Here is a more cheery post than I’ve done recently. Today is the first day of the Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart. It is only on once every two years so I didn’t want to miss it. As I was not sure if the bus would be running from Geeveston I opted to stay an extra day with Matt and Ally and go from their place leaving Matt to doggy sit Cindy.
I got a ride to town with Ally who had to work and arrived around 11:30am. Of course, as it was the first day, not all the boats had arrived and many were making their way into the harbour when I arrived. The tall ships that are usually on display were not due until the afternoon and unfortunately, I was not able to stay to see them.
There were still a lot of very nice ones to see though. Some were quite old but a lot of the ones that I saw were built in the last forty years. I’m sorry but I have a hard time thinking of something from the 1990s as old.
I walked around for a couple of hours taking photos of the ones that I liked best. It was already quite busy although still easy to get a seat in the food area where I stopped to get a baked potato for lunch. At this point, I thought I should check on Cindy and messaged Matt. He said that she had been howling a lot and of course I immediately felt guilty for leaving her and cut my visit short.
I did manage to take more than 50 photos though. Here are some of them.
Messing about in boats
MV Goolara built 1958
Pelican and Curlew two boats named for birds.
Brittania one of the older boats I saw.
Moored at Elizabeth St Pier
I thought that the man in this boat was called Gus but actually it is the name of the boat.
I have not written an update for a day or two as I am now staying with friends near Hobart quite some distance from the bushfires.
In the Huon Valley, the situation is as bad as ever though. There has been no let up in the hot weather and fires are creeping closer and closer to the townships of Geeveston, Port Huon, Castle Forbes Bay, and Franklin as well as Glen Huon and Judbury and threatening some other places further south. All of my friends in the Huon have relocated thank goodness and we are all now just waiting for this to be over so we can go home and see what is left. So far I believe my house is OK but I worry for friends who live in more rural properties closer to the bush.
I’ve always been proud of the fact that the community here is very caring and in most cases this crises has brought out the best in people, first and foremost the volunteer firefighters but also those people who are volunteering at the evacuation centre, cooking for the evacuees and the firies and those who helped people relocate their animals to safer places until it became too dangerous to drive south to get them.
I also know of many people who have taken in not only friends and family but anyone who needed somewhere to go. One of my friends has three families staying with her and she is making food to send to the evacuations centre.
I also know of people who have taken on the care of any remaining animals for friends and neighbours. At times like this social media is at it’s best helping to connect people and providing information although of course, it can also be a hotbed of rumours, you have to be careful what information you take notice of.
Sadly there are a few lowlifes about who will take advantage of the situation but with so few people left in the area, neighbours are quick to notice anyone behaving suspiciously and report it.
No new pictures from me today. Just another reminder of what a lovely place the Huon Valley is.
A lot has happened since I wrote my update yesterday. On Sunday afternoon the winds picked up and in the early evening, the area where I was staying with friends was put on emergency alert as well.
It was unpleasantly smoky. My friends decided that we should go somewhere safer for the night. We piled into two vehicles with three dogs, Polly in her carrier, suitcases, and a heap of blankets and pillows and drove down to the foreshore at Franklin. It was not as windy or as smoky there and we had some fish and chips from a local shop before settling in for the night.
I have to say it was not the pleasantest night I’ve experienced. Cindy has been very upset and clingy since we left home. If she is not with me she cries. Each of us settled on a seat with a dog beside us and tried to sleep a bit. It was windy in the night and Cindy was restless. I had to get up once and get her some water but after that, she went to sleep.
At dawn, I got up to give her some fresh air, also Polly who was squeezed into the back with the luggage. She didn’t sound too happy and as I didn’t dare take her out of her cage I put the back up so she could at least get some fresh air. Under other circumstances, I would have been happy to be on the river at dawn as all the ducks woke up and a couple of swans drifted by with a flotilla of cygnets. My camera was buried somewhere in the car and my phone battery almost dead so no pictures I’m afraid.
From what we could find out the fire situation was no better but my friends decided to go back to their house for a few forgotten items. It was even smokier and I was frankly not that happy about returning to the house. As we discussed various accommodation options available to us I said that I would call my friends Matt and Ally to see if I could go to their place. They had offered to have me earlier in the week but I wasn’t able to get a ride out of Geeveston then.
I was very relieved that they were happy to come all the way to Huonville to fetch me and my friends drove me there about an hour later. I was very relieved to be on my way but worried about my friends who were talking about staying on at their home. I was very relieved when I sent them a message later in the day to hear that they had left to stay with a friend outside the Huon Valley.
