Reflections of a Revhead -Adelaide Alive in 1985

Pit Straight Adelaide c1989
Pit Straight Adelaide circa 1989

Well actually that’s a very misleading title because I’m not really a rev head but it sounds good doesn’t it?  When I’m asked what sports I like I invariably reply cricket and Motorsports. I probably watch more cricket these days and I go to cricket matches in the summer but for about ten years while we lived in Adelaide I was a very keen motor sport fan and I still enjoy watching it on TV especially now that we have an Australian driver for me to support.

I’m probably a very unusual kind of fan, I can’t drive a car and can be a nervous passenger at times. I don’t see the point of road cars that can do more than the maximum speed limit, where are you going to drive them legally? I regularly watch and enjoy “Top Gear” but my favourite presenter is “Captain Slow”, James May, and I can get very cross with Jeremy Clarkson at times. (Doesn’t everyone?)

I first became interested in Formula One around 1984-5. Hubby, who normally goes to bed long before I do, was sitting up late to watch the races on TV. This made me curious. What was so interesting? Wasn’t it just race cars going round and round? I think that the first race I watched with him was the Monaco Grand Prix. Seeing the cars racing around the streets of Monte Carlo fascinated me. I soon realised that every F1 circuit was different and that there was a lot of tactics involved. It wasn’t just cars going around the track very fast. The other thing that got me interested was the commentary. In Australia we got the British commentary from Murray Walker and James Hunt. I think that Murray’s enthusiasm rubbed off on me, you could tell that he just loved it all. There were a few British drivers at that time and of course for the benefit of British viewers he reported on them regularly. They all sounded ultra British; Nigel (Mansell), Derek (Warwick), Jonathon (Palmer) and I think a very young Martin Brundle. I started to enjoy hearing about the drivers. Murray regularly mentioned Jacques Lafitte of the Ligier team who was the oldest driver in F1 at that time at 42. He would explain that he lived in Stoke Poges and co-owned a golf course with Alain Prost at nearly every race.  Ayrton Senna was “A grimly determined young man.” Nigel Mansell was a special constable on the Isle of Man where he lived.  See, I still remember this trivia after thirty years!  James Hunt, on the other hand, used to annoy me by making rude remarks about the other drivers.

Murray Walker circa1988
Murray Walker circa 1988-89

I was aware that Adelaide was to get its own F1 race starting from 1985 and prior to watching the races that season I really didn’t understand what was going to happen. I was imagining cars hurtling around the CBD but by the time the first race drew near I had watched enough races to understand and was caught up in the general excitement. In 1985 the Grand Prix was the biggest sporting event that Adelaide had ever hosted. The circuit was around the parklands not right in the middle of the city but an easy walk from it. It was quite exciting to watch the over bridges and grandstands going up a few weeks before the race. The meeting was to be over four days and a few days before the roads that were part of the circuit were closed to traffic. They were not closed to pedestrians though and soon hundreds of people were walking around the circuit examining it, looking at the stands and even climbing the stairs to look in the window of the temporary media stand on Pit Straight. People walked it, ran it and even rode skateboards and bicycles on it. In the midst of all this the cars arrived and there was something new to look at as the mechanics worked on them.

Formula one car chassis' circa 1988-89
Formula one car chassis’ circa 1988-89

The drivers arrived too and as they didn’t have the sophisticated simulations that they have today they also walked or drove around the new circuit to have a look at it. Their verdict was “It looks fine but what are all those people doing there?” This is how the circuit looked back then.
Adelaide Street Circuit photo AdelaideStreetCircuit-FormulaOneCircuit.jpg

There were quite a few off circuit events to go to during Grand Prix week. I don’t mean the official ones like the Grand Prix ball, Ladies day and so on that were expensive or by invitation only. Adelaide always had a few fun, free events as well. One was the Canine Grand Prix. I don’t think this was held at the circuit the first year but it was a regular event the weekend before the race for most of the time Adelaide had the race. I always wondered what the F1 drivers would have made of hundreds of people walking their dogs, many of them in themed outfits, around the circuit if any of them had ever seen it.

The start of the Canine Grand Prix.
The start of the Canine Grand Prix.

