The Snail Trail

Travelling with my home on my back and in no hurry to get anywhere


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Tassie Solos Rally 2017

This rally is the main reason I have been so slack doing my blog since ….  forever! (October last year, actually). I was the Rally Manager and all my energies and efforts were channeled towards creating a fantastic experience for our CMCA Solos Network members when we met in Campbell Town, Tasmania from 28th February to 6th March this year.

For those of you who follow my blog I’d like to explain that our Solos group are motorhomers that travel by themselves – it is not a singles club in that most of us are quite happy travelling solo and not looking for a partner. It provides a safe group of travellers that we can link up with as we journey around our beautiful country.

IMG_7341CT Rally 2017 web

Thanks to George Gatenby, Show Society member, who took this photo with his drone

It was a wonderful experience for me and I loved every minute of the planning, preparation, putting together a week long program and then seeing it come to fruition with the help of my Rally Team, some of the local residents and businesses and of course my sister, Marion who lives nearby.

We had 205 motorhomes of all shapes and sizes in attendance and about 225 people (some couples joined us as they’d heard how much fun we have at our rallies!)

The Campbell Town Showground was a great venue with big buildings and plenty of room for us all to park. It was ‘rustic’ – our main building was a 75 metre long sheep pavilion – and the smell of the sheep never really left it even with all the doors open. Here’s how I first saw it when I arrived in Tasmania in June 2016 and the Campbell Town Show was on.

Not long before our rally started the Show Society held a working bee, so this is what the pavilion looked like without the sheep!

And then we filled it up with happy Solos ready to party!

IMG_7346CT Rally 2017 web

The theme of the rally was Life is Magic so we had witches and wizards, fairies and fortune tellers dressed up for our night of Magic and Mystery.

A spit roast dinner was provided and the night kicked off with our very own witches dance that our members had learned and practised with our member/instructor Karin Kirk.

This was just one of the many things on our program. Here’s an overview of what we got up to during the week…. Programxls – At a Glance

One afternoon we had an Op Shop Fashion Parade where members unwanted clothes plus those from the local Op Shop were ‘modelled’ by some of our group. What a funny day! So much laughter even the townspeople were talking about it!

Our Skit Night showcased our talented members – or those who thought they were talented – and it was another night of laughter and friendship. Here’s our Line Dancers and our First Timers performing.

Before the main crowd arrived on the Monday we had a special dinner to thank our Volunteers and welcome our First Timers. You can’t keep a Solo seated for long when there’s dance music playing.

The local Solos Chapter, The Tassie Shearwaters, organised a great Fun Day for us.  Some of the activities were quite challenging but I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

 

Info Elaine

 

There’s a huge age range among our members and 2 of them celebrated their 80th birthdays at Campbell Town – Nev, our chief bus driver and Miss Information (or was that misinformation?), Elaine. We even found a special booth for her.

 

The local towns people were delighted with the boost to their businesses while we were in Campbell Town. Our mini bus ferried us back and forth daily to the supermarket and coffee shops and we totalled up our shopper dockets at the end of the rally and we had spent over $65,000 in town during the rally. This is a huge amount for the economy of a small town of only 700 people.

 

You can see it was full on and wouldn’t have been at all possible without our hard working volunteers and everyone who came along to have a good time. You made it happen!

Acknowledgements: Thank you to the many members who posted some of these photos on our Facebook page and I have ‘borrowed’ them to illustrate this blog. Contributors include Rosanna Grifone, Jenny McLelland, Fay Byrnes and Shannon Lightfoot.

 

Murals in Sheffield, Tasmania


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A Tourist in Tasmania – Sheffield

I have been to Sheffield, the town of murals, before but this time I was enticed to go by the Medieval Festival being held there.

sheffield-map

I wandered my way there via Latrobe, where the Axeman’s Hall of Fame is…

img_7078latrobe

…. and Railton, town of topiary ….

This part of Tasmania had suffered severe damage from floods a few weeks ago, the roads were still very chopped up and there were piles of debris along the banks of the Mersey River. The Latrobe Caravan Park had been evacuated and was undergoing repair, and now  I hear on the news tonight that the latest downpour has damaged it once again.

The free camp in Sheffield is at the Recreation Ground and the Medieval Festival was happening right next door so I was looking forward to a great weekend……until it rained!  It was just too wet to enjoy the festival, dodging the showers and trudging through the mud, so I only spent a couple of hours there and decided not to stay another night in the hope the weather would improve.

