Monthly Archives: April 2021

Day 57 – Thursday, 29 April 2021

Had a lazy morning before getting into gear and doing the housekeeping for the caravan. The floors have been swept, the ensuite cleaned and floor washed, and have prepared a chicken casserole for tea and put it into the slow cooker. 

Coolish morning and was overcast, but the sun did come out to shine for quite a while before the darker clouds appeared and the breeze turned a bit chill. 

Russ did not get a repeat for his Nurofen Plus because the script had been faxed across so this morning he has made an appointment to see Dr Zoe at New Norfolk when we are much closer to Hobart once again. 

I have downloaded all the photos and made them available for Russ to upload later today and then we can print out the diary ready to post. 

Tomorrow it will depend on the weather if we do our walking at Liffey Falls or go for a ride around the lakes district. 

Day 56 – Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Brenda rang me this morning to ask if I was at home as Jenny B’s mum had passed away and the funeral was at ten. The girls from Mallee CMA were unable to attend as it was the day of the meet and greet with the new Board members. I caught her up on where we were and we agreed it was time to have another coffee morning as soon as I got back to Mildura. I sent Jenny our condolences in a text message and apologised that we were unable to be there. 

I didn’t get a good night’s sleep as it was after 1:00am when I finally nodded off. It is very frustrating when this happens. 

The weather did not get as cold as expected as the clouds had moved in and kept some of the warmth around. When we got up it was grey and overcast and we thought the rain would come early, but instead we had a lovely sunny day with a gentle breeze and the temperature got up to 17 degrees. 

We arrived at Woolmer’s Estate about 10:45am expecting that the next guided tour would begin at 11:30am. However, Covid has caused some changes to be made and at the moment they are only doing two tours a day. We had missed the 10:30 am one so paid for the 12:30pm tour, were handed across a self guided tour booklet by the very nice lady on reception duties (all volunteers) and went off to explore other parts of this vast estate. 

Woolmer’s Estate is one of eleven Australian convict sites which has been awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO in 2010 in recognition of their ability to convey the story of the convict Assignment System which operated in Van Dieman’s Land until 1840. 

Under the Assignment System transported convicts were assigned to free settlers, who were then responsible for adequately feeding, clothing and housing them, in return for their labour. Masters were also responsible for ensuring that their workers received religious instruction and were not required to work on Sundays. The system was founded on the premise that convicts could be reformed through meaningful employment, inder the moral guidance of their masters, while masters could access cheap labour, and the Government was relieved of almost all expense. 

Skilled workers were in great demand in the new colony, however, one of the great strengths of the system was its capacity to rehabilitate convicts by giving them employable skills through the on-the-job training. They could then use these skills when they received a Ticket-of-Leave, which permitted them to engage in paid work on their own account. 

Most convicts received their Ticket-of-Leave well before the expiration of their original sentence. Convicts who began their lives on the Archer properties as ‘assigned servants’ often chose to remain there for years, and in some cases decades, after they were free to leave and seek employment elsewhere. 

Woolmers was owned by six generations of Thomas Archers, beginning with Thomas 1 (1790-1850) who founded the property in 1817, and ending with Thomas VI (1917-1994) who died without heirs. (His mother was so worried that she would lose her only son she removed him from the high school in Deloraine and kept him at the Estate.) 

Thomas VI bequeathed the property and its contents to the Archer Historical Foundation, now the Woolmers Foundation. And the property has been opened to the public as a museum since 1996. 

The Rose Garden is a modern creation on the site of the original apple orchard which was a staple of the Woolmer Estate and made into cider on the estate itself. The elaborate plan for the Rose Garden was inspired by French formal gardens of the 1600s. This garden contains thousands of roses, from original species through old varieties to modern cultivars. The garden is generally at its best for the Woolmers’ famous ‘Festival of Roses’ held every November and the crowd numbers in the ten thousand for this event. It was beautiful to wander through it and many of the roses were still in bloom. It must be magic in November. 

Helen was our tour guide, and we were joined by three other couples, two of whom were travelling together from NSW and one of the ladies had Parkinson’s Disease which required the bringing forth of a special seat when we were in the rooms of the house. 

