Tag Archives: Tassie

X- Railway Crossings, Tasmania.

Welcome to Day 24 of the Blogging A-Z April Challenge…”X”.

While “X” has traditionally “marked the spot”, “X” became understandably tricky when it came to continuing our alphabetically travels around Tasmania. There were no places starting with X in Tasmania and we’ve already mentioned a beach shack called “Xanadu” during our travels at Doo Town in Eaglehawk Neck.

So, I needed to be a bit creative, even inventive and in the process, I could well have over-extended my creative license, ending up with a fine.

This left me with Railway Crossings and when you look at the sign, there is a very definite X. Although we do have a local railway crossing, most of the old railway crossings have been removed in New South Wales and replaced with bridges. However, they’re very common in Tasmania, unlike passenger trains. If you start looking for passenger trains in Tasmania, you’ll be waiting an eternity in quite the literal sense.

There are no conventional passenger trains in Tasmania and services stopped back in the 1970s and there’s seemingly no hope of them opening up again.

However, freight trains are still operational.

While we didn’t spot many freight trains while we were there, we observed loads of track, mostly running right along the coast and to be perfectly honest, scarring the landscape. Although I get that Tassie’s quite hilly and train’s down like climbing mountains, it seems a pity to have sun pretty coastal scenery dissect by track and I’m sure it’s something Wordsworth would have lamented.

Geoff’s mother grew up beside the railway track in Scottsdale in NE Tasmania. She had to walk the cows across the railway line to the other paddock. She used to have nightmares about the cows getting stuck on the line and being hit by the train. That was back in The Depression the 1930s and their cow was about the only thing making money when her Dad was in between building jobs and tin mining. Losing the cow, would’ve been a serious financial blow.

However, those trains through Scottsdale turned out to be a blessing in disguise. After growing up in Penguin on the North Coast, Geoff’s Dad was working as a lad porter with the railways and was sent to Scottsdale, bring his parents together.

Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, I’m extending my creative license today and we’re actually heading off to the Don River Railway near Devonport. While railways and trains don’t exactly start with X and I can’t remember whether there were any actual railway crossings when we were there, this was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Above: Don River Railway, 2005

So this means we’re driving from Wineglass Bay to Don River Railway, near Devonport, which is a 2 h 38 minute drive (231.1 km) via National Highway 1.

Map Wine Glass to Don Railway

We last visited the Don River Railway back in 2005, although we’d really wanted to get there in January and ran out of time. Indeed, it was down to the clock hoping we could squeeze it in after stocking up on Lavender Cheese at Ashgrove Farm and saying goodbye to family and having a rushed picnic with friends before boarding. As you’re starting to understand, our trip to Tassie in January was hypo-manic. Yet, still we missed so much!

The Don River Railway is located on Forth Road, Don, Tasmania.  To give a brief history:

“the Van Diemen Light Railway Society was formed in December 1971 as a voluntary organisation with the basic aim of preserving a representative selection of former Tasmanian Railway equipment for future generations to enjoy. After much searching for a suitable site the society decided to use the track bed of the former Melrose line and began trading under the name “The Don River Railway”. The railway was established on the Don site in 1973, and trains commenced running in November 1976, the achievement and result of countless thousands of hours of voluntary labour provided by members of the Van Diemen Railway Society Inc.” http://www.donriverrailway.com.au/history.html

Meanwhile, on the home front, my laptop has taken a nasty hit. The power cord was partially severed by the recliner mechanism in my chair. For what seems like the last month, I’ve been able to jiggle things but it died completely two nights ago. I’ve since been told it’s the third power pack I’ve destroyed this year and I have to “wait”. So, I’m back on my much faster desk top and a day behind on the A-Z.

I must admit that after a month of deeply immersing myself in Tasmania, I’m feeling that the blog has become rather disjointed and out of sync with “the real world” and  what’s going on in the here and now. That’s been especially true in the last week as I’ve been away again, exploring new old worlds. Our daughter attended a three day dance camp at Kurrajong in the Blue Mountains and I ended up exploring the area, along with historic Richmond and Windsor. However, they’ll have to wait until next week.

