Roadkill – The Depressing Side Of Driving In Oz

One of the most distressing aspects of doing much driving in rural Australia – which includes Tasmania obviously- is the high rate of road kill here.  When driving outside cities or largish towns for every kilometer one drives, one will see probably two or three dead animals that have been hit by cars during the night.  

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One of the most distressing aspects of doing much driving in rural Australia – which includes Tasmania obviously- is the high rate of road kill here.  When driving outside cities or largish towns for every kilometer one drives, one will see probably two or three dead animals that have been hit by cars during the night.

roadkill

Every sort of wild creature that lives here is represented in this depressing parade of corpses – kangaroos, wombats, crows, ichidnas, wallabies and so on, literally every sort of wild animal will be seen sooner or later lying dead in the road or on the edge of the road.

As far as I can see, no one clears away their corpses, as one sees them in all states of decay.   From freshly killed to a bag of skin around a skeleton and all stages of putrefaction in between.

The crows are obviously very happy with this state of affairs, as it represents a continuous source of easy food for them to gobble up, and being crows they generally judge to a second how long they can stay eating as a car approaches, only leaping away at the last minute – or slowly stalking away in time for the car to pass harmlessly, before returning to their feast.

Even they miscalculate on occasion and end up as a sad bundle of disordered feathers lying next to their last meal – sad to see.

Last year we camped in parts of Tassie that are famous for the high numbers of Tasmanian Devils that live there, and hunt every night, so we had hoped both to see and hear them while we were there – but nope, the only one we came across was a very dead one on the road..  Another victim of the car.

It is not for nothing that someone years ago produced a book called ¨Flattened Fauna of Australia¨, made up of photos of all the different types of animals and birds this amazing country has, but all as corpses on the road.

So, as I said, seeing this mass of dead creatures when driving is deeply saddening, but a very typical aspect of this country – always has been and probably always will be.

The Carved Wall – A Bit Kitsch, But Still Good

The Wall, which someone has mentioned to Lotty in the shower at the previous night’s camp site as being a place we simply should not miss visiting if we happened to go past it.

As we were chugging along the road from Hobart to the west coast, we went past a place called Derwent River Bridge, and saw a sign for something called The Wall, which someone has mentioned to Lotty in the shower at the previous night’s camp site as being a place we simply should not miss visiting if we happened to go past it.

So, being obedient souls, we turned in and found a parking place in front of a long blank wooden building, with an entrance at one end.

So in we went, to be received by a very verbose and friendly guy who told us everything we could possibly wish to know about what was about to be revealed unto us inside this rather beautiful wooden building.

What it was is an enormous carved wall of pine wood panels about 2 meters tall and about  100 meters (in 2 sections of 50 meters each)  long.  The whole thing was carved in relief and more or less told the story of that part of Tasmania, with excursions into making points about the wildlife that still lived there, or had become extinct owing to the activities of the white colonists.

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Whilst generally such totally realistic wood carving is absolutely not my thing, this has been done with such consummate skill that I was overcome with awe at the guy’s work. The pictures here will give you an idea of the quality of his work.

The artist who is still busy carving this monstrous art work, is still a relatively young man, about 38 years old, and has been doing this for the last 10 years at every free moment he has from his work.

Almost as impressive as his carving is the building that he has caused to be created to house his work.   Totally made of wood, and finished with a totally unbelievable attention to detail it is one of the most beautiful and warm buildings I have ever seen.

So, should you ever find yourself in this part of Tassie, it is worth a visit and the $13 entry fee to see his work.

Here is a link to his website so you can find out more about this extraordinary work.

http://thewalltasmania.com.au/

I Revisit A Part Of My Childhood

This morning I had an experience that for me was unique.    I am 74 years old, have lived in about 10 countries, went to some 14 schools, have had a large collection of professions and lived in rather a lot of towns, villages and so forth, and in all of that I have so […]

This morning I had an experience that for me was unique.   

I am 74 years old, have lived in about 10 countries, went to some 14 schools, have had a large collection of professions and lived in rather a lot of towns, villages and so forth, and in all of that I have so far never, ever, been back to a place I lived in, a place I have worked in, revisited an old profession or in any manner or way gone back to any earlier experiences.

It has always been my policy that once left, is always left, and so far that policy has worked well for me, even if it has made the business of regularly having to make new friends a bit exhausting.

So what was this revolutionary experience I had this morning?  Simple enough.   We are currently driving around in Tasmania, a country where I lived for a few years back in the late ´40s of the last century, and one of the places I lived in was a farm about 15 km to the west of Burnie at a place called Doctors Rocks.

The actual Doctors Rocks is a small rocky headland just opposite the entrance to the track up to the farm and the house we used to live in.

So, as we were driving past this place, I had no excuse not to stop and have a walk around and revisit for once part of my earlier life – a part that I have always remembered with affection.

It is a simple enough place, a farm at the end of a track (now sealed, but in my time, simply a dirt track) going off at right angles to the road.   Now it seems to consist of several wooden houses and a lot of modern barns set in a rather attractively wooded and up and down bit of countryside.

I am not sure if the houses that are there now were there when I lived there, as they are wooden houses, I suspect that they are not the same ones, but they seem to be in roughly the same positions relative to each other that they were in my time there.

The farm itself was about 2000 acres (some 800 hectares) and stretched in a relatively narrow strip back from the farm and up into the hills behind the farm. Continue reading “I Revisit A Part Of My Childhood”

MONA – The Best Modern Art Museum In The World?

During a recent trip to Tasmania I visited a museum that is known as MONA just outside Hobart, which translated stands for the Museum of Old and New Art and speaking as one who has been to modern art museums all over the world, I have to say that this one is probably the best […]

During a recent trip to Tasmania I visited a museum that is known as MONA just outside Hobart, which translated stands for the Museum of Old and New Art and speaking as one who has been to modern art museums all over the world, I have to say that this one is probably the best by a heck of a long way.

It has the most eclectic collection of art, and true to its name, it has objects ranging from
ancient Egypt to things made a few weeks ago.   But curiously, it has almost nothing from the impressionists, or any of the various types of art that flourished in the 20th century – nary a Picasso or Surrealist in sight, nor any of the later 20th century artists… no Pollock, nor Warhol either.

But I actually found this to be a pleasant change, as to be honest, I had never heard of any of the artists whose work is in this incredible collection, which meant I was able to approach them without any preconceptions, which I found a very liberating experience.  I was thus able to judge each piece simply on how it effected me, and not be influenced by any baggage caused by knowledge of the artist concerned.

And what makes it even more amazing is the setting of this museum, which basically is all underground.   If you follow the link I shall be placing below, you will see what I mean about both the art in the collection, and the amazing setting too.

All that you see when you approach the front door of this museum is a low and rather unimpressive building of no great architectural value, but once you get inside this building and discover where the actual museum is placed, it dawns on you that you are about to have a serious experience.

There are four floors to this museum, the first being on the ground level, the other three being below ground. Basically what it is is a huge hole dug in the solid sandstone that the ground is made up of, so as you will see in the video, the walls are simply beautifully carved sandstone.

 

The actual exhibition is spread all over these three underground floors in a very complex fashion, causing one to go up and down between levels, many of the actual ¨rooms¨ are in a series of black rooms that are interjoined in complicated ways, so wandering around is an experience in itself.

 

Continue reading “MONA – The Best Modern Art Museum In The World?”