The original house was erected in 1820, was L-shaped, only one room thick, surrounded by low verandahs, incorporated large cellars and attics (the latter we didn’t get to see), and faced the river, plains and mountains to the west. It was timber framed in-filled with brick-nogging and clad in bead-edged weatherboards; the roof was originally covered in split timber shingles. 

The ‘new’ front of the house, which was commenced in 1840 and completed in 1845, was undoubtedly built to impress. It is one of the earliest examples of Italianate style in Australia and was designed by Thomas 1’s son, William who studied architecture in Britain. This part of the house is built in brick, with a slate roof, and comprises an entrance porch, large hall, with a guest room above for important visitors, formal dining room and drawing room. The majority of the brickwork is covered with a tinted lime-based roughcasting (rendering today), characteristic of buildings at Woolmers. 

Thomas Archer 1 stipulated in his will that most of his imported furniture, fittings, paintings, china, silver and glassware were to be regarded as heirlooms, and they are still in the house today. It is an eclectic collection with many different woods featured in the furniture such as mahogany, rosewood etc. Personally, there was only one painting I would display on my walls and it was actually a beautifully rendered version of Woolmer’s Estate House. 

The glassware and the crockery was specially ordered and created for the Archer family and has the family crest displayed as part of the setting. The crest is a bear’s paw holding an arrow and looks weird to me. The table had leaves that would extend it to fit 20 people, and the cutlery also had the family crest embedded in the silver. 

The house contains three magnificent pianos, one of which is an octave short of a full grand piano and they are all in superb condition. Everything you see in the house is the original and nothing has been bought in for effect. 

An interesting titbit is that the house began with oil and paraffin lamps, went to gas lamps, and electricity was not connected to the house until 1975, and there are very few power points available, and none of the electrics are for lighting. Helen used a torch in each room to highlight the item she was describing. 

You can still see the iron bars inside the windows of the attic directly above the family rooms which is where the female convicts were housed at night for their own safety. 

There were ten female convicts (assigned servants) and about forty male convicts. 

There is a mulberry tree planted in the front garden which is still alive today and still delivering a mulberry crop every summer. The tree was planted in 1817. One limb is supported by a piece of wood very similar to how the olive trees in France, planted when Napoleon became the ruler, are supported today. 

When visiting the cellar (very extensive network and quite large areas) Russ hit his head soundly on the door jamb. He has a big egg on his noggin and ended up with a thumping headache. One of the other men was very concerned as it had caused Russ to stumble. 

Thomas Archer IV (1862-1934) was a pioneering Tasmanian motoring enthusiast. One of his cars was a 1912 Wolseley ‘Town Tourer’ purchased in 1913. This car is still in the coach-house at Woolmers and was used by Thomas V and Marjorie (the mother who ruined Thomas VI by taking him out of school) for their honeymoon tour of Tasmania. 

Thomas V purchased a 1936 Dodge ‘Beauty Winner’ which still sits alongside the 1912 Wolseley. He subsequently purchased a 1945 Dodge ‘Kingsway Coronet’ which is housed in the timber garage across the yard. All three generations of Thomas’ personally undertook the maintenance and repair of these cars. 

Many of the cottages built on the estate to house different families (coachman, groom, gardener etc) have now been converted into tourist accommodation. Originally each of these cottages had one room downstairs, used for cooking, eating and general living, and one room upstairs for sleeping. 

Thomas 1 had three brother, William (1788-1879) who lived at Brickendon (just up the road from Woolmers, still a working sheep farm, and also open to the public), Joseph (1795-1853) of Panshanger (just down the road from Woolmers) and Edward (1793-1862) of Northbury. The father, William of Hertford, along with the other brothers all followed Thomas to Tasmania. 

Thomas and his wife Susannah had 14 children but only six of them survived infancy – three sons and three daughters. Their eldest son, Thomas 2, died from scarlet fever at the age of 26. He left behind a wife, Mary Abbott, a son and a daughter. 

