Bass Strait Maritime Centre

Bass Strait Maritime Centre

The Bass Strait Maritime Centre, once a private maritime museum, has changed hands and received a major face-lift. The building is lovely, with its boat-like shell and use of timber throughout the interior. It is part museum and part art exhibition space.

SS Woniora
SS Woniora © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

One role of the Bass Strait Maritime Centre is to record and preserve the maritime history of Tasmania’s north. The details of several Bass Strait disasters can be found throughout the museum as well as various artefacts. These include a diving suit, a stretcher for carrying injured sailors through hatches and a winch for the Julie Burgess’s anchor. Visit the ship restoration room to view a video about the restoration of the Julie Burgess. There are also fascinating information panels about the features and fauna of the Bass Strait. Did you know that Bass Strait is a raised shelf which drops dramatically into the ocean at its edges?

Container Exhibition
Container Exhibition © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Another role of the Bass Strait Maritime Centre is to foster current maritime art and displays. When we visited today, we viewed an ANZAC centenary exhibition about Australia at war on the seas. There was also an intriguing exhibition about the role of shipping containers in creating the current trends in global trade. The building itself contains several artworks such as the compass rose on the floor and the beautiful stained-glass window panes (some stating names of sponsors of the centre).

Simulator
Simulator © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Children will enjoy visiting the Bass Strait Maritime Centre for two reasons. One is the art and craft table (to the right as you enter the main room) and the other is the simulator. For an extra $2 per turn, you can steer the SS Wonoira safely through her journey into or out of Devonport, or even into Port Phillip Bay! Choose from several scenarios of various difficulty. The simulation may not be the best idea for those who suffer from motion sickness (I was fine).

Julie Burgess's Winch
Julie Burgess’s Winch © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Once you’ve had a good look through the museum and exhibitions, have a browse through the gift shop and take a seat in the café. I enjoyed my meal. There are even gluten and dairy free dishes on offer for those with dietary requirements. Best of all, the café has a sunny outlook over Devonport’s foreshore walkway.

Getting There

Foreshore
Foreshore © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Devonport is a one-hour drive from Launceston and just over a three-hour drive from Hobart. When you reach Devonport, follow signs for the City Centre. Turn left off the Bass Highway after you have crossed the bridge over the Mersey River. From here, follow the foreshore towards the Bluff, turning left into Glouster Street (the museum is signposted).

Cost

The Bass Strait Maritime Centre costs $10 per adult, $8 per concession, $5 per child and $25 per family. For current pricing, see the Bass Strait Maritime Centre website. Note that your voyage aboard the simulator will cost $2 per turn (but you do have three attempts to succeed). You can also book your voyage aboard the (real life!) Julie Burgess fishing ketch; read about my experience here. Enjoy a pleasant few hours at the Bass Strait Maritime Centre!

To read about my other adventures in Tasmania’s North-West, click here.

Home Hill

Home Hill Exterior
Home Hill
Home Hill © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Minister Joseph and Dame Enid Lyons were a unique couple. Joseph, currently the only Tasmanian to become Prime Minister of Australia, wrote a love letter to Enid as his first act as Prime Minister. He also placed all of their property in her name as he believed in equality between men and women. Their love story is told through Home Hill, the homestead built for the couple in 1916 on property that Joseph gifted to Enid.

Reclaimed Doorway, Home Hill
Reclaimed Doorway, Home Hill © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

I highly recommend a visit to Home Hill. It is a unique place, which has been lovingly crafted, adapted and furnished. As the family grew to an eventual eleven children, the Lyons expanded the house. Enid found astonishingly creative ways to block off entries, such as turning doorways into display cabinets.

Bedroom, Home Hill
Bedroom, Home Hill © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

As you walk through the house, make note of Enid’s handiwork. She made lamp-shades, upholstered furniture, and hung and hand-painted wallpaper. One of the bedrooms has been hand-painted with branches to hide cracks in the wall. When we visited, a tendril from an outside plant had, rather appropriately, wound its way into the room, matching the wall paper beautifully.

Joseph Lyons, Home Hill
Joseph Lyons, Home Hill © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

You will also have the opportunity to view the political and social memorabilia of the Lyons. Throughout the house, you will find photographs of members of the royal family, formal invitation plaques, royal crockery, a one-of-a-kind Royal Doulton figurine and the hansard files for both Joseph and Enid. She was the first woman elected to the Australian Parliament. It is a fascinating collection and speaks to the popularity of the couple.

Joseph Lyon's Desk, Home Hill
Joseph Lyon’s Desk, Home Hill © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Sadly, Joseph Lyons also has the honour of being the first Australian Prime Minister to die in office. He passed away at the age of 59 on Good Friday, 1939. Dame Enid Lyons’s ongoing care of Home Hill, her meticulous preservation of Joseph’s political memorabilia and her subsequent political career all honour him.

Getting There

Home Hill is a two minute drive from the centre of Devonport. You’ll find it just off the Bass Highway (heading towards Burnie) on busy Middle Road. Now a short distance from town, it is no longer the secluded retreat that the Lyons created. However, it still has the airs and graces of a stately home.

Cost

Home Hill Entrance
Home Hill Entrance © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Visit Home Hill for guided tours at 2pm from Wednesday to Sunday. It is best to book your place, which can be done via the National Trust’s Home Hill webpage. Tours cost $15 for adults, $10 for concession and $40 for families. Upcoming events include Valentine’s Day drinks and nibbles, a High Tea, an Easter Egg hunt and a film night. Keep an eye on Home Hill Devonport’s Facebook page for more details. Enjoy your visit to a truly one-of-a-kind property, crafted by a remarkable couple.

To read more about my adventures in Tasmania’s north-west, click here.

Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory

The Conservatory, Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory
Grand Piano, Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory
Grand Piano, Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Built to house a local gentleman’s beloved grand piano, the conservatory next to the Parramatta Creek Rest Area has always been enigmatic. I have been meaning to stop there for quite some time, on the advice of a friend, to visit what is now The Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory. I’m glad that we did.

The building is spectacular, as is the grand piano inside it. The interior of the conservatory is generously filled with pot plants, rustic wooden tables and Tasmanian produce. When we arrived, it was also full of happy customers.

Mains, Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory
Mains, Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Our meals were sensational. It is clear that using local produce is a priority, as is friendly, efficient service. Although we were pressed for time before heading to Home Hill, we enjoyed a meal and a drink. I highly recommend the pork belly with Vietnamese noodles. There are options for those with dietary requirements, including several gluten-free desserts.

Getting There

Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory
Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory is located 15 minutes from Devonport and 50 minutes from Launceston, just off the Bass Highway at Sassafras. Look for blue road signs for Parramatta Creek Rest Area. If you are travelling from Devonport, you’ll see the conservatory but it’s harder to spot when travelling from Launceston due to the trees. The Parramatta Creek Rest Area consists of a car park, amenities block and BBQ area (including sheltered tables)  surrounded by stately trees. There is also further parking at the Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory.

Cost

Parramatta Creek Rest Area
Parramatta Creek Rest Area © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Main meals at the Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory cost approximately $25+ for lunch and the conservatory is open Tuesday – Sunday from 9am to 4pm. I recommend making a booking; we were very lucky to get a table inside (due to a cancellation). For up to date information about the Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory, see their Facebook page. If you don’t want to buy lunch, you could have a picnic at the Parramatta Creek Rest Area before stopping for a drink at the conservatory; it’s well worth seeing the interior of the building (and the piano).

On the same day, I visited Home Hill for the very first time! For other posts about Tasmania’s north-west, click here.