Eat local: Gourmet Delights in Tasmania, Australia (2020)

We spent a very enjoyable day touring Tasmania’s “Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail” with a guide, starting along the coast (we were docked at Burnie) and then exploring inland in the rolling hills farm terrain

We spent a very enjoyable day touring Tasmania’s “Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail” with a guide, starting along the coast (we were docked at Burnie) and then exploring inland in the rolling hills farm terrain

 

A small group of us toured northern Tasmania, Australia, with a hired guide (and large van), to explore some of the local gourmet delights.  But first, we checked out the local fauna.  We began with a drive east alomg the coast from Burnie to Turners Beach, pausing at Penguin to spot several of the famously elusive native platypus (no photographs, as they were mostly underwater).  Our first gourmet delights stop was to enjoy, with some of the locals, morning tea/coffee and delicious fruit-based pastries at The Berry Patch, a popular café and berry farm.  We next drove south from the coast and headed into farm country.  The Bennet family has been raising sheep and dairy cows around Elizabeth Town since the late 1880s. We had a tour of their cheese factory at Ashgrove Tasmanian Farm and sampled some of the hand-crafted cheese.   Our next stop was to enjoy a sampling of the fragrant infused oils and olives at Wattle Hill Olives. Tasmanian enology entered the picture at Ghost Rock Wines.  Following a tasting of their wines, we enjoyed a rustic family-style lunch that featured locally sourced produce, seafood, meats, cheese, pâté, grilled and pickled veggies, and toasted bread from Pigeon Whole Bakers, accompanied by both red and white Ghost Rock wines.

After lunch, we continued our drive and were welcomed by Belgian-born chocolatier Igor Van Gerwen to House of Anvers, the confectionery company he founded in 1989.   We had an extensive tour of the factory and learned about the chocolate making process.  With a cup of coffee or tea, we had the opportunity to enjoy their decadent, chocolatey treats made with the finest cacao and rich Tasmanian butter and cream.  We ended the day with a tasting of bottle-fermented alcoholic beverages at Spreyton Cider Co.  Drawing on their years of experience producing fresh apple juice, Spreyton began brewing hard cider (7.5 – 8% ABV – alcohol by volume) in 2012.

 

We didn’t have time on our tour to do hand berry picking in the berry fields at The Berry Patch, but did enjoy some great pastries (see following photographs) and delicious coffees and teas; Tasmania, Australia

We didn’t have time on our tour to do hand berry picking in the berry fields at The Berry Patch, but did enjoy some great pastries (see following photographs) and delicious coffees and teas; Tasmania, Australia

 

The Berry Patch’s website description: “Just 10 minutes from Devonport in Tasmania’s North West, you can experience both culinary perfection from our cafe menu, and an authentic farm experience.  Dine at our restaurant and then hand-pick your own sweet and delicious berries in our ‘Pick Your Own’ fields. We also have a farm shop where you can purchase pre-picked fruit, and other house made and locally sourced goodies.  Enjoy gourmet pizzas from our authentic wood-fired oven, sit under our covered deck while the kids play on the hay bails, in the sandbox and at the ping pong tables, or enjoy time in the yurt listening to live music during a summer event.” – www.theberrypatch.com.au

 

A pastry from The Berry Patch made with chocolate cake rounds filled with fresh, local whipped cream and berries from the premises; Tasmania, Australia

A pastry from The Berry Patch made with chocolate cake rounds filled with fresh, local whipped cream and berries from the premises; Tasmania, Australia

 

A delicious blueberry muffin made with local ingredients at The Berry Patch, Tasmania, Australia

A delicious blueberry muffin made with local ingredients at The Berry Patch, Tasmania, Australia

 

Pavlova is an Australian creation – meringue topped with fresh fruit (a favorite at end of the year holidays celebrations); Tasmania, Australia

Pavlova is an Australian creation – meringue topped with fresh fruit (a favorite at end of the year holidays celebrations), enjoyed at The Berry Patch; Tasmania, Australia

 

Our intrepid traveler paused beside an Ashgrove Farms Cheese cow before entering the factory for a tour, including an explanation of the cheese-making process and then a tasting of the wide variety of award-winning cheeses; Tasmania, Australia

Our intrepid traveler paused beside an Ashgrove Farms Cheese cow before entering the factory for a tour, including an explanation of the cheese-making process and then a tasting of the wide variety of award-winning cheeses; Tasmania, Australia

 

“The Ashgrove milk and cheese factory is located at Elizabeth Town, in the heart of the dairying and cropping region in Northern Tasmania.  Several generations of Bennett families have been farming the land surrounding the milk and cheese factory since the 1880’s.  In the late 1980s a decision was made to further develop the dairy operations with the decline in wool prices and the stagnation of the vegetable industry.  John and Michael Bennett’s goal in establishing the cheese factory was to gain independence from the low commodity prices that dominated Tasmanian milk supply and to produce premium quality cheese by on-farm value adding using farm milk.  In preparation a significant investment was made in building a new 50-unit rotary dairy in 1990.  From an initial small factory built in 1993, the factory has grown in size over the years.  The factory store which opened in April 1994 has enabled our valued customers and tourists to learn how our cheese is made.

