Tag Archive | Tasmania

Weekly Photo Challenge – Unique

Memorials to those who have served their country in war can be found everywhere in Australia, from the smallest hamlet to the capital cities. On some the list of names of the fallen is long while others remember just a few from the surrounding district. Every memorial is identical in that each records the names of soldiers lost in battle. The memorial at Legerwood in northern Tasmania is like any other in that respect, but the men of that town who made the ultimate sacrifice are remembered in a unique and moving display.

In 1918 the small town of Ringarooma Road, later renamed Legerwood, mourned the loss of seven fine young men, all killed in World War 1. On 15th October a remembrance ceremony was held at the railway reserve and seven trees were planted in their honour, as well as another tree at each end to commemorate Gallipoli and the Anzacs.

In 2001 the trees were assessed and the final report was heartbreaking for the community of Legerwood. The aging trees had grown too large and needed to be removed before they became a danger to the public. The townspeople refused to lose their memorial avenue altogether and in 2004 Eddie Freeman, a chainsaw carver from Ross, was commissioned to transform the trees.

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In 2005 Eddie carved a likeness of each soldier from the tree that originally bore his name and included details from his life before the war. George Peddle worked as a sawmill manager before he joined the army and is shown with a crosscut saw and an axe. He was 25 years old when he was killed in action at Passchendaele in 1917.

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John McDougall was a railway porter at the Ringarooma Road railway station. Aged 19, he was also killed in action at Passchendaele.

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William Hyde died of his wounds in France in 1916 at the age of 27. He had been a sawmill hand in Legerwood prior to enlisting in the Australian Infantry.

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Alan Andrews was helping to work the family farm before the war. He was killed in action at Pozieres in 1916, aged 19.

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The Anzac carving shows a soldier playing the bugle and is dedicated to all Australian soldiers who served in World War 1.

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Lest We Forget

In the Footsteps of the Past – Daniel Herbert

The town of Ross is situated on a byroad off the Midland Highway between Hobart and Launceston and it was to here, in 1835, that the convict Daniel Herbert was sent to work on the construction of a stone bridge over the Macquarie River. He had been convicted of highway robbery in England and sentenced to death. His sentence was later reduced to transportation for life and he arrived in Hobart Town in 1827. As a skilled stonemason Daniel was put to work on many government projects in Hobart before being appointed as overseer, with another convict James Colbeck, of the completion of the Ross bridge.

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This beautiful sandstone bridge is the third oldest bridge in Australia and is still in use today. It contains 186 carved keystones with images of animals, fantasy creatures, celtic symbols and people, including Daniel and his wife, local dignitaries of the time and the governor of the colony Lieutenant-Governor Sir George Arthur. The stones were mostly carved by Daniel and they were completed in just over a year. The bridge was opened in July 1836.

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When Daniel was granted a free pardon in February 1842 he chose to remain in Ross with his wife and he continued to work in the district as an ornamental stonemason. Many of the ornate headstones in the old cemetery are thought to be his work.

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One of his most beautiful pieces is the table-top tombstone he carved when his infant son died in 1846. Today it stands upon the grave in which Daniel lies, on a windswept hill overlooking the river and the bridge which forever bears witness to his skills.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Love

The Great Western Tiers Visitor Centre in Deloraine, Tasmania is the home of YARNS Artwork in Silk – four hand stitched and quilted silk panels depicting the story of the Meander Valley.

The panels were created by more than 300 members of the Meander Valley community, who were guided by their Artistic Director Niecy van der Elst-Brown, and incorporate many handwork techniques including embroidery, fabric sculpture, applique, weaving and cross-stitch. They are housed in an auditorium within the centre. For a small fee visitors can see both the Deloraine & Districts Folk Museum and YARNS. Every half hour an audio presentation and light show explains the stories of the panels and how they were made. The presentation encourages visitors to look more closely at the fine details which might otherwise go unnoticed.

