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Tasmania, a homecoming – short memory, we won't have a

Dernière mise à jour : 18 mai 2022

As we approach Darwin, we take a look back at where we were a few days weeks months ago, on the opposite end of Australia. This was some 12’000 km ago. On January 22nd, we had disembarked the Spirit of Tasmania in Devonport (see Tasmania From Abel Tasman to the Bruny Bridge). We set camp in Launceston, a city Melissa and I had visited in 2015.

Our maiden Tassie trip

In 2015, we enjoyed our first extended (5 days!) trip without the kids. Grandma Georgie was kind enough to entertain Stanley and Miles (then 4 and 2.5 yo) in Melbourne, whilst we went gallivanting around the countryside in style. The plan was simple: fly, get the hire car, visit friends in Launceston, drive to Hobart and back, fly to Melbourne. With a surprise in the middle...

As we landed, I was bewildered that Melissa put us in a cab to go into town. Why didn’t she rent a car from the airport? The cab pulled into a deserted alley, right in front of a dodgy looking garage. Funnily enough, a very familiar car was parked in front of the gate. One that I had owned as I decided to do my mid-life crisis in my early 30s, so that I wouldn’t have to do it in my 40s (does that make any sense? I think it was just good planning). An oddly-carved 2-seat roadster convertible, the mighty BMW Z4. Yep, she had rented that for our trip. Good girl!

We spent a night at a Felly’s place in Launceston (sorry mate, we could not catch up in QLD this time, you moved too far), before heading down to Lake St. Clair, mostly on gravel roads. Try having fun with a 2WD rear propulsion stick shift sports car, whilst driving and sitting on the wrong side of the road and car, AND on corrugated gravel roads!

Lake St. Clair is a beautiful and remote pristine lake, sitting at the end of the Overland hiking trail. It is also a very special place for us, as this is where we got engaged on that trip.

The jetty at Lake St. Clair. In February 2015, we had rain and cold.
Our little cosy cabin on the lake is a nice contrast to our caravan style of 2022.

This time, there would be no sports car, but we would have more time on our hands, albeit WITH the kids.

We chose to revisit some of those places we knew, and take the long way to other parts of Tassie.

Launceston and the MONA FOMA

We arrived at the start of MONA FOMA (Museum of Old and New Art: Festival Of Music and Art) and enjoyed the spectacle at the Gorges during the day. A breathtaking physical and artistic performance symbolizing the damage of global warming. The Legs on the wall performance saw a dancer standing on a slowly melting rock, hanging high from a moving crane, with the backdrop of Launceston’s Cataract Gorge. What an absolutely brilliant performance, and a very confronting one. People (and we) were swimming underneath, hearing the ghastly questionning and slow agony of the performer, as the rock melted away in the heat.

We topped it up with a small hike along Cataract Gorge, which looked stunning at the time. Of course, since then we have been to Karijini, read the post.

Midnight Oil

An absolute highlight of our trip was awaiting us that same evening. A few weeks earlier, we read somewhere that Midnight Oil was doing a farewell tour in Australia. We looked it up and saw potential matching dates in March in Perth, WA. Far away from us, whilst WA was still indefinitely closed. It was a very long shot. Having planned our trip to Tassie in the meantime, we stumbled upon the tour dates again, only to see Launceston listed right there waiting for us. We splurged on the (expensive) tickets. Seriously, how could we unsee their presence in the small Northern town of Tasmania? We decided this was a homeschooling opportunity, rationalized the expense and let ourselves gently onto the lawns on front row.

This was truly a private concert. Masks for the crowd, limited number of spectators, a lot of middle-aged (to older) die-hard fans, and us. Stanley and Miles were ecstatic. Their first real rock concert and their new favourite band. We now get to listen to them regularly in the car (!).

We don't serve your country Don't serve your king Know your custom don't speak your tongue White man came took everyone

It definitely gave us the opportunity to discuss the meaning of these words, which would gradually take shape as we entered the Pilbara (mining, see post on Tom Price, even though the song refers to a nearby blue asbestos mine, not iron ore) and Kimberley region (Indigenous people).

But if I work all day on the Blue Sky Mine (There'll be food on the table tonight) And if walk up and down on the Blue Sky Mine (There'll be pay in your pocket tonight)

This has been part of our collective wishes for the trip: to learn more about the Aboriginal people, their continuous culture, but also about the troubled colonial (and present) history. Midnight Oil provided a good anchor, and also gave us the opportunity to practice our very own Peter Garrett dance moves.

The trip in Tasmania could now officially start, and the first destination from Launceston would keep the fire lit by Midnight Oil burning. Stay tuned for the Bay of Fires.

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