“By 2001, the cheese operation had grown sufficiently to enable the business to be separated from the Ashgrove Farms farming operation.  The Ashgrove Cheese company was established in 2001 by Michael and John Bennett and their respective wives Maureen and Connie.  Ashgrove Farms continues to be the main supplier of milk to the Ashgrove Cheese factory.  In 2012 Ashgrove Farm Milk won a number of awards including best Farm Light Milk at the Dairy Industry Association of Australia awards.” — www.ashgrovecheese.com.au/

 

The cheese aging room at the Ashgrove Farms Cheese factory in Elizabeth Town, in the heart of the dairying and cropping region in Northern Tasmania, Australia

The cheese aging room at the Ashgrove Farms Cheese factory in Elizabeth Town, in the heart of the dairying and cropping region in Northern Tasmania, Australia

 

Olive trees at Wattle Hill Olives, an award-winning producer of extra virgin olive oil in Tasmania, Australia

Olive trees at Wattle Hill Olives, an award-winning producer of extra virgin olive oil in Tasmania, Australia

 

“Wattle Hill Olives produces award winning Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Wattle Hill has 2,000 trees with Spanish and French varieties.  The Tables Olives are nearing maturity and will be available in the next few years.  Wattle Hill also produces balsamic olive oil salad dressing/dipping sauces which are irresistible.  George and Veronica enjoy going to the markets and meeting people and giving them a taste of their oil.  The Oil can also be purchased at most Tasmanian IGA Stores, some restaurants and fruit markets.” — www.foodandbeveragetasmania.com/

 

In addition to plain extra virgin olive oil, Wattle Hill Olives produces a number of flavored oils, most of which we had a chance to sample and enjoy at their facility; Tasmania, Australia

In addition to plain extra virgin olive oil, Wattle Hill Olives produces a number of flavored oils, most of which we had a chance to sample and enjoy at their facility; Tasmania, Australia

 

The entrance to Ghost Rock Winery facility and tasting room and restaurant, across from some of their vineyards, has several large “ghost rocks”; Tasmania, Australia

The entrance to Ghost Rock Winery facility and tasting room and restaurant, across from some of their vineyards, has several large “ghost rocks”; Tasmania, Australia

 

“Nestled among the rolling patchwork fields of the beautiful coastline of Northern Tasmania, you’ll find Ghost Rock among some of god’s best country.  Just 10 minutes from where the Spirit of Tasmania docks and one hour from Cradle Mountain or Launceston, this is a must visit destination when exploring the central North coast of Tasmania or more fondly known as the Cradle Coast Region.  The modern and vibrant Cellar Door & Eatery – twice crowned Tourism Tasmania’s ‘Best Cellar Door’ – offers wine tastings of Ghost Rock’s entire range and a lunch/grazing menu featuring local artisan produce.  With striking views over its vineyards, rolling countryside and Bass Strait, it’s easy to see why it’s a popular hangout.  One of the coolest wine regions in the State (and most probably Australia), it’s one of the State’s most unique wine experiences.  We love living where we do and would love to share this part of the world with you. We look forward to welcoming you soon. — Ghost Rock Team” — www.ghostrock.com.au

 

Vineyards at Ghost Rock Winery overlooking (to the north) the ocean and, beyond that, mainland Australia; Tasmania, Australia

Vineyards at Ghost Rock Winery overlooking (to the north) the ocean and, beyond that, mainland Australia; Tasmania, Australia

 

At our wine tasting at Ghost Rock Winery (before lunch) we had the opportunity to taste some of their rose, white and red wines; Tasmania, Australia

At our wine tasting at Ghost Rock Winery (before lunch) we had the opportunity to taste some of their rose, white and red wines; Tasmania, Australia

 

The tasting room at Anvers Confectionery where we had the opportunity to taste the broad range of chocolates and confections made in the factory, across the parking lot; Tasmania, Australia

The tasting room at Anvers Confectionery where we had the opportunity to taste the broad range of chocolates and confections made in the factory, across the parking lot; Tasmania, Australia

 

“Anvers Confectionery was established as a cottage industry in November 1989, by Igor Van Gerwen, who came to Australia from Belgium.  During his six years as a student at the Institute of Foodstuffs in Antwerp, Belgium, and by working for some of the finest patisseries in the Flemish and Walloon regions, Igor learnt, amongst other culinary skills, the art of handling chocolate.  He was trained by Roger Geerts, world renowned confectioner and author of “Belgian Pralines”.  To guarantee the quality of his products, Igor not only has to painstakingly train his staff in the art of manipulating chocolate, but also to continuously source the finest ingredients.  Not only does he use fresh Tasmanian cream, pure butter, exquisite liquors and natural flavours, but also the world’s finest chocolate… Igor has found the Tasmanian cream and butter to be the richest in flavour of any in the world, ideally suited for truffles and fudge. He believes the reason for this is that the pastures in Tasmania’s pure environment stay green almost all year round, eliminating the need to feed the dairy cows on grains.” – www.anvers-chocolate.com.au/

 

We enjoyed a tour of the Anvers Confectionary factory given by its founder and chocolatier, Igor Van Gerwen, who came to Australia from Belgium decades ago, and enjoyed some hot chocolate and house-made pastries; Tasmania, Australia

We enjoyed a tour of the Anvers Confectionary factory given by its founder and chocolatier, Igor Van Gerwen, who came to Australia from Belgium decades ago, and enjoyed some hot chocolate and house-made pastries; Tasmania, Australia

 

Apples growing in one of many orchards at the Spreyton Cider Company’s manufacturing facility (and tasting room) for their award-winning Tasmanian ciders; Tasmania, Australia

Apples growing in one of many orchards at the Spreyton Cider Company’s manufacturing facility (and tasting room) for their award-winning Tasmanian ciders; Tasmania, Australia

 

