Yet More of Tasmania

More? How long were we there for? It seems like we covered a lot in our trip to ‘Tassie’. In fact, I can confirm, we really did. Probably why I felt like I needed a holiday when we got home. Anyway, here are a few more quick visits/trips we made (or stayed) around the fabulous island state of Tasmania…

As always, if you like what you see, feel free to pass it on to friends and anyone you think might be interested. Also hit the “like” button and leave a comment. You can also click to follow on Twitter (or is it X?) and/or sign up for email alerts on future posts. Enjoy…

Richmond Gaol (and town)

Richmond is a small town about 25 km north-east of Hobart, with a population of less than 1000. Its most famous landmark is the Richmond Bridge, built in 1823 to 1825.  It is Australia’s oldest bridge still in use.

Historic Richmond Bridge

Another claim to fame (or should that be infamy) is the Richmond Gaol which is said to be the oldest colonial gaol. So, despite being somewhat “gaoled out” we had to take a look.

Much smaller than most of the gaols we have visited around Australia it was still interesting to see it. Yes. Even though we are now officially “gaoled out” (if that is even a thing) these old places of punishment, pain and suffering draw us – me anyway! – like a moth to a candle flame.

Inside and out of the prison buildings

The cells were tiny

Perhaps its most famous inmate was the man who became the inspiration for Charles Dickens’ character Fagin in his book Oliver Twist. In 1830 Isaac “Ikey” Solomon was tried at the Old Bailey in London. He was found guilty of receiving stolen property – a criminal activity Solomon ran with his wife Ann. By all accounts they had been pretty successful at it, operating their business from a jeweller’s shop. Solomon was sent to Richmond Gaol in 1831 where he became one of the javelin-men – prisoners who were paid to watch over other prisoners.

Overall Richmond is actually quite a pleasant little town (more a village) and would be a nice place to stop for a couple of days.

Old courthouse, Richmond Arms Hotel and Old Gaol entrance
The small town of Richmond

Tullah and Lake Rosebery

It was ANZAC Day so many places were closed for the day. In the north-west region, while en-route to Cradle Mountain National Park we managed to find a place that was open and serving breakfast. And what a great little spot it was too. Tullah Lakeside Lodge in, well, Tullah.

This area seems full of lakes. Some natural, some man made hydro schemes providing much of the electricity that powers the state. Tullah sits on Lake Rosebery. The scenery in this tranquil location reminded me a lot of upstate New York where I spent some time working in my youth. Beautiful. Especially with Mount Murchison in full view just to the south.

Majestic Mount Murcheson
Lake Rosebery

Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay

On the east coast of Tasmania – about half way up (so to speak) lies the protected peninsula of Freycinet National Park. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty and you are rightly charged entry to the park. You may hear the park referred to as the jewel in Tasmania’s eastern coastline. And it is easy to see why when you hike up the track close to the top of Mount Amos.

On the way up the Wine Glass lookout track
Higher up
Wineglass Bay. Impressive even on a cloudy day

At the northern end of the park the Cape Tourville lighthouse looks east towards New Zealand’s south island.

Cape Tourville Lighthouse & Lookout
Mount Amos from Coles Bay beach

Tall Trees and Waterfalls in Mount Field National Park

Mount Field National Park is just northwest of Hobart. Well, about an hour and a half drive away to be more exact. Another place you could easily spend a whole holiday but (as usual) we were just passing through…

Top of Russell Falls
Bottom of Russell Falls
Tall Trees Walk

Trying Out ChatGPT – the Artificial Intelligence (AI) App

I had read a little about the so called Artificial Intelligence (AI) app called ChatGPT but I had never looked into it. I had heard that school kids and college students were using it to write essays. A form of cheating no doubt. And that is what many of the news reports I had heard were saying. 

Last weekend I decided to investigate for myself, with the help of my son Daniel who seemed to know all about it: Typical eh? After setting up an account we had a bit of fun with it.