Summer

Summer

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Autumn

Winter

Winter

Spring

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Each panel measures about 4 x 3 metres and it’s hard to imagine just how many hours went into their creation. YARNS Artwork in Silk is truly a labour of love.

In the Footsteps of the Past – Spiky Bridge

Stories of convict life in the early days of Australian settlement often dwell on the harshness and cruelty of punishments meted out at places like Port Arthur or the Coal Mines. But for convicts who were well-behaved or had tradesmen’s skills their situation could be improved with the opportunity to work on construction projects in the colonies. Convict-made buildings, bridges and roads are commonplace in Tasmania, but some stand out as being a little more unusual than others. Spiky Bridge, south of Swansea, was built by convicts in 1843.

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The road along the stretch of coastline from Little Swan Port to Swansea was well-known in the early days of settlement for being rough, and crossing this steep, rocky gully was treacherous at the best of times. Edward Shaw, a local farmer, had been campaigning for some time for a bridge to be built over the gully with no success. So after a night of card playing he offered Major de Gillern, the Superintendent of nearby Rocky Hills Probation Station a ride home. They crossed the gully at full speed and this most uncomfortable journey impressed upon the Major the need for road works. Not long after, Spiky Bridge was built!

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The bridge is a dry wall construction – there is no mortar holding the stones together. There is no record of the reason for the upright stones that give the bridge its name. The most popular story tells that cattle often fell over the sides of the bridge into the gully and the ornamented sides were added to stop this from happening.

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Or could it have been a convict with a sense of humour who placed the stones this way?

In the Footsteps of the Past – The Coal Mines Historic Site

The historic site of Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula is famous for its significance in the story of Australia’s settlement.

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As a penal station and convict settlement Port Arthur was home to thousands of soldiers, convicts and farmers, and their families. But Port Arthur is only one of eleven historic sites that make up the Australian Convicts Sites World Heritage property. Most of the others are lesser known, but have their own fascinating stories to tell.Take the road 25 minutes northwest of Port Arthur to the Coal Mines Historic Site near Saltwater and you will find a place of isolation and desolation.

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The discovery of coal in the Saltwater area in 1833 guaranteed a cheap, local supply for the colony of Van Diemen’s Land, and a mine provided convenient employment for those convicts who were difficult to manage or repeat offenders. Over time the mine and its overseers came to have a reputation for being harsh and unforgiving.  At the peak of production there were more than 600 prisoners working in the mines, along with the soldiers who guarded them, administrators, their wives and children. The coal proved to be poor in quality and eventually the mine was leased in 1848. The convicts were removed to other penal stations and the mine was privately worked until 1877 when it was closed permanently.

As well as the stone barracks which housed prisoners and soldiers, a chapel, bakehouse, store, and residences for the commanding officer and the surgeon were built on a hill overlooking Norfolk Bay. When the mine closed the buildings were left to the ravages of nature and the ruins are all that remain.

Entry to the site is free and visitors are able to explore the ruins at their leisure, often without anyone else around. There are walking paths to the closed mine shafts, and the tracks of the tramway from the shafts to the jetty are still clearly visible.

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Stop for a moment and you might feel the presence of those prisoners and hear their stories echoing in the breeze and the lapping of the waves on the shore.

Suffer the Little Children

At Waterloo Point looking over Great Oyster Bay, a rusted anchor lies beside the memorial to a disaster that occurred 162 years ago in these waters off the east coast of Tasmania.

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In fine weather the ocean looks calm and welcoming but on 5 November 1850 high winds whipped up the waves and the ship “Resolution”, on a journey from Hobart to Swansea, was wrecked. On board the “Resolution” were Thomas Large, his wife Mary Anne and their six children aged from 12 to 2. Mr Large had made plans to develop a brewery in Swansea and the ship was carrying the brewery’s supplies as well as the family.

Thomas and Mary Anne survived the shipwreck but sadly all of the children died of exposure. The Launceston Examiner reported the tragedy on 13 November:

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Eight year old William’s body was never found but the others were recovered and buried in the Congressional Cemetery. Their headstone records the grief of their parents, which was so overwhelming that they left Swansea and returned to Hobart without fulfilling their dream of building a brewery.

