Thursday, December 19, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

We have a very busy Christmas period visiting new and old friends, thanks for checking the pages out over the year, have a great and safe Christmas will be back in the New Year.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Around Tasmania - Part 2 - Beaconsfield

Beaconsfield is a small township not far from where we are at Beauty Point Marina, this place hit the news on Anzac Day 2006 when an earthquake caused a mine collapse trapping three miners with one unfortunately losing his life. The rescue was a long process and it brought it into all the homes via news through that tough period. After seeing Beaconsfield one can understand the emotion this town would have gone through with the mine being right in the centre of the town.
(Survivors Todd and Brant, I have copied the print section in three parts below for easier reading)

The now closed mine is a museum showing many things from our past, not only mining gear it has old machinery and many other items on view, there are three tourist sites close by this mine, the Seahorse World and Platypus House, the latter two being at the old wharf at Beauty Point, the cheapest way to see all three exhibitions is to buy a triple pass for the three places which is an open pass for three months for one visit per site.
(Beaconsfield Mine and Museum)
(Old Miners Cottage)
(A scale model of the mine tunnels under the town)
 (Old steam traction engine)
 (Items from an old surgury)
(The old washing gear, I can remember seeing these items in use)

Beaconsfield has two IGA supermarkets one of which has a hardware store, there is also a gardening and building centre amongst other shops.
The weather has been a bit of a mixture we have had some very nice days and some cold and wet days so we are doing jobs on the boat as the weather permits.
The following is taken from one of the websites listed below.
The area around Beaconsfield was first explored by Europeans in 1804 when William Paterson led an expedition to Port Dalrymple and established a settlement at York Town. Settlement of Beaconsfield itself, then known as Brandy Creek did not occur until the 1850s. Limestone mining led to the discovery of gold in 1869. Gold mining began in 1877 and the area's population boomed. Brandy Creek Post Office opened on 1 December 1877 and was renamed Beaconsfield in 1879.
The town was named Beaconsfield in 1879 in honour of Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the time. In 1881, the Beaconsfield newspaper was called the Beaconsfield Tickler. In 1953, Beaconsfield was the first town in Australia to fluoridate the water supply.
Gold was first discovered in Beaconsfield in 1847
The town began its early life as ‘Brandy Creek’ because of the colour of the water in the creek where the gold was originally discovered.
In the financial year 2004/05, 240 685 tonnes of ore was produced from which 3890 kilograms of gold was extracted
On Tuesday 25 April 2006, a small earthquake caused a rock fall in the Beaconsfield gold mine. Fourteen miners escaped safely, one miner, Larry Knight, was killed, and the remaining two, Todd Russell and Brant Webb, were trapped in a shaft approximately one kilometre underground. The two trapped miners were found alive five days later on Sunday 30 April. Rescue operations continued for nearly two weeks until the two miners were freed on Tuesday 9 May.
The Beaconsfield gold mining operations finally ended with the closure of the mine in June 2012.

 (The old Bank of Tasmania that was robbed of cash and gold worth around $2,700 in 1884, it is now an Art Gallery and Souvenir store)
 (The Exchange Hotel still looking good and operational)
The Old Post Office now a Newsagent)
There are many other heritage buildings in the main street and around the town.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Around the Tamar River - Tasmania - Part 1

Friday - 06/12/2013

Well we have been at the Beauty Point Marina for just over two weeks now and I must say it is a nice place to stay with very nice people. There are two blokes Ron and David that run the marina for the Launceston Yacht Club on a volunteer basis they take turns a month about but you often see them most days helping construct new parts for the marina. We have achieved some work on the boat along with some sightseeing. We are fortunate to have a car courtesy of Glen and Anne have who loaned us one of their cars which has been handy to shoot into Launceston some 40kms away to shop for parts and do some sightseeing.
One purchase Nancy is very pleased with is a new Force 10 stove, the old one was not working as well as it should be and age was showing in the burners causing it to be inefficient.  Nancy baked bread and has cooked a roast chook and the results have been great, I am just waiting for her to make me an apple pie and I will be pleased with it to.
I have had to order original Lewmar hatch seals for the side hatches as I cannot find any rubber seal that I could use, naturally being Lewmar part they are not cheap being $90 for the 600mm x 200mm hatch and $80 for the 480mm x 200mm hatch, there are four of each required. Although we only have three hatches with light leaks it will only be a matter of time before the others show their age and leak to. The heavy seas we have experienced put all hatches to the test and we suffered some drip leaks from the hatches in the deck in the two forward cabins and the aft port head, this was between the deck and the hatch. I removed them and cleaned the surfaces and reset them in the deck and we have had two lots of rain that have tested them and they have not leaked.
(Standing on the fwd bed with hatch removed)
(Removing and sanding the old seal face on the deck)
(The worst job removing the old sealant from the hatch)
We have taken the opportunity to see some of the places we have not seen before as we have visited Tasmania in the past, we brought a car over on the ferry in 1998 and spent nearly three weeks here. I must admit it is easier to get around these days with highways to major centres and not just country roads as was when we visited before.
Tasmania has a lot of history and some of the buildings including many houses go back in time.
We know that Tasman was the first European to discover Tasmania and he named it Van Dieman's  Land and was changed after Bass and Flinders proved that Van Dieman's Land was an island, the name was changed to Tasmania in 1856 after a penal colony was established. Bass and Flinders sailed from Sydney in 1798 to find out if there was a Strait between Van Dieman's Land and the Mainland of Australia in doing so they found the entrance to the Tamar River which they named Port Dalrymple, it is unclear where they first landed there is a small plaque a short distance from the marina in Beauty Point that states they landed there on 4 November 1798 and there is a plaque at the Pilot Station north of George Town where it states that Bass and Flinders discovered Port Dalrymple 3 November 1798, also near this site it shows a map of the sightings Mathew Flinders took for the navigation purposes of Port Dalrymple, but it does not state the day he landed there.

