Tour of Tasmania March 2023
August Newsletter No 6.
Welcome to the August Newsletter.
Arrangements for the Rally are progressing well. We hope you are as excited about the Rally as we are. We have 67 Entries, 56 Rileys and 137 people booked for the Rally.
All of our Dinners are at or close to capacity. Richard & Louise Gotch, our Tasmanian Committee members are doing a great job checking out venues and routes.
After our stay in Launceston, we depart for Devonport and The Spirit of Tasmania for our overnight voyage back to Victoria, however there is still lots to do on our last day in Tasmania. We will take some minor roads and travel through a number of small towns to Deloraine. From Deloraine we head to Devonport.
The towns of Carrick, Hagley, Westbury and Exton lie on the Meander Valley Highway. There are a large number of historic Inns, churches and homes along this route. Our first port of call will be Carrick. Here we with visit a private car collection, which should be a most interesting visit. Hagley is home to a number of Hazelnut growers. Westbury has been described as Australia’s most English town due to its charming streetscape includes a village green, a town common, a stately bluestone church, hedgerows and lanes, charming inns and stables, and restored civic buildings.
Pearn’s Steam World (at Westbury) displays the largest collection of steam engine in the Southern Hemisphere as well as fire engines, tractors, water carts and steam rollers. Open 10-3. Next door to Steam World is the Western Tiers Distillery. At the east end of town, the Westbury Maze is a traditional privet-hedge maze with 1km+ of paths and has an on-site café.
Doloraine is a riverside town, with good bakery and cafés.
Visit the Information Centre which houses the massive 3D Silk Artwork entitled YARNS, which was created by more than 300 people, took 10,000 hours and 200 metres of silk. An audio-visual presentation takes place every 30 mins. Riley Rally attendees will get discounted entry. Also visit the museum located in a house built in 1856. Walk the street and follow the Sculpture Trail with sculptures every 20-50 metres. Cross the Meander River on the Pedestrian Suspension Bridge.
For those with RM’s a visit to the Cruzin’ 50’s Diner would make a great photo opportunity.
Heading north from Deloraine, we have a series of food related stops which you may choose to partake of. First the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Café and Elizabeth Town Café.
Angrove Cheese Diary Door is next .A great stop to sample and purchase some locally made cheese and other produce. (They do a great smoked cheddar).
Huon Aquaculture Factory Store is just before Sassafras.
Then who can go past the House of Anvers– Belgium chocolates at their best. Sample before you buy the fine couverture chocolates, truffles, pralines, fudges and more. The café serves Belgium waffles, tea & coffee and a selection of cakes, (chocolate cakes especially).
Latrobe has a number of attractions.
It is a stop for those needed their last fix of antique and Bric ‘n Brac shops.
The Courthouse Museum contains over 600 photographs and prints which examine the chronological events of the town and surrounding area.
Does the name David Foster ring a bell? That’s right wood chopping! The Australian Axeman’s Hall of Fame is located at the west end of town on the banks of the river. Open: 11.00am – 3.00pm at Bell’s Parade where the first wood chopping championship was held in 1891. The Platypus Interpretation Centre (located within the Axeman’s Hall of Fame) is distinguishable by a large chisel and chainsaw-carved depiction of a platypus. The Interpretation Centre holds a taxidermic collection of Tasmanian species, live native fish and insects on display.
From Latrobe head to Devonport via Spreyton to pick up some juice at Spreyton Fresh 289 Tarleton Road South Spreyton, or some cider at Spreyton Cider 6 Melrose drive Spreyton. Need to replace that Stock whip or that leather belt that seems to have “shrunk” over the last 10 days, call in at Simon Martin Whips & Leathercraft 306 Mersey Main Rd, Spreyton.
At this stage the Spirit of Tasmania sails at 9.00pm, so check-in will not open until 6.30pm, so we have the afternoon to explore Devonport which has a number of interesting attractions for your last afternoon in Tasmania.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of attractions that will not be open on a Friday. These are: The National Trust building Home Hill (1916) family home of Australian Prime Minister Joseph Lyons, and Tiagarra Aboriginal Culture Centre
Devonport Regional Gallery 145-151 Rooke Street Devonport open to 5pm
The Devonport City Council’s Permanent Collection is rich and diverse, comprising textiles, ceramics, glass, sculpture, paintings and works on paper by iconic Tasmanian and Australian artists. After several decades of growth and change, Devonport Regional Gallery’s Art Collection Policy was developed to ensure a collection that is cohesive, focused and significant within Tasmania. Subsequently, the Collection has become a unique, vibrant and accumulative record of professional artistic activity within Tasmania. In addition to these contemporary Tasmanian works, the gallery also holds the well-known Robinson Collection of photographic negatives, the Moon Collection of nineteenth century textiles and decorative arts, and a large number of paintings by renowned North-West coast artist Owen Lade.
Other notable works include that of David Boyd, John Olsen, Clifton Pugh, Lloyd Rees, George Lambert, John Coburn, Edith Holmes.
Bass Strait Maritime Centre & Museum 6 Gloucester Avenue, Devonport open 10am -3pm
The museum houses permanent and temporary exhibition spaces. Each room within the Harbour Master’s Residence has a different theme, exploring Devonport’s local history or the maritime history of the Bass Strait. They hold the only builder’s models of the Empress of Australia and the Princess of Tasmania. Did you know Devonport’s cement and limestone industry contributed to the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge? Or, that the first steam car in the southern hemisphere was built in Devonport? Many more stories and interactive displays are to be found within.
