June 2022 Newsletter

Welcome to the June Newsletter.
Our bookings for the Rally have now been open for approx. 10 weeks and the response has been very good.  We currently have 65entries and 133 people.  Some limited accommodation rooms are still on hold, but Swansea accommodation choices are now very limited.  If you have not booked yet, but still want to attend the Rally, we strongly recommend you to book ASAP as entries will close on 30th June 2022 due to attendance constraints in a number of our venues.  

Our Mid-Tour dinner at the Swansea Town Hall, which has limited capacity, was fully booked by mid–May.  We have now secured the venue and caters for a second night and will have a Mid-Tour Dinner on both Sunday 19th and Monday 20th March, therefore the Mid-Tour Dinner is now open again for bookings. All Entrants who have previously been told the Dinner was fully have been contacted.

The Tasmanian Veteran Car Club BBQ on Sat 18th March is now FULL, so we CANNOT take anymore bookings for this BBQ Dinner.    Both the Welcome & Presentation Dinners and the events have only limited capacity left.

Launceston is our final accommodation location and we will be there for three nights.    Again, there is plenty to see and do, so we hope this newsletter gives you some ideas about your options.  We have two full days plus a few hours, if you need it, on the day we arrive, and/or on our last day in Tassie when we head back to Devonport where we will board the Spirit of Tasmania ferry that night.

The dates of the TARGA Tasmania Road Rally have been changed yet again. It will now be held in April 2023, well after we leave Tasmania, so we will not be affected by any road closures. Some of you will be pleased and others hoping to catch some of the action may be disappointed.

The city of Launceston (Tasmania’s second largest) is situation at the base of the Tamar Valley. The Tamar River runs from the north side of the Launceston CBD some 50 kms to the north coast, where it flows into Bass Strait. There are two major rivers that flow into the Tamar – the South Esk River from the west and the North Esk River from the east. Both these rivers originate in the mountains to the east of Launceston, one flowing south out of the mountains and the other flows north, hence their names.  So, Launceston is a city with a water influence even though it is 50 kilometres inland.

Our stay in Launceston ends with our Presentation Dinner. After spending 9 days on the Island, we will spend our last night together at the Ballroom of the Country Club Tasmania for an enjoyable and fun night.  This will be a “Themed Dinner” but we will let you know more about that later in the year.

So we hope you enjoy reading about Launceston and surrounds.

Next Issue :  Our last day in Tassie the Journey to Devonport and Surrounds.

Launceston 22nd March – Our full first day in Launceston


This morning‘s activity is a group visit to Entally Estate at Hadspen.   Entally Estate is a historic house museum with various outbuildings, including Australia’s oldest conservatory, a chapel, stables & carriage house. The property encompasses grand parklike surroundings, with magnificent gardens and a vineyard. Entally House was built in 1819 as a simple single-storey cottage, with no architect or designer employed in the planning process. It was built as Thomas Reibey II family home, and used a Government Loan Gang of 100 convicts in its construction. These convicts were locked in an underground cellar overnight to prevent them escaping – this cellar still exists, under the double-storey Governor’s Wing on the northern side of the main house. We will also have Morning Tea here.

After Entally Estate you are free to go your own way, but while on this side of Launceston we recommend a visit to the nearby historic village of Evandale, a National Trust classified Georgian village, known for its unspoiled heritage buildings, including the Uniting Church, with its classical belltower and Doric columns. Walk the streets admiring Blenheim (1832), Royal Oak (1840),Fallgrove (1826) and Solomon House (1836). Visit the antique shops, have lunch at Clarendon Arms Hotel (1847), or pick up lunch at the Bakery to enjoy in the gardens of nearby National Trust property, Clarendon House.     

Clarendon House is normally only open on weekends but they will open for us if we have enough people interested in visiting.

Built in 1838, this Georgian house set in 7 hectares of parklands on the banks of the South Esk River, has formal gardens, an Italianate facade, and restored early colonial outbuildings.      


Another property that may be of interest is “Patterdale House”,the restored home and garden of British artist John Glover.  Patterdale is at Deddington, a 20-minute drive south of Evandale, NOTE: the last 5 kms is a gravel road.  Carol and Rodney Westmore’s restoration vision “to stay as true to his time as possible” is evident; with the exception of a singular magnificent oak planted after Glover’s time, the home and garden are exactly as he depicted it in 1835, in his painting A view of the artist’s house and garden at Mills Plains, Van Diemen’s Land.    Carol will open the house especially for us if we have a minimum of 12 people interested.  Cost $20/head.   Alternatively, Longford may be more up your alley, or should I say down your “final straight”.  see below.