“Spreyton has been home to our families since the mid 1800’s, and since 1908 we have been growing apples in this picturesque valley. For four generations we have grown the highest quality fruit for the people of Tasmania and the world.  When Spreyton Fresh – the parent of Spreyton Cider Co, was established in 1998 to begin making fresh apple juice, Spreyton also became synonymous with fantastic real apple juice that tasted like apples!  In 2011 it was time for the next step and Spreyton Fresh began experimenting with their first cider ferments and on the strength of those early experiments the Spreyton Cider Co. was launched.  The company made the decision to keep the entire cider production process in house as that was the only way to ensure that our products would be made with the quality and integrity that is central to everything we do.  So in 2012 we began construction of our cider manufacturing facility and cellar door, and employed a full-time cider maker.  Since inception, Spreyton Cider Company has won numerous awards for our cider in competitions all over Australia.  We have continued to develop the craft cider category by growing “cider specific” varieties of apples that will further improve the traditional ciders that we produce.  At Spreyton we are serious about real cider made from real apples and use both traditional and more contemporary techniques to ensure the quality of what we produce.  Spreyton is now not only home to great Tasmanian Apples and Fresh Apple juice it is also home for one of the few true tree-to-bottle cider producers in Australia.” — www.spreytonciderco.com.au

 

At our tasting at the Spreyton Cider Company, we had the opportunity to taste not only their delicious apple juice, but also their ciders and ginger beer – a nice ending to a full day of exploration and tastings; Tasmania, Australia

At our tasting at the Spreyton Cider Company, we had the opportunity to taste not only their delicious apple juice, but also their ciders and ginger beer – a nice ending to a full day of exploration and tastings; Tasmania, Australia

This blog post wraps up our two month journey aboard our ship from Hong Kong on New Years Day through our Raja Ampat expedition and then a semi-circumnavigation of Australia, from Darwin, through the Great Barrier Reef on to Sydney, and wrapping up in Tasmania.  Fortunately we flew back from Melbourne, Australia, just before the coronavirus pandemic shelter-in-place orders were mandated in the San Francisco Bay Area, where we live.  Until we catch up again, stay safe and stay healthy…

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2020 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

 

Burnie, Tasmania, Australia (2020)

A beautiful older building in downtown Burnie, Tasmania, a city of about 20,000 that lies on the north west coast of the island, south of the Australian mainland

A beautiful older building in downtown Burnie, Tasmania, a city of about 20,000 that lies on the north west coast of the island, south of the Australian mainland

 

“The city of Burnie, situated on the North West Coast of the island state of Tasmania, is located south east of the Australian mainland.  Tasmania’s most westerly city, it has a northerly aspect and is nestled around Emu Bay on Bass Strait, a 40-minute drive from the city of Devonport.  The city’s 20,000 residents enjoy a vibrant shopping district that spills onto the beach for seafood and coffee.  Burnie has surprising restaurants and cafes to linger in.  It has a dynamic cultural life, galleries, performances, exhibitions and community events.  Fantastic food is manufactured in Burnie like whisky and cheese.  The best milk in the world for cheese making is produced in the area.  There are well stocked deli’s to tempt you with gourmet treats.  Burnie’s hills hide impressive gardens and parks, and it is surrounded by beautiful beaches, sparkling water and fresh air.  In some areas people live in perfect art deco or federation homes and public spaces featuring buildings by contemporary Tasmanian architects and designers.” — http://www.discoverburnie.net

 

Wilkinson’s Pharmacy operates in a nicely restored historic building in downtown Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

Wilkinson’s Pharmacy operates in a nicely restored historic building in downtown Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

 

After an excellent seafood luncheon at Fish Frenzy, overlooking Burnie Beach, we had a stroll outside; Burnie Beach is at the northern edge of the downtown district in Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

After an excellent seafood luncheon at Fish Frenzy, overlooking Burnie Beach, we had a stroll outside; Burnie Beach is at the northern edge of the downtown district in Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

 

“Emu Bay, the distant Bass Strait and the town’s proximity to the Australian mainland made Burnie uniquely perfect for an industrial port.  Nearby forestry also made Burnie the perfect place for the paper mill industry.  But the industrial port is only a part of Burnie’s past as the town has found a way to reinvent itself.   Now, this coastal gem is full of makers.  The beating heart of this artistic community is the Maker’s Workshop which is part museum, gallery, workshop and arts center.  It’s a wonderful place to visit where you can learn to make paper, blow glass, create ceramics, develop textiles or learn to paint, sculpt or draw.” – www.tasmania.com/points-of-interest/burnie/

 

A “Surf Rescue” vehicle at Burnie Beach, Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

A “Surf Rescue” vehicle at Burnie Beach, Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

 

The Burnie Beach rescue boat, Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

The Burnie Beach rescue boat, Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

 

These children friendly octopus sculptures are on Burnie Beach, just outside the patio of Fish Frenzy; Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

These children friendly octopus sculptures are on Burnie Beach, just outside the patio of Fish Frenzy; Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2020 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

the-playful-museum-entrance-behind-which-is-an-interior-spiral-staircase-that-leads-down-to-three-larger-underground-levels-of-display-spaces-with-no-windows-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art

The playful museum entrance – behind which is an interior spiral staircase that leads down to three larger underground levels of display spaces with no windows, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

On our last evening on this trip to Tasmania and Australia, we joined a small group for a privately guided visit to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) followed by a delicious dinner in the museum’s restaurant and terraces. We arrived at the museum on the peninsula after a 45-minute “ferry ride” on a private catamaran up the Derwent River from Hobart to the museum’s jetty. “The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is an art museum located within the Moorilla winery on the Berriedale peninsula in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. It is the largest privately funded museum in Australia. The museum presents antiquities and modern and contemporary art from the David Walsh collection. Walsh has described the museum as a ‘subversive adult Disneyland.’ MONA was officially opened on 21 January 2011. Along with its frequently updated indoor collection, MONA also hosts the annual MOFO and Dark Mofo festivals which showcase large-scale public art and live performances.” – Wikipedia. This is a museum unlike any other in the world – easily described as an eccentric super-wealthy gambler’s tribute to himself and his explorations of “who he is” and “what is art”. Many visitors are shocked with the erotic and sexual nature of much of the art [which we have chosen not to include in our photographs on this blog post], and surprised to find such an eclectic mix of historical and classical art (from around the world) with many “challenging” modern art pieces.