Many of those who attended got into the mood with period costume, and I couldn’t help thinking, as they dragged the hems of their gowns through the mud, that it was probably exactly like that in Medieval England, without the benefit of washing machines!

The market stalls sold all things Medieval … anyone need a new visor? battleaxe?

And then I was off to find my knight in shining armour – except the mud took the shine off most things, including the jousting knights.

When the Medieval Festival isn’t happening in Sheffield, the town is famous for it’s murals that adorn the walls of the buildings and also panels in a ‘mural’park behind the Information Centre. Some of these are so realistic you feel you could step right into them.

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Happy Campers:
As I mentioned before there is a free camp at the Recreation Ground for fully self-contained vehicles. No grey water to be let onto the ground. It is beside the leash free area for your fur babies. It is a little way from the centre of town – too far to walk in the rain when I was there.

I can’t leave Sheffield without sharing the fabulous sign at the front of the Info Centre – and yes, the arrows are pointing to real places nearby.

sheffield

 

 

 

Meander River, Deloraine Tas


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A Tourist in Tasmania – Delightful Deloraine

I loved Deloraine the last time I visited in 2014 and this time around I think I love it even more.

deloraine-map

It has a real arty vibe to it with Galleries, Art Shops,  Coffee Shops and Op Shops lining the steep main road that curls around bends on its way uphill from the Meander River as you approach from the East.

Cross the river, cross the railway line and wend your way through the town. So many quirky little shops invite you to explore …..

Here’s one of my favourites. It’s called Elf on the Shelf. I’m pretty sure I know how to speak Zombie – give me a couple of drinks and I can demonstrate it for you, but if you want to study it yourself you can buy the book here.

The Information Centre is at the top of the hill and it’s a MUST SEE visit if you are in Deloraine. In the forecourt is the statue of a famous race horse, Malua, who won Adelaide Cup (1884),Newmarket Handicap (1884), Melbourne Stakes (1884) Oakleigh Plate (1884), Melbourne Cup (1884), Australian Cup (1886) and then went on to win the Grand National Hurdle (1889). What a champion!

But it’s when you step inside that you will discover the amazing Art in Silk exhibition, with a movie that tells you how it was developed as a community initiative and the stunning panels they created. It truly is spectacular. It does cost to view it but it is something you won’t want to miss! These photos were taken when I last visited. It’s a wonder they are not worn out I have shown them to so many people 🙂

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Drive around the back streets and you’ll discover lovely old homes like The Manse, with outstanding views over the surrounding countryside.

Happy Campers: There is a Free Camp for self contained vehicles as you travel into Deloraine from the East. Turn right at the Police Station and follow the road around. The camp is well signed. It’s only a short walk into town.

Deloraine is a short detour off the Bass Highway that links Devonport to Launceston. It’s about 55 kms from Devonport and only 50 kms to Launceston. If you are looking for somewhere to stop when you get off the ferry (or you’re on the way there) this little town is well worth a visit!

 

Legerwood Tasmania


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A Tourist in Tasmania – Legerwood

On the way from Scottsdale to St Helens you pass the turn off to Legerwood. Don’t drive past, turn off the main road and visit this little town famous for it’s carved tree sculptures with a very special story.

At the end of World War 1,  nine trees were planted in memory of the seven local soldiers that were killed in the war plus one tree for Gallipoli and one for the Anzacs.

By 2001 the trees were declared a safety hazard, but the local community looked for ways to retain their memorial and Eddie Freeman, the chainsaw artist was enlisted to bring the soldiers back to life in sculpture. With much research and photos, the fallen soldiers have been re-created and each tree tells their story, and of those left behind.

I found the following information about these local heroes on the North East Tasmania Tourism site…..

Private Alan Robert Andrews

 

 

Private Alan Robert Andrews – died in France on July 25th, 1916 aged 19 years: Alan Andrews was the first soldier born and raised in the area to give his life.  A farmhand on his family’s farm, Private Andrews is depicted with his dog, hat in hand, seemingly waving goodbye to his loved ones.

 

 

 

Legerwood TasmaniaPrivate Thomas Edward Edwards – died on February 19th, 1918 and was buried in Belgium: At the highest point of what remains of a giant American Sequoia, Thomas Edwards stands with his wife in their final embrace before he sets off to war.  Surrounding them are the harrowing scenes of battle mixed with the joy of family welcoming home returned servicemen.
On one limb sits a man with bandaged eyes, suffering from the effects of mustard gas while next to him lies a soldier with a mirror box looking out over the trenches.
Further around the tree a little boy waves farewell as a smiling daughter sits on her grandfather’s shoulders, welcoming her father home.

