Hot- Hot-Hot

The weather is starting to cool off. Still night last night and quite cool. I had permission for a control burn off and was blessed with the expert help of the Scamander Fire Brigade. It is still very dry here and burn offs in thickly forested areas with a lot of undergrowth and fallen dead trees from the 2006 bushfire can lead to some very interesting times if things get out of control.


the area we are burning off is next to the main house

the burn off commences about 7:30pm

All went well until the next day. I started to clean up unburnt logs and fallen branches , also some stumps were alight and I keep these going.

Later I went to pick some fruit and was soon visited by a very worried wife. The fire had started up again on the fence line as a result of strong winds and was moving fast. Lots of smoke making it look worse than it was. Never the less it is a warning that although we should be dong burn offs at this time of year we shouldn’t relax our vigilance until the fire is completely out.



Horticultural Challenges


In my last post I talked about the particular summer we have been having. So hot and practically no rain for the entire summer. Amongst other things this led to a bumper crop of apricots.
We didn’t have hardly any last year and over the years transport difficulties have escalated making the sale of apricots and other stonefruit (with the possible exception of cherries ) difficult. As you can see a lot of the fruit dropped not just because we didn’t pick it but as a result of the drought and windy days.
My good friend Alan Savins identified fruit fly as a major threat to Tasmania many years ago. His prophecy at the time was ignored but now it has happened. Fortunately fruit fly checks have been going on for some time and the growers are aware it has entered the State. 
Which one is it: global warming or a one off hotter than normal summer. Does it matter? What does matter is the potential for wiping out the horticultural industry as we see it today. What happened to me this summer means fruit fly would have a great source of food and possibly spread like wire fire. (another threat to farming on the east coast).
My management practices will have to change. Many of my trees will have to be cut down so that fruit droppings are minimised. Throwing out unused fruit to the animals will have to be assessed too.
What do we do with waste fruit and general management practices need to be reassessed. Tasmania has been the lucky state horticulturally but those days look like coming to an end. Large scale producers relying on an export market must feel severely threatened. the spread of fruit fly has been stopped in the past probably by the cold winters we normally enjoy. But a hot summer followed by warmer winters creates a completely new scenario.
Backyard gardeners could be the avenue by which the spread of this terrible menace will be unconstrained. Likewise greenhouses create a warmer environment by which fruit fly can overwinter and survive to do more damage in the summer months.
Fruit fly control measures haven’t really stooped the southerly movement through Australia. Sterilisation of the mail fruit fly has helped and of course Bass strait has been a very useful Quarantine barrier but we can see now that it may not be good enough. 

Yes I am worried. Fruit fly getting into Tasmania is a major threat to all gardeners and measures to control it should be made transparent and immediate implemented.

Tasmania’s nemesis: Pokies

I would not normally make a political statement but for this election I will make an exception. I can’t see why the goal of eliminating poker machines in Tasmania shouldn’t be a bipartisan issue.
The fact that the Liberal Government supports the presence of poker machines in businesses such as pubs and casinos doesn’t do them any credit.

Gambling in this manner is practically a mindless activity which just like drugs, alcohol or eating can become addictive. It especially tends to affect those less able to afford it.
With the Farelll monopoly on gambling coming under review it is a golden opportunity to remove this form of gambling.
The ridiculous discussions about loss of jobs if pokies are removed is a further discrediting of the political system and in this case the Liberal Party. If one believed that pokies help create jobs why not escalate their spread and put them in schools, colleges hospitals on public transport and more. Of course everyone immediately recognises that this would be foolishness in the extreme. However just because we have adjusted to the present level of the pokie problem doesn’t make it a righteous one as the Government wants us to believe.
Tasmania promotes itself as a clean green state. A state with a difference, a state with a strong respect for its population. But on the downside the reality of this second statement needs to be seriously questioned. Mental illness , depression are at seriously high levels. Gambling is probably part of the mix causing this problem.
Removing pokies and showing the rest of Australia that we don’t need them should be part of  Tasmania’s well being. As far as jobs are concerned Tassie will survive with them them.

Our only choice therefore in this election but to vote LABOUR or the GREENS. Both parties support legislation to remove pokies from Tasmania.


The Avenue- the exploration of a long distance trek through Break O’Day



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Cocky me on the 5th September I proposed the following adventure on my Facebook Page
“A must do adventure has been on my mind for 25 years and hopefully I will start later the week. It is a cross country trek through forests bordering our farm.——–
I have been a proponent of walking trails for many years and to date by enthusiasm seems to fall on deaf ears. So I figure the best way is to just do it.
Potentially there is so much that could be done to improve the activities available in our municipality. I had hoped to do a long distance walk to Launceston via Ben Lomond but time does not permit me to do so right now. The Ben Lomond path via Storeys Creek offers lots of possible ventures to extend this trip. One of my objectives of this trip will be to stay off roads as much as possible. This trip starts at Eureka Farm and goes to Upper Scamander where it essentially follows the Avenue River to its source and thence to Evercreech and Mathinna.—-” 

the rucksack feels heavy- but too bad as I must get going.