 

the-setting-for-the-museum-on-the-berriedale-peninsula-along-the-derwent-river-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia

The setting for the museum on the Berriedale peninsula along the Derwent River, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

“Mona is one man’s ‘megaphone’ as he put it at the outset: and what he wants to say almost invariably revolves around the place of art and creativity within the definition of humanity. We know that sounds lofty, self-important. But we must be honest with you: our goal is no more, nor less, than to ask what art is, and what makes us look and look at it with ceaseless curiosity. We don’t have the answer yet. Maybe when we do, that will be the end of Mona. Bye bye Mona…

“Mona’s ambition (with only modest success, given that most people just want to take pictures of bit.fall) is to understand how narrow, how partial, our view is of the world. To see clearly, we argue, you have to first know the limits of your vision. To quote Socrates: ‘The smartest people know how dumb they are.’ Okay, what he really said was: ‘I know one thing: that I know nothing.’” – mona.net.au

 

a-wall-on-the-lowest-third-level-of-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia-that-shows-how-the-museum-was-carved-out-of-the-rock-on-the-peninsula-under-the-moorilla-winery

A wall on the lowest (third) level of MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, that shows how the museum was carved out of the rock on the peninsula under the Moorilla winery

 

“[It] begins as soon as you get there. If you arrive by jetty you come up those stairs thinking you’ll get somewhere momentous, but then you get to the top and turn around and there’s just this small house. Then you go in, and go down a heap more stairs. A big space. ‘Wow, I didn’t know it was going to be so big.’ Still no art.” — James Pearce, Director of Architecture, MONA

 

this-exhibition-room-could-be-in-a-traditional-art-museum-anywhere-in-the-world-it-is-in-stark-contrast-with-some-other-rooms-that-are-quite-provocative-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tas

This exhibition room could be in a traditional art museum anywhere in the world; it is in stark contrast with some other rooms that are quite provocative; MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

highly-decorated-silver-sculptures-atop-two-of-twelve-sardine-cans-that-all-contain-sculpted-silver-female-genitalia-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia

Highly decorated silver sculptures atop two of twelve “sardine cans” that all contain sculpted silver female genitalia, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

a-kinetic-sculpture-that-the-visitor-enters-and-then-moves-his-her-arms-and-dances-to-conduct-music-and-a-light-show-on-the-perimeter-of-the-exhibit-a-docent-is-demonstrating-moveme

A kinetic sculpture that the visitor enters and then moves his/her arms and dances to “conduct” music and a light show on the perimeter of the exhibit (a docent is demonstrating movement within the sculpture), MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

glass-panels-and-a-mirror-second-from-the-left-panel-that-are-a-fraction-of-the-floral-art-in-an-exhibition-room-that-measured-perhaps-25-feet-by-20-feet-7-6-by-6-1-meters-mona

Glass panels and a mirror (second from the left “panel”) that are a fraction of the floral art in an exhibition room that measured perhaps 25 feet by 20 feet (7.6 by 6.1 meters), MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

an-ancient-clay-sculpture-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia

An ancient clay sculpture, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

figure-of-a-girl-bathing-pierre-auguste-renoir-late-1800s-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia

Figure of a Girl Bathing, Pierre Auguste Renoir (late 1800s), MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

mount-fuji-one-of-36-woodblock-print-views-ando-hiroshige-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia

Mount Fuji (one of 36 woodblock print views), Ando Hiroshige, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

fat-car-2006-erwin-wurm-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia

Fat Car, 2006 Erwin Wurm, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

a-view-from-above-of-the-bar-on-the-lower-level-at-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia-where-we-had-cocktails-and-or-wine-after-our-tour-of-the-museum-before-going-up-and-o

A view from above of the bar on the lower level at MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, where we had cocktails and/or wine after our tour of the museum, before going up and out to the museum’s restaurant (in a separate, above ground building with terraces overlooking the river) for dinner

 

Interested readers should check out the museum’s website:

mona.net.au

to explore some of the architecture, the collection and the biography of founder and chief curator David Walsh.

 

the-rising-full-moon-provided-a-fitting-end-to-a-wonderful-afternoon-and-evening-at-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia-on-our-last-night-in-tasmania-and-australia-after-sev

The rising full moon provided a fitting end to a wonderful afternoon and evening at MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, on our last night in Tasmania and Australia after seven weeks of explorations

 

Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

hobart-tasmanias-capital-city-australia-is-unusual-in-that-the-central-business-district-wraps-around-the-harbor-that-has-been-recently-gentrified-and-filled-with-shops-bars-restaurants

Hobart, Tasmania’s capital city [Australia] is unusual in that the central business district wraps around the harbor that has been recently gentrified and filled with shops, bars, restaurants and apartments

The island state of Tasmania is Australia’s southernmost territory, closer to Antarctica than to Perth.  Its eye-pleasing capital of Hobart wraps around a yacht-filled harbor. Mount Wellington looms in the background, snow-capped in winter and popular with hikers in summer.  Sailors are no doubt familiar with the city’s role as the endpoint for the annual Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race held each year on Boxing Day (26 December).  As is the case with other settlements in Australia, Hobart traces its European roots back to its days as a penal colony.  Hobart is the largest city on the island with a population of 225,000.