 

 

 

Legerwood Tasmania

 

 

Private William Henry Hyde – died aged 27 years. In France on July 7th, 1916: Shouldering his lumber, sawmill hand William Hyde stands next to a saw blade representing an industry that was – and still is – part of the life-blood of the community.

 

 

 

 

Private Robert James Jenkins – aged 28 years and  killed near Flers (Somme) July 1st, 1917: The story of Robert “Bobby” Jenkins is perhaps the most poignant of the seven men. Private Jenkins migrated to Ringarooma from England at the start of the 20th century and made his living touring local halls as a tenor.  It was in his new found home that he met young Amy (Trippy) Forsyth, and the two were engaged shortly before he went to war.
Private Jenkins fell at the Somme in 1917 and a heartbroken Trippy never married.  She kept a photo of Private Jenkins, together with his engagement ring, beside her bed until she died at the age of 76.  The photo was used to carve his likeness in the tree, looking across at his fiancé on an opposite limb.

 

Private George Peddle – aged 25 years and killed at Passchendaele on October 13th, 1917: Private Peddle was the son of George Peddle Snr, famous for his wooden chairs which have now become sought after collectables. Before he enlisted Private Peddle was the Manager of his father’s sawmill, a bushman and a bullock driver.

 

Legerwood Tasmania

 

Private John Henry Gregg McDougall – aged 19 years. Died at Passchendaele on October 13th, 1917: Private McDougall was a porter at the Railway Station, which once stood directly behind the memorial reserve.  His statue now stands holding signal flags directing traffic through the town.

 

It is ironic that Privates McDougall and Peddle both fell on the same day in the same battle at Passchendaele; this would have been very little comfort for their families in such a tight-knit town.

I challenge you to visit this amazing memorial and not get a tear in your eye. It is a truly remarkable tribute by a community to their heroes of the past, particularly as they salvaged the original memorial in such a unique way.

Pyengana, Tasmania


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A Tourist in Tasmania – Pyengana

Pyengana is on the road between Scottsdale and St Helens in the North-East of Tasmania. There is a wonderful cheese factory there that is well worth a visit.

I was lucky to arrive there just as a tasting and explanation was starting and got to sample some lovely tasty cheeses. They are mainly aged cloth wrapped cheddars but some are also packaged with chilli, peppercorns and the like.

Needless to say the countryside around Pyengana was full of dairy cattle and there were even some waiting to be milked at the back of the cheese factory! Now that’s fresh!

Keep driving past the Holy Cow cafe and cheese factory and you will discover a famous Tassie icon, the Pub in the Paddock. First licensed around 1880 it is one of the oldest pubs in the state. And if you relax over a few beers you can stay overnight out the back in the paddock! Love these RV Friendly Destinations!

Pyengana is also an RV Friendly town, with camping available at the Recreation Ground for a donation. Now that’s a sign I love to see!

The drive from Scottsdale to St Helens is pretty, through lush pastures, tall timbers and tree ferns, but the road is narrow and winding with a couple of hair-pin bends to negotiate. Brutus the Beast just hates these hills, and we crawl up them in 2nd and 3rd gear using copious quantities of petrol along the way.

There are signs of spring everywhere with little white lambs, black angus calves and bright yellow wattle and daffodils lining the road.

You travel along the edge of The Blue Tier which has some wonderful walks available. I was going to do the Halls Falls walk (only 90 minutes) but the weather was threatening so it’s on the list for the next time I’m up this way.

Detour into Pyengana  when you visit Tasmania and you’ll enjoy what this little stopover has to offer.

Bridport, Tasmania


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A Tourist in Tasmania – Bridport

Bridport is on the north east coast of Tasmania, a pretty fishing village with many small cove like beaches.

The caravan park and camping ground extends for ever along the foreshore but was cost prohibitive for me at $25 a night for an unpowered site. It did have lovely beach/bush camping areas though.

There are extensive walking tracks around the area and along the waterfront that direct you to some of the local historical landmarks like the old jetty.

Bridport, Tasmania

Bridport, Tasmania

The Old Jetty, Bridport

There is lovely safe swimming here in what is delightfully called Mermaids Pool, naturally created by the rocks and the tide. It makes you wish you were a mermaid!