There were also appearances by drivers at some car related businesses. I can remember going over to Burnside Shopping Centre one year on the chance of seeing Nelson Piquet. He didn’t show but I did see his team-mate, a very young Michael Schumacher. Some of the F1 teams used to get involved in family days. One year there was a billycart racing day in North Adelaide and there was a F1 car there on display. I didn’t get to that but I did get to an event that was held near Tea Tree Plaza Shopping Centre another year. I think it was a Brabham that was on display that day. After the event was over the car was to go to the shopping centre to be displayed for the afternoon. Instead of loading it on to the waiting trailer someone said “Let’s just drive it there.” and they did! I loved seeing a Formula One car sitting at the traffic lights. It was good fun. On another occasion I stayed in town in the evening to see the Jordan F1 drivers, Eddie Irvine and Rubens Barrichello arriving at some event at the Adelaide Casino. I found the Jordan F1 car down near the Torrens Parade Ground guarded by several policemen, all with cameras I think. Security duty at the GP must have been a tough gig! One of the drivers drove the car up the road to the Casino. I liked that about the Adelaide GP; it didn’t take itself too seriously.

Bennetton on display at a shopping centre.
Benetton on display at a shopping centre.
Bennetton F1 car circa 1988-89
Benetton F1 car circa 1988-89
Brabham F1 car at a support event. Photo by D Jensen
Brabham F1 car at a support event. Photo by D Jensen


Brabham F1 car circa 1988-89
Brabham F1 car circa 1988-89

I didn’t go to the 1985 race though. We did the circuit walk and Hubby was given a general admission ticket for race day which was the Sunday. I went to visit my mum that day and my sister and I watched the race on TV together and both absolutely loved it. In fact we enjoyed it so much that when they replayed it later in the evening we watched it again. I was quite late leaving mum’s place because of that and caught a bus to the city after 10pm. Adelaide on a Sunday night was usually very quiet. I’d get off the bus in King William Street  and there would normally be so few people around that you could fire a cannon down the street and not hit anyone. At the railway station it would be the same, just a few people waiting for the last trains or buying food at the Pie Cart outside on North Terrace.  On this night though there were people and cars everywhere. There was a policeman directing the traffic at the intersection of King William Street and North Terrace. I had never seen that before at night.  The city had been transformed.

We bought tickets for the 1986 race as soon as they went on sale.


Oh yes, Ayrton Senna was on pole and the race was won by Keke Rosberg, father of Nico.

Further information:

Share Your World – 2014 Week 29

Share Your World – 2014 Week 29

HMAS Sheean 01 gnangarra.jpg
HMAS Sheean 01 gnangarra” by Gnangarra – Own work, digital photograph. Licensed under CC-BY-2.5-au
via Wikimedia Commons.

Have you ever been in a submarine?  If you haven’t, would you want to?

I have been on a submarine. It was when I was a teenager and there was one visiting Port Adelaide, not far from where I lived. I wanted to see what it was like but I found that climbing up and down ladders was too scary for me. I’ve avoided them since then.

Are you a listener or talker?

Good question. I think it depends on who I’m with. In a large group I don’t say much unless I know a lot of the people well but otherwise I guess I talk as much as the next person.

Do you prefer crunchy peanut butter or smooth peanut butter?   Anything with your peanut butter?

I like smooth and I don’t usually have it with anything. You don’t really need butter or margarine on bread with peanut butter but you will need something to stop it sticking to the roof of your mouth.

Have you ever been drunk?

I’ve never been dead drunk. I don’t like spirits so I only drink wine, cider or beer usually. I know I have been light-headed and probably tipsy but I don’t really drink much or often. I would not like to be so drunk that I didn’t know what I was doing. I like to be in control of myself._DSC3219_155web (2)

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I ended the past week with a visit to my sister where as usual we talked a lot, laughed a lot and sat up way too late. I don’t know what this week will have in store for me but I hope there will be a trip to the “big shops”, a doll dressing session with photos for my doll blog, visits from more wild birds to our garden and possibly the sight of the first jonquils as we have some that look ready to flower any time.


