More Museums in Launceston

Tram Shelter

English: Restored no.29 tram in Launceston Tra...
English: Restored no.29 tram in Launceston Tramway Museum, Inveresk Launceston Tasmania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my previous post about the QVMAG at Inveresk I mentioned that  we visited a couple of other museums in the area. One was the Launceston Tramway Museum

The museum is located in the Inveresk Precinct just a few steps away from the QVMAG so it is easy to do both in the same visit if you wish. The Museum is run by a non profit organisation and staffed by volunteers. The three that we met during our visit were all friendly and enthusiastic about their work there. It is a small museum but packs a lot of information inside it and is well worth the admission fee.

History

The Launceston tram system only operated for a bit over forty years. It opened in 1911 and closed in December of 1952 when the trams were briefly replaced with trolley buses. Twenty nine trams were built in Launceston over a period of twenty years and of those, eight are in the museum. One, number 29, is restored and in runs on a short section of track from the old railway station to the site of the old railway roundhouse and turntable next to Aurora Stadium.

When the trams were retired they were available for sale by tender. The members of the museum have researched what happened to each one and there is a display showing the second career of each tram with its new owners. This was probably my favourite part and must have taken some excellent detective work.

Launceston_0083Things to See

As well as trams both restored and unrestored there is good use made of audio visuals to describe life on the trams. It certainly was not easy being a tram conductor. If you were so unfortunate as to be short when the tickets were counted you would have to make up the money from your own pay. Women did not work on the Launceston trams during war time as they did in Hobart as the management of the day said that they could not afford to build the facilities ladies would require.

The tram ride is well worth doing. We boarded outside the museum entrance next to The Blue Bar Cafe and rode up to where the old railway roundhouse once stood behind QVMAG and Aurora Stadium. Then we rode back as far as the old Launceston Station and then back to the museum entrance. The usual practice is to do the trip twice, the second time with a soundtrack of voices and other sounds from the past. However on the afternoon we travelled they didn’t do this. I didn’t mind as we chatted to the volunteers and enjoyed the clickety clack of the tram. Our volunteer conductor told us that an extension of the tram line is planned to nearby Lindsay St and Kings Wharf where there is a cafe. When that is complete they will be able to offer a much longer ride. I am certainly looking forward to that!

The Facts

The Launceston Tramway Museum is open:

MAY TO OCTOBER – 10.00am to 4.00pm, four days a week. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

NOVEMBER TO APRIL – 10.00am to 4.00pm, five days a week. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Admission to the museum is $10 for adults, $8 for concession holders and $5 for children. There is also a $25 family ticket

This does not include the price of the tram ride which seems to be variable during winter.  We were charged $5 each but in summer I think it is $10 and when the extension is completed will probably be a little more. Check their website for up to date information on this. http://www.ltms.org.au/LTMS/Home.html

National Automobile Museum of Tasmania

The other museum we visited was the National Automobile Museum which is located on the fringe of Launceston’s City Park. This is another nicely arranged museum with a static display of cars and motorcycles and  changing exhibitions to feature different marques. On our visit there was a display of Rover’s.

image Rover
Part of an exhibiton of Rover’s

We enjoyed the display of muscle cars from the 70s although as both Naomi and I commented it’s becoming a regular occurrence for us to see things that are familiar to us from our youth in museums!

image muscle cars
Muscle cars
image falcon GT
Ford Falcon GT
image Torana
Torana

The Dick Johnson race car brought back some memories too.

Launceston_0104_edited-1

I also liked the cute little Messerschmitt car and who could resist a mini MG?

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Messerschmitt

image MG's
I love this mini sized MG.

The Facts

If you would like to visit the museum it is open every day except Christmas Day between 9am-5pm (10am-4pm in winter) at the corner of Willis and Cimitiere Streets, Launceston.