 

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The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

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Reflections in the city center harbor, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

the-salamanca-market-area-has-been-beautifully-restored-with-dozens-of-shops-galleries-bars-and-restaurants-hobart-tasmania-australia

The Salamanca Market area has been beautifully restored with dozens of shops, galleries, bars and restaurants, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

Located a short walk from the Hobart waterfront is Salamanca Place, once Hobart’s center of commerce from the 1830s.  Today, the area is known for its 19th century sandstone warehouses, the dynamic offerings at the Salamanca Arts Centre, exceptional restaurants, bars, galleries and famous outdoor Salamanca Market.

 

interesting-to-see-that-the-government-of-australia-not-a-non-governmental-organization-is-the-sponsor-of-the-campaign-to-stop-racism-hobart-tasmania-australia-this-poster-was-in-the

Interesting to see that the government of Australia – not a non-governmental organization — is the sponsor of the campaign to stop racism, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia; this poster was in the Salamanca Market area

 

an-interesting-vertical-expansion-for-a-restaurant-overlooking-the-harbor-in-the-central-business-district-hobart-tasmania-australia

An interesting vertical expansion for a restaurant overlooking the harbor in the central business district, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

the-restaurant-we-had-lunch-at-had-a-great-view-from-the-tables-of-the-central-business-district-harbor-hobart-tasmania-australia

The restaurant we had lunch at had a great view from the tables of the central business district harbor, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

a-view-of-the-old-wharf-area-and-our-ship-docked-at-macquarie-wharf-hobart-tasmania-australia

A view of the Old Wharf area and our ship docked at Macquarie Wharf, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

the-hobart-synagogue-unusually-designed-in-an-egyptian-architectural-style-consecrated-in-1845-the-oldest-synagogue-in-australia-hobart-tasmania-australia

The Hobart Synagogue (unusually designed in an Egyptian architectural style), consecrated in 1845, the oldest synagogue in Australia, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

it-is-somewhat-ironic-that-the-former-ironmongers-building-downtown-is-now-a-gym-for-lifting-iron-hobart-tasmania-australia

It is somewhat ironic that the former ironmongers building downtown is now a gym (for lifting iron), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

a-covered-walkway-in-the-elizabeth-street-mall-downtown-hobart-tasmania-australia

A covered walkway in the Elizabeth Street Mall, downtown Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

we-werent-sure-about-the-name-of-the-building-possibly-a-development-100-years-ago-honoring-arthur-wellesley-1st-duke-of-wellington-the-hero-of-waterloo-hobart-tasmania-austra

We weren’t sure about the name of the building – possibly a development 100+ years ago honoring Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, the hero of Waterloo, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

a-fountain-in-franklin-square-downtown-hobart-tasmania-australia

A fountain in Franklin Square, downtown, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

hobart-council-centre-hobart-tasmania-australia

Hobart Council Centre, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia

we-approached-the-port-arthur-historic-site-by-ships-tender-entering-mason-bay-with-a-view-of-the-historic-penal-colony-tasmania-australia

We approached The Port Arthur Historic Site by ship’s tender, entering Mason Bay with a view of the historic penal colony, Tasmania, Australia

 

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site on the Tasman Peninsula is Australia’s most intact and evocative convict site.  The Historic Site has over 30 buildings, ruins and restored period homes set in 40 hectares (100 acres) of landscaped grounds.  Port Arthur was much more than a prison – it was a complete community, home to military personnel and free settlers.  The convicts worked at farming and industries, producing a large range of resources and materials.  Port Arthur is officially Tasmania’s top tourist attraction.  It is located approximately 60 kilometers (37 miles) southeast of the state capital, Hobart.

 

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The main penitentiary (1857) in the foreground with the hospital (1842) in the background, Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia

 

“Port Arthur was named after George Arthur, the Lieutenant Governor of Van Dieman’s Land.  The settlement started as a timber station in 1830, but it is best known for being a penal colony.  From 1833, until 1853, it was the destination for the hardest of convicted British criminals, those who were secondary offenders having re-offended after their arrival in Australia.  Rebellious personalities from other convict stations were also sent here, a quite undesirable punishment.  In addition Port Arthur had some of the strictest security measures of the British penal system.

 

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A view of the penitentiary and the penal colony through columns marking the edge of the community settlement of the military and free settlers, Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia

 

the-guard-tower-1835-in-the-foreground-with-the-senior-military-officers-quarters-1833-in-the-background-port-arthur-historic-site-tasmania-australia

The Guard Tower (1835) in the foreground with the Senior Military Officer’s Quarters (1833) in the background, Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia

 

“Port Arthur was one example of the ‘Separate Prison Typology’ (sometimes known as the Model prison), which emerged from Jeremy Bentham’s theories and his panopticon.  The prison was completed in 1853 but then extended in 1855.  The layout of the prison was fairly symmetrical.  It was a cross shape with exercise yards at each corner.  The prisoner wings were each connected to the surveillance core of the Prison as well as the Chapel, in the Centre Hall.  From this surveillance hub each wing could be clearly seen, although individual cells could not. This is how the Separate Prison at Port Arthur differed from the original theory of the Panopticon.