Bridport, Tasmania

At the entry to the town you cross a small inlet where a couple of fishing boats are moored and I also noticed fish hatchery ponds on the way in.

I love the look of these old jetties when you look up the creek the other way! They don’t look too substantial, do they?

I was in Bridport to get the canvas replaced on Brutus the Beast, my pop top campervan and I can highly recommend Kerry, the Canvas Man from North East Canvas if you need any canvas work done. I know some of my travelling buddies have often needed awning repairs etc, so he’s your man when you’re in Tasmania! He was so quick – within 24 hours the old canvas was gone and a brand new PVC ‘hat’ was installed.

 

Happy Campers: There is no free camping in Bridport and the caravan park has a monopoly on waterfront locations. There is free camping at Scottsdale, just 20kms away, but that is the subject of another blog!

 

 

Ross Bridge, Ross, Tasmania


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A Tourist in Tasmania – Historic Ross

I wondered about using ‘historic’to describe Ross as so many places in Tasmania could easily have this descriptor, but Ross somehow fits it so well.

You detour off the Midland Highway to discover this pretty village which has done its best to preserve many of the old houses and landmarks that Ross is now famous for. Ross is about a 1-hr drive (78 km) south from Launceston and a 1 hr 30-min drive (121 km) north from Hobart.

Ross, Tasmania

Ross was first surveyed in 1807 and when Governor Macquarie visited in 1811 he named the river after himself – how’s that for an ego! Ross was proclaimed a town in 1821 and has built its reputation on the superfine merino wool that is produced in the surrounding area.

At the crossroads in Ross the intersection is known as The Four Corners of Ross, each corner named to reflect the character of the building located on that corner. There is Temptation (the pub), Salvation (the Catholic Church), Damnation (the town gaol) and Recreation (the Town Hall). Easy to see where my interest lies as I only took a photo of Temptation and luckily managed to capture Recreation in the background! The Man O’ Ross hotel was well patronised this Saturday afternoon.

IMG_6762Ross

The information centre has a wonderful display of luxurious merino garments and also houses the Tasmanian Wool Centre, celebrating the importance of wool in Tasmania. This centre receives over 70,000 visitors annually …. not bad for a town with a population of around 270 people!

Only a few metres up the hill from the Information Centre is the Uniting Church, opened in 1885. Not by any means one of Ross’s oldest buildings but it is impressive sitting on the hill.

The Ross Bridge is arguably one of Australia’s finest historical monuments and really quite beautiful. After much delay, its construction was placed in the hands of two stone mason convicts who were promised a pardon if the bridge was successfully completed. They finished the bridge and received their pardon in 1836 after working on it for 15 months. Its unique feature is the 186 carved arch stones depicting Celtic symbols, animals and ‘notable personalities of the day’.

This first photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, on a dark, grey day I visited Ross. Yesterday, however, was sunny and clear and shows a totally different mood.

Ross Bridge, Ross, Tasmania

The southern side of the bridge

Ross Bridge, Ross, Tasmania

Northern aspect of Ross Bridge

Ross Bridge, Ross, Tasmania

Archways showing carved arch stones

Ross Bridge, Ross, Tasmania

Detail of the carved arch stones

Ross Bridge, Ross, Tasmania

View to the south from Ross Bridge

Ross Bridge, Ross, Tasmania

Can you decipher the date from the Roman numerals?

The ‘dark’side of Ross is its convict history and particularly the Ross Female Factory, one of five established across Tasmania. It operated for 7 years from 1848 to 1855 and in that time accommodated between 60 and 120 women at any one time. The women were typically unmarried and in their mid twenties but it was still necessary to have a nursery wing which catered for about 40 infants. There is only the overseer’s cottage left on site so it is hard to imagine the hive of activity this green grassy area would have been in the 1850’s.

 

Inside the cottage are story panels that provide some detail of the life at the time.

You don’t have to venture too far from the main street to discover the lovely old flat fronted homes so typically English. Here are just a few of the many that line the streets of Ross.

And no visit to an historic town would be complete without a visit to the local cemetry where gravestones mark the passage of time and tell the stories of local families.

If you are travelling between Hobart and Launceston along the Heritage Highway take the 2km detour into Ross for all sorts of reasons – to discover its convict history, indulge yourself with a fine merino garment, buy a scallop pie from Bakery 31, eat one of the best vanilla slices you’ll ever have from the Ross Village Bakery , explore the antique shops and admire the well preserved old buildings. Your 2km detour will take you back in time as well as off the beaten track!