Penn Cottage at Jamestown

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We had a short break after Easter heading to Burra for a couple of nights. Burra is an interesting place in the history of South Australia. Founded in 1845 which is quite early in the history of the colony. We have been to Burra before and it made it a good base for exploring a little further.

We headed to Jamestown which is about an hour north west of Burra. Jamestown is a service centre for the local region. There are not many “tourist” attractions there. R.M Williams was born there, the famous outback boot maker. We did however discover the pressed glass museum at Penn Cottage. The museum was interesting but the couple who run it were far more interesting. Kevin and Marge are in their 80’s and have had fabulous lives. They are not celebrities in the modern sense but their stories are the stuff of books.

Kevin told us quite casually how he hitchhiked from England to Australia over the period of one year. It was a remarkable story which was relayed to us in at almost offhand manner. Kevin had left England and arrived in Australia as a seventeen yea old jumped ship in Melbourne. This was in the nineteen fifties, he did get into trouble with the law but stayed and worked in Mount Isa. He told us that he promised his mother he would return to England for his 21st birthday.

Setting off from Melbourne he signed on to a ship to work his way back to England for his 21st birthday and Christmas with the family. He signed off the ship and no sooner had he arrived at his family home when the army were knocking at the door. Apparently at this time military service for two years was compulsory unless you had spent four years at sea. He said that his father was able to negotiate a three month delay.

The night before he was due to sign on he left England and headed back to Australia . It’s amazing to think that he trekked across Europe , Turkey, Iraq, Iran , Afghanistan and India finally landing landing in Burma. He was most modest describing the remarkable journey. This journey would not be possible today with all the troubles and national borders that exist.

A most fabulous visits with a cup of tea as well and homemade biscuits.

Jamestown South Australia

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I have written about our visit to the glass museum at Penn Cottage. Jamestown is a service town and in the past had a significant railway station. The station is still there but is a museum these days. The museum was unattended on the day of our visit. A call to the number on the door revealed that the caretaker had business in Port Pirie all day so we couldn’t peek inside. The only living things at the old railway station were some chooks seeking shade under a tree. its a lovely old building with a letterbox dating to the reign of Queen Victoria. Would have been good to peek inside.

The other big attraction was a German world war one cannon housed inside a substantial glass building in the local park. The glass panelling was so reflective I couldn’t get a decent photo. However there was a pine tree in the park sourced from the Battle of Lone Pine . I suspect that there are many such trees in country towns across Australia commemorating the Great War.

It was very quiet in Jamestown on the day we a were there because 300-400 people were attending a funeral. Also of note is that Jamestown is the birthplace of RM Williams the famous boot maker and supplier of outback clothes. There is a wooden sculpture of him as per the picture above. Glad we went may not get another opportunity to go there. There are lots of small towns like this in South Australia that we have never visited.

On the road to Orford Tasmania

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The third AiRBnB on our road trip in January 2019 was Orford. Again like most of our trips the was only about an hours or so from Primrose Sands the previous stay. We travelled slowly as the next check in was after three pm.

As we left Primrose Sands we stopped at nearby Dodges Ferry. This had been and alternative place to stay which in the end was much nicer than Primrose Sands. We found another lovely beach there. Saw a man cleaning his roof carrying a pressure cleaner

Roof Cleaning at Dodges Ferry

We detoured to Richmond a town that we have been to about four or five times. Famous for the Richmond Bridge built by convicts in 1823′ the oldest stone bridge in Australia. Its a bit of an arts and crafts centre. Other than the bridge there is not lots to see. Its a a very tourist driven town with expensive gift and produce shops. Mostly highlighting local produce and wine.

We then continued on our journey towards Orford and the next AirBnB

Primrose Beach Tasmania

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Continuing our road trip onwards from Hobart. We headed to the next AirBnB at Primrose Beach which is on the East Coast of Tasmania. The beach is fabulous and secluded well not many people where there. The beach is the highlight of this place it is glorious. The AirBnB was satisfactory and the hosts Jeff and Liz were lovely. We had a great walk on the beach with them and their dog Sofie.