 

two-prisoner-cells-in-the-main-penitentiary-building-1857-port-arthur-historic-site-tasmania-australia-note-that-each-cell-is-barely-big-enough-for-a-cot-and-there-was-no-heating-in-the-building

Two prisoner cells in the main penitentiary building (1857), Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia; note that each cell is barely big enough for a cot and there was no heating in the building

 

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The Asylum (1868) is now the site’s museum building, Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia

 

“The Separate Prison System also signaled a shift from physical punishment to psychological punishment.  It was thought that the hard corporal punishment, such as whippings, used in other penal stations only served to harden criminals, and did nothing to turn them from their immoral ways.  For example, food was used to reward well-behaved prisoners and as punishment for troublemakers.  As a reward, a prisoner could receive larger amounts of food or even luxury items such as tea, sugar and tobacco.  As punishment, the prisoners would receive the bare minimum of bread and water.  Under this system of punishment the ‘Silent System’ was implemented in the building.  Here prisoners were hooded and made to stay silent, this was supposed to allow time for the prisoner to reflect upon the actions which had brought him there.  Many of the prisoners in the Separate Prison developed mental illness from the lack of light and sound.  This was an unintended outcome although the asylum was built right next to the Separate Prison.  In many ways Port Arthur was the model for many of the penal reform movement, despite shipping, housing and slave-labour use of convicts being as harsh, or worse, than others stations around the nation.” — Wikipedia

 

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Government Gardens (1846) for the free settlers and military, Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia

 

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A view of the main penitentiary (1857) through trees of the Government Gardens (1846), Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia

 

Flinders Island, Tasmania, Australia

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Cattle grazing on the southern end of Flinders Island, overlooking Strzelecki National Park, Tasmania, Australia

 

“Flinders Island is one of more than 60 islands, in the Furneaux Group which is located between Wilson’s Promontory, Victoria and Cape Portland, Tasmania [Australia].  Flinders Island is the largest of these islands and the region has around 900 permanent residents. Flinders is a long, narrow island, 75 km long and 40 km wide, with the Darling Ranges running along the middle of the island.  The Furneaux Group of islands is what remains of the original land bridge that once joined Tasmania to mainland Australia.  The time of the flooding of this land bridge is a contentious point for many scientists but it is believed to have happened between 12,000 and 18,000 years ago.  Over these thousands of years, water erosion has formed some of the most spectacular rock formations and scenery you will find anywhere in the world.  The islands lie scattered around latitude 400 south and are home to a very diverse wildlife with over 120 species of bird are found on Flinders Island including many visiting migratory, Northern Hemisphere species.  The region is also home to the rare Cape Barren Goose and the endangered 40-Spotted Pardalote. Flinders Island has a thriving rural community that produces sheep and wool, cattle, milk-fed lambs, crayfish, abalone, wine and wallaby.  Other main business activities include rural support industries and tourism.” – visitflindersisland.com.au

 

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We walked the length of Yellow Beach from its entrance at the lovely town of Lady Barron, Flinders Island, Tasmania, Australia, and on to the rock formations separating it from White Beach, on the southeast corner of the island

 

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Rock formations separating Yellow Beach from White Beach, on the southeast corner of the island, near Lady Barron, Flinders Island, Tasmania, Australia

 

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The grass clumps made an interesting contrast with the rocks on the shore of White Beach, Flinders Island, Tasmania, Austra

 

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Looking south to Franklin Sound and Cape Barren Island from White Beach on Flinders Island, Tasmania, Australia

 

We enjoyed an excellent luncheon of local Tasmanian cuisine at the small Shearwater Restaurant in Furneaux Tavern in the charming town of Lady Barron after our hike along Yellow Beach and White Beach.  One of our main dishes was beautifully prepared wallaby – it tasted a lot like a cross between been and pork, and was delicious.

 

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One of the four quadrant views from Walker’s Lookout on Mt. Leventhorp, the highest point on Flinders Island, Tasmania, Australia

 

“ABORIGINAL AND EUROPEAN HISTORY:  When the Eastern Bass Strait islands were still a land bridge between mainland Australia and Tasmania the region was a highway for travelling aboriginal groups.  With the flooding of the land bridge the Tasmanian aboriginal community was separated from their mainland cousins and they developed their own culture and practices.  The history of Flinders Island begins with the Tasmanian Aboriginal people who were the first residents 35,000 or more years ago.  About 4,000 to 9,000 years ago for reasons uncertain the Tasmanian Aboriginals ceased to be full time occupants of the Furneaux group of which Flinders is the largest island.  The next human contact was when Tobias Furneaux discovered the islands in 1773.  However, he did not land on any of the islands. In 1797 the merchant vessel “Sydney Cove”, en route from Calcutta to the fledgling colony at Port Jackson, was beached off Preservation Island (south of Cape Barren Island) this saw the discovery of large quantities of seals and the start of wholesale sealing in the region.  Thus began the first export industry for Australia namely sealskins and oil and the first European settlement, of sealers, south of Sydney at Kent Bay (southern coast of Cape Barren Island). By 1810 the sealing industry had passed its peak.  Some of the sealing fraternity remained on the smallers Furneaux islands and took aboriginal women as their partners and these men became known as the Straitsman.

“Meanwhile from 1803 onwards Tasmanian Aboriginals living on mainland Tasmania (Van Diemen’s Land as it was called then) experienced considerable harassment from the white settlers as these Europeans steadily pushed into aboriginal lands. Understandably there was retaliation by the aboriginal people.  Later this period was referred to as the Black War.  In 1830, Governor Arthur, with the help of George Augustus Robinson attempted to ensure the survival of the aboriginal people by exiling them to the Furneaux Islands. Eventually by 1833 after first trying Swan Island, then Gun Carriage island (now called Vansittart) and then the Lagoons at the southern end of Flinders, this place of exile was Wybalenna, meaning Blackman’s Houses, on Flinders Island.  This settlement was far from successful.  Of the 200 odd aboriginal persons that lived at Wybalenna over 150 died due to exposure to dieases like influenza and pneumonia to which they had no natural defence, to heartbreak and being forced to live an alien lifestyle.  They are buried in the Wybalenna cemetery.  In 1847 the remaining Aboriginal people were transported back to Tasmania to Oyster Cove where one by one they died. Even so the Tasmanian Aboriginal people, many with Straitsman ancestors, live on and much of their culture survives.  Over 16% of the population of Flinders is Tasmanian Aboriginal.  The restored Chapel is the only building remaining from the ill fated Wybalenna settlement.” — visitflindersisland.com.au