It’s a bit of a long post this due to the story attached, but please bear with it. You may even have a good old laugh…

Trying it out…

First of all we tried it out by asking it to write a 500 word essay about some historical event. Clearly it can handle such tasks as there are plenty of facts out there already on famous people and places. I still wouldn’t say it was a great essay but you could certainly use it as a starting point and then maybe ‘tart it up’ a little.

Next I asked it to write about a far less known series of events surrounding two murders in 1930s Sydney. I knew all about it as I had just read a (well researched) book on the subject. ChatGPT failed miserably I have to say. It came back with what can only be described as lists of people and a few bullet points about them. Very poor but hardly surprising. The internet is not exactly littered with information on the topic I chose. So in the more obscure subjects ChatGPT is really not the all powerful application some people think it is. 

Then, Daniel asked it to write a story. And what it came back with was actually very funny. In fact it had us in tears of laughter. If you know about super heroes and villains and Marvel comic characters, then you will fully appreciate this one. Here it is… 

The Super Villain Story – By ChatGPT

This was Dani’s remit for ChatGPT:
“create a story about a super-villain called Smells who stinks everyone out.”

And here is the short story that ChatGPT came up with:

Once upon a time in the bustling metropolis of Scentopia, there arose a supervillain of truly foul proportions. He was known far and wide as “Smells,” a malevolent figure whose sinister power was not in brute strength or advanced technology, but in his ability to stink everyone out.

Smells, whose real name was Stanley Stenchfield, had not always been a villain. In fact, he had once been a brilliant chemist who had dedicated his life to creating the most exquisite fragrances the world had ever known. He had a natural talent for mixing scents and an unmatched passion for the art of perfumery.

However, one fateful day, disaster struck. An experiment in his laboratory went horribly wrong, causing a catastrophic chemical explosion that left Stanley forever altered. He emerged from the wreckage with a new and horrifying power—he could emit odors of such nauseating potency that they could incapacitate anyone within a mile radius.

Stanley Stenchfield, now Smells, embraced his newfound abilities with malevolent glee. He donned a dark, hooded cloak and a mask to hide his disfigured face, becoming the terror of Scentopia. His first act of villainy was to unleash his stench upon the annual Flower Festival, an event that celebrated the city’s beautiful floral displays.

As the citizens gathered to admire the vibrant blossoms, Smells approached the heart of the festival. With a wicked grin, he released a noxious cloud of odors that turned the joyous occasion into a nightmarish ordeal. People gagged, choked, and fled in terror, their eyes watering as they tried to escape the relentless assault on their senses.

News of Smells’ heinous act spread like wildfire, and the city was plunged into a state of panic. The mayor called for an emergency meeting of Scentopia’s superheroes, the Aromantics, a team of heroes with olfactory-themed powers.

The Aromantics consisted of three members: Floral Fury, who could control plant growth; Perfume Prince, who could create pleasant scents to counteract foul odors; and Breathmint, who had the power to purify the air. Together, they vowed to put an end to Smells’ reign of olfactory terror.

The Aromantics tracked down Smells to his lair, a hidden underground laboratory where he continued to concoct his toxic stenches. A fierce battle ensued, as Floral Fury used her plants to ensnare Smells, Perfume Prince countered his stenches with delightful fragrances, and Breathmint purified the air to weaken Smells’ power.

Smells fought fiercely, but the combined might of the Aromantics proved too much for him to handle. As the battle raged on, a brilliant idea struck Perfume Prince. He used his powers to create an overwhelming scent of freshly baked cinnamon rolls, a scent so irresistible that even Smells couldn’t resist.

Distracted by the mouthwatering aroma, Smells was momentarily incapacitated, allowing the Aromantics to subdue him. With their combined efforts, they managed to contain him in a specially designed, airtight chamber that nullified his stench.