This evening the situation in the Huon is still very bad. Geeveston was evacuated this afternoon and later police door-knocked in Port Huon to tell people to leave. At this stage, I don’t know if I will have a house to go home to but I’m safe, my pets are safe and all my friends made it to safer places even though I feel some of them left it too long to go. It’s also good to know that up to this point no lives have been lost. Let’s hope it stays that way.
As I have no new photos to share here are some favourite photos of Geeveston, Port Huon and Franklin.
We have a lot of rivers in Tasmania, so many that much of our power comes from hydro-electric power plants.
It was the proposed damming of a river, the Franklin, in the southwest of the state that led to the blockade of the river in the summer of 1982-83. It is quite an involved story starting further back when the Hydro-Electric Commission (HEC) built a dam which caused the flooding of Lake Pedder, a renowned beauty spot, in 1972.
When the state government of the day proposed to dam the Franklin River the newly formed Tasmanian Wilderness Society began their campaign to save it. It’s a long story that has more to do with politics than with rivers but it is interesting reading so I’ll include a link to an article by Professor Clive Hamilton who tells the story much better than I can.
Below is Peter Dombrovskis famous photo taken on the Franklin and used by the Tasmanian Wilderness Society to publicise the issue.
By National Library of Australia nla.pic-an6631500-v, Fair use, Link
I do remember the blockade. We were still living in South Australia and every night the news would have stories sent from this tiny place, Strahan, that we had never heard of before then. Many celebrities, Australian and international including Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Barry Humphries, Eartha Kitt, Dick Smith, and David Bellamy took part in the blockade beside ordinary people from every state in Australia. David and I watched the news and cheered for the blockaders many of whom were arrested and when they refused to keep away from the river as part of their bail conditions were removed to jail in Hobart.
In the end, a Federal Labor government was elected in early 1983 and one of their first acts was to stop the dam from being built.
When we first visited Strahan many years later I learned at the visitor centre how the whole issue had divided families. To this day there are still people who believe that dam should have been built but the Franklin is still a wild river. I’ve never seen it but I’m happy knowing it is there. I have cruised on the Gordon River which flows into it. The point where the two rivers join was one of the proposed sites for the dam.
As I had some time before my bus went after photographing the yachts I decided to visit The Taste of Tasmania. The Taste as we usually call it is held in and around one of the old wharf sheds every year at this time. As the name implies it is a food festival. Admittance is free, they did toy with an entrance fee a few years back but it was very unpopular.
When I first visited the Taste in the early 2000’s it was contained in the old No. 1 shed and the adjacent waterfront area. Over the years it has grown so much that it has spread on to the adjacent Salamanca and Parliament lawns.
I was pleased to see that there was lots of seating in the shade in these areas as in fine weather they are a great alternative to the big shed. I don’t go to The Taste every year. I’m not what you would call a foodie and I don’t like queueing for food when it is busy although I like to support the local producers. The shed can be humid and noisy and the seating is at long communal tables. I really dislike eating with strangers. However, all the new seating options meant that it was not as crowded and I was even able to grab one of the coveted waterside tables and have it more or less to myself.
I was also pleased to see that the venue had plenty of recycling bins and that most of the plates and cutlery were the recyclable type. There was also free drinking water available so people could fill their water bottles.
The food, well there was a huge variety, locally made smallgoods, seafood Ethiopian, Korean, Indonesian, you name it and it was probably there. There were also locally made ice creams, individual Pavlovas, cakes, and of course beer, cider, wines etc. It was rather expensive for me though. I certainly can’t afford to stay all day trying different things when hardly anything was under $10 a serve. In the end, because I was hungry I had a Korean pork belly bun which was nice and a Raspberry Delight, local raspberries with locally made Valhalla ice cream and whipped cream on top. I love these ice creams with fresh fruit and usually treat myself to one in the summer.
There are stages set around the area where live entertainment is presented and there are things set up for kids to do so it is a good day out especially combined with the other activities on the waterfront, harbour cruises, motorcycle rides, horse and carriage rides and the yachts of course.
Last Friday evening we had our town Christmas Parade which was put on by the local fire brigade and participated in by local schools, clubs and businesses. We were lucky with the weather, the skies were black but it didn’t rain.
I was in town quite a while before the parade began so I took some photos of the Christmas windows in Church Street and a couple of vehicles being prepared.
The crowds seemed to be down a bit this year although it often seems like half the town is in the parade anyway. I chose a different spot from previous years where I could photograph the floats as they entered the main street.
Our Op Shop had a float again this year and we were very pleased to be named the best motorised float. I didn’t ride on it because I wanted to go into the town to take photos.