to carpe diem “seize the day”. (That said, we admittedly often started the day a bit late but for us having a precious sleep-in is synonymous with being on holidays.
While I know there is so much more to see in Launceston, we were only really passing through, catching up with friends. Indeed, on this trip we spent more time by-passing the place. Not because we don’t love the place, but we are trying to see more of the island and every time we come here, we’re juggling family, friends and our destinations are somewhat determined by who we’re staying with. Usually, we’re based over in the North-East around Bridport and see more of Launceston. However, being based in Devonport this time, we have spent much more time around Penguin, Ashgrove Farm, Deloraine and headed out to Stanley. As small as Tasmania might appear on the map, it’s a lot, lot bigger in real life, especially when you keep stopping all the time because there really is so much excellence to see, taste and explore.
Have you ever been to Launceston and what did you enjoy most?
I’m looking forward to catching up with you. I only need to polish one more post and I’ll be up-to-date.
Meanwhile, I wish you all a Merry and Blessed Easter.