Five Favourite Things About Hobart

I was walking through the Hobart CBD yesterday and thinking about how much I like the city. Today, just for fun, I thought I’d make a list of a few of the  things that I like about Hobart. They are highly personal choices and the list is not in any particular order.

  1. Historic buildings – There are very few modernhigh rise buildings in Hobart. Instead there are a lot of interesting old ones ranging from Art Deco to Georgian.

    The Hobart City Council Offices.
    The Hobart City Council Offices.
  2. The waterfront- I love walking down by the docks. The fishing fleet is there, there are tourist boats, yachts, cruisers and historic wooden boats. In summer there are cruise ships, in winter ice breakers from the Antarctic.DSCN2166
  3. Salamanca Market – I’ve written about it before. It’s touristy I know but it’s colourful and interesting and I don’t get tired of it.

    Salamanca Market
    Salamanca Market
  4. Parliament House Lawns – A little patch of green outside Parliament House it became a favourite spot of mine when I discovered it had oak trees. My favourite time to be there is autumn.

    Parliament House Lawns
    Parliament House Lawns
  5. Cat & Fiddle Arcade – Every hour on the hour the clock in the arcade plays the tune of the nursery rhyme while animated figures re-enact it. If I’m in the area near the time I usually stop and watch.Cat & Fiddle Arcade

Share Your World – 2014 Week 28

Adelaide Christmas Pageant 2004 Snow White Float.jpg
Adelaide Christmas Pageant 2004 Snow White Float” by Alex Sims – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

Share Your World – 2014 Week 28

Have you ever been a participant in a parade? What did you do?

I have never been in a parade. I always wanted to be in John Martin’s Christmas Pageant which I loved watching but as I never worked at the store or played a musical instrument the chances of that happening were not great. I still think it would be fun to be in a parade of some kind though. I have been in a protest march for the first time recently and while that’s not really the same I am  glad that I did it.image Not Happy Jan #marchinmarch Hobart

If you were handed free opera tickets, would you go or sell them? Why?

I have to admit I would probably give them away or sell them. Opera is not my cup of tea. Musicals yes, I love them but for me opera is where “when the heroine is stabbed instead of bleeding she sings.”

Why did you start your blog?

I started my blog for a couple of reasons. One was that I had been asked as a part of my volunteer job at a local church to maintain a WordPress website and I wanted to learn more about blogging so I could do it better. I didn’t want to mess up the church website so I decided to start one of my own where I could experiment. Another reason was that since Yahoo GeoCities stopped hosting websites I hadn’t had an outlet for sharing my doll stories. I use Flickr for photos but Flickr has changed a lot recently and I didn’t feel it was a good medium for long descriptions any more. Lastly a family member commenting on a rather long Facebook post I’d done said “You ought to do a blog.” So I thought “Why not?” and here I am.

What is your favorite tradition? (family tradition, church tradition, whatever)

I like traditions so this is a hard one for me to pick. There are a number of things that I like to do every year, go and see the scarecrow competition entries for the Middleton Fair, Watch the start of the Sydney Hobart race on TV then go and see the yachts arrive in Hobart a few days later, Watch the Boxing Day Test (Cricket) match to mention a few traditions that have begun since we came to Tasmania. However Christmas traditions are my favourites, putting up the tree the weekend before Christmas, making mince pies, Christmas puddings and Christmas cake. I wouldn’t feel it was a proper Christmas without those things.

image mince pies
Mince Pies

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up

Last week I had the opportunity to take several photos I was really happy with. This week has started well with a visit to friends for a puppy cuddling session, they are socializing the puppies ready for when the go to new homes. This weekend I will be visiting my sister which I always look forward to.

The MV Cartela- Hobart’s Grand Old Lady

MV Cartela
MV Cartela in Hobart

One of the most well known sights on the Hobart waterfront is the historic ferry the MV Cartela. When I was working in Hobart I would see her most days at her mooring on Brooke Street Pier. Although I’d been on cruises on the Derwent on some of the smaller and more modern ferries Cartela was no longer making regular cruises by the time I first saw her. She was used for private charters such as weddings and New Year parties.  In  September of 2011 when I heard that there were to be cruises for the public over one weekend my sister and I made a point of going.