Thomas 3, and his wife, Louise Cathcart, had three sons and three daughters who survived infancy. In 1881 Louisa and her four youngest children moved to Victoria while Thomas 3 and his two sons remained in Tasmania. Thomas 3 died in Longford from sclerosis of the brain aged 49. We know it as Multiple Sclerosis. 

Thomas 4 married Eleanor Harrop and they had one son. He was very active in public service, serving on the Longford Municipal Council for 30 years, and was the long-term Commodore and later Patron of the Tamar Yacht Club. He was an excellent golfer and motorist. He died in Melbourne at the age of 71 following surgery. 

Thomas 5 married Marjorie Patten and they had one son. Thomas was a Tasmanian champion golfer and competed in the Australian Open. He was an early motorcycle enthusiast and a motor yachtsman. He died in Woolmer House aged 82. 

Thomas 6 never married and never had any children. It is believed that when his mother removed him from his peers to ensure his continued good health that she upset his social development and he never again felt comfortable with his peers. He died in Longford aged 77. When his parents had passed on, he shut up most of Woolmers House and lived in three rooms – a bedroom with bathing facilities, a dining/living area and a receiving room. Helen did not say how he received his meals, but the kitchen was not attached to the house so perhaps he had someone come in and provide housekeeping services for himself. 

Assigned servants had no fixed working hours and these were dependent upon the job they were doing. However, the government stipulated that assigned servants could not be required to work after noon on Saturday, to allow them time to wash and repair their clothes, and that no work was to be done on Sundays. 

Although the assigned servants could not leave their master’s property without a written permit, they were not held in prison like conditions, nor were they chained. They were free to move around the property as necessary during the day. 

When assigned servants misbehaved the masters were quite limited in the forms of punishment they could employ. Masters could verbally ‘admonish’ their assigned servants, and withdraw their indulgences in rations (i.e., reduce the rations to the regulated minimum) but they were forbidden to use any form of corporeal (physical) punishment. Cases thought to justify more serious punishment had to be taken before a magistrate. 

Some assigned servants were quite assertive in regard to their rights. One master took one of his servants before the magistrate and accused him of refusing to work. As the assigned servant had only refused to work on a Sunday the magistrate threw out the charge and admonished the master! 

It was a very full day. We had lunch at Woolmers after the tour and then went to Deloraine to pick up the remainder of our scripts.  

As Russ had taken something for his headache during lunch I went in and did the shopping for groceries in at Woolworths. After that we came back to the van and had a well-earned cuppa. 

Day 55 – Tuesday, 27 April 2021

It was a very, very cold night last night in the early hours of the morning. When we woke up the sun was shining brightly with a few clouds in the sky. Time to get out the extra doona from storage, I think. 

After we had breakfast, I went across to the park facilities for my shower and to wash my hair. There was lovely hot water that I didn’t have to turn off while I soaped up to conserve the hot water, and no time limit on the shower. Needless to say, I did not use too much of the park water but enjoyed my shower thoroughly. On the other hand, Russ took advantage of the fact that I wasn’t going to shower in the van and used all the hot water. 

The teleconsultation with Dr Samantha Gibson went well and she was happy to write a script for Russ’ Nurofen Plus and fax it through to the Deloraine Guardian Chemist. 

We headed off to Deloraine after getting our lunch stuff ready and packed and went first to the chemist with the rest of our scripts. Lovely lady chemist named Diana who didn’t have everything we wanted but would get it all in for us by tomorrow. 

We went off to exercise by walking the Wild Wood Nature Trail and Deloraine Riverbank Walk. It was invigorating and the changes to scenery were lovely. As we wandered towards the nature trail, we passed a whole group of boys from the Deloraine High School Mountain Bike Group who were getting ready for their bike ride. They were a very friendly group of boys, very polite, all of whom greeted us and asked if we were enjoying the day, and then wished us the best of luck as we continued on our way. 

The nature walk was teeming with bird life, but we had no luck in finding a platypus. The total distance of the walk was 4.5 kilometres, and we enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine. We had lunch under an old, very large tree and shared the bird seed with the pigeons. The plastic pack that held the seeds in Russ’ backpack had split open. 

