Archive for category Tasmania

Taste and Travel – twin passions

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Well it is time for a change and since I do not have time to keep this blog updated I wanted to let you know before I took the website down. What with Facebook, Instagram and another website – and its accompanying blog to maintain, my Taste Travel blog has taken a back seat for many months.

Please use the link I have provided above before March 7 as it is the date of the change of this website. It will no longer be known as tastetravel.org – however it may be accessible for some time as tastetravel.wordpress.com

But put simply, I am not renewing the shortened (org) domain name of Tastetravel nor the extra space I normally need.

Kiss A Fish was born once we moved to Tasmania permanently, that was just over a year ago and I decided to concentrate on our coastal environment and its seafood for inspiration.

If following blogs takes up too much of your time, then consider just liking my Facebook page as it is the most instant and informal way of staying in touch.

Thank you for your interest over the years and I trust you will understand my need to make a change in the way I communicate. My best wishes to you all Roz

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Clarendon House still presides

IMG_3257The well-known Michelin food guide tells you if a restaurant is worth a stop or whether more seriously it is considered to be in the category of ‘deserving of a detour’ and if you appreciate Australia’s history then Clarendon House in northern Tasmania is definitely worth a detour.  This is a fine example of Georgian Italianate design from Australian architect, artist and author William Hardy Wilson who was considered one of the best 20th century architects.  Wilson – born 1881 and died December 1955. The mansion is set in 7 hectares on the banks of the South Esk River. Clarendon was the centre of a large enterprise developed by James Cox. The Australian Dictionary of Biographies can be visited here for more information about Cox’s holdings and influence in Tasmania’s pastoral history.

The wonderful three legged round table in the impressive wide hall of Australian fauna was painted by Tasmanian based artist Michael McWilliams a former Glover Art Prize winner and People’s Choice for Glover in 2014. Not only did I love this table but another favourite was the metal sculpture of a dog sitting on the sofa in the study, it  frightened the daylights out of me as I walked in to the room.IMG_3229 IMG_3230 IMG_3231 IMG_3233 IMG_3234 IMG_3235 IMG_3236 IMG_3238 IMG_3239 IMG_3240 IMG_3242 IMG_3244 IMG_3245 IMG_3247 IMG_3248 IMG_3249 IMG_3253 IMG_3254 IMG_3255

We were introduced to the house with a brief talk and then left to our own devices which suited us so we could take in the details of each room without being rushed.  I have added a photo of the rear of the house, it is the view minus the ionic columns with trees obscuring the entrance. It was originally intended to be the front of the house. The gardens are being well maintained and as always the house and its outbuildings are in constant state of repair. Based on this beautiful example we decided to join the National Trust so expect more posts as we work our way around Tasmania’s historic properties.

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Our major life change is a sea change

IMG_3043I may appear to have dropped off the planet with the huge time gap since my last post, but I have literally dropped to almost the bottom of the planet by moving to Tasmania.IMG_9569 IMG_9573

There has been so much to organise to move a large houseful of belongings and a collection of art and books amassed over many years. The worry of whether it would all arrive and intact with a long journey including a sea crossing has kept me away from the blog.  And to spare you I did not want to record the tedium of such matters.

At least we were moving to a house we have owned for some time and know that we are already welcome, as we have had four years visiting Tasmania on holiday and have made some very good friends.

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So the move and trade is from living in an inland large city to a life at a small coastal hamlet; a big change in weather patterns from Queensland’s tropical heat to the temperate climate of North Eastern Tasmania and then there is the rather sad fact that our new adopted state is the poor relation of all the mainland states.

For our future life here in Binalong Bay, we are engrossed in making ourselves comfortable for a life that for the most be spent in a small radius with interstate or overseas travel for the occasional change of scenery. And so we have embarked on a plan to add a sun room and deck onto our house and the design details have consumed us along with trying to work out where to put all our belongings. I have joined a local Buy Swap Sell group on Facebook and gradually some of our excess is finding its way into other houses in the area. In fact it is becoming quite cathartic and helps in the process of feeling we are making an unencumbered new beginning. I thought I had a good go at selling off or giving away things in Brisbane before I left but it seems on unpacking crates that it was a piffling attempt. Along with the additions we are adding bookshelves for the hundreds of boxes of book we have in a storage shed. Some days when walking on the beach, a wave of guilt passes over me as a reminder that I haven’t opened a box lately and tried to find it a home. But back to the Buy Sell Swap group – what a good idea that is, and now I am discovering there are many more groups set up on the Facebook community around Australia.

This year was the first time that our multi-graft of greengage plum and apricot (Purple Gage and Apricot Moorpark) beared any fruit. Oddly the plums were prolific but just two apricots was hard to understand. I am learning to be patient as I wait for our Burre Bosc pears to mature along with the handful of quinces that I hope survive the birds. The cherry tree yielded two cherries, next year will be a bumper!