Scentopia was saved, and Smells was incarcerated in a maximum-security facility specially equipped to neutralize his powers. Over time, the former perfumer’s heart softened as he realized the pain he had caused. He began to use his knowledge of scents to create beautiful fragrances for the city, helping to heal the scars of his past.

And so, the supervillain known as Smells was redeemed, becoming a force for good in Scentopia once more, all while teaching the city that even the most potent of powers could be harnessed for positive change when guided by a compassionate heart.


In Conclusion:

I was quite impressed with ChatGPT – and I am not easily impressed! The speed at which it works right before your eyes is superb and entertaining to watch (well at least for a few times, then it gets boring as these things do). 

If you want an essay written on a subject that is widely documented on the internet such as famous people or well-known events then it actually works quite well. For me it is still not good enough to hand in an essay like this at school, and a half decent English/History/Geography teacher (are there any now?) would spot it right away. But it does provide the basis of a good essay needing only a few tweeks. In such cases, to do that correctly would require reading what ChatGPT has produced and working on it accordingly. So in that case it is not unlike doing all the research yourself. Not quite the end of the world, but still definitely a little like cheating.

Asking ChatGPT about something just that little bit more obscure however, is a complete waste of time. At least from the evidence of my little experiment. 

Where ChatGPT really comes into its own is in writing songs, poems or silly stories. It works well enough at this and is even fun (for a while). It’s easy to see how kids could spend a lot of time playing with it in this context. The short story above is – I thought – quite funny. But as always you need to try these things yourself to see if it works for you – even on a funny short story…

Stanley Stenchfield though… Hahaa.. That was enough for me. And so in line with Marvel super hero/villain names with the first and last names (often) starting with the same letter. If you don’t know, then check some of them out… Peter Parker, Curt Connors, Reed Richards, Green Goblin, Bruce Banner etc etc…

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Watsons Bay to Rose Bay Walk

This weekend we did another leg of the famed Bondi to Manly coastal walk. Not that we are trying to do it all (particularly) but each year the colleagues of Dani’s mum organise the whole walk between them. Small groups doing one or two legs of the 80km route over the weekend. Last year we did Bondi Beach to Watson’s Bay, this year we did Watson’s Bay to Rose Bay. We took the bus to Watsons Bay and another bus back home from Rose Bay. Luckily the weather was perfect.

The official walk was 10km – or approximately 11,800 steps (according to Dani’s mum’s mobile phone app). Overall, with walking to and from bus stops, it came to (about) 12km or 15,000 steps (on the app). Dani had his mate from our building for moral support and they both did well.

Top: Watson’s Bay swimming pool. Bottom: View to CBD from Watsons Bay

Along the route there are quite a few small beaches. It’s hard to call them “hidden” beaches as they are all clearly visible and accessible from this path. But before development of this part of the world they would have been easier to access from the sea.

Some of the small ‘hidden’ beaches on the trail

Along the route we passed a curious old cemetery (see photo below) only a few metres from the sea, and here is its story:
In 1882, religious people from the Society of the Sacred Heart travelled from England and established a school of the Sacred Heart in Sydney. The site, which is still a school, is just inland of this cemetery. The Chapel construction began in 1897 and was completed in 1900. The cemetery was first used in 1891 with one of the students being the the first burial.

Main: View across Rose Bay with Shark Island. Bottom right: Sacred Heart Cemetery

Rose Bay is accessible land, sea and air. Near the ferry wharf is the sea plane terminal (see photos).

Arrive in Rose Bay by land, sea and air

Rose Bay has many shops, cafes and restaurants. Even some small alleys have been artistically renovated and provide extra shops and businesses.  Collins Lane (below) is a fine example.

Collins Lane, Rose Bay – from both ends
Near the Rose Bay Wharf. Sea plane terminal and distance markers

Festival of the Winds

Every year at Bondi Beach the Australian Kiteflyers Society hold the Festival of the Winds to celebrate kite making & flying and all things relating to wind energy.  Incredibly this event has been going for 45 years starting out back in 1978

Last year we saw them setting up on the Saturday but missed the event as it was Dani’s First Communion on the Sunday (see that post here). This year we went down to the beach on the Sunday (last Sunday to be exact – where did that week go?) to see what it was all about.