The interior of the MV Cartela September 2011
The interior of the MV Cartela September 2011
The piano
The piano
The bar
The bar

Sadly since then Cartela has not cruised the Derwent due to her deteriorating condition but there are plans to restore her to operating condition over the next four years. But before I tell you about that here is a bit of background information. The following two excerpt are from the Cartela website,

Cartela was built for Huon, Channel & Peninsula Steamship Co. Ltd. by well-known Battery Point shipbuilders Purdon & Featherstone in 1912.  She was designed to service all the communities along the estuary of the River Derwent, D’Entrecasteaux Channel and Tasman Peninsula at a time when the best, and sometimes only access, was by sea. A vessel like Cartela was often a remote community’s main point of contact with the rest of the world and the river steamer’s whistle was a signal for locals to meet the vessel at the wharf. [GW Cox, p. 1]

There are still older people in the Huon Valley who can remember seeing the Cartela tied up at Port Huon Wharf.

River ferries like Cartela were integral to the economies of isolated rural communities along the south-east Tasmanian coast, carrying passengers and general freight, and fruit, timber and butter and eggs for sale at the Hobart markets. Cartela was also used to break the 1919 maritime strike, transporting 4000 apple cases from Port Huon to Port Melbourne and returning with a load of general merchandise. [G W Cox, p. 58] Her role as a cargo vessel only ended in the 1950s when trucks began to take over from the ketches and river ferries.

During World War One the Cartela was requisitioned by the navy as an Examination Vessel (EV) to help protect the port of Hobart. She was commanded by three naval reserve lieutenants with a crew of mixed civilians and naval cadets. At the end of this post I’ve included an article from our local newspaper, “The Huon Valley News” which tell more about Cartela’s war service. According to the article the job of the EV’s was to steam out to any approaching vessel and enquire if it was a “Friend or Foe?” I can’t imagine what she was supposed to do if there had actually been an unfriendly vessel.

After she was released from her war duties in 1916 Cartela returned to her regular job of carrying freight and passengers. She participated in the popular although unofficial river ferry races on the Derwent River between 1919 and 1931 when the river steamers vied for the title of “Cock of the Derwent”.

The Cartela was bought by ferry operators Roche Brothers in 1951 and converted from steam to diesel. By this time Hobart’s eastern and western shores had been connected by a bridge and with better road access and higher car ownership there was not as much work for her or her sister ships. Cartela became more of a tourist vessel.

In 1975 the Tasman Bridge collapsed after one of its pylons was hit by freighter the Lake Illawarra. Twelve people died in the tragedy and the Hobart metropolitan area was effectively cut in half. Cartela was one of many ferries called in to transport passengers across the Derwent while the bridge was being repaired. It was not until 1977 that she was released from those duties and became a tourist vessel once again.

In 2009 the Roche brothers donated the Cartela to a not for profit organisation called Steamship Cartela Ltd. It is intended that she will be fully restored and that her original steam engine will be re-installed. The whole project will cost about four million dollars and take about four years. On June 26th Cartela left her berth at Brooke Street Pier for the last time to journey to Franklin on the Huon River which will be her home during the restoration.

I spotted Cartela at Port Huon Wharf the next day, she had been unable to complete the journey to Franklin as the facilities at her new berth were not quite ready. As I write this post she is still at Port Huon but I hope to have photos of her at Franklin very soon.

A beautiful winter day at Port Huon
A beautiful winter day at Port Huon
MV Cartela-Port Huon Wharf- July 2014
MV Cartela-Port Huon Wharf- July 2014
The weather changes quickly here.
The weather changes quickly here.

I have included a lot of links to articles with more detailed information about the Cartela and the restoration project that I found while writing this post. The official website has more as well as a great description of the Derwent River  steamer races, engineering details and a lot of great photos. Check it out. If you are an Australian resident and want to donate the project it is tax deductible. I am not affiliated with the project in any way. I just think it will be a great thing to see this grand old lady get a new lease of life. She is the last of the Hobart river steamers.


This article appeared in our local paper. The Huon Valley News
This article appeared in our local paper. The Huon Valley News
Front page of the local paper.
Front page of the local paper.