Here are some photos taken since I arrived in early December just to show you how much I love our new environment. I have also been around the neighbourhood photographing wood stacks, I love this oh so neat one.Wood stacks so orderly

My neighbours gift of homemade beetroot

My neighbours gift of their home grown and preserved beetroot

Binalong Boat Ramp

Binalong Bay’s boat ramp activity

Gummy shark for dinner

John meets periwinkle & sea urchin guys

John meets Periwinkle & Sea Urchin guys (Tim on boat)

My first batch of blueberry jam

My first batch of Blueberry jam with a dash of Cointreau on locally made wood fired oven bread

John picks blueberries

John went blueberry picking

Skeleton Bay walk

Brisbane couple who also own another house in Tasmania the Heath Enright Trust join us for a walk to Skeleton Bay

Barbara cavorting with RonE

Barbara Heath doing the throw the ball thing with RonE

John is proud

A proud man

Sea urchins

Cannot believe I opened one of these sea urchins

Periwinkles line up

Found a source of Periwinkles 

I have a new venture to announce soon so please be patient and watch this space. I will create a new website and blog so it is likely this blog will be incorporated into the new one. Roz

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Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre

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Beaconsfield museum was an idea of Rotary back in the 70’s and it today it stands as a testament to the voluntary work of service clubs who drive worthwhile projects for the community.

The town of Beaconsfield came to the attention of the world with its dramatic mine rescue of Todd Russell and Brant Webb. The complex details of which are explained and demonstrated at the centre. The mining section of the museum is very well displayed with use of the art of hologram technology and interactive display of the quality I have seen at the Smithsonian. The more recent mine disaster is handled well with exhibits and storyboards on the hows and why-fors and in particular just how complex it was to get the miners out.

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That famous mine accident inspired a knitted memorial project, this is just one section as it fills another 27 sections like this one.

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The museum also holds a collection of artifacts on apple production and country living with various farm machinery and memorabilia of the area. Mr Tom Diprose had a vast collection which is on loan to the museum courtesy of his family. So it is not just a museum for the mine and for those who want to be ghoulish about its well-known mine accident.

IMG_1239Part of Tom Diprose Room.

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I am sure are thousands more of these old stoves throughout Tasmania judging by the amount of smoking kitchen chimneys I spot as we drive around.

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More reminders of the basics of life back in the ‘olden days’.

There is a very large souvenir and gift shop and all it needs is a coffee shop and may just about sustain the entire enterprise.

There is a platform to view the Gold Mine and you can visit the engine house, see shaft relics and other ruins. Well worth a visit to appreciate the vital role this mine once had in the north of Tasmania.

My iPhone did not do it justice so please visit its website for more information Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre

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Makers’ Workshop Burnie

IMG_9705The former industrial town of Burnie in Tasmania was once known for its paper pulp mill.  Paper is still made in Burnie today but it is fashioned in a more creative way in an entirely new setting. The Makers’ Workshop building, purpose designed by Tasmanian architect Scott Balmforth of architectural practice ‘Terroir‘ is an eye catching addition to the western headland of Burnie town.

The Makers’ Workshop has many functions but importantly it provides a history lesson on Burnie’s industrial past whilst providing a centre for community arts and tourism. We visited it with our Burnie based friend and teacher Michelle who herself had undertaken a paper sculpture workshop.  Michelle pointed out to us the paper chandelier that her tutor Tasmanian artist Ritchie Ares Dona, created for the entrance foyer.

IMG_9707Dona’s spectacular paper sculpture.

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Here is a new way to use paper, as building blocks, an original wallpaper design.

IMG_9716Of course they do not miss an opportunity, here is the cafe menu on handmade paper.

Makers’ Workshop have a system where local artists and craftspeople work throughout the centre in front of the public on a rotating basis. There are name cards for the artists involved in the programme mounted on the wall, so if you want to know who is in residence you visit the wall to see which names have a sign indicating they are working that day and you can make your way to their temporary studios.

There is also a creative paper making atelier that started in the 1990’s as a Work for the Dole project. In 2009 the training scheme moved into the building.

IMG_9713Sometimes you discover things in the most unlikely places like this display featuring water chestnuts. Now even I did not know they were encased in a pod.

The retail shop has a very large section devoted to handmade paper in hundreds of colours and various sheet sizes, all for sale and just to make sure there is something for everyone, a cheese shop specialising in Tasmanian cheese. Regardless of your interests this place will not disappoint, it is a must for a visit to Burnie.

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For lunch we visited its cafe. A tasty pumpkin feta cheese tart with salad. The salad could have been a bit larger, a garnish would describe it best. Not complaining, just saying.

IMG_9718Here is a more hearty dish, a take on a Ploughman’s lunch.

IMG_9714Our view whilst taking lunch, toward the wharves where the old pulp and paper mill is still located.

The Makers’ Centre is so multifunctional it also operates a tourist office here. The service is outstanding, if you just happen to stop by some of the brochures the staff come out from behind their desks and benches and ask it they can help you.