Admission:

  • Adults $11.75
  • Seniors $9.00
  • Children Under 16 $6.50
  • Family $30.00
  • Annual Admission Pass $29.50

Their website is worth checking out too as it has plenty of photos from previous exhibitions. http://www.namt.com.au/

image motorcycle display
Motorcycles

An Open Letter to Journalists at News Ltd

Victoria says what I feel too but much better.

Queen Victoria

KickthisMobOutDear News Ltd Journalists,

I’m writing you this letter on behalf of all Australians. That includes everyone who can vote in the upcoming election, as well as those too young to have a say in their own future. I wanted to let you know that your behaviour throughout the election campaign has been appalling. I know you know as well as I do that it’s not the role of a journalist to campaign for a political party. Journalists often justify their bias by saying that opinion pieces can be whatever they want them to be – whether or not they’re biased, unbalanced, untrue, or part of a conspiracy on behalf of your boss to get rid of the NBN, which threatens his business interests. But you’re not just contributing opinion pieces and amateur PhotoShopped front page images, denigrating the target of your smear campaign. You’re also contributing news articles, designed…

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QVMAG at Inveresk

Image QVMAG Inveresk entrance
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery at Inveresk, Launceston

It’s not very often that I get to visit the northern part of Tasmania but last week I was lucky enough to make two trips to Launceston with my sister. We spent a lot of that time visiting museums.

One that I had been wanting to visit for a long time was the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery which is housed in the old railway workshops at Inveresk just outside the CBD.  When I first visited Tasmania in the late 1990’s the Inveresk Precinct as it is now known had not yet been developed. I was looking for the old railway station and when I found it I discovered that the abandoned workshop site was to be redeveloped but at that stage there was nothing there so I went for a walk around the outside of the buildings. The museum and art gallery were at that time housed in a lovely old building in Wellington St, Royal Park which is just a stone’s throw from the CBD. It  has since been restored and since 2011 it houses the art collection while the museum collection including the Planeterium relocated to the Inveresk site.

image Dinosaur display
Dinosaur Display

 

Tasmanian Connection

The first thing that impressed me when we walked into the museum was that admission is free. You do have to pay for the Planetarium but I don’t think it was expensive. As we had a lot to pack into our day we didn’t stay for a show but I certainly intend to on a future visit. The museum is divided up into sections and the first one people usually visit is The Tasmanian Connection. This has the dinosaurs as seen above. There is a special section of animals only found in Tasmania and you can also see other parts of Tasmanian life including a display of old bicycles, bi planes and even an old caravan. The displays are interactive, press a button on the display panel for more information about different types of animals for example.

image bicycle display
Old Bicycles

 

For Kids

The next section we visited was The Phenomena Factory. This is really for kids but we big kids enjoyed it too. It has a lot of fun things to try. There is a visual perception test, a rocket launcher, a board game depicting the hazards faced by insects and various other things. Unfortunately a few of the exhibits were out of order which I suppose is unavoidable in an area frequented by kids large and small. I definitely recommend it though.

There is a theaterette in this part of the museum too showing films at various times of day. We didn’t stop for these but again I’ll check them out next time I’m there.

Astronomy

Also in the main building is the astronomy display which is free to visit and the Planetarium which isn’t. The astronomy display has information and photos about telescopes in Tasmania.

Railways

The rest of the main building is devoted to the railway display. This is not a display of locomotives although there are a couple. Most of those are in the Tasmanian Transport Museum at Glenorchy which I referred to in my Model Railway post.

Narrow gauge steam locomotive
Narrow gauge steam locomotive
TGR "Y" Class diesel
TGR “Y” Class diesel

This display is more about railways in Tasmania and the people who worked on them.

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Signs from around the workshops
image display
The Paint Shop
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The Railway Workshops banner.