After lunch we returned to the chemist to pick up the items, she had ready for us and then returned to the van. 

It was another beautiful day of 20 degrees, so I took the opportunity of washing the dressing gowns. Quamby Corner caravan park is heaps quieter than the Apex one in Deloraine and much better presented. 

Day 54 – Monday, 26 April 2021

This is a very quiet caravan park at the moment. I think that in summer the place would be a lot noisier as there are several permanent vans packed away for the winter. 

When we set up yesterday, we put the awning up but had to take it down about three hours later due to the very strong gusts of wind that swept across the park. We are now back up to 350 metres above sea level and Quamby Corner sits in a bit of a bowl surrounded by hills. It is very different country in that it is much dryer than other places we have seen. The name Golden Valley really suits it at this time of year. 

This morning the sun was shining when we woke up and there was a gentle breeze. It is supposed to reach 15 degrees later on and should have been three degrees this morning, however, I don’t think it got down that low. 

The magpies are warbling away in the trees and it is such a pretty sound and one that I have really missed. There seems to be much more bird life in this neck of the wood than we have come across so far. 

Russ took the opportunity this morning to fix a pipe he was unhappy with, and I took the opportunity of doing a load of washing. You never know when the weather will change and it becomes a bit of a chore to get it all dried and put away. It was dry by the time we got back from Deloraine. 

By lunch time the temperature had reached a lovely 20 degrees. Russ is wearing t shirts and has only put on his jacket when we have been out in the open on previous days. 

There is no dump point in the park which is a bit of a disadvantage so we have located the nearest one in Deloraine. We went to the Information Centre and picked up some leaflet so we could plan our next few days and see as much of the area as possible while we are here. 

I did a wander around town while Russ intended to stay in the car and work on his computer with a better connection. It wasn’t meant to be. He did not take the invertor with him and his battery unplugged didn’t last very long. 

I visited a gift shop called the Grumpy Dragon. It was a terrific shop with quirky items that you won’t find anywhere else. I told the lady that if she got garden dragons in to let me know because the only ones there at the moment are the ones for inside ornamentation. I did but some body butter called ‘Unicorn Fart’ (I kid you not) and it smells divine and the butter leaves your skin very soft. 

During my wander along the street, I passed another shop that had 12 ply hand knitted jumpers and jackets (with zip) and all the items were fully lined. They were absolutely beautiful and priced at $165 and all I could think of was that would faint from the heat if I wore one. 

There are lots more bird life in this area than anywhere else we have been so far. 

Tomorrow Russ has a telephone consult with the doctor in New Norfolk so he can get another script. He will ask her to fax or email the script through to the pharmacy in Deloraine so we can pick it up in the afternoon. If it is a nice day, we will take the opportunity of doing the Deloraine Riverbank Walk and Wild Wood Nature Trail with an opportunity of seeing another platypus. Here’s hoping. 

Day 53 – Sunday, 25 April 2021

Karma gets you in the end no matter what.  

We were packed and ready to leave Blue Wren by 10:10am. It was a nice drive until we got to Deloraine where we had to turn off to get the A5 to Golden Valley. We got a detour that took us all over the place but nowhere near where we needed to be. 

We consulted Google Maps and thought we had found an alternate route but came to a gravel No Through road. Luckily the cross road area was large enough for a turning circle for the van (always an interesting proposition in some cases) and headed back to Deloraine. 

The Detour was in place for the crowd who were attending the Anzac Day parade and service. We pulled up next to the river where we could see all the people standing at the Road Closed barrier, and waited for everything to finish. There was quite a big turn out to it. 

Finally, the Detour signs were taken away as was the Road Closed sign and we were able to cross the bridge. Then we followed the Google Map only to find that it was not taking us to the A5 as I had planned, but we were on a C Road.  

I do worry when things don’t go to my plan but I am getting a little better at coping. I probably make Russ nervous but he is a very competent driver so I should have more faith in his ability. 