Open seven days a week 9 – 5. Free entry, so there is no excuse for anyone travelling to Burnie – GO THERE.

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Strahan is spectacular

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On the Gordon River and what a stunning day. It is the classic view.

IMG_9864A very long drive is required to Strahan from every main city or town in Tasmania but this is the reward.

IMG_9899The town of Strahan that reminded us of Padstow in England.

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A village full of quaint cottages and terraces mostly owned by the Federal Group. Shame about the parking sign. Tie up your horse here would have been an alternative.

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You pay for parking everywhere but when we checked the cost it was only 40c an hour.  We stayed high on the hill overlooking the village.

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It was easy to pick the houses that are operated by the Federal Group as the houses had room numbers and shared the same black outdoor seating.

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That was a glimpse of the town but the star attraction in Strahan is out on the water. A lighthouse to guide vessels out through Hells Gates into the ocean.IMG_9804

A narrow and dangerous opening.

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On board the crowds swell to the front but the man in the checked shirt decides to turn away, what was he thinking.

IMG_9868Thankfully no need for this on our trip but I did listen to the life raft drill.

IMG_9886We alighted on the infamous Sarah Island, this is a must do tour. For harsh conditions for convicts it was the most notorious penal settlement and built  before Port Arthur.

IMG_9897There is so little evidence of the many buildings erected but now the island is covered in trees and vegetation that it is impossible to believe the guides when they tell us there was no greenery whatsoever. All the trees were cleared in 1822 to make way for the buildings and it is only on seeing the drawings of the buildings that you can imagine its former life with a tannery, bakehouse, gaol, military barracks, forges and other workshops, hospital,  stores and quarry. Even the Government House and administrative offices have disappeared.

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What is left of the Bakehouse.

If you go to Strahan you must attend the theatre group ROUND EARTH COMPANY production. It is a bonus that the actors actually come along on the boat trip to tell the story of the islands former inhabitants and they do a wonderful job bringing the history to us with no props, only a handful of ruins as their stage.

Later that evening we attended their performance in town. It is in the amphitheatre next to the tourist office. The play is written about a famous escape – The Ship that never was.  Richard Davey has written the story of a group of convicts who escaped Sarah Island, had some adventures but were eventually brought back and put on trial.  The play focuses on the ensuing and ludicrous argument they presented in court as their defence. The play has run for 20 years, a record for Australian theatre we are told.

A footnote. Sarah Island was named after the wife of the doctor who financed the expedition. Sarah was born on Norfolk Island and was the daughter of George Guest of the First Fleet and Mary Bateman, Second Fleet. I am sure she would not have been pleased her name was attributed to a place of punishment and degradation.

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West Coast Wilderness Railway gets the shunt

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We timed our trip to Strahan well with the announcement from the West Coast Wilderness Railway that it will be out of action from April this year. We could not believe our luck as it was announced the day after we had made our bookings.IMG_9758

We opted for first class and very happy with that decision as we were able to see the action of the drivers of the steam train. Not to mention the food and wine we were plied with all day.IMG_9740

The railway is a restoration of the original Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Company built to bring out the copper concentrates from Queenstown. Overcoming the rough terrain and distance was a major feat in building the Abt rack and pinion system.

The rack ensured the train had a secure grip on the rails to negotiate the steep track areas.IMG_9731

The Abt gets its name from the Swiss engineer Dr Roman Abt who invented the rack system. It is a third rail of solid bars with vertical teeth and small cogwheels engage with the teeth on the middle rail.IMG_9774

The first half of our trip the coaches were pulled by a diesel locomotive and the second half we watched as the steam locomotive was attached. It was at this point we noticed the fireman was a woman who is fully qualified and our carriage host told us it is her preference is to be called a fireman. The male engine driver we were informed is from a long line of drivers in the area and I cannot help but feel sorry for him if he has to leave his family home for new work, that is if any is available elsewhere.IMG_9750

The charming and comfortable carriages are fitted out in Tasmanian timbers and modelled on the original Mt Lyell carriages. IMG_9766

It appears now that any rebuilding plans will be shelved until the Federal Group who have run the railway since 2002 negotiate with the Tasmanian or Federal government to fund restoration of the track.

IMG_9763The train tracks have seen seven decades of traversing the wilderness of the west of Tasmania and major contributor to the economic well being of the towns and settlements of the West Coast.

Latest news in The Mercury yesterday February 20, 2013 is that the West Coast Council, tourism operators and the Tasmanian Tourism Industry Council are pleading….!!!! with the Federal Government to make a quick decision. The Australian federal government and quick decisions are an oxymoron surely a business plan should have been forwarded long before this by the Federal Group. Considering the Federal Group control and offer most of the accommodation in Strahan you would think this issue would have been signalled with more notice, particularly as they describe themselves as the leading provider in Tasmania of tourism, entertainment, conference, event and corporate experiences. Why did they leave it so long to say they could no longer continue after April this year? Is it a tactic to get the government to pay for it?

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