On your way back to Launceston call in a Josef Chromy Wines at Relbia

Other National Trust properties

Franklin House in Youngtown is a 1838 convict-built home and gardens that became one of the Colony’s leading private schools. In 1960, it became the birthplace of the National Trust in Tasmania, which was formed to save it. Relax under a 180-year-old oak tree, & wander through the Victorian Kitchen Garden. Open daily for self-guided tour.

The Old Umbrella Shop This charming Launceston shop is one of the last surviving retail experiences of the early 1900’s. It was operated by three generations of the Shott family.  At 60 George Street, the shop sells a large range of umbrellas, as well as a variety of National Trust and Tasmanian-made products.                        

           Around Launceston

Museums and Culture: Queen Victoria Art Gallery is at 2 Wellington St (near Royal Park) 10 – 4pm FREE. It has an ever- changing exhibition.     On the north side of the river and within walking distance of each other, you will find the Queen Victoria Museum (10 – 4pm FREE) has many natural science and history collections as well as a Planetarium which has 15 different shows, Ticket bookings required for Planetarium.  

Almost next door is the Launceston Tramways Museum is a community-based organisation that works to restore and revive the old trams that once roamed the street of Launceston.  

  The National Motoring Museum is at 84 Lindsay St Invermay (1km from Queen Victoria Museum. Open 9-5pm—10% discount on showing your Rally name tag.)  The Museum presents a constantly changing world class display of Motor Vehicle & Motorcycles showcasing Australia’s Motoring heritage. 

Launceston has a number of parks including Royal Park, Prince’s Park and City Park.  

City Park established in the 1820’s was handed to the Launceston City Council in 1863 and is well worth a visit. It features The Tasmanian Design Centre, a conservatory,
Antique Radio Museum, a band stand, duck pond, and an Island housing a group of Japanese Macaques or Snow monkeys separated from visitors by a glass wall and small moat.

 Boags Brewery.   If you missed out on the Cascade Brewery Tour in Hobart despair not, Launceston is home to Boag’s Brewery. Tour times are 11am, 1pm & 3pm $32/$28. Book online. William St

Cataract Gorge is only a few minutes’ drive from the city and is one of the city main natural attractions.  If you’re ready for a walk, cross the Alexandra Suspension bridge and do the circuit with some stunning views. Or just want to relax and dangle over the gorge, then hop on the Gorge Scenic Chairlift and take in the uninterrupted views.  Take a picnic or grab a bite from the café on the south side of the reserve

 If you would rather view the sheer cliffs and cascades from a comfortable seat with unobstructed views, why not take the 50-minute cruise of the gorge in the award winning 1890’s style vessel, Lady Launceston. Enjoy the skipper’s captivating commentary on the history of this fascinating area.   Tamar River Cruises also run a 4-hour lunch cruise and 2.5-hr morning or afternoon cruise to the north up the Tamar River. 


Duck Reach Power Station (for the energetic ones amongst us) is located above Cataract Gorge, and can be accessed from Corin St. carpark, a700m  30 mins return walk with some steep sections,  or from First Basin in Cataract Gorge 6km walk (1.5hr return) 190 steps.

 Spend some time walking around Launceston, it has some interesting churches, lovely parks and grand old buildings including The Clock Tower which chimes every quarter hour. The information Centre has a great brochure for the walking trail that includes Holyman House, Albert Hall and Ritchie’s Mill. Need a rest after all that walking, catch some Hollywood at the grand old Star Theatre or take in some local talent at the Princess Theatre.   

 Other areas around Launceston.
Longford, to the south, located at the junction of the South Esk and Macquarie Rivers is another classified Historic town. It has many historic buildings, antique/bric-a-brac shops and a good bakery. There is a heritage walk around the town with more 30 buildings.  If you are still not tired of old buildings, nearby are two historic properties: Woolmers Estate one of the most outstanding examples of 19th century rural settlements in Australia and is World Heritage listed. 