Meanwhile, I’m off to pick our dancing girl up again and hunt down dinner at the supermarket.

xx Rowena

 

W- Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania.

Welcome to Day 22 of the Blogging A-Z April Challenge.

As you may be aware, we’re Travelling Alphabetically Around Tasmania on Beyond the Flow this year.  Last night, we stayed at Wines for Joanie, and today, we’re driving around 215km South-East to Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park.

Map to Wineglass Bay

While I know it sounds rather corny travelling from Wines for Joanie to Wineglass Bay, that’s pure, serendipitous coincidence. How the letters fell out of the cornflakes box. Wineglass Bay is shaped like it’s namesake. That’s all.

Quite frankly, Wineglass Bay and the Freycinet National Park is a must-see on even on the shortest visit to Tasmania. It’s totally beyond stunning and absolutely unforgettable. At the same time, you’ll be wanting decent weather to give it its due and to capture a photo worth posting (the competition is fierce). While there’s nothing like a stunning, expansive view to stretch your insides out and liberate you from life’s stresses and strains, Wineglass Bay has to be one of the best natural views in the world. It simply is what it is.

That said, I’ve been to Tassie about five times and I’ve only been there once. Unfortunately, we didn’t actually make it to Wineglass Bay or to Freycinet National Park on our January trip. I also repeat a previous confession, that I visited Queenstown on my first trip to Tassie and missed the stunning East coast entirely, due to lack of research. I was pretty cheesed off with myself, when I found out what I’d missed.

As I’ve said multiple times before, Tasmania is much, much bigger on the ground than it appears on the map. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s packed to the rafters with so much to do, see, eat and drink that someone must’ve squished it in. Made it fit.

Wineglass Bay can be so stunning, that it’s easy to forget that this can be a treacherous stretch of sea. That there’s nothing breaking the powerful force of the Pacific Ocean between South America and the Tasmanian coast, and those waves can really become fierce, menacing and the makings of shipwrecks. I don’t believe that I’ve even seen a photo of Wineglass Bay when she’s “in a mood” or “throwing a tanty”. However, just because this alter-ego might not suit the tourist brochures, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

coles-bay-lighthouse-walk-ro

Check out that wind.

Here are just a few headlines I’ve sandwiched together:

SEAMAN DROWNED. FELL OVERBOARD NEAR WINEGLASS BAY. The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954) Friday 16 January 1925 FISHING BOAT WRECKED. IN WINEGLASS BAY. HOBART, Thursday.  The North West Post (Formby, Tas. : 1887 – 1916) Friday 3 November 1916 p 3 Article…FISHING BOAT ASHORE. STRANDED IN COLE’S BAY. A large fishing; boat on her way from Devonport to Hobart took shelter in Wineglass Bay on Friday, but owing to the easterly -weather she had to leave, and made through the Schouten passage on her way to Hobart. A heavy south-westerly gale towards evening forced her to turn and make for Coles Bay, which was reached early on Saturday morning. Owing to the darkness the boat ran ashore, and was left stranded. The spare gear was removed, and it was expected to refloat the boat during the week-end. Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), Thursday 28 December 1933, page 2… STRANDED SHIP The interstate freighter Merino ran aground early yesterday morning near Wineglass Bay, on the East Coast of Tasmania. On board is a £100,000 collection of French paintings, as well as 200 tons o£ general cargo. The 549-ton vessel is not in any immediate danger. Two Hobart tugs, the Maydena and Boyer, are on the spot. Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), Friday 26 December 1952, page 1…The fishing smack Lucy Adelaide is a total wreck at Wineglass Bay. Weather Delays Lighthouse Ship North-easterly weather has held up the lighthouse supply ship Cape York at Wineglass Bay, Freycinet Peninsula, and she is now not expected to (berth at Hobart until tomorrow evening.The Cape York has been inspecting the Cape Forestier light house. The vessel probably will start loading stores tomorrow night for her trip around the Tasmanian lighthouses Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), Monday 20 September 1954, page 3…