The main kite flyers had their very large kites in a fenced off area of the beach. It’s hard to call them “kites” really as they are more like giant inflatables. But kites they are. The larger ones needed a more basic parachute shaped kite to be flown first, in order to rise them high enough to maintain flight.

A recent addition to the mural wall at the beach plus some professional kites

There were quite a few stalls set up to sell much smaller kites to the many visitors. And there were plenty of them being flown along the grass bank facing the beach. Not to be outdone we bought one for $15. A small orange octopus (apparently) although it looked more like a jellyfish. There were quite a few of them in the sky already.

After several failed attempts we did manage to launch the octopus. Tricky enough but once up high enough to catch the wind it is possible to fly even these most basic kite designs quite a way up. Some people had their kites almost out of sight they were so high. 

Ours is the orange octopus
Giant sea-life kites: Stingray, Humpback Whale and Whale Shark

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Sound of Freedom – Movie Review

Sound of Freedom is an American film released in 2023 starring Jim Caviezel, Mira Sorvino and Bill Camp. Caviezel plays Tim Ballard, a real-life former U.S. government agent who embarks on a mission to rescue children from sex traffickers in Colombia. It is not an easy subject to take on-board and yet the movie has somehow managed to create a certain level of controversy. It is hard – impossible even – to imagine how highlighting the subject of trafficking children for sex can be controversial; but let’s take a look…

The plot is based on Ballard’s real-life ‘Operation Underground Railroad’, an anti-sex trafficking organization. The film was completed in 2018 but not released until almost five years later! (July 4, 2023). Some people in Hollywood – aka ‘Hollyweird’ – clearly weren’t happy with this movie. But we’ll come to that… Maybe you can work it out for yourselves…

Plot (and clearly multiple Spoiler Alerts)

The movie starts in Honduras when Roberto, a poor father of two, is approached by a former beauty queen, called Giselle, who offers to screentest his young children, Miguel and Rocío, to be child models. He takes them to the photoshoot but when he returns his children are gone. It soon becomes apparent that the children were sold to be used as sex slaves.

Tim Ballard is a Special Agent for the Homeland Security Investigations, where he arrests people who possess and distribute child pornography. He speaks to a predator he arrested, (Ernst Oshinsky) and pretends to be a pedophile himself. Once he gains Oshinsky’s trust, he sets up a meeting with a trafficked child, and is able to arrest the man who purchased Miguel.

Tim rescues Miguel and is able to gain helpful information and learns that Miguel’s sister Rocío is still missing. The boy asks Tim to save her. Tim starts looking for Rocío, and his search leads him to Cartagena, Colombia. He meets with a guy known as Vampiro, a former cartel accountant who now – as some sort of redemption – works to save children from sex trafficking.

After speaking with Vampiro Tim sets up a sting operation. They set up a fake island sex resort where trafficked children can be brought for rich ‘clients’. Undercover, they convince Giselle to sell them 54 children. They manage to arrest all of the traffickers, and free the children. However, Rocío is not one of them.

They learn that Rocío was sold to a revolutionary group that are camped deep in the Amazon. Going there to rescue Rocío is difficult because the region is largely unmapped jungle, and any rebel territory is usually a no-go zone. However, doctors are allowed into the region for medical purposes, which gives Tim the idea to pose as doctors. Ultimately the rebels refuse to let more than one of them enter, so Tim enters the area alone and manages to find and rescue Rocío.


It may be easy to see why the movie has been called ‘controversial’. It is a very uncomfortable subject and one that certain powers-that-be perhaps, may be more uncomfortable with than the rest of us. We all know about ‘Epstein’s Island’ and yet no high profile figures have even been named, let alone prosecuted. There are powerful people out there who would rather this subject was not given such a high profile. Where are these children being sent and who is abusing them? These are the only questions that need to be answered when discussing any “controversy” involving this movie.


