It had to happen sooner or later!
Vanda’s Armchair Travel post about Oatlands prompted me to write this post. I came here to live in 2003 as I just loved the town so much. It had all the services I needed. It was slap bang in the centre of the state meaning I could easily travel in any direction.I could get to many destinations in a matter of two hours or so. It was just like an English country village with it’s main street full of old Georgian buildings. In many ways it reminded me of some of the villages in an Agatha Christie novel and no I don’t believe we have had any murders in modern times at least. I liked the quiet of the town and the fact that you could fire a cannon down the High Street and hit nothing. By that I mean it was quiet and peaceful with just a small turnover of tourists mostly in summer months.
Well over the last few years it has been getting busier and busier. There was a surge in tourists with camper vans and the High Street was hard to get a park in. Luckily for me I can walk everywhere as I live on the High Street. The parks were usually occupied with people having a barbecue so could no longer let the dogs off their leads to run free as we often did. Sometimes I got yelled at if they went over to holiday makers. My dogs are friendly and love people. I know this sounds horribly selfish of me but I loved the quiet of the town and my quiet walks by the lake in the park and around the mill.
Going back a couple of years a millionaire came to Oatlands and bought up quite a lot of real estate which included the mill complex itself. Suddenly it was all fenced off for some maintenance. That’s good of course as it’s wonderful to have it all going. The council no longer wanted to run it and people lost their jobs because of the closure of the tourist information centre. New playground equipment has now gone up in the park which is great for the kids. I am not against that as there wasn’t much there for them before. The new equipment takes up about a third of the park. I am glad they left the carved wombats and the old historic hollow tree trunk.
What I really hate is all the redevelopment of the land next to the mill. At the back of a historic building that I think might have been a hotel once is a huge new distillery. There are three huge sheds going up on the land. This will be particularly unpleasant for the people who live in the house next door to it. I am sure these sheds will be painted in the usual yucky dark grey that everyone seems to love these days. These sheds will tower over everything. Yeah I know it creates jobs and it’s good for the town! I’ve heard that cry more than once but I have also heard from others like me who hate these imposing structures. One elderly lady says that is all she can see from her home now. Another lady around my age told me today she didn’t like them or the colour grey plastered over everything that stands still longer than five seconds. I took some photos of the progress today as nobody was working on the site. I was able to get close to the boundaries to get the shots.
There Is a lot happening here in Oatlands and massive changes coming to our gorgeous little town.It won’t be so little in the future and it will become very commercial. There are plans to build an aquatic centre right in the heart of the town. This is too close for comfort for me because it’s right behind my house. The plans were finally approved after several years and architects so building works will begin very soon. The hospital building works is almost complete. They are up to the finishing touches. Everything over there is drab and grey but it’s nice they have a modern hospital with better facilities. They may have much more to deal with in the future.
Well there is my grizzle about the changes in Oatlands. I took some pictures of the new distillery going up. I will try to get photos of the other notable changes later. The lense on my little camera decided to go bang so I couldn’t use it. I will have to take the bigger one out with me next time which means I can’t take the dogs as I will need both hands to take pictures. Still I am now retired so will have time for two walks rather than the one I just manage to go on since I was usually exhausted from working. I know I probably sound mean and selfish but I do think it’s a shame that we have to have stuff like this in a country town. It will lose it’s feel, appeal and character in my own humble opinion. My fear is that Hobart and Launceston will eventually meet up and there will be few country towns left as they will be eaten up as suburbs. The suburbs are creeping further out already in both of these cities. On a trip to Adelaide about two years ago I was shocked at how long it took to get out of the city and suburbs due to the urban sprawl. In Melbourne and Sydney you never seem to leave the suburbs.They are never ending. I would be so sad to see this same thing happen in our island state of Tasmania. I am glad I will be moving soon to a smaller quieter place that I hope remains that way until my death.