Our first Volunteer's outing for 2016
The Ida Bay Intrepids – 16 February 2016
24 volunteers of The Channel Heritage Centre boarded an Oakley’s coach at 9.30 am. The weather was unseasonably brisk and most were rugged up in waterproofs and beanies. Trevor, our most able driver kept a steady and enjoyable pace.
We enjoyed the stunning scenery of the Huon Valley. Rich, red soil supports new vineyards, apple orchards and wild blackberries. Wooden boats at Franklin advertise that they “sail today”. Tall, dense eucalypts and man fern predominate as we enter Geeveston, the “forest town”.
Home-made biscuits and spice cake were cheerily provided by members of the Dover History Group. The group was formed in 2010 to record and preserve the history of the Port Esperance area. The two room weatherboard Dover State School, used from the 1930s to 1950s now houses the Dover Museum. The centre records information, photos and artefacts of the Convict Probation Station, timber splitters, saw millers, regattas, sport teams and the fishing, apple and berry growing industries. Work of local artists is also displayed.
The Ida Bay Railway at Lune River, the most southerly railway in Australia was the site for our mid-day repast. The Café provided warming pumpkin soup, delicious home-made quiches and giant sandwiches. Our 14 km return journey to Deep Hole Bay was aboard a WW 11 diesel locomotive. The small red train runs on a 610mm (2 foot) gauge line. A small covered carriage was provided for our most senior members. Others enjoyed natural air conditioning. Options ranged from cool and windy to rain and ice.
Our train, originally used for transport of the local limestone, bumped and rattled through button grass and bracken. Three large gravestones belonging to members of the Tyler family stand incongruously at the edge of Ida Bay. Our train driver, Damo, enthusiastically rendered historical snippets of the adventures and intermarriage of the Tyler and Jaeger families. A sea eagle posed on a high eucalypt close to the house site of John Graves, the composer of folk song, “D’ye ken John Peel”. Black swans drifted languidly in Deep Hole Bay. We briefly explored the white, sandy, Elliot Beach before our 7 km return journey.
Many thanks are due to our drivers, Trevor and Damo, Meg our Ida Bay hostess and Irene our excursion organiser. We thank the current liberal government for funding our trip. We have greatly expanded our knowledge of local history and tourism in Tasmania’s far south.
Gail Foster - Meet and Greeter at the Channel Heritage Centre