A Night at the Museum

A Trip to “The Queen Victoria Museum” or QVMAG

While I was on holidays with my friend Phillip we decided that we would go to the Queen Victoria Museum in Launceston to see the dinosaur display. We had seen a poster about it on a wall while we were shopping in Launceston one afternoon. When I told Vanda about our plans she mentioned that they were having some special night openings that we might enjoy. This appealed to us as we like going out at night and let’s face it there isn’t much to do anymore unless you like current movies or fine dining. Phillip and I are not into either so it’s a band if we are fortunate enough to find one or a pub meal and the pokies. We embraced the chance to do something out of the ordinary.

Years ago now we had wanted to see a display of dinosaurs and jumped into our car to go to one we thought was in a place called Mount Monster. It was a long drive and we did not see any signs pointed towards the dinosaur park we had heard about. We drove on several kilometres and no dinos to be seen anywhere. We would have been happy with just one in the end but we had to abandon the idea entirely. After driving what must have been close to one hundred kms from Adelaide it suddenly hit me that they had really meant Mount Monster was some ruddy great hill and not a dino park at all like Phillip had been told by some friends. Well we had a nice drive and a laugh about it at least. The day was not wasted. So fast forward nearly thirty years and we finally got to see some.

Well I have to say we were both very impressed. The dinos moved and roared and really looked authentic. They even blinked. They had done a wonderful job in creating them and making them move. Below is a slide show of the dinosaurs. I apologise for not knowing the correct names of the dinos. I did not write them down.

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There was a lot more going on at the museum apart from the dinosaur display. There were telescopes outside and we were able to view Jupiter and Saturn. I was amazed that I could actually see the rings around Saturn when it was billions of miles away. The astronomers said they were hobbyists and were only too happy to answer any questions put to them about their interest. It was a full moon too so we were treated to the beauty of the moon as well since it was a very clear night. It was freezing queueing for the telescopes so we went to the cafe inside the museum afterwards and treated ourselves to hot chocolate and cake.

Other things going on were lectures on the stars and science and planetarium shows. I would have loved to have seen the Apollo 11 display but it was not on that night and since Launceston was 113 km from my house I did not want to drive back again as we had already been there for shopping and the casino. I should say that all of this was for National Science Week and was well worth the long drive there and back. Below are some images of the program I saved from the event for anyone who would like to see what else was on at the museum during National Science Week last in August of this year. I think you can just about read the little writing on the program.

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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.

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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