Posts Tagged Tasmanian touring

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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Slow Food Hobart Tour de Tasman

Now we are living in Tasmania permanently we have finally had a chance (last month) to join the Slow Food Hobart Convivium on a field trip – it was to the southern region known as the Forestier Peninsula. John and I have been members for many years and in Brisbane where I was a co-founder of Slow Food. Some encouragement was offered by Australian food legend Maggie Beer. Maggie said to me that I should start-up a Slow Food Convivium when I complained we did not have a branch in Queensland.IMG_3183

Here are some photos of the day that began at 9am on a chartered bus from Hobart with about 48 other people. A special tour guide assisted with a commentary on what to expect, how to behave and generally took us to task if our Tasmanian history was rusty. At first when I spotted our guide I was concerned that we would slip back into our ‘ten year old’ attention deficit personalities but our chef who was moonlighting from his ‘real’ job as a member of the Blue Cow Theatre Group kept our attention.

IMG_2887First stop was the Bream Creek Farmers Market where we all dispersed and bought up big, the bus opening its luggage compartment to fit in the produce. Once tasted we had to have a bottle of Honk mustard.IMG_2885

Sea Eagle Seafoods had good array of seafood products, but we could not buy this day as we did not have our ice packs with us but these products are available elsewhere.IMG_2886

Then it was on to the picturesque Marion Bay to visit the Daly family potato farm. Tasmanians are leaders in potato growing and this large farm and its processing shed made potatoes more interesting than usual.IMG_2879

Back at the market, we could not resist the Tasmanian grown walnuts.IMG_2880

A pie maker – these pasties were beautiful but knowing we had a special lunch ahead we decided on one of their pork pies for later consumption.IMG_2881

We then headed off to the historic property Bangor.  Its owner Matt Dunbabin greeted us at the relatively new vineyard he has put in and our surprise treat was that his friend and fellow farmer Tom Gray who has oyster lease No 170 nearby brought oysters to eat in the vineyard. In the near future a tasting room will be built here and both Tom’s oysters and Matt’s wine will be on offer in the same location.IMG_2898

Matt hopped into the bus with us and as we drove around his large farm he gave us some information on the long history of Bangor. He selected a place to stop on his property just by the water and we had our lunch. A special picnic lunch made for us by the Dunalley Primary P & F  along with local producers; Little Quoin and Eloise Emmett. Little Quoin and Eloise Emmett .

Lots of  cool climate wines were generously poured and we tucked into quiches, heirloom tomatoes, potato salad, baked ham and salmon, followed by summer puddings and the best Tasmanian creams, thick and clotted.IMG_2902

By now you should be wishing you were there. Should you wish to join SF Hobart here is the contact:

or visit the Slow Food organisation’s website for more information.


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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.


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.


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.



Strahan is spectacular


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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Melville Street Market at last


We made it to the Melville Street Market in Hobart this past weekend. We live some four hours drive away so it is not possible to drop in each Sunday and since we had a special party to attend in Hobart on Saturday evening we decided to get up early on Sunday to visit the market and still head back in good time to the Bay of Fires. The market is held on Sunday mornings each week and very well patronised so I had to get used to queuing. Even though many Hobart residents are used to visiting the Salamanca Market on Saturdays to buy fruit, vegetables and comestibles this market is still filling a vital need  for people to buy high quality food and plants from Tasmanian growers and makers.

Callington Mill flour and bread from Oatlands

Callington Mill flour and bread from Oatlands mill and shop

It is a Farmers Market people, you must bring your own stylish shopping bag, French market bags, recycle bags or buy one from the market organisers, as plastic bags are a no no here. A couple more rules to follow and you will be set so leave your dog on a leash outside the entrance and there is no smoking allowed and the best rule of all is that as a stall holder, you must grow, pick, raise, produce, or extract within the geographical Tasmanian boundaries.

Elgar cheese

Elgaar cheese and next time we will try the advertised mascarpone

After we left the market we headed for a petrol station to buy a bag of ice to keep our fresh food cool.

A lovely bright couple

A well dressed couple


Coffee stall had a monopoly

The market could do with more Coffee stalls

These ladies sold out quickly

These ladies sold out their strawberries quickly

We did not buy the peonies as they would droop on a long drive on a sunny day.

Peonies in a bucket

Peony is the new rose, in my opinion anyway

Best array of herbs I have seen

Best variety of herbs I have seen ever at Provenance Growers

Red is the colour of the day

Red is the colour of the day

Garlic grows well here
Garlic grows well here



Scottsdale Tasmania Xmas Parade

IMG_9112We had to collect two paintings that had been framed in Scottsdale, a drive north west of our home in Binalong Bay that takes around two hours of pleasant driving on many winding and scenic roads. When we arrived in Scottsdale we followed all the detours as all the roads were blocked for the annual Christmas parade. On longish trips I always pack my camera so I was ready to capture the atmosphere of this small town parade.


Theme of the Jesus and Mary float echoed in the local op shop window


One of the wise men was actually a woman in drag


Not sure of the theme here, next to the woman in a nightie, a little girl wore a grey wig and also used a walker


The belly dancers had a tiny cassette player, futile with the surrounding noise


A town like Scottsdale couldn’t put on a parade without a bagpipe band


Fire trucks sounded their sirens


Nearby Bridport joined in with its life saving volunteers


On the sidelines a soft fall awaited this little boy


Could not work out the theme here but they were having fun


A drumroll please


Dorset Council provided the truck


A family turn their ute into a float


Kids on bikes bring up the rear, everyone is included


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Wooden Boat Festival, 2011 Hobart

Huon handmade boat - I would want it as a sculpture in the house!

It was our first visit to the Wooden Boat Festival on Sullivans Cove in Hobart and the first time available to visit without a cover charge. The crowds descended, appreciating free entry. We thought it busier than the Taste Festival that coincides with the end of the Sydney to Hobart Boat Race.

Look we did not see everything on offer but there were also boat races, films and talks, off site exhibitions, cooking classes which we attended and will write about in another post,  and I heard later that Jessica Watson the teenage yachtie gave a talk.

Choir on the water

A group of people in a boat were singing, a bit eccentric. Love the reflection of their life jackets.

Dinghies and kayaks

See the legs dangling out of a boat in the background, people just enjoying hanging around on the water.

Look at the middle, the crowd admiring the sports boat

And then there were flash wooden motor boats that looked like open sports cars for the water, just like the ones we see in Venice.

Buildings and boats

Signs on the boats, who owns it and who built it etc. Everyone had bunting and nautical flags and the odd beach towel.

Boat bike how cute is that

Is it  boat or bike, so appropriate to park it near the boat show.

People eating fish and chips outside Flippers take away fish cafe

The programme had something for all ages and interests. Shipwright Bill Foster spoke about construction and authenticity of dinghies. The humble dinghy is elevated and immortalised in wooden boats at this festival.

The crowd watched as logs were split for boat building

In another location children and teenagers entered a boat building competition  (their wood was already cut for them)  under instruction, each team got three hours to cut and build a boat. Day one is building, day two is decoration and day three, main event with parade. Such a wonderful activity that I have never seen elsewhere in Australia.

You really must come to the next Wooden boat show. It is on every two years

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