When we got to Quamby much later than originally planned we had travelled through some narrow roads, with one slightly hairy bend (dog leg 90 degree) and the scenery had been marvellous. The caravan park is a nice set up and Dit welcomed us and allowed us to choose our site – number 7. But wonder of wonders while we were setting up was the sound of magpies corralling away in the trees, and then one flew down and over us. I am very happy to have magpies around us once more. 

It is 17 degrees here at 1:30pm but feels like 11 degrees according to the BOM people (Bureau of Meteorology), but the sun is shining and it is a bit windy. We have put up the awning but that may have to come down if it gets more blustery. 

I am looking forward to getting into Deloraine tomorrow without the van on the back and going to the Tourist Information place, as well as checking out the Grumpy Dragon Gift Shop. The things available look amazing. 

Day 52 – Saturday, 24 April 2021

We woke up to another cool morning but a lovely day. We didn’t get to Don River Railway as Russ was not feeling real flash. He took a Travel Calm to help his stomach and that seemed to help a bit, 

Instead of the Railway I did housekeeping duties – sept and mopped the floors, cleaned the shower, basin and toilet, changed the sheets and doona cover then promptly washed them and they were dry by late afternoon. 

We did end up taking a quick trip into Ulverstone much later in the arvo when Russ was feeling slightly better. 

The Dump Point had been repaired so we were able to empty the cassette, grab some bottled water from Woolworths, and fill up with diesel for tomorrow’s trip.  

We had a great chat with Peter and Karen (husband and wife team who are managing the Blue Wren RV Camp while the owners are touring in Victoria). They advised us that the Dawn Service at their flagpole had to be cancelled as Ulverstone RSL had changed their minds and were going to hold a service now which people were expected to attend. That means we will not need to get up at 5:30am tomorrow as we will not be going into Ulverstone. 

Day 51 – Friday, 23 April 2021

We set the alarm for 8:30am, had our breakfast and showers and were on the road by 10:15am. We had to pass through Forth on our way to the Aboretum so picked up some more stamps and posted the diary excerpts while passing through. 

The day looked like being another wonderful autumn day with a slight breeze, the sun shining intermittently, and the forecast was for 17 degrees. There were a few cars already in the car park when we arrived, but nor as many as had been there yesterday afternoon. 

We paid our entrance fees at the café and picked up a map of the area and headed out to explore. The lady at the café assured us that the platypus at the lake was an attention seeker and would be sure to give us a photo opportunity, which piece of information we took with a pinch of salt. 

However, the little blighter came out and swum around the area of the hide and Russ got some photos. I have to admit that I felt a real thrill at seeing him/her after all the times we had kept our eyes open for them at many previous spots. Unfortunately, Russ only had the medium telephoto zoom lens on his camera so the pics are not of a real clear quality. 

We enjoyed our tramp around the Aboretum and the scenic spots around the lake with all the trees in autumn colour were a real treat. Our biggest disappointment for the day was that a lot of the trees did not have their names displayed.  

I would hesitate to assume that in the earlier times of the Aboretum there was not a lot of money, but a lot of work for the volunteers and they may have had an appeal out to people to but a tree as a memorial. So, they got lots of trees from many different countries but all the plaques mentioned was the people who had donated the tree, or the names of the people for whom the tree was a memorial. Very picturesque but frustrating. 

We finished up our saunter around lunchtime. We could have spent more time tramping around except that the remaining walkways were classed as a three. The paths were well kept and grassed, but some of them were very steep and rugged. 

We headed to Latrobe and the House of Anvers for lunch, and a breakout from our semi rigid diet. Boy, was it worth it!  

The House of Anvers is located on the site of Wyndara Lodge which was built in 1931 and has 2.5 hectares of mature gardens. It has a RV camping area attached to the side and was well occupied. So was the restaurant and the area set up with free samples., where you can buy hand made chocolate truffles, chocolate oranges, fudge and pralines. The owner of the establishment was born in Belguim and has brought the craft to Tasmania. 

Russ chose to have a Berry Waffle (freshly made) which came with vanilla ice-cream and real cream, a small jug of raspberry compote, and a small jug of maple syrup. The waffles had cut up strawberries over the top of them, and he had a white chocolate hot chocolate drink to finish. 