I thought this story of being shipwrecked on Tasmania’s East Coast back in 1935 was so gripping, that I’ve posted it Here

Coles Bay J & G

However, let’s return to Wineglass Bay. Unfortunately, my chronic illness prevents me from walking down to Wineglass Bay. So, today we’re just going to stick to the lookout and visit nearby Coles and Sleepy Bays and you might notice our son has shrunk a little and through some kind of mystical, fairy magic, has become the Little Man again. He’s been missed.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Wineglass Bay and have the opportunity to experience it in person yourself long before you need to write that dreaded bucket list!

xx Rowena

 

 

Shipwrecked Near Wineglass Bay, Tasmania 1935.

Never trust a postcard! Calm seas and blue skies, can turn in an instant as the fury of the sea reveals itself in all its might.

While researching Tasmania’s Wineglass Bay, I came across this thrilling story of being shipwrecked on Tasmania’s East Coast from 1935 when you largely had to save yourself from the stormy depths:

SHIP-WRECKED MEN TELL OF TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE .. . . . .

LOST CUTTER Crew’s Thrilling Escape LONG ORDEAL HOBART, Thursday.

Clad in the tattered remnants of the clothing they had worn during their terrible experience, and grasping battered suit-cases, still showing signs of immersion in salt water, Thomas Aldrich and Carl Henderson, survivors of the ill-fated fishing cutter Derwent, stepped wearily from a ferry steamer on to the Brooke-street pier to-day. They had reached Hobart – their goal-in a vessel called the Derwent, but their own vessel, similarly named, with all their personal belongings, fishing gear, papers, and money, lies in eight fathoms of water off the Schouten Peninsula. Unshaven and unkempt, one wearing thigh boots and the other borrowed shoes, with their clothes torn and dishevelled, and their faces want and drawn, as the result of their experience, the two men unfolded a remarkable story of their desperate fight against terrific odds, and of how finally they had won through to land exhausted on the East Coast after their vessel had sunk almost beneath their feet.

Shipwreck

“I have been at sea for 21 years, and have previously been shipwrecked at the Falkland Islands,” began Henderson; “but never in my life have I seen such terrific seas or experienced such a terrible day.” With his companion, who owned the vessel, Henderson continued, he had set out from Stony Point (Vic.) on Easter Sunday in good weather, and had experienced an uneventful run to Wilson’s Promontory. After passing Curtis Island, however, the first mishap had occurred. The cutter began to leak in the bow, and examination disclosed that a bolt in the hull had been jarred and loosened, allowing the water to slowly filter into the vessel.

“Although I was obliged to take long spells at the wheel, we did not regard the mishap seriously,” continued Henderson, “and decided to push on, despite the fact that we were only about 30 miles from the Promontory. The weather became worse shortly after this, and we decided to shelter under Chappel Island. At 4 o’clock in the afternoon we anchored, and we then found that a crack had developed in the tiller as the result of the buffeting we had received.

Raging Gale

Henderson said the tiller had been successfully patched and the voyage had been continued in finer weather. On Monday night last, when the vessel sheltered at Preservation Island, rain began to fall heavily, and the breeze freshened. Driving rain continued throughout the night, and gradually the south-easterly wind became a raging gale.

“We realised that our position was precarious,” said Mr. Aldrich. The sea had been lashed to a fury. The waves were leaping 40ft. high, and a 30-mile gale was blowing. Hour after hour my friend (Henderson) hung on to the wheel, and I pumped desperately. We had lowered the sail, and for 19 hours Henderson endeavoured to keep her to the wind whilst I worked under his instructions. When dawn broke, mist and blinding rain prevented us from sighting land. And then the engine stopped. The boat had been straining heavily under the power of the engine and the reefed sails, and we had sighted land somewhere near Maria Island and Schouten. We decided to make for Wineglass Bay, and would have made it all right only for that mishap.