Goodbye, goodbye. Not sure Ann expected to see me again


Well it took a few days before I actually started this trip. The main reason was the weather on the few days before was iffish and not much better was promised. When I woke up Sunday,11th – it looked like a great day so I just decided to go.

To make sure of authenticity meaning that I started from Eureka Farm I decided to ride my racing bike on the fire trail behind the house. This would allow me to get to the pipes more quickly. However the reality was quite different as the these fire trails were in bad condition and not at all suitable for a bike with slim tires. I actually walked quite a bit of the way until I came to McIntyre creek where the bridge had been burnt out after the 2006 bushfire. The is just after the turnoff to Schiers track. As I was due to meet Ann at the pipes I decided to go back along Schiers track and then get to my rendezvous via Upper Scamander Road.

Even though this part of Upper Scamander Road was gravel it made for very enjoyable riding and from then on I  made good progress to the Pipes.

Ann had brought me some lunch. So we sat next to the river ate our lunch and then said goodbye.


The purpose of this story is to outline what I saw for others who might want to follow. The Avenue River met all my requirements in that it provided me with an instant adventure to places unknown and unfrequented by the Masses. Whilst there is no track the river is not for most of the time difficult to walk along. A word of warning though this is not a river you would want to be on after heavy rains. Flood debris was evident many metres up the side of the river from the June floods and movement along the river would have been impossible and dangerous then.

One last thing is maps. I had some digital maps on my PC downloaded from Maps Tasmania. Printing such maps didn’t lead to high enough resolution. this may have been due to my inexperience. I also had a KMZ format which theoretically you can load into Google maps. However the file size was too big and thus didn’t work. You can load them into Google Earth but still some problems printing. I did manage to save a Google map file of my trek but there terrain resolution is poor compared with Tasmaps 1:25000 topographic maps. One thing that was excellent is that once you have a downloaded map of your proposed trek you can get GPS everywhere even when there is no mobile reception. This feature is most reassuring when you are in narrow valleys with no visuals to outside landmarks.

Finally I would recommend that trekkers download PDF Maps app which has full free access to all TasMaps topographic. The resolution is very clear even better than the printed map if you are getting old and eyesight is not what it used to be. It also has GPS connectivity.  There are a number of other features in this app such as keeping a route map of your trek. One precaution you might like to think of is having a battery backup so that you can recharge your smart phone enroute.


Starting at the Pipes  the Avenue River had plenty of water in it. There was much evidence of the June floods along the banks too. You certainly wouldn’t want to be walking in the creek during that time. It did make me a little apprehensive too as the weather wasn’t as stable as I would have liked and when the sun disappeared it could be decidedly cold.

The side of the river had a pebbly cobblestone banks along which a four wheel drive car had apparently gone before me. It seemed like the best way to go and it wasn’t long before I was crossing back and forth across the large pools as I made my way upstream . There was no way I was going to keep my shoes dry and for that matter my shorts too. My unease settled down as I emerge from one pool to the next as I trudged up a rather straight section of the river. Where the tire tracks were going I don’t know as they disappeared presumably as the water holes got deeper. At the end of a relatively straight section the river turns to the right and goes around a long u bend. I knew this and prepared to cut across the U bend rejoining the river where Catos Creek  flows in. The where tp leave part was the difficult choice as there was no indication that a track existed, In front of me though was a large pool which went from bank to steep bank and this looked like a good place to leave the river. This I did.


a small hideaway- nestled along the Catos River and looking over a small cleared paddock. A haven indeed

My old legs were getting cramps. probably a combination of my foray into bike riding and followed by long immersion in cold water. Whatever the reason they weren’t working as they should do. The bush along side the creek was also formidable. More water in this region led to mulga scrub , broken and dead undergrowth and flood debris. Persevering you soon get to a less formidable region and reaching the crest one finds himself back in dry sclerophyll forest. And believe it or not there is a track which leads to the one sign of habitation on the river.

Yes it was getting cold now and as I sat there I thought for a moment that this would be a good place to camp for the night. It did feel secure but come on man don’t be a wimp. Kicking myself a few times I set out again for the lower paddock and the river I had left. In trekking along this river I made a mental note of the bends. The river runs approximately in a westerly direction but the U bends are at right angles in either direction. I anticipated 3 more U bends before reaching my camping spot for that night.