The town itself is not much chop a collection of beach shacks and a permanent population of about 900. One general store come petrol station and not much else. Arguably the worst fish and chips that I have eaten. The only place to eat is the local RSL club. The people were quite friendly and the bar prices good. Seems as though the place is only open Friday and Saturday nights. The food which we ordered was a seafood platter not cheap or wonderful at $30 plate. Essentially a fryup without any sign of salad.

I guess that this is problem of being almost half an hour down a long dead end road. I imagine that this has been a shack town. The nearest big town is Sorrell about 40 minutes away. It’s a pity because the beach is fabulous and the people that we met were all really nice.

Road Trip to Tasmania

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In January this year we headed to Tasmania for a week long road trip. We stayed in four different AirBnB’s along the east coast of Tasmania. This is our fifth trip to Tasmania. Luckily for us we missed the bushfires which had cast smoke across Hobart.

Our first AiRBnB was in the suburb of Lindisfarne in Hobart. Our host Sue an artist who works in many different media was super helpful. The B&B was only about eight minutes from the CBD. We were in sight of the Derwent River and walking distance to shops. We are increasingly using AirBnB for accommodation when we travel. Having someone who is local can help with things to see and places to eat.

Hobart is a lovely harbour city with a working port and really easy to get around . A feature of the foreshore is Salamanca Square where you can find a market on Saturday Mornings. There are many high end gift shops featuring produce and local crafts. Lots of Tasmanian timbers on show. the prices where a bit heart stopping. No crowds when we there mid January.

No visit to Hobart is complete without visit to Battery Point. This is an area of Hobart that is full of old cottages that have largely been renovated. Nestled in the middle of Battery Point is a fantastic bakery Jackman and Mcross look them up on Facebook you won’t be disappointed.

Three Weeks in the US

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We have just spent three weeks in the US including a few days in Toronto. This is our last night before we head back to Australia. We have been to New York, Raleigh North Carolina, Las Vegas and San Francisco. All very different places. Our three weeks in the US has been something of a whirlwind.

New York was cold and the people brash. We saw Times Square and rode the subway something I never imagined that I would do. Central Park seemed safe and we walked the the length of it admittedly by mistake. Nevertheless it was an interesting experience.

North Carolina was different as we visited my cousins who I only found through family history research. They looked after us very well. I met four second cousins which was great . North Carolina had a much gentler pace than New York. The visit was great.

San francisco was another world altogether  old architecture when a distinctly European flavour. This is not surprising as California has its roots in Spanish and Mexican culture. The big surprise was how cold it was.

Finally our three weeks in the US revealed that most people were friendly and helpful.

The Lydden Bell

No GravatarOur first night in England the owner of our B&B suggested this pub up the road. The Lydden Bell is a delightful country pub in the Kent countryside. We had just arrived from Adelaide via Doha with about 26 of travel time. My heart’s desire was an English pub meal.

Local beer cod and chips what more could you ask for. Lovely whitebait for entree. The only disappointment was an Eton Mess for dessert which really was a tasteless mess. Three pints of local ale i forgot the name  A lovely sunny evening then it was a quick cab ride to our accommodation Crabble Hill Guest House and then off to bed.

 

Isle of Pines

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A beautiful spot in the Pacific with something of a tragic past. This island is part of the Loyalty Islands which are part of the French territory of New Caledonia. We were there om 15th July  2016 as you can see by the photo it was a glorious day.

Today the Isle of Pines is about pristine waters snorkeling and tourism. We arrived on a cruise ship which anchored of the coast and we’re ferried in on the ship’s lifeboats.

The locals were friendly and didn’t really tout for business making for a relaxed day on the beach.

History

The history of the Isle of Pines is darker. It was a French penal colony from 1872 until 1913. Besides criminals there were also political prisoners  banished to the Isle of Pines. These political prisoners were from the Paris Commune. I have linked to the Wikipedia article on this period of French History.

According to plaques near the ruins of the old penal colony the indigenous people the Kanaks, the link is to a  Wikipedia article on theses people. In short the French annexure of these Islands did meet with resistance from the indigenous people.