Outside in the courtyard you can walk around the rest of the buildings. Most of them are not open to the public but have interpretive panels to explain what was done in each of them, the age of the building and sometimes reminisces of former employees. As my sister and I both worked at the old railcar depot in Adelaide for some years  this was a bit nostalgic for us as we recalled the good and bad times of our days as cleaners there. Inveresk is more like South Australia’s Islington Workshops than the railcar depot of course. I liked that no attempt had been made to improve or embellish the original buildings. They were mostly rusty corrugated iron. One shed was open to walk through on a boardwalk and had the sounds of the machinery playing in the background. You could imagine how it would have been on a hot day.

image workshop
The old workshops
Image iron shed
Rusty Iron
image interior shed
Inside one of the workshops. Inveresk
A former worker returned to his old work site.
A former worker returned to his old work site.

Now a few practical details if you are planning to visit and I recommend that you do. There is a website with all the information you need: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/qvmag/ but also keep in mind the following. You can take photographs but in some areas flash is not permitted. There is a museum shop which is quite good and not overly expensive.

Food

Although there is a cafe on site when we visited it was empty and up for lease. I did see a drink vending machine. We asked where we could get lunch and a staff member recommended the Blue Bar Cafe which is nearby at 2 Invermay Road. http://www.bluecafebar.com.au/ however when we arrived on a Friday lunchtime it was very busy and as we hadn’t made a booking we were directed to picnic tables outside, alright with us as the noise was incredible but when we saw the menu we decided it was way too upmarket for us and left. My suggestion for a cheap lunch would be to go across Invermay Road and you will find the Gourmet Bakery who have very nice pies and pasties. I also saw a smallgoods place selling amongst other things Blackforest Cake and another place selling baked potatoes so you don’t have to go hungry.

Transport

Parking is very easy, it is metered but you can park all day for only $3. My suggestion would be to do that and use the  free Tiger Bus to go to the CBD as it would be much cheaper than parking in the city carparks. We spent $13 parking for a similar amount of time at the car park in Paterson Street on another visit. In fact the CBD is within walking distance of the museum which is another option if you are not weighed down with gear. The Tiger Bus is operated by the council and runs Monday to Friday and weekends in December. http://www.launceston.tas.gov.au/lcc/index.php?c=284

Lastly, the Inveresk Precinct is also home to a college and Aurora Stadium so it may get busy at times especially if there is an AFL football match on.

In my next post I will talk about two other interesting Launceston Museums.

Model Railways

Image Lego railway
Lego Railway

Today we went to the Hobart Model Railway Show. I didn’t get to the 2012 show but normally I go every year.

I have always loved trains, in fact some of my earliest memories involve them. I was lucky too that my parents gave me a train set when I was a child. I loved it. I can still see that big red Triang Hornby box with a picture of a wonderful model railway on the front. It had a locomotive called “Princess Victoria and three maroon and yellow carriages. I loved all the little bits that went with it. The signals, the station with the tiny station staff and passengers, the extra bits of track that came in an X or Y shape fascinated me. For a while we lived in a council house that had a small room with a raised wooden platform, maybe it was meant to put a mattress on, anyway it became our playroom and there we set up the train set, our toy farms, zoo and dollshouses. It wasn’t all to scale but my sister and I would spend hours playing with it all.

One summer when we were in Clacton On Sea for our summer holidays mum took us to a model railway and dollshouse exhibition at the town hall. I don’t remember a  lot about it now but I do remember how much I liked it and I still love visiting model railways and dollshouse exhibitions to this day.

I have a particular affection for British layouts and especially for Hornby trains because of those early experiences but I have seen model layouts based on real and imaginary places in other countries that I’ve been very impressed with.

Image Hornby Layout
Hornby Trains, some of the buildings are tins.

One publicly exhibited model railways that I remember well was at the Royal Adelaide Show every year for many years. It was called “Mini City” and was a European layout. You had to pay to go in but could stay as long as you liked. It was a big layout with a big city station, countryside with farms, a church with a wedding, an airport, a cable car and more. They would dim the lights to simulate night and even after a few years of seeing it I still enjoyed the spectacle.

Image model railway
An American style layout. I liked this signage.