  • The Avenue displays its treasures
    Magic Rocks in Crystal Clear Pools

Lots of waterholes ; some deep too so that not much below the waist remains dry. The water though is very clear but I can’t see any fish in it . ( maybe it is too cold and they have all gone elsewhere). Not much animal life either as vegetation away from the river doesn’t look like it would support much. As the river sweeps around to he north I know I am approaching another U bend. I have to leave the creek too as the pool incloses the entire creek and the sides are steep. But getting out of the river is not so easy especially for me as I am becoming severely cramped.

I drag myself up and the bush levels out but is heavily scrubbed. I more or less know which direction I must go but just in case I make a check with my ancient Silva compass. Scrub and ferns all the way. With cramping and rotting trees no one would find me if I came to grief here.

I break through to the Avenue again and with relief. Cold and wet as you trudge along the river it hasn’t been a bad day with reasonable times when the sun blessed me. I come to a more interesting section of roughlty carved rocks and small rapids. Not so easy now to travel in the creek and I make several forays over rocky obstacles joining the creek only when it seems passable.

I am looking for Long Gully Creek but didn’t really note a creek flowing although I did think that there should have been a creek in the valley to the north. Kept going and after another straight section come to the junction of two creeks Big Hop Creek and Little Hop Creek. Just where they should be and confirmed on my iphone. Nice creeks with clear water flowing but no camp sites at this junction and looking around the corner a number of large pools.

However I did notice a sandy embankment 50 metres back which will be my camp for this night. Frozen as I am I don’t stop for fear that I might seize up. I get the fire going with some driftwood lying on the pebble  sides to the creek and put my tent up and get my gear out. Alls dry in my rucksack but anything in my shorts is beyond redemption.

Shoes off, no others to wear but fire providing some well earned warmth and rehabilitation. Surprisedly I am not hungry just thirsty. I have found that lack of liquid is a major cause of cramps. So I make a billy of soup and some coffee and sit beside the fire and watch the last rays of sunlight. By about 7:30pm I am ready for bed. I was worried about cramps occurring in the sleeping bag. That can be a real nuisance trying to get mobile when locked in a bag.

But no this didn’t happen. It has only been one day ( really much less as I didn’t leave Eureka Farm  until 10:30am) but what a day. So many visuals and body but to heavy work. I go to bed contented and drowse off thinking what a great life I am having.

  • 1:A good sleepiing bag - and don't I look the worse for wear
  • 2:looking down the Avenue, my cosy U.S tent has served me well. ( not sure how well it would be in rain - but fortunately it wasn't tested on this occasion)
  • 3:
  • 4: food looks good for Breakfast. A long cold night but beautifully clear and I lost count of the stars.
  • 5: my poor little footsies
  • 6:

The cold seeps in and eventually I add my other clothes which are few to improve my warmth. I wake up before dawn – opening the tent door I can see the stars above. All is peaceful except the gurgling of the river . No animals to be seen – a little drizzle at night but the better weather still holding out.

I start the fire to cook up some fresh mince so that it doesn’t go off. Warm my bare feet , more coffee and muesli. Actually very similar to my normal Eureka Farm breakfast. The trees and undergrowth lighten up and the sun appears down the valley. It never reaches me as clouds come over too. I thank my lucky stars for the good campsite – one of a very few that exist along the river, pack up and am on my way by 8:00am.

Soon as I round the bend and pass Little Hop Creek a large pool awaits me.

  • 1: Just after Little Hog Creek more ponds. Every bend offers a different vista.
  • 2: Black Hole- a deep section on one of the U bends- greenish hues
  • 3: looking down the river at Black Hole
  • 4: still going well, body in good shape today
  • 5: before Ballyhoo Flat: Here is the fire trail- the only intersection with the outside world until I get to the upper reaches of Durham Creek
  • 6: now heading for Durham Creek

Such a change from farm work. Muscles are in good shape today. All is looking positive. Rucksack hasn’t changed much in weight but feels comfortable. It is over 30 years old and has been a regular companion of so many of my trips. Shoes are not much fun putting on as they are cold and wet but that won’t matter as they will soon be immersed in the Avenue.

Black cockatoos screeching as I trudge up the river. Is this an omen that rain is coming?  Some pools are very long and I wish my camera was more ready and that the GPS had been turned on. But I was worried they might get wet and so had the camera tucked in my rucksack. Every corner seems to want me to photograph it.

Eventually I come to the first firetrail which helps notify me exactly where I am. My iphone is still working but google maps is not so definitive and I had not at this stage switched over to pdf maps.