I had a lemon curd waffle which came with the ice-cream and cream, and a small bowl of freshly made lemon curd. The tree is out the front of the restaurant. I finished with a cinnamon hot chocolate and enjoyed every sinful mouthful. I also paid for it later as I burped my way through the rest of the day and evening, but wouldn’t have changed a single thing. 

As we were so close to Port Sorell where we are headed after Quamby we took a slight detour and checked out the Lions Club run caravan park. It looks really nice with grassed, flat sites, and is on the edge of the Rubicon River. The satellite town of Shearwater attached to the Port Sorell area has a Woolworths, car wash, pharmacy and a few other places. I will check out The Salvos Opportunity Shop as I have not bought a singular pair of earrings the whole time I have been in Tasmania. 

As it was early afternoon, and not too far out of our way (65 kilometres) we turned towards Burnie and I got two pairs of black leggings from Kmart. 

We returned to the van and while Russ had his SCAN I downloaded the photos and wrote some quick notes for entry into the diary. I was still very full from lunch time so enjoyed a cuppa for tea (still burping merrily) and Russ had chicken kiev with a whole potato. 

I washed the two pairs of leggings with the blacks so my washing is up to date. 

We head off for the Don River Railway and train ride tomorrow. The weather is supposed to be as nice as today. 

Day 50 – Thursday, 22 April 2021

We set the alarm for 8:30am so that we didn’t have to hurry before our 11am appointment at Home Hill. I bought most of the washing inside, minus the singlets and a pair of thick hiking socks. 

We went back to Penguin to the dump point before heading along the highway back to Devonport. We had checked Google maps to find out where the entrance was so, although it was tricky because of the traffic, we didn’t have to worry too much. We were 15 minutes early so wandered about the garden and took some photos. 

Home Hill is simply amazing. Our tour guide was Derek, and we were joined for the tour by Wanda and Shane. It went for one and a half hours and was just fascinating. 

There is simply no way to be brief about this visit, so here goes. 

Home Hill was the name of the property for Tasmania’s only Prime Minister, Mr Joseph Lyons. He is also the only man to have been the Prime Minister and Premier of his state at the same time. He was married to Dame Enid Lyons, and they had 12 children – good catholic family. 

Joe Lyons died in 1939, the first Prime Minister to die in office – a massive heart attack, but Enid, 42 years old, continued to live at the property until her passing in 1981 – only forty years ago. 

The house was bought by Joe Lyons and gifted to his fiancée, Enid, as a combined engagement/wedding gift. The land at the time of purchase consisted of nine acres in total, five acres of which were an established apple orchard. Enid and Joe were married in April 1915 at Wynyard. Before their marriage Enid was a schoolteacher. 

Dame Enid (nee Burnell) was born in Edith Creek, a very tiny village south of Smithton, and Joe Lyons was born in Stanley. He was seventeen years older than Enid when he met her before her 18th birthday, but it was supposedly love at first site for both of them, and Enid is said to have loved him until the day she died. 

Enid was responsible for selecting the design of the home and for supervising the construction and was engaged to Joe at that time. Joe spent much of his time with parliamentary duties which is why it devolved to Enid. 

The home chosen was a seven room Federation-style weatherboard. The house was founded on a bluestone base that was built with materials quarried from the property. The total contract price was agreed at 425 pounds. 

The family moved in during September 1916 just six weeks before the birth of their first son, Desmond. 

Built in 1916, the new home would need to accommodate the newly married couple, his father Michael, and his three younger siblings. The arrangement didn’t last for very long. Michael had had a nervous breakdown after losing all the family’s worldly goods, and Derek did not know why his two sisters joined them in this house as they had previously been in charge of their own abodes.  

The house was, however, the heart of the Lyons family life although politics meant that the parents and children were often separated. Apparently, the brother and his wife were often living there in charge of the children when the parents were away, and the older children were at boarding school. 

In 1923, with Joe frequently away from home, the house was sold to Carl and Eveline Jensen and the family made arrangements to relocate to Hobart. This period of time was not a happy one for the family with the passing of ten-month-old Garnett. It was a time of measles, chicken pox, and whooping cough which all the children contracted, but Garnet also contracted pneumonia and was unable to cope. 