Probably the best model railways I have ever visited was right here in Hobart. It was called Alpenrail and operated in Claremont for many years. It was based on Switzerland and was so accurate that the operator, Rudi,  told us that he had visitors from there who recognised places near their home in the model.  It was a big layout and there was a lot to see in it. In fact it was just now as I was researching links for this post that I discovered that it was now closed. I have included a link to the history site on their webpage although I don’t know how much longer it will be there.

http://www.alpenrail.com.au/html/history.html.

There used to be a DVD available about how the railway was built but I don’t know if you can still buy it except perhaps on the secondhand market.

Model Railways are great fun for young and old. Children enjoy seeing a tiny world and probably just like I did they wish they were tiny themselves and could go there. Adults can enjoy the accuracy of the modelling, reliving their childhoods or just the whimsy of some layouts. There are different types of modellers, for some it is all about the scenery, others like to model a particular place and time and are particular that the trains should run to a “real” timetable. Others have a favourite gauge, Z, N, HO/OO or the large O gauge garden railways. Thomas the Tank Engine is nearly always featured and there is often a Lego Railway which children enjoy.

Image Thomas and wagons
Thomas The Tank Engine Layout 2011

Some of my photos were taken at this year’s Model Railways Show and some from previous years.

Image scenery
An English village with the High Street and passengers waiting for the bus.
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Brighton Junction-A Tasrail layout.
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Tasrail Locomotives on the “East Tamar” layout.

I have mixed feelings about Australian model layouts. This year’s theme appeared to be modelling Tasmanian railways and I saw some very good ones depicting Tasrail when it was much busier than today. I liked “Brighton Junction” and “East Tamar” especially. Seeing familiar locomotives from the SAR or AN like the ones I grew up amongst is nice but I have to admit that I don’t find the country layouts nearly as interesting to examine as the European and British style ones with their towns crammed with activities and different types of scenery. I guess I am a scenery buff. I do appreciate the modelling skills needed to make Australian scenery and buildings as they often have to be made “from scratch”.

Away from the main exhibits were the larger steam engines built by enthusiasts who proudly fired them up. I was struck by how miniature railways always seem to appeal most to the very young and the not so young.

Image model builders
“Engineers” enjoying a chat while they show off their exhibits.

The Hobart Model Railway Show is on for two days every August. Think about paying a visit next year.

Image-circus wagon
These lions are about to escape!
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See you next year!

This is me-Myer Briggs Testing

I first heard of the Myer Briggs personality types years ago when I was doing a work related course. It was one of the few things about the course that I found interesting and enjoyable. I was on the course because my supervisor said I had to be, no other reason.

There we were, an assorted group of people from TransAdelaide where I was working at the time, clerical people, mechanics, management types and a handful of us cleaners feeling rather out of our depth.

I had always considered myself an introvert but it was interesting to learn that there are many different types of introverts and I was quite surprised to discover that several people who I had considered quite outgoing were introverts in some situations. It also helped me to understand why I had trouble getting along with some management types who were always thinking of the “Big Picture”.

Today out of curiousity I took an online test wondering if the results would be the same. They were and I think that the things I’ve done in my life bear out the accuracy of the results.

After I left TransAdelaide (now Adelaide Metro) I decided I’d enjoy working in hospitality. I got a job as a housekeeper in an Adelaide apartment hotel and when we moved to Tasmania in 2002 I found a similar job in Hobart. Later I became a volunteer at a community radio station and now I volunteer as an office assistant and cleaner at a church in my town.

This is me.

ISFJ – “Conservator“. Desires to be of service and to minister to individual needs – very loyal. 13.8% of total population.

Take Free Jung Personality Test
Personality Test by SimilarMinds.com

Further information:

http://www.personalitypage.com/html/info.html

Daily Prompt: There’s No Place Like Home

There’s No Place Like Home

I think that I would like to live a semi nomadic life travelling often but always returning to home base. I do often daydream about travelling to places near and far. I love planning trips both real and imaginary and I love the anticpation of setting off on a journey. There are still many places I’d love to see.