‘Mountainous seas were dashing over the combings, and the engine stopped. “Our position was now even more desperate,” continued Aldrich. “Abandoning the pump, I clawed my way to where Henderson was fighting to hold the wheel over, and levered my shoulder to the wheel in an endeavour to keep her to her course. The gale was bending the staysail like a whip, and the terrific strain apparently was too much. Suddenly the water began to pour into her. Henderson scrambled below, waist-deep in water, in an endeavour to grasp our bags, while I struggled desperately with the dinghy. He threw a bag up, thinking it was mine, but he had found the wrong one.”

Unforgettable Hours

“We dared not delay,” said Aldric “and we lowered the dinghy with great difficulty into the heaving sea. Immediately the boat was half-filled with water, but, by bailing, we managed to keep afloat and move away from the cutter. Within seven minutes from the time the water began to pour in, she had disappeared. “We spent three hours in the dinghy that I will never forget,” continued Aldrich. “For two hours I bailed while Henderson used the paddles. Then for another hour we searched the coast in an attempt ‘to find a suitable place to land. It was only with the greatest difficulty that we kept the dinghy afloat, and as we could not make Wineglass Bay, we decided to make for Sleepy Bay, where the seas were crashing onto the rocks. Henderson; who was doing a wonderful job, forced the dinghy in, stern first, and with waves spraying up alot, I jumped for the shelving rock. How I landed I do not know, but I managed to grab the rope that Henderson threw to me, and we gained the shore. A few moments later the dinghy was dashed to pieces”

For a ‘while the men rested exhausted on the inhospitable shore, but rousing themselves from the stupor into which they had fallen, they scrambled up the steep hills of the Hazard Mountains. Luckily, Henderson knew the whereabouts of a prospector’s camp, and after wading waist-high through swollen creeks and streams the men reached the camp. “I was all in then,” said Aldrich, “and when I saw McCrac and Fenner I dropped at their feet.” The prospectors did all they could for us, and gave us the first food we had had for 15 hours.” The shipwrecked men stayed the night with the prospectors and then began to walk overland to Swansea “We must have walked 40 miles,” said Henderson, “and when we reached Swansea with our suitcases, which were practically empty, we went to Captain Taylor, of the Bay View Hotel, who communicated with the Commissioner of Police (Colonel J. E. C. Lord) and did all he could for us.” Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 – 1954), Friday 3 May 1935, page 7

 

V- Tasmanian Vineyards.

Welcome to Day 18 of the Blogging A -Z April Challenge.

As you could imagine, finding something for the letter “V”, can be quite difficult. However, while we were in Tasmania, we actually visited a VINEYARD, Wines for Joanie, in Sidmouth. According to Wine Tasmania CEO Sheralee Davies, we’re were in good company:

“The latest tourism figures show that more than 262,000 visitors called in to a cellar door during their stay in Tasmania last year, 21% of all visitors and an increase of 22.5% on 2015.”

So, today we’re driving from Ulverstone via the Batman Bridge where we spent ANZAC Day, and heading for Sidmouth, 35 minutes from Launceston in the Tamar Valley.

While we’re getting there, I thought I’d also let you know that Tasmania has four designated wine trails:

However, I should warn you that if you’re any kind of wine connoisseur or expert, I’m not the most appropriate tour guide. I don’t really drink wine. Indeed, I don’t like most wines, unless they’re really sweet and I used to be known to add Diet Coke to port in my university days. While Geoff does enjoy a bit of wine and has been nurtured by my father who is an absolute wine connoisseur with a very well-developed palate, his mother was a card-carrying member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. So, our expertise on the wine front is exceptionally limited.

“I can certainly see that you know your wine. Most of the guests who stay here wouldn’t know the difference between Bordeaux and Claret.”

― Basil Fawlty, “Fawlty Towers”

However, I do have my uses and, therefore, make a great designated driver. Well, somewhat good, because I still want to have a taste.