About the same time Joe was involved in a serious road accident in Perth which left him with permanent injuries, He would limp for the rest of his life, and the driver of the vehicle died two weeks after the accident from injuries he sustained. 

In 1928 it was discovered that the Jensen family were interested in moving to Hobart so a property swap was made and the Lyons family returned to Home Hill. 

Joe was elected to Federal Parliament in 1929 and the family went through a period of great upheaval and travel. In 1930 the family moved to Melbourne for ten months, and over the next nine years they all divided their time between Home Hill, Melbourne and Canberra, but there were many journeys overseas. 

While Joe was serving as Premier of Tasmania and Prime Minister of Australia the more striking room in the property (dubbed the ‘Wedgewood Room’ after the design of the wallpaper) was repurposed as a dedicated office. 

It was in this room on 25 March 1936 that Joe took the first interstate phone call to Tasmania via a new submarine cable across Bass Strait. 

Over the years the home underwent significant changes as the size of the family grew and so their priorities changed. In 1935 major alterations were made that included a larger kitchen and dining area, and the addition of a dormitory and bedrooms in new ‘wings’ on either side of the original house.  

After Joe’s death in 1939 Enid suffered from ‘nervous exhaustion’ and spent some time in hospital. Enid was left 344 pounds from her husband’s estate. In the absence of any parliamentary pension the government under caretaker drafted legislation to provide an annuity of 500 pounds for her seven dependent children through to the age of sixteen and another 500 pounds for her own care. Enid accepted for the children but declined the annuity for herself. 

In 1943, after Joe’s death, Enid Lyons was the first woman elected to the House of Representatives and the first woman to serve in federal cabinet. She served as the Vice President of the Executive Council in Menzies Government from 1949 to 1951. She retired from parliament after three terms but remained involved in public life as a board member of the ABC, and as a social commentator. She wrote several books. 

In the 1950s the last major changes were brought on by the children leaving the nest, and the reduced need for bedroom space allowed for a dedicated pantry, library and relaxation room. 

Dame Enid was remarkably hands on through all the alterations and very money wise. She absolutely loved wallpaper and was a perfectionist in everything she did. There is an anecdote from some of her children, who arrived to visit her when she was in her seventies and found her in one of the bathrooms putting wallpaper on the roof. 

She also bought wallpaper for her bedroom (she never went back to the room she shared with Joe after he passed away, and the National Trust has set it up as it was when it was Joe’s office) and had made the bed coverings, lamp shades etc in a pale pink. However, when the wallpaper arrived it was too green, so she put it up on the walls and then proceeded to paint the very green areas in a pale pink. (Photos of that one) 

She also chose an extremely expensive wallpaper for her library and contracted the hanging out to a professional. After the first day’s work when she realised that the contractor had made no effort to line the pattern up but had hung it wherever, she tore up the contract, pulled the wallpaper from where it had been hung (kept it though) and proceeded to hang it herself.  

As it was very expensive, she had only ordered what she thought she would need for the job so by the time she got to the last area of the room (the side of the chimney area furthest away from the door) she ran out of rolls. She then proceeded to pull pieces from the paper she had removed and created a feather effect for the last bit so that no unsightly joins could be found. 

She made her own clothes (even those that she wore to prominent political events) and the ones we saw were beautifully crafted and very stylish. 

This paragon of virtue and perfection was deficient in two areas – she could not drive a car properly, and her cooking was atrocious. When they were having dinner parties the catering was always handed off to the professionals. 

Between 1939 and 1940 Dame Enid recorded a weekly twenty-minute spot for the Macquarie Network Radio. She was well travelled and entertaining. 

To guarantee that her home would be lovingly maintained and remain connected to the community, Enid arranged a division of responsibilities between the Devonport City Council and the National Trust of Tasmania. 

The property and grounds were purchased by the City Council which performs maintenance and upkeep, while the National Trust was made responsible for the contents of the home and the operation of the house museum. 