Checking the Route
Checking the Route
On The Road
On The Road

I often see “Grey Nomads” camped in a park near where I live and I think that would be a great way to travel spending as much or as little time in a place as you wish and carrying a little bit of home with you wherever you go.

However I could never be a total nomad because I would miss my stuff. I’d miss having enough space to work on scrapbooking projects. I’d miss my doll collection and I’d be bound to suddenly think of some book sitting on the bookshelf at home that I wanted to read again. I’d miss curling up in a familiar armchair in a familiar room and feeling relaxed and contented. Seeing new places and revisiting old ones is wonderful but I think your mind can only take in so many new sights at a time and then you can’t absorb any more till you have digested all you have seen. Going home is a chance to reflect and recharge before setting off again.

Spirit of Tasmania ferry
Spirit of Tasmania ferry

Travel – Riding the Bus

It’s been a while since I wrote anything for this blog. I have been busily blogging away in my head but that is as far as things have got as life, in the form of a broken bed and the need to renovate the bedroom before it is replaced, intervened.

One of the things that I often find myself thinking about when I have time to daydream is travel. Not necessarily travel to faraway places although I do think about that a lot but just about the pleasure I get from journeys no matter how short or mundane they may be. This is particularly true if I travel alone.  I often think that the best part of a journey is the beginning, the sense of anticipation you get from setting out to see something new and the departure from the daily routine.

The Redline Bus Depot in Hobart doesn’t have the atmosphere of an international airport or one of the great railway stations of the world but it is the starting place for one of my most frequent journeys the 80 kilometre trip to Oatlands that I make every month or so.

I usually catch the Launceston bus that goes at 5:30pm. At this time of year by the time I arrive at the Depot it is nearly dark. There is not much to the place, a large room with a row of seats for waiting passengers, a vending machine and a television with the sound turned down. In summer I can watch the cricket while I wait for my bus but in winter it’s generally more interesting to read a copy of “Tasmanian Travelways” from the pile on the table or as most passengers do play with their phones or iPads.

The usual passengers on a Friday evening are a mixed bunch. There are unaccompanied children being sent to spend the weekend with their fathers, teens going to sports events in Launceston, university students going home for the weekend, mothers with small children and older people from the country going home after a day of shopping and doctor’s appointments in Hobart.

Around 5:15pm the driver starts loading luggage onto the bus. It’s usually the same driver and I say hello to him when he picks up my bag. Once most of the luggage is loaded we are allowed to board. I like to sit near the front of the bus as my stop is only a bit over an hour away and I always take a window seat if I can get it. Usually the bus is full and I have a seat mate. Sometimes we’ll chat but more often we don’t.

The bus departs and the driver goes into his usual spiel about the features of the bus. He reminds everyone that they are required by law to wear their seatbelts. Hardly anyone does. As we make our way through the early evening traffic we make a couple of stops to pick up more passengers. It’s too dark to see the view as we go over the Bridgewater Bridge but the successive bumps in the road tell me when we’ve reached it. Once we get on to the new Brighton bypass I tend to lose my sense of direction in the dark. There is not much to see and in the dimmed lighting most passengers doze including me.

I wake up with a start, it’s dark and I have to get my bearings. Usually we are still twenty minutes or more from Oatlands. I can feel that the bus is climbing and decide that we are probably somewhere around Constitution Hill one of the steeper parts of the Midland Highway.

Finally the bus turns off the highway and takes the road into Oatlands. I try to see into the window of the supermarket as we go down the High Street as I know my sister is in there working. Occasionally I catch a glimpse of her. The bus stops outside the pub and I say goodbye to the driver before walking the few metres to her house. On Monday morning I will be heading home on a bus full of sleepy people from Devonport and Launceston and will be able to enjoy the journey in daylight.

Council Offices-snow
A snowy day in Oatlands