It is not a high budget movie but it is well made enough to keep you glued to the story. Caviezel is excellent as Ballard, but don’t expect him to win any shiny little statues this coming “awards season”.

The opening scene alone shows you just how easy it is to entice youngsters who may normally be quite wary. Even more scary than that however it shows just how easy it is to trick the parents. And once tricked it is terrifying. A parents worst nightmare.

The film’s theme is already shocking enough and so it does not go in for any sordid or shocking details and does not show any actual abuse. It doesn’t need to. In fact it only ever hints at it and that in itself is frightening enough to make any point. So, while the main theme of the movie is very scary, the film itself is highly watchable.

Everyone should go and see this film. It is good a enough production to warrant the trip to the cinema. But given its gruesome subject matter, the more success this movie has at the box-office then (hopefully) the more it will be discussed. And the more it is discussed one would hope that more will be done to stop this horrific trade in young children.

I give this film 4 stars out of 5 for quality; 5 out of 5 for dealing so well with such a traumatic issue. Go and see it!

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From Surf to Recital

It was a busy day yesterday for Dani. Very busy. After an early start with pre-school tennis practice and a full day in the classroom(s) he then went down to the beach for one of his after-school activities – surfing. As if that was not enough, he then got home, showered, put on his formal school uniform and returned to school for his part in one of the school’s recitals. Wetsuit to tie and blazer, in the same hour.

Basically the recital – mercifully (for Dani) only a once a year event – was piano playing and singing. A little concert for parents and a chance for the kids to perform in front of a live audience. That in itself can be a daunting prospect for many kids and certainly character building. Mostly kids a similar age to Dani but also some singing high-schoolers. Some of them were pretty good in fact.

There was even a couple of songs from that old musical Oklahoma. Blimey! That brings back memories. When I was Dani’s age in fact, I can still recall that we performed most (if not all) of the songs from that musical in our school choir. It is for that reason that I knew one of the, perhaps, lesser known songs that was sung last night – The Surry with the Fringe on Top. Hardly a song that anyone would know unless they are a fan of old musicals or, like me, had sung it in school themselves. Not on my hit list either by any stretch of the imagination, but I still remember many of the lyrics. Bizarre. Funny too.

By the way: The kid who sang it must have been about 15 years old and did an excellent job. Just like a stage show star.

Little Monkee (sic)

Dani’s part in the recital was playing a well known song on the piano. I’m a Believer; which as far as most people know was hit song for The Monkees back in the 60s. However what some (me included) may not know is that the song was written by Neil Diamond.

He made a mistake about half way through and clearly lost himself for a second or two. It must have felt like minutes to him. But he pulled himself through it and finished the tune. He was not at all pleased with himself – which is a good thing in a way. But I was proud of him. Why wouldn’t I be?

In an effort to console him I said that he just needed to practice more. Not exactly what he wanted to hear though, given so much of his precious time is already taken up… 

I was clear however that some of the kids really do practice. A lot! Some of them were incredible. 

Reluctant Participant

While I think it’s great that he gets to do all of these things, Dani himself is less than keen. He often moans about having to do some of his activities. What he really wants is to get home sooner after school and sit in front of a screen. Fortunately – for him in the long run (I hope) – he is not getting off that lightly. 

I don’t see it as forcing him to do things. And we are far from being pushy parents. I just want him to have as many opportunities as possible, in as many different activities as possible. I certainly never had the same opportunities. The chance to try/learn these (mostly new) things. Geography played a big part in that of course. That, and the fact that a bike and a football (and jumpers for goalposts!) was all that was needed in my day. Oh, that sounds really old eh? (groan).