The youngest of her children, Janice (a very feisty lady like her mother), only died last year on Boxing Day. Prior to this she was living in a home and one of Enid’s grandchildren – Janice’s nephew, Chris – was taking care of the disposal of her property.  

Chris is very involved in the on-going operation of Home Hill and has many stories to tell about its history. He is also taking it upon himself to persuade other family members to provide the National Trust with any items of interest still in the family’s possession. On one visit to Home Hill Janice discovered her porridge bowl was placed on display in a cabinet in the library. She turned to Chris and said, “Are you giving all my things away?” 

The property remains open to the public for guided tours ($10 for pensioners) and for community events. 

We then left Home Hill and went to Mersey Bluff Lighthouse, which sits at the mouth of the Mersey River. It was automated and de-manned in 1920. In 1929 four vertical red stripes were added making it a very distinctive lighthouse. 

A beacon, which disappeared in 1883, originally stood on the bluff. After its disappearance, and following complaints from mariners, an obelisk was placed there in late 1884. 

Work on the lighthouse started in 1888 and was completed in May 1889. 

In 1978, after several conversions to gas and then hydroelectricity, it was further converted to all electric operation. 

The lighthouse is 122 feet tall (37.2 metres) but it is not open to the public.  

It was extremely windy up on the bluff, so it wasn’t long before we had taken our photos and headed off to Bluff Park to have lunch and then see the statue of ‘Spirit of the Sea’ – King Neptune. 

It was still fairly early by our standards, so we decided to head to the Tasmanian Arboretum at Euganana, only 12 kilometres south of Devonport. However, when we arrived, we realised that we could not do it justice in the time we had so we have decided to head back there early tomorrow and do it properly. 

We came back to the van, via Turner’s Beach and the Berry Patch, folded the clothes taken off the line this morning, had our afternoon cuppa, Russ had his SCAN, and I downloaded the photos taken today. We had lamb shanks and mashed potatoes for tea, did the dishes, and I have finished my diary entries ready for printing and sending tomorrow. 

Day 49 – Wednesday, 21 April 2021

A very cold morning here. I woke up about 3:30am and could not get back to sleep so I got up, turned on my electric throw to 4, put a light blanket around my dressing gowned shoulders and finished all my Solitaire challenges for the day while Russ snored. 

I went back to bed again about 6:30am and, having left my electric blanket on 1, I did go back to sleep. It was minus 2 degrees here this morning and everyone had the same idea and stayed inside their vans until the sun got a bit of warmth in it. 

Today is another easy day so that Russ has a chance to get rid of his migraine, so I attacked the little bit of washing we had (2 loads) and got them on the line. 

The day has turned out to be quite lovely even if a bit cool. Quamby Caravan Park where we are headed next week will be minus 5 degrees in the morning when we are there. 

I have also booked our tour of Home Hill for 11am tomorrow morning. This is just outside Devonport and was the home of Dame Enid Lyons and her family until she died. The National Trust has kept most things authentic. 

We hope to do the Don River Railway journey on Saturday. 

Day 48 – Tuesday, 20 April 2021

It is a beautiful morning after a night full of showers. Most of the clothes outside have now dried and there are only a couple of singlets that need more time.’We went back into Devonport and shopped for groceries, then headed to Priceline for some Maxigesic etc, and then went to the Ulverstone Dump Point. 

This Dump Point is by the beach and was full to overflowing – much worse than the one we saw in Waratah, awash in black water effluent. Russ has sent a text message to Stoney (he was on the phone at the time Russ called him), and so we then travelled to Penguin (13 kilometres away) to use their dump point instead. 

I spent the afternoon while Russ had his SCAN looking up places to visit that we missed the last time we were in this neck of the woods, and finding out opening times, days and costs (if any). 

Russ ordered two fuel pumps from EBay to be sent from Sydney, and Stoney has agreed to have them sent to his home address for us to pick up once they have arrived, and while we are still within the general area. They are due to get here in early May. 

So, a change to the schedule is once again indicated and after Quamby (Golden Valley) Caravan Park we will now spend a week in Port Sorell and get the diesel heater fixed. Port Sorell is an area we would have spent time in after we had travelled the east coast region -just a change around.