 

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The historical chapel at Wybalenna settlement near the town of Emita on the west coast of Flinders Island, Tasmania, Australia

 

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A good explanation of why the rear door of the Wybalenna settlement chapel was locked, Flinders Island, Tasmania, Australia

 

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Our ship anchored at Trousers Point Beach, Flinders Island, Tasmania

 

Fern Glade Reserve, Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

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Large tree ferns along the Emu River on the walking track in Fern Glade Reserve, Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

 

Early one morning while we were docked in Burnie, a small group of us hiked from the port to downtown and then out to a beautiful natural park on the edge of the city.  Fern Glade Reserve is one of the city’s most valuable natural and recreational resources — a peaceful river valley on the edge of the city of Burnie, Tasmania, Australia.  It is located about 4 km (2.4 miles) from the City center to the main entrance and it offers long walks along the banks of the Emu River and the chance to see platypus surfacing. More than a dozen species of native orchids have been noted along the walking tracks.

 

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A portion of the walking track along the Emu River in Fern Glade Reserve, Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

 

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Several large tree ferns sparking in the sunlight in Fern Glade Reserve, Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

 

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An upside-down reflection in the Emu River of tree ferns in Fern Glade Reserve, Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

 

The level path that runs along the edge of the Emu River is dotted with interpretive signs about the platypus.  The mammal is endemic to eastern Australia, but the Tasmanian platypus is larger than its mainland counterpart, and spends more time on land.  Some of our group were able to spot platypus in the Emu River from a platform on the edge of the river, accessed from the walking track in the fern glen.  By the time we all got back to the ship, we had hiked over 10 miles through the city and through the fern glen.

 

a-portrait-of-a-large-tree-fern-along-the-walking-track-along-side-the-emu-river-in-fern-glade-reserve-burnie-tasmania-australia

A “portrait” of a large tree fern along the walking track along side the Emu River in Fern Glade Reserve, Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

 

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An upside-down reflection in the Emu River of trees in Fern Glade Reserve, Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

 

Cradle Mountain National Park and Tasmanian Devils (Sarcophilus harrisii), Tasmania, Australia

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Cradle Mountain (over 1,500 meters / 4,921 feet high) rises in the distance, beyond the fields south of Devonport, Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania, Australia

 

Our destination for the afternoon drive was Cradle Mountain National Park and Dove Lake, with a long visit to the Tasmanian Devil sanctuary, Devils@Cradle, where we had a naturalist talk and tour of the sanctuary (and got to pet a live, raised in captivity, Tasmanian devil).  Cradle Mountain, at over 1,500 meters (4,921 feet), is the icon of Tasmania’s World Heritage Wilderness and the surrounding landscape is a place of pristine and spectacular natural beauty – jagged peaks, cool temperate rainforest, alpine woodland, button grass moorlands and plateau it is a paradise for animals of the alpine.  A range of easy-hard walking tracks of varying distances are available within the National park.  An abundance of native wildlife, animals such as Wombats, Wallabies and Possum can be regularly viewed in the Cradle area while for bird lovers the area is home to a large number of endemic bird species.  While many people hope or expect to see Tasmanian devils roaming in the wild, this is often not the case. Tasmanian devils, along with both quoll species, are shy nocturnal creatures and the chance of seeing one in the wild is quite remote for most of the year.

 

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A naturalist (“keeper”) talked to us at Devils @ Cradle Sanctuary for Tasmanian devils, Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania, Australia

 

The Devils @ Cradle Tasmanian devil sanctuary breeds Tasmania’s three unique threatened carnivorous marsupials; the Spotted-tail and Eastern quoll and focuses primarily on the Tasmanian devil.  The facility is located on the edge of the Cradle Mountain National Park World Heritage area and conducts in-situ conservation programs for the Tasmanian devil including an on-site breeding program for insurance of the species.  The carnivorous Tasmanian devil is scientifically known as Sarcophilus harrisii.  A visit to the sanctuary day or night allows visitors to observe these extraordinary animals up close whilst one of the Devils @ Cradle keepers provide lots of information about them. “Keeper tours” are conducted hourly, while in the evening visitors can observe the amazing night-time antics of the animals being fed.

 

a-tasmanian-devil-bred-in-captivity-was-held-by-the-keeper-who-then-let-us-pet-him-cradle-mountain-national-park-tasmania-australia

A Tasmanian devil, bred in captivity, was held by the keeper who then let us pet him, Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania, Australia

 

The “keeper’s” talk was very informative as he provided background on the marsupial and discussed the rationale for the creation of the sanctuary — to breed disease-free Tasmanian devils that can be reintroduced into the wild in order to build up their population which has been decimated due to a unique disease afflicting them.  Tasmanian devils are the worlds largest living carnivorous marsupial unique to the island of Tasmania.  They are extraordinary animals that range from coastal to alpine habitat throughout Tasmania.  A shy nocturnal creature that has a vivacious appetite and almost mythical reputation it is an elusive animal that is rarely seen in the wild.  Unfortunately devils are suffering from an infectious cancer called devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) which threatens to drive the species to extinction. This disease has more than halved the island’s population of Tasmanian devils in the last ten years and it is now considered and endangered species.

