Friday, March 31, 2017


Card Craft Heaven

Mum and I found a really superb craft shop while we were in Tasmania. It is Bev's Cross Crafts in Spreyton, a little town near Devonport. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but inside it is full of the sort of stuff that card-makers like us drool over. Literally a couple of acres of card, stencils, dies, stamps, paints, tools, magazines, everything our craft room needs (except space). When we parked the car Mum told Dad that we would only be there for about half an hour; we were actually there for more like 2 hours and only left then because we had a long drive ahead of us. The luggage was significantly heavier on the flight home.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017


Mt Nelson Lookout

One of the best lookout points in Hobart is Mt Nelson. You get splendid views of the city and the harbour from there, but I was more interested in the signal station. This was built in 1811 and controlled ships entering and leaving the port of Hobart. The little control hut has display panels explaining how the signals were sent by flags and semaphore. From its windows I could right out to the entry to the Derwent River. Right at the mouth I could just see Iron Pot lighthouse. I got better photos of that when I sailed past on "Voyager of the Seas" (check my post from Nov 27, 2014). There are two roads that take you to the top of Mt Nelson, an new, easy, broad, fairly straight road off the highway and an old, narrow, winding, steep and rather dangerous road. I won't embarrass the Oldies by telling you which one they tried first, but you can no doubt guess. As well as the historical signal station and the great views, there is a good cafe at the top where you can get the necessary reviving fluids if you have driven up the old road.

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Monday, March 20, 2017


skyfire 2017

Every year the week-long Canberra festival ends with a fireworks display sponsored by local radio station FM104.7. This year over 110,000 people crowded along the lake shore, some of them spending most of the afternoon there to be sure of a good viewing spot. Dad fixed that for us, he bought tickets for a lake cruise that took us to THE best location. There were other boats on the lake, you can see one that is much closer to the pontoons where the fireworks were being fired, but I reckon they were too close to see the full show. There were also some drones flying around and above the fireworks. I wanted to see one get wiped out by a rocket but the operators were too careful. Maybe next year.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Devonport Lights

Vehicles traveling from mainland Australia to Tasmania usually cross Bass Strait from Melbourne to Devonport on the ferry "Spirit of Tasmania". The first photo shows this ship docked at Devonport. If you  look carefully, you can see the loading ramps ready for the next load of motor vehicles and passengers to board. Devonport is on the Mersey River, which is rather narrow and has a difficult channel through the mouth. Many shipwrecks occurred here until the Mersey Bluff lighthouse (photo 2) was completed in 1889. This is a pretty lighthouse with three vertical red stripes to make it more visible during daytime. The weather was a bit wild when we were there, so Dad wasn't allowed to clamber out on the seaward side to get a photo showing all the stripes. It is easy to get to the lighthouse, just follow the road out of town along the west side of the river. Following the river road back into Devonport you will see some channel markers. We found two. The third photo shows one that is a small lighthouse and the last photo is an obelisk containing a strip light. These markers indicate the safe channel to ships using the port. Tasmania has many lighthouses that are easy to get to, and some that are impossible for my fragile Oldies.

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Friday, March 10, 2017


Historic Bridges

Most of the really old buildings and engineering structures in Australia were built by convict labour in the early 1800s. Tasmania has some outstanding examples of their work. Here are two historic bridges on the roads between the capital, Hobart, and the second largest city, Launceston. The top images are of the oldest stone bridge in Australia and is still in use. Completed in 1825, it crosses the Coal River at Richmond. The bottom images are the bridge across the Macquarie river at Ross. This is the third oldest bridge still in use in Australia, completed in 1836. The bridge has great carved ornamentation around the arches. and the sides. This work was done by one of the convict stonemasons, Daniel Herbert. Both he and the convict foreman, James Colbeck, were freed when the bridge was completed.I think they deserved their freedom, it is a beautiful bridge. Both bridges are on the Register of the National Estate and the Australian Heritage List. Although the highway between Hobart and Launceston now bypasses Richmond and Ross, it is worth the short detours to see these wonderful bridges.

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Monday, March 06, 2017


Millennium Falcon!

Mum and I are total Star Wars fans and have been pestering Dad for years to make us some models of the spacecraft used in the movies. Dad checked availability and prices and decided we could wait. In the meantime, he did find a reasonably-priced kit of the Enterprise, from that other great series, Star Trek, and you can see the result in my post from April 3, 2014. Well, we were in Sydney for a concert a weekend ago and Dad finally found a kit of the Millennium Falcon that didn't shock his wallet too much. In fact is was tiny, just over 10cm long (4" if you think non-metric). However, I have to admit that he did a great job building it, with my help of course. Here is the result, pictured on a mission to the region south of the Galactic Centre.


Wednesday, March 01, 2017


The Nut

One of the long drives we did in Tasmania was to the Nut. This is the remnant of a huge volcanic plug near the town of Stanley in far north-west Tassie. The Nut has been used as background for several films. You can walk to the top, or take the chairlift. The Oldies didn't do either; they just stopped at the cafe at the end of the road for coffee and photos. I found a seat on a rail and watched the seabirds. Back in the 1820s, Stanley was the headquarters of the Van Diemen's Land company (VDLC), set up by a group of London merchants to farm the new colony, using convict labour for some jobs. You can see the ruins of one of the guard barracks near to the entry of Highfield House. This house was the residence of the company manager and it, along with a lot of the old farm buildings, has been restored and is open to visitors. The road from the Nut to Highfield has lots of great spots to get great photos of the Nut. Personally, I was really happy to see that the local cows have such a great view. On a sad note, it was the bounty that the VDLC placed on the head of the Tasmanian Tiger that was largely responsible for the tiger's extinction.

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