Brickendon Colonial Farm Village One of Tasmania’s World Heritage Convict Sites, was built in 1824; the village is still owned by descendants. A Georgian homestead, convict-built Gothic chapel, Dutch barns, chicken house, blacksmith shop, tool shed and a 4-hectare historic garden to explore.

The grave of Australia artist Tom Roberts is at Christ Church Illawarra on Illawarra Road near Longford.

 Longford’s other claim to fame— MOTOR RACING HISTORY

“The Longford circuit, opened 1953– closed 1968, hosted many races back in its heyday. It was as a popular venue with fans and competitors alike. Held over the March holiday weekend, the race meeting was the biggest event of any kind on the island, attracting huge crowds. Drivers and bike aces who came over on the Princess of Tasmania ferry enjoyed not just the challenge of the circuit, but also the unrivalled hospitality of the locals. It attracted international drivers in the early 60’s. The launch of the Tasman Series in ’64 further strengthened Longford’s place, and for five glorious years it held a special role as the final round featuring Australian open wheel and touring car stars, Bib Stillwell, Lex Davison, Leo Geoghegan, Frank Matich, Frank Gardner, Spencer Martin, Kevin Bartlett, John Harvey, Ian Geoghegan, Norm Beechey, Bob Jane and Allan Moffat all raced at the circuit.”

 “The Track was located on the northern edges of the town and its 4.5-mile lap passed under a railway line viaduct, crossed the South Esk River via the wooden Kings Bridge, turned hard right at the doorstep of the Longford Hotel (which still
displays some memorabilia), passed over the railway line using a level crossing and traversed the South Esk again via another wooden structure, the Long Bridge.

Sections of the old Formula One race track still remain today even though the track was closed back in 1968. You can also visit the Flying Mile (Pateena Rd) which saw motorcar speeds of up to 288 km/h. The two bridges have long been demolished and a highway now intersects the network of roads on which the circuit was laid out. In spite of that, some 80 per cent is still driveable and it’s possible to get some flavour of the original circuit. Longford would continue as Australia’s faster road racing circuit until the Formula One series moved to the new Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne in 1996.”

In March 2015 the Longford Revival Festival celebrated this past era of racing with motorcycles and cars once again travelling the Flying Mile. (I was lucky enough to be there supporting our friend from Queensland racing his Manx Norton). Unfortunately, the event has not continued.


For more reading: https://www.ourtasmania.com.au/launceston/longford-racing.html

Tamar Valley – Day Trip

A drive up the Tamar Valley has something of all tastes, wine, food, natural beauty, animals, historic buildings town & structures.  Drive up one side, cross the River at the Batman A frame bridge and return to Launceston down the other side. Here are just a few of the possibilities.

West Side head north on the main highway or take some of the minor roads along the river’s edge.   Tamar Island Wetlands a unique estuarine wetland ecosystem of mudflats, lagoons and islands. Abundant with plant and animal life, a haven for various birds, mammals, reptiles, frogs, fish and invertebrates.  

Visit the Swiss Village at Grindelwald on your way north.

Brady’s lookout has great views, parkland, toilets, and a picnic area. The Gravelly Beach road takes you past Stoney Rise and Marion Vineyards or detour west to Glengarry if you fancy getting lost in a Bush Maze.  

 Beaconsfield mining town (north of the Batman Bridge) saw the 2006 mine collapse with 2 men trapped for 14 days. Visit the Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre. 

Continue north to Beauty Point Seahorse World. Learn about the secret life of these unusual creatures, tour the farming operation and get up close to some other Tasmania Sealife. Platypus House is next door if Platypus and Echidnas are of more interest.

Return to the Batman A frame bridge, an incredible piece of engineering, and cross to the east side of the river. 

Head north to George Town & Low Head at the mouth of the Tamar River.    Visit the Low Head Lighthouse or the Pilot Station & Maritime Museum.  Dating from the early 1800’s, it tells stories of shipping on the Tamar River, and has an extensive display of relics fromthe days of sail and steam. Stretch your legs at George Town. Take the self-guided George Town Heritage Trail or visit the Old Watch Museum.  The Mount George lookout is just out of town. 


Head east and inland for more wineries at Pipers Brook, then head south on some of the minor roads, maybe stopping at Lilydale Falls – a short walk to cascades amongst rainforest. 

   Alternatively head westback to the East Tamar Highway on the east bank of the Tamar River.   Stop in at Hillwood Berry Farm for a cuppa, before returning to Launceston