 

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Outside in the Sanctuary the keeper fed a wombat, Devils @ Cradle, Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania, Australia

 

a-healthy-disease-free-tasmanian-devil-in-one-of-many-breeding-areas-of-the-devils-cradle-sanctuary-that-will-be-released-back-into-the-wild-when-hes-older-cradle-mountain-national-park

A healthy, disease-free Tasmanian devil in one of many breeding areas of the Devils @ Cradle Sanctuary that will be released back into the wild when he’s older, Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania, Australia

 

we-watched-three-tasmanian-devils-fight-somewhat-with-each-other-in-order-to-eat-the-carrion-on-the-end-of-the-green-nylon-rope-that-was-controlled-by-the-keeper-at-the-devils-cradle-sanctuary_

We watched three Tasmanian devils fight somewhat with each other in order to eat the carrion on the end of the green nylon rope that was controlled by the keeper at the Devils @ Cradle Sanctuary – they have the strongest bite per unit body mass of any extant mammal land predator; Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania, Australia

 

“The size of a small dog, [the Tasmanian devil] became the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world following the extinction of the thylacine in 1936.  It is characterized by its stocky and muscular build, black fur, pungent odor, extremely loud and disturbing screech, keen sense of smell, and ferocity when feeding.  The Tasmanian devil’s large head and neck allow it to generate among the strongest bites per unit body mass of any extant mammal land predator, and it hunts prey and scavenges carrion as well as eating household products if humans are living nearby.” —Wikipedia

 

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Diseased, dead trees littered the ancient rainforest landscape as we drove up to Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain from the Devils @ Cradle Sanctuary; Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania, Australia

 

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The landscape of Cradle Mountain National Park as we drove up to Dove Lake which lies under Smithies Peak and Cradle Mountain, Tasmania, Australia

 

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Dove Lake lies within Cradle Mountain National Park, the island state’s most visited national park, Tasmania, Australia; the area was first visited by Aborigines more than 35,000 years ago, including during the last ice age

 

Exploring Tasmanian history around Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

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Home Hill, once home to Joe Lyons, Tasmania’s only Australian Prime Minister Devenport, Tasmania, Australia

 

Overlooking Bass Strait on Tasmania’s northwest coast (an island state of Australia, south of Adelaide and Melbourne), Burnie was settled by Aboriginals long before the island’s discovery by European explorer Abel Tasman in 1642.  Paying homage to its industrial heritage, Burnie has proclaimed itself a “City of Makers,” replacing once-thriving paper, chemical and lumber plants with artisanal cheese makers, a single-malt whisky distillery, ceramic workshops and handmade paper.  The abandoned paper mill in town employed 3,000 workers until about 10 years ago.  We were very impressed with the ongoing, but successful so far, transformation of the city from an industrial city to one catering to creative artists and tourists.  This being Australia, exotic flora and fauna are also part of the scene, from diminutive fairy penguins, echidna and platypus to lush gardens, nature reserves and waterfalls.

 

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Vineyards at Ghost Rock Winery in Port Sorell, Tasmania, Australia

 

Our first day in Burnie we joined a group that headed south from the city on the coast of the Southern Ocean inland towards Cradle Mountain.  Our route first took us east along the coast towards Devenport, passing through Ulverstone and other seaside towns along the way.  Our first stop was for a guided visit to Home Hill, once home to Joe Lyons, Tasmania’s only Australian Prime Minister.  Further on, Devenport Bluff features numerous aboriginal sites.  Around midday, we arrived at Ghost Rock Winery in Port Sorell for a tour and wine tasting and a gourmet lunch featuring Tasmanian seafood, cheese, veggies and smoked meats, along with a glasses of wine.  The winery is on the “Cradle to Coast tasting trail” which features Tasmanian farms, cheese makers, wineries, etc. that are open for visits; this reminded us of our local Sonoma County, California, USA, “Taste of Sonoma Trail”.

 

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The winery building at Ghost Rock Winery in Port Sorell, Tasmania, Australia

 

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The outdoor display of winners of the International Sheffield Mural Fest annual competition at Mural Park, Sheffield, Tasmania, Australia

 

On our drive after lunch to Cradle Mountain [see our next blog post], our route south took us through Sheffield — in the foothills of striking Mount Roland (42 miles (67 km) from Burnie) — known as the “Town of Murals” for the 60 or so paintings which decorate most of the buildings, depicting the town’s history in a colorful display of al fresco art.  We found it interesting that many small towns in Tasmania have found a theme, like “Town of Murals” to develop as an attraction to draw tourists to the town.

 

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A winning mural (#A) of the International Sheffield Mural Fest annual competition, Mural Park, Sheffield, Tasmania, Australia

 

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A winning mural (#B) of the International Sheffield Mural Fest annual competition, Mural Park, Sheffield, Tasmania, Australia

 

Sheffield has gone so far as to have created the annual “International Sheffield Mural Fest” whose winners are on display outdoors at the Mural Park in Sheffield.  At the park, we found an informative sign that asked “Why are these murals different?”  It explained, “The murals in and around Sheffield were painted by dedicated artists whose main aim was to bring the region’s history to life, and tell the stories of our early pioneers.  A true picture from the past.  Here in Mural Park, the murals were painted during the International Mural Fest, Sheffield’s annual week-long mural art competition.  They are the personal interpretation of a themed poem by the nine finalist artists as they compete for the major prize.  These works add a contemporary perspective to Sheffield’s murals.”

 

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A winning mural (#C) of the International Sheffield Mural Fest annual competition, Mural Park, Sheffield, Tasmania, Australia

 

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A winning mural (#D) of the International Sheffield Mural Fest annual competition, Mural Park, Sheffield, Tasmania, Australia