Strangely, I enjoy all the pomp and ceremony of a wine tasting. Moreover, being a lover of history and people, I am also interested in what possessed someone to turn an apple orchard into a vineyard and pin all their hopes and dreams in what to me, seems like a very risky venture. Why not become an accountant? (not that I followed that “guaranteed path” either!!)

I thought this, blurb from another Tasmanian vineyard, Sinapius, summed this up pretty well:

“Sinapius is about being; one of a kind, butting the trend, forging our own path, and not conforming. So who would be crazy enough to plant vines at 7700 to 11110 vines per hectare, with a fruiting wire at 40cm above the ground, and in a cold challenging climate such as Tasmania…..

We are!

With a true passion and respect for the environment, our wines are aimed to reflect the ancient soils from the region, each season, and the uniqueness of our special site in Piper Brook, Tasmania. We are not winemakers at Sinapius – we are wine growers as for us, there is no separation between vineyard and winery. Each vine is treated with the individual attention it deserves and provides us in return with a small yield, but with maximum intensity. With minimalist winemaking intervention, each wine represents a true expression of our terroir.”

Another thing I love about vineyards, is the relaxed, beautiful scenery where you could have a couple of glasses of wine, cheese and bickies, and simply fall asleep basking in the muted sun.

That’s if I wasn’t darting all over the place taking photos. You know me. My eye rarely falls asleep, especially travelling. We have more stop-starts than a learner driver.

Anyway, as I said, today we’re off to Wines For Joanie. However, out of all of Tasmania’s vineyards why  are we going there?

Well, the answer is simple. My mother’s name is Joan and when she was younger, she was known as “Joanie”. So, when we spotted the sign while driving from Devonport to Scottsdale via the Batman Bridge, we had to stop and buy her a bottle. To be perfectly honest, we were going buy a bottle no matter what, but, we enjoyed our tasting and bought a bottle for Mum and for Dad. Don’t ask me what we bought. My Dad’s the wine connoisseur, not me. Indeed, he considers my wine education an epic fail and he now refuses to even pour me a glass of wine, because I never finish it. I can have “some of Geoff’s”. I was much more interested in photographing the tasting, the former apple packing shed and their cottages. Wow! I’d love to stay there.

As an aside, have you ever wondered who writes wine reviews? It seems to me that most, if not all of them, are written by experts with very refined palates. That’s all very well for their own. But what you’re average Joe or Joan who doesn’t know riesling from chardonnay?

Moreover, why do wine reviewers always have to use such ridiculous language? Surely, their English teachers must’ve castigated them for regurgitating the thesaurus, just like mine did?

Whatever happened to the KISS Principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid!)?

Why don’t you ever read: “This is vinegar. Best drizzled over hot chips. Stop being such a cheap skate and buy something decent next time”. “More floral than a bunch of roses”. “Contains the ashes of my mother-in-law. Strain before use.” “More oak than an oak tree.” “Worse the cough syrup”? “The best thing since rocket fuel”.

Or, perhaps I’ve just tasted some funny wines.

I like how Paul Coelo put it:

“Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.”

What about you? Have you sampled any Tasmanian wines? Or, perhaps you’re from the industry and could add something useful to my mumbo jumbo? You’re more than welcome to add even lengthy comments as I am well and truly out of my depth.

xx Rowena

PS: I was literally about to click on “post” when I had another look at the Wines for Joanie’s web site and read their story. They have actually posted a lovely “video” about their story, telling why they bought the vineyard and I chuckled to read that Prue is actually an accountant by trade. Anyway, I know you’ll love seeing this and my kids who love vlogging and have been telling me to post video, will think I’ve actually listened! The Story Behind Wines for Joanie. This really should go at the beginning but this was when I found it.

References

http://winetasmania.com.au/

https://www.winesforjoanie.com.au/

http://sinapius.com.au/

U – Ulverstone: Tasmanian Light Horse Memorial.