I am sure he will thank me for it when he is older but that is not the vibe I am currently feeling. It is becoming a bit of a ‘battle of wills’.  But guess what? He ‘aint winning this one…

A Walk Around Randwick

Well, it’s officially spring in Australia. Although you wouldn’t really know it. Anyway, today we went for a stroll around Randwick town centre (if it is even a “town”). Randwick is one of Sydney’s Eastern suburbs. Although we have driven through this area many times we have never really had a close look. Today that all changed…

Despite having a modern shopping centre at it’s heart there are plenty of examples of old architecture in this area. One of my favourites is the art deco Ritz cinema. A fabulous old cinema that is sure to bring back memories to older readers (if there are any).

The beautifully preserved Art Deco Ritz Cinema, Randwick
Dani next to an old projector. Plus some inside detail…
Details, details… These old places are great eh?

Captain Cook.

I wanted a close up of the statue of Captain James Cook I had seen many times from the car while driving past. It’s also worth reading the inscription on one side of the base as it mentions where he died – see photo below.

Pretty soon this statue may be torn down. Really. I actually get the feeling that will happen – either officially or unofficially. They have already removed one in Cairns, Queensland this year and there have been calls to have the statue of Cook in Sydney city centre relocated to a museum. I think I need to get photos of anything to do with ye olde Cap’n before he gets resigned to the rubbish bin of ‘politically correct’ motivated history. There are streets, parks, schools and other buildings named after the famous sailor. I will make it a quest. By my reckoning I think I have just over a month to capture them all… Better get my skates on. More on that one to come I think…

One of only two statues of Captain James Cook in Sydney

This is probably the first statue of James Cook to be erected in Australia and only one of two (that I know of) in Sydney. It was made by sculptor Walter McGill in 1874

Out of the other buildings in the area these (see below) caught my eye. One is an old Presbyterian church building, now boys’ preparatory school. Also, thankfully there are still a few of the old pubs left in Randwick. Always great to see these classically designed refreshment establishments.

Clockwise: Old Presbyterian church, Royal Hotel pub, Captain Cook statue inscription.

Back in the early 1980s, during the Falklands War, I remember hearing reports about the South Sandwich Islands which are in that same part of the South Atlantic.I remember checking the map to see exactly where they were.

I always wondered where the northern sandwich Islands were. Well, it’s where Captain James Cook was killed – and eaten I believe! Although they were just known as the Sandwich Islands back then. Now of course we call them the Hawaiian Islands.

Curious Tasmania

Here are a few curious – if not totally weird – places and things we saw on our trip to Tasmania.

As always, if you like what you see, feel free to pass it on to friends and anyone you think might be interested. Also hit the “like” button and leave a comment. You can also click to follow on Twitter (or is it X?) and/or sign up for email alerts on future posts. Enjoy…

MONA – Museum of Old and New Art

Not sure where the ‘old’ art was but I am sure there was some. This place is like a modern art gallery spread over the whole area not just the buildings. It is supposedly Tasmania’s most visited tourist attraction. OK. Let’s get to it…

MONA lies less than 12 km north of central Hobart on the small Berriedale peninsula jutting out into the Derwent river. For the whole experience however you arrive by boat. Special tourist “Mona ferries” leave the port in central Hobart and that is where “the experience” is supposed to begin. (You can tell I am not a fan already – right?)

MONA is the work of David Walsh. A Tasmanian native who developed a liking for the arts. Walsh briefly studied mathematics and computer science in 1979 at Tasmania University, but made his fortune playing cards and by developing a gambling system used to bet on horse racing and other sports. He must have made a shit load of money out of it because this place – regardless of what you think of it – would have cost a fortune. (As an example, it is said that in 2009, Walsh and his syndicate won over $16 million during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.)

What began as a small museum of antiquities then developed into MONA. It is like a  playground up top with a subterranean art museum below. In their own words the museum is described like this: “A temple to secularism, rationalism, and talking crap about stuff you really don’t know very much about. We won’t tell anyone. Come and play.”

