Tag Archives: swans

Black Swan Lake, Tasmania.

Just as well Geoff was driving from Port Arthur to Devonport. As I kept spotting all sorts out the window forcing photo stops galore, we needed a driver with their eyes fixed on the road.That was never going to be me!

I’d also argue that we needed a dedicated lookout as well. Not just to keep an eye out for photo opportunities and darting wildlife, but for us all to fully appreciate the journey as well as the destination.

To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t long after our last photo stop when I spotted this dam dotted with black swans. Coming from Sydney where I’ve never seen a wild swan of either sort, seeing so many black swans all at once was a definite thrill. So, this apparition was definitely worth stopping for.

Like so many things Down Under, things seen to be the reverse of what’s in Europe and the Black Swan was only another example. Indeed, for Europeans, finding the black swan was akin to finding the mythical unicorn.

You see, the black swan had long been used as a metaphor in mythology, referring to something which doesn’t exist. In AD 82, the Roman satirist Juvenal wrote in  of rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno (“a rare bird in the lands, and very like a black swan”).[6] He meant something whose rarity would compare with that of a black swan, or in other words, as a black swan did not exist, neither did the supposed characteristics of the “rare bird” with which it was being compared. The phrase passed into several European languages as a popular proverb, including English, in which the first four words (“a rare bird in the land”) are often used ironically. For some 1500 years, the black swan existed in the European imagination as a metaphor for that which could not exist.

In 1697, The Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh made the first European record of sighting a black swan, when he sailed into, and named, the Swan River on the western coast of New Holland. The sighting was significant in Europe, where “all swans are white” had long been used as a standard example of a well-known truth.

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Black Swan I’d photographed earlier at Deloraine.

Governor Phillip, soon after establishing the convict settlement some sixty years later and 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) away at Botany Bay on the east coast, wrote in 1789 that “A black swan, which species, though proverbially rare in other parts of the world, is here by no means uncommon … a very noble bird, larger than the common swan, and equally beautiful in form … its wings were edged with white: the bill was tinged with red.”[7]

Taking black swans to Europe in the 18th and early 19th centuries, brought the birds into contact with another aspect of European mythology: the attribution of sinister relationships between the devil and black-coloured animals, such as a black cat. Black swans were considered to be a witch’s familiar and often chased away or killed by superstitious folk. Indeed, in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, the sinister and seductive black swan, Odile, is contrasted with the innocent white swan, Odette.

As I’ve mentioned before, Geoff is Tasmanian and grew up with a “pet” swan at home for some years. I’m not sure of the exact story but I think Charlie was an ophan swan who adopted Geoff’s mum. Charlie used to make himself quite at home, coming into the house for food.

Anyway, I thought you’d appreciate seeing so many black swans in one spot and what a thrill it was for us. I hope you might get the opportunity to experience it yourself one day.

xx Rowena

Source

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_swan_emblems_and_popular_culture

Deloraine, Tasmania.

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!

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Church of the Holy Redeemer, Deloraine.

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!

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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A Black Swan on the Meander River, Deloraine.

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.

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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!!!

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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.

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The Flock.

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.

xx Rowena