Welcome to Day 18 of the Blogging A-Z April Challenge. As you may already know, we’re Travelling Alphabetically around Tasmania. Much of the details and the photographs in this series, came from trip to Tasmania in January. This was a family holiday to show their kids where Daddy came from, but it also came to connect us with Geoff’s late father and his family ties throughout Northern Tasmania. Due to the alphabetical nature of this challenge, we have skipped some of Tasmania’s better known places and landmarks, and gone where the alphabet takes us.

Map Ulverstone to Devonport

That is how we’ve ended up in U for Ulverstone today.  Ulverstone is on the mouth of the Leven River, on Bass Strait 21 kilometres (13 mi) west of Devonport and 12 kilometres (7 mi) east of Penguin. Penguin, by the way, is where Geoff’s Dad was born and raised and it’s also where his mother died when he was only nine years old.

For those of you who might not be aware, being the 25th of April, today is ANZAC Day.  Rather than explaining what ANZAC Day here, defer to the Australian War Memorial: https://www.awm.gov.au/commemoration/anzac/anzac-tradition/

So, we will be attending the dawn service in Ulverstone at the Cenotaph.

light_horsemen

It is quite apt that we’ve come to Ulverstone on ANZAC Day, as it is the site of the Tasmanian Light Horse Memorial. This acknowledges Ulverstone’s pivotal role in the formation of the Light Horse in Tasmania.

In 1899, Colonel Legge, the Commander of the Tasmanian Colonial Military Forces requested that the Tasmanian Government should raise a Reconnaissance Regiment to support two Tasmanian Ranger Infantry Units. The Tasmanian Government  granted the request and Colonel Legge selected the district of Ulverstone to form the mounted unit. This district was selected because Colonel Legge noted that the farmers were prosperous and there were many fine young men in the area and the horses were of a high standard. http://www.lighthorse.org.au/resources/units-in-service/22nd-light-horse

With the advent of World War One the 12 LHR was renamed the 26th Australian Light Horse Regiment (26 LHR). This unit provided officers, men and equipment to form a Tasmanian Squadron for service in World War One.”C” Squadron was posted to the 3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment (3LHR) that was being raised in South Australia. This first AIF unit served for seven months at Gallipoli before joining the Australian Mounted Division in Palestine where they served with honour until 1918. The 3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment, including the Tasmanian “C” Squadron cleared and held the hills to the right of the line during the last great cavalry charge at Beersheba.

Major James Norbert Griffin

Uncle Jim

Geoff’s Great Uncle, Major James Griffin, served in this C Squadron  3rd Regiment Light Horse, enlisting on the18th August, 1914. He was 24 years and 9 months old and a farmer from Dunorlan, near Deloraine. Later, his brother Daniel also joined the Light Horse. Both of these men returned, but so many did not. Such as Gunner Robert Ralph French, his Great Uncle of his Mum’s side, but still known throughout the family as “Nanna’s brother”. In WWII, two of Nanna’s sons served, thankfully both returned home but her nephew was Killed in Action.

Lest we forget.

My thoughts and prayers today are for those who have lost someone close to them through war. Or, have also survived the aftermath of these horrors, after service people returned home with severe PTSD. Geoff’s aunt talked to me about how women were encouraged to help the men settle in back home and in a sense “re-civilise” them, which was mighty unfair leaving women and children at serious risk of emotional and physical harm, something which really has been swept under the carpet and is only starting to be addressed with our current generation of service people and much more needs to be done.

Lest we forget!

Blessings,

Rowena

A link to a previous ANZAC Day post: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/our-anzac-pilgrimage/

The Villains of Lower Crackpot.

Read this first: Visiting T- Tazmazia & Lower Crackpot.

Then, the photos speak for themselves!

We  should’ve headed the warnings:

And then we got caught!

Yes, we definitely got so much more than we bargained for visiting Lower Crackpot, but at least the food is good.

xx Rowena