In an adult rated section there was some very weird and disturbing works of “art”
A ‘white’ office, some ‘real’ art and a bit of fun
Some of it was intentionally funny. Other parts unintentionally so…

Beer was to be had. Thankfully
Can you guess what these are supposed to be in the big picture?

Chester does MONA

It is easy to spend a lot of time here as there are areas to eat drink and be merry, with live music performances being common. However, by now Dani and his old dad had had enough. So we decided to make it more interesting by taking photos of Chester the chimp (so called as Dani bought him on a trip to Chester Zoo – see here for post on the zoo) in varying states of interaction with the “artwork”. Well, why not? We had fun doing it…

Some of the “Art” at MONA as seen by Chester the Chimp

And here is something that – for me at least – kind of sums up the whole place. This superbly engineered piece of kit is an artificial shit maker. I kid you not! Designed and built to replicate some sort of digestive system, they put food in one end, it passes through several stages of “digestion” and shit appears at the other end. Dani’s mum went along to video one of the regular (no pun intended) demonstrations. I might add that in a future post. I preferred to be “on the piss” (again no pun intended) rather than the shit. So stayed in the bar area for another beer.

An artificial shit maker. Yes, really! (Lost for words)

My personal take on MONA is that it is (at least) overrated. But then I am no fan of most of what passes for “art” in such places. But it certainly is different to all of the other (so called) modern art galleries I have visited. In a way, better even. So I guess I can (perhaps reluctantly) recommend it.

Shot Tower

Less than 12km south from the centre of Hobart just past the town of Taroona, there is one of those little oddities you see form time to time and wonder what the hell it is. Something not quite a folly but looks like it was built for a purpose. What was this tall brick built tower all about?

What’s this tower all about then?

This being right on the coast and at the entrance to the harbour I thought it might be something to do with the military. After all, Sydney harbour was chosen not so much for its natural geographic beauty that brings in visitors these day, but more for it’s natural defensive possibilities – against those darned Frenchies in case you were wondering.

The tower, inside and out

It turn out tat this was built in 1870 specifically to make lead shot. Lead was melted at the top  of the tower. When the molten lead was poured through holes made in a sheet of metal, it formed lead droplets. The tower had to be high enough so that by the time the lead drops hit the bottom they had hardened. And that is how lead shot was made back in the day. The lead fell through holes of varying sizes giving lead shot of different diameters. I never knew that. I had never given it any thought despite using lead shot for fishing ever since I was very young. Now I know, that’s how they did it back in the day.

The drop went further than it first appears. There were lots of steps leading down as well as up. Plus a great little café serving great scones for a Devonshire tea. Always great to scoff those.

A description of the building of the tower plus some views from the top
Beaches and marinas near Taroona

There is one such shot tower in the city of Chester, UK. I only realised when I was over there this (northern hemisphere) summer. I must have walked or driven past it hundreds if not thousands of times but never paid it any attention. Like all of these things; once you know, you know.

Another Great Little Brewery…

Packed into a small industrial unit near the car hire place we used we stumbled across this little gem…The Last Rites Brewing Co.

Last Rites Brewing Co. A hidden gem…

They really can squeeze these places in almost anywhere. Which I suppose is great news for anyone wanting to start a craft ale business. With beer names like Dead Man’s Revenge, She’s No Bette Midler and Dead Man’s Day Off, this place has a bit of a Halloween feel to it. As it was so close to the car hire office it would have rude not to sample the brews before dropping the car off. Ahem… I mean after dropping the car off.

Check it out at and if you are in the area pay them a visit…


A Little More of Tasmania

Some of the places we saw in Tasmania were only in passing. Even if we did spend a night in some of them, it was mostly on our way to another location. Of course there is always time to do a little exploring even if they were quick one-night stopovers.


One night in Tasmania’s second city, Launceston was never going to be enough but we did visit the Cataract Gorge. Amazingly this place sits almost in the middle of the state’s second most populace city.

Such stunning ‘wilderness’ right near the city centre.