George Town

Low Head Lighthouse

The following is taken from the website: -
In 1808, the Hebe was wrecked on the rocks at the mouth to the Tamar, thence giving them its name. Altogether, a dozen ships were wrecked in the Tamar over the next 100 years.
A pilots and a signal station was established at Low Head (Georgetown) in 1805 and is Australia's oldest continuously used pilot station. Current buildings date from 1838.
When a sail was sighted at dusk, a fire was lit and kept burning all night to keep the vessel in touch with the port.
After a review of pilotage in 1827 it was resolved to build a lighthouse at Low Head.
The tower was built in 1833. It was constructed of local rubble with a coat of stucco to make the structure durable and to provide a worthwhile landmark. The crown was built of freestone from Launceston.
The keepers' quarters consisted of four rooms attached to the base of the tower. The only case of the quarters being attached in any Tasmanian lighthouse.
The tower was 15.25 metres from top to bottom. The lantern room was built of timber in Launceston.
It had been designed by the then Colonial Architect John Lee Archer who was responsible for the design of many other Tasmanian lights.
The original apparatus was provided by a Mr. W Hart of Launceston. He supplied "six dozen lamps, including reflectors, at three shillings and sixpence each".
This first light was known as the 'Georgetown Station'.
It is Australia's third and Tasmania's second lighthouse built.
Conditions were poor on the early Tasmanian lightstations. Low head was no exception, being manned by a superintendent (headkeeper) and two convict assistants who were locked in their quarters overnight.
In 1835, the light was upgraded by installation of a revolving shutter which was rotated by a weight-driven clockwork mechanism.
In April 1838, the original tin reflectors and Argand lamps were replaced by a new revolving lens array from Wilkins and Co of London, UK. In 1851, the candelas were increased, but no figures are quoted.
The 1833 tower was poorly constructed and after 50 years had fallen into a state of disrepair. In 1888, this original convict-built stone tower was pulled down.
In the same year it was replaced with the present double brick structure, was designed by Marine Board architect Robert Huckson, with new lantern room and apparatus. The new tower was painted white.
The lens apparatus was modernised in 1916 with a more up-to-date Chance Bros. revolving lens using an incandescent kerosene mantle lantern.
An auxiliary red light to cover Hebe Reef had been installed in 1898.
In 1926, a broad red band was painted around the middle of the tower to ensure adequate visibility during daylight hours.
In 1929, Tasmania's only a foghorn was instated at the station but discontinued in 1973 due to improvements in navigational equipment.
In 1940, electricity replaced the old vaporised oil system and mantle, and the clockwork rotating mechanism was replaced by an electric motor.
From 1865 to 1912, the light was under the control of Alfred C. Rockwell and his son Alfred Rockwell Jnr, a period of 47 years!
The station was also responsible for the smaller Tamar Leading Lights which were separately manned for some years.
This light is now unmanned.

(The above is the Fog Horn at the lighthouse)
(Lister kero stand-by engine)

(The Pilot Boat Harbour)
(Pilot Station, now the Maritime Museum)
(Plaque at Pilot Station)
(Sign showing Flinders navigation sightings)
(The rear Lead Light, new light mounted on top right, the house is up for sale)

Launceston and Tamar River,_Tasmania
Following is extract from this website:
The first inhabitants of the area of Launceston were largely nomadic Tasmanian Aborigines believed to have been part of the North Midlands Tribe. Walter George Arthur, who petitioned Queen Victoria in 1847 while interned with other Tasmanian Aborigines on Flinders Island, lived for several years in Launceston as one of numerous homeless children, before being taken into custody by George Augustus Robinson who sent him to the Boy's Orphan School in Hobart in 1832.
The first white visitors did not arrive until 1798, when George Bass and Matthew Flinders were sent to explore the possibility that there was a strait between Australia and Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania). They originally landed in Port Dalrymple (the mouth of the Tamar River), 40 kilometres to the north-west of Launceston.
The first significant colonial settlement in the region dates from 1804, when the commandant of the British garrison Lt. Col. William Paterson, and his men set up a camp on the current site of George Town. A few weeks later, the settlement was moved across the river to York Town, and a year later was moved to its definitive position where Launceston stands.
 Initially the settlement was called Patersonia; however, Paterson later changed the name to Launceston in honour of the New South Wales Governor Captain Philip Gidley King, who was born in Launceston, Cornwall. The name still survives in the tiny hamlet of Patersonia 18 kilometres  north-west of Launceston. Paterson himself also served as Lieutenant-Governor of northern Van Diemen's Land from 1804 to 1808.

There is today's history lessen, Tasmania is an intriguing place with its history. The next post will be about Beaconsfield which became well known on Anzac Day 2006 when the mine collapsed trapping miners and the long period of time it took to rescue two survivors and one deceased.