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The anchor at the shipwreck memorial belonged to the “Resolution” and it was recovered from the ocean off Waterloo Point in 1982. It was placed on the point in remembrance of the six children who were lost so long ago.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – My 2012 in Pictures

Our Australian travels in 2012

Happy 2013 to everyone!

The Green and the Gold

On 1st September 1910 a story in the Sydney Morning Herald read:

“Let the wattle henceforth be a sacred charge to every Australian. Let us foster and protect and cherish it. Let us plant it in all our parks and reserves and pleasure grounds, so that we may make pilgrimages to its groves in blossom time. Let us give our schoolchildren wattle plants, and offer annual prizes for the best grown trees, that there may be no Australian who cannot link it with his childish memories….

To the native born Australian the wattle stands for home, country, kindred, sunshine, and love – every instinct that the heart most deeply enshrines.”

The story was about Wattle Day which was celebrated in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne on that date for the first time. Wattle Day was the first organised commemorative day in Australia and was celebrated up until the beginning of World War 2.

There are more than 950 species of wattle in Australia, and almost all of them are only found here. The golden wattle, Acacia pycnantha, has been regarded as Australia’s national floral emblem for more than a century, but it wasn’t until the bicentenary in 1988 that it was officially proclaimed as the national flower of Australia.

The golden wattle is represented in Australia’s official colours of green and gold and appears on the Commonwealth Coat of Arms and on Order of Australia awards.

Australian Coat of Arms (adopted 1912)

Our first representative cricket team wore green and gold uniforms in 1899 and Australia’s sporting teams have been wearing the colours ever since.

Ponting belts another six

Ponting belts another six (Photo credit: nellistc)

Most wattles flower in Winter and Spring, brightening the bush with their gilded blossoms. These photos were all taken in Tasmania in September, 2012.

The Sydney Morning Herald was right – sunshine and love bloom on every tree.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Green

Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park, part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, is in the central highlands of Tasmania.

Its designation as a national park is mostly due to the efforts of Gustav Weindorfer, an Austrian botanist who immigrated to Australia in 1899. He married a Tasmanian woman Kate Cowle, who was also a botanist, in 1902 and they honeymooned at Mt Roland. Here they spent their days exploring and gathering botanical specimens. Gustav fell in love with the area and in 1910 he and Kate purchased a block of land with the dream of building a chalet so that tourists could visit. He was quoted as saying, “This must be a national park for the people for all time. It is magnificent, and people must know about it and enjoy it.”  Their chalet Waldheim, meaning “home in the forest”, was built in 1912 and the first visitors came in 1913. Sadly Kate died in 1916 but Gustav continued to live at Waldheim, welcoming guests every summer. In 1921 he toured Tasmania promoting Waldheim as a destination for those wanting to explore the mountains and campaigning to have the area deemed a national park so that the unique landscape, flora and fauna would be forever protected. His dream was realised on 16 May 1922 when a 1,612 km² tract of land was declared a national park.

After Gustav’s death in 1932 Waldheim fell into such disrepair that it was eventually demolished by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The public outcry was so great that a replica was built. This new Waldheim, made from slabs of King Billy Pine like the original, stands on the same site as a memorial to the man whose vision and dedication ensured that today’s visitors can marvel at the wonders of this rugged wilderness, just as he did in the early 1900s. Was Gustav Weindorfer the original “greenie”?

Weekly Photo Challenge – Geometry

There are several amazing geological formations on the Tasman Peninsula in south eastern Tasmania. One of the most spectacular is the Tesselated Pavement, near Eaglehawk Neck.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: “A tessellated pavement is a rare erosional feature formed in flat sedimentary formations lying on some ocean shores. The pavement bears this name because the rock has fractured into polygonal blocks that resemble tiles, or tesselations. The cracks (or joints) were formed when the rock fractured through the action of stress on the Earth’s crust and subsequently were modified by sand and wave action.”