Views of the Cataract Gorge and its suspension bridge

The gorge walk starts at the road bridge, while the river is navigable all this way south to the road bridge. Thanks to its position on the Tamar River – the country’s longest navigable tidal estuary – it is possible to sail in and out of Launceston to/from the Bass Strait that separates Tasmania from the mainland. About 50km as the crow flies.

Old King’s bridge toll house and cottage. Also looking north from under the new road bridge

The city has some great places to eat. We were lucky enough to get a table at the Black Cow Bistro which was an excellent steak-house serving prime free-range beef. We also had a truly excellent Tasmanian red wine there, which I have not been able to find since…  If you are interested it was a Malbec called Obsessionist.

Way out West…

We also spent a night at Strahan on the western side of Tasmania. It sits in the McQuarrie Harbour in an area that is remote even by Tasmania’s standards. This is the end of the West Coast Wilderness Railway. The gateway to the sea. Click on the link for a post about the railway and Queenstown.

Strahan’s old Post Office & Customs House. Plus Strahan station, end of the West Coast Wilderness Railway line.

It’s a short drive from Strahan to the beach lookout. A good place to see the sunset on the west coast.

Sunset on the west coast of Tasmania – with a little car surfing

Another place we only really passed through but still quite interesting.

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Women’s World Cup – That’s Football in case you didn’t know

You may already be aware that the FIFA Women’s World Cup has been full swing in Australia (and New Zealand). That’s Football in case you didn’t know. The world’s most popular team sport by a million miles (or kilometres if you prefer); most popular sport of any kind actually. And it’s not even close…

But this is the women’s game. Not the same one that Pele, Moore, Maradona, Xavi, Zidane and Messi have graced us with. No; this world cup has stars such as…. Hmm… Let me think… Nah! Can’t name a single one. That doesn’t mean that some may be fairly famous to those who follow the women’s game. No disrespect. But seriously hardly anyone outside of the women’s football sphere knows any of them.

Perhaps you can already tell that I am not at all impressed with women’s football. That would be correct. I do not even follow the men’s game any more (for various reasons) so there is no way I was ever going to be jumping onto the fake bandwagon they created for this “world cup”.

My son Daniel loves the game – as I did when I was his age (didn’t we all?) – and for him this is a win-win situation. If any of the two teams in the final win the tournament he will be fairly happy. It will be played tonight between Spain and England.

Too much hype…

The Aussie media were making the semi final game against England seem like the age old Ashes rivalry in the cricket. I can you that it is nothing like that. There is no big rivalry in women’s football. It’s just a marketing/sales pitch. Anyway the “Matildas” (as the Aussie team are nicknamed) lost and went on to lose the 3rd place play-off game against Sweden. None of that stopped the usual politicians trying to make political capital out of it.

It may well all be over by the time most of you read this post. Thankfully. It already is for me. I have already had to concentrate on the really big game this weekend. My son’s team’s final game of the season. Which as it turned out was a very close 1-0 defeat. Great fun to watch. Trust me it was far more entertaining than anything I have seen in this “world cup”. Yes. A game played by boys aged 9 and 10 beats anything I have seen in this world cup tournament.

Meanwhile… Shine on you Aussie Diamonds…

While all the spotlight has been on the women playing football, Australia actually won a world cup in a different sport. A women’s sport actually (cos men do not play it). It happened just 2 weeks ago and they won it for the 12th time in their history. That was the Australian “Diamonds” Netball team who just won the Netball World Cup. It’s a sport they take very seriously in Australia and I can tell you that whenever we take Dani for his football games there are always plenty of netball games taking place near by for all ages.

Well done to you “Diamonds”! It’s a real shame that the shine has been taken off your tremendous victory by the football.

And finally…

One good thing may come out of this “world cup”. And it’s not that more girls will take up the game either. No. It’s that, due to the relative success of the tournament in terms of ticket sales etc., Australia (and New Zealand) may just land the real world cup when they next bid for it. Now that might be of some interest to me…