The Bass Strait Maritime Centre’s Collection houses artefacts, stories and is a source of knowledge, ideas, stories and memories. It is a repository developed as a resource to inspire and educate the community and visitors. A key focus of the collection is to contribute to the interpretation and preservation of the history and maritime heritage of the Devonport region and its connection with the Bass Strait.
The collection includes items associated with: Local history, Maritime History, Bass Strait Transport, Bass Strait Fishing, Communication, Shipwrecks, Naval History, Geographic region/Historical period.
If you are looking for some tranquillity and quiet time before re-joining the rat race you may want to consider the following.
Mersey Bluff Lighthouse standing at the mouth of the Mersey River near Devonport is unusual in Australia with its distinctive vertical red striped day mark. It was constructed in 1889 by
P Davern under contract to the Hobart Marine Board. It is of brick construction on a stone base. The lightstation originally included two brick houses, a signal shed, tide house and flagpole. Following conversion to automatic operation in 1920 and demanning the houses were sold to the Devonport Municipality in 1922. The houses were demolished in 1958 and 1961 respectively.
The Elm Forest is located in Don Heads Rd, Don (west side of the Don River) and is a small patch of woods by the site of the original Don Village colonial settlement of the 19th century. Remains of the docks and wharfs can be seen in the riverbed. (Don is just west of Devonport)
Tasmanian Arboretum 46 Old Tramway Rd, Eugenana open to 5pm (12km south of Devonport via Spreyton or 15km via Don and Forthside). The arboretum is a botanic garden of trees. This collection of around 5,300 living trees comprising of about 1,500 individual species of the temperate world in a beautiful and peaceful landscape. Within the 66-ha park its the natural heritage of the Eugenana limestone beds and the marks of colonial and early Federation industrial endeavours. The Tree Park Kiosk is open 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Alternatively a drive along the coast road from Devonport to Ulverstone and Penguin is a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.
For our last Riley Fix for the Rally, we have arranged a visit the Don River Railway and a viewing the Riley Railcar. Located in Forth Rd Don, only a few minutes west of Devonport, they are open until 4pm.
This engine is from one of the four Riley Railcars brought into Tasmania. This engine is 1910 Vintage
The site consists of: the railway sheds with many restored locomotive and carriage, the museum and gift shop are full of memories from the past including photos and artifacts used on the Tasmanian rail system such as badges, photos and seating are just some of the many items on show. The museum is housed inside the old Ulverstone railway station building which was moved to the current site at Don around three decades ago.
Your Entry Ticket includes a 30-minute return train trip on the historic Melrose Line, taking in views of the township of Don and areas of historic value to the area. The train trip travels on the eastern bank of the Don River to our junction Coles Beach.
Train trips are at 12noon , 1pm, & 2pm.
Standard Entry is Adult: $15, Concession: $13 Concession/Senior Card must be presented when collecting tickets, but we hope to arrange a discount for Rally attendees.
The following bit of history on the Riley Rail Car was written by Tasmanian club member, Arthur Baynes, in Victoria club magazine, The Blue Diamond, back in November 1985.
“RILEY RAIL CARS IN TASMANIA
Being lucky enough recently to receive a copy of the authorative book on Rileys, “As Old As The Industry” by David Styles, I was interested to read in the section entitled Riley oddities of three Rileys being supplied in 1908 to the Mt. Lyell Mining Company as rail cars.
The comment that one survives to this day in a Tasmanian rail museum led me to try and locate this. Knowing there was a museum at Zeehan on the West Coast of Tasmania, the area in which the rail cars were used, and knowing also that they had a rail car, it was an obvious choice. The reply was, they have a rail car, but it is a 1922 Daimler.
Having a friend living in that area of the state involved in stream train restoration was the next avenue. To my enquiries about the rail car, he replied, “Yes, it is in my shed.” He is storing the machine, pending a complete restoration by the owners, the Don River Railway, which is located at Devonport, close to where I live.
The next link in the chain was a recent visit to Melbourne, where a visit was paid to Kurt Schulz. Kurt informed me he contributed to the information in “As Old As The Industry”, and also more surprising he showed me an engine and radiator he had belonging to one of the rail cars.
On a recent visit to the West Coast area of Tasmania, I called to inspect the rail car, which is remarkably complete, although considerable work is needed for a complete restoration.
Although hard to distinguish on the photo in “As Old As The Industry” (pg 238), the vehicle in question is identified as Number 1, the number being on the tool box under the passengers seat. This is still clearly evident on the vehicle I inspected.
The gentleman storing the rail car has another engine himself, so it appears three 1908 engines have survived, together with two radiators. Speaking to Kurt recently he is of the opinion four units were in use, one 6 H.P., and three 9 H.P.
So the next step is to obtain engine number and photographs to try and resolve this.
On returning home, I contacted the Don River Railway. Their plans are to get the rail car to their Devonport track and workshops by the end of the year to do the restoration. So it is pleasing to see a little more Riley history being preserved.
Next Issue: We look at some of the towns we will pass through on our “Travelling Days”. Devonport to Hobart, Hobart to Swansea, and Swansea to Launceston.
2023 Riley Tour of Tasmania Committee: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com