I had hoped the track going up the creek would take me further up the creek but no it quickly reversed direction and joined the firetrail heading uphill. Still I followed it as the pool above the trail was quite deep. Open country once you get out of the creek and some signs of clearing of the bush. It looked easy to cut back to the creek which I did. There is a big U bend and when I looked down on the creek it had disappeared. How could I have lost the Avenue River in such a short distance?  I scrambled down to the creek  as it happened I had to go down in the gully as there were cliffs just beneath me from that observation point. When I reach the bed it can be seen that the creek flows underground coming from a south east direction. This is an area known as Ballyhoo Flat. Nice country with what probably at one time was grazing country but now overrun with wattles. Possible campsite in this area.

The creek here has quite a bit of flood damage making it difficult walking along the banks loaded with debris. Walking through some deep pools still seems to me to be the best way and I accept being wet hopefully from the waist down as part of the deal.  Soon after a big pool the Avenue swings off to the right and Durham creek  is to your left. The beginning of Durham creek is wide and readily accessable.  I had a choice of Durham Creek or Barnes Creek. I choose Durham as it looked to be the bigger of the two with pools showing on my map  but in hind sight it would have been more expedient to take Barnes Creek,

  • 1: ca massive pool just after the intersection with the fire trail
  • 2: the Avenue River disappears under gravel- for a moment perched above I wonder where I am
  • 3: flood damage on Durham Creek is still visible and the rock pools can be deep
  • 4: this is one where I had a little trouble and nearly fell in - overcast and looking llike rain
  • 5: what's next????
  • 6: durham Creek eventually joins a second fire trail - which will eventually take me to Barnes Road and the Creech.
  • 7: the Climb out of Durham Creek is not fun and it is repeated at Barnes Creek
  • 8: the path down to Barnes Creek looks very similar to the one I took coming up from Durham Creek. I can't image a 4 wheel drive vehicle would have enough traction on this trail.
  • 9: leaving Barnes Creek when I reach the crest the soil looks rich - lots of she-oaks and grass for the Roos.

A little drizzle accompanies me as I move up the river. In the lower reaches there are some good sized pools but eventually the creek gets smaller. A nice surprise for me is to find a wombat trudging along the river on the opposite side. He (or she) is obviously some distance from safety and I guess didn’t expect to see me. No other company to report and eventually I make it to the second fire trail which marks my exit from Durham creek. I am quite tired and decide to take my lunch break here. It is good to sit down for a while but the trail out of the creek looks very steep and can’t really imagine vehicles being able to travel on it. But obviously they do as fallen trees have been recently cut away from the trail. The trail takes me to the crest and then back down to Barnes creek. Such a waste of energy and then another climb out of Barnes creek  to reach Sugarloaf Road which runs along the pine plantations to the east of the Creech.

Even when I make it to Sugarloaf Road it is a long traverse to the Creech. Finding the right roads is not so easy either and that was where PDF Maps came into their own. I make a few doglegs and eventually get to Barnes Road. Feet killing me and evening is fast approaching. No traffic and a strong possibility that I will have to camp. It has started to drizzle and campsites in the plantation look forlorn. But I am in luck as two forestry logging vehicles come by and are obliging to pick this old bugger up and deliver him to the Creech.

All the comforts await you at the Creech. I would highly recommend Justin and Jill for their hospitality.

All the comforts await you at the Creech. I would highly recommend Justin and Jill for their hospitality.

Not many people walk into the Creech and certainly not in the drab state that I looked. But fortunately Jill beleived my story  and made me more than welcome. The Shearer’s quarters have got all the comforts, the showers are hot and finishing the day in the crib room with an open fire is a great ending to this section of the trek. My hosts were forewarned about my arrival and groups would be acceptable with prior notice.


I hope to revise the end part of the trek perhaps to cut across  to the South Esk from Barnes Road and avoid the radiata plantations. More on that later hope my readers will be inspired.

To finsih up my remble I noted an article in the Age (OCTOBER 1 2016) by Katherine Johnson which supports my philosophy:

  • Wild Medicine: there are greater truths in nature than our brains can comprehend

 “Wilderness as salvation” is a relatively new concept in Western thought. And remnants of the old definitions – of wilderness as dangerous after-lands that challenge individuals and societies with their savagery and lack of rules – still linger. They rear their heads when our defences are down. When we are tired and stressed, heading off somewhere remote, particularly with children in tow, can seem too difficult, even crazy. But perhaps—— that’s just what we need to snap ourselves out of our Wi-Fi-induced comas and busy routines, the constant blah-blah of a 24-hour news cycle and the impulse to “check mail”. Perhaps launching ourselves into unknown, untamed spaces is, in fact, the sanest thing we can do.

Nature might make you slow down. it might make you strip off and jump into a cold mountain lake for the fun of it.









Travels of a Spent Mind

time marches on -ancient becomes obsolete

time marches on -ancient becomes obsolete

Our sojourn in the States has come to an end. Back on the farm it is cold and wet. Under such circumstances we miss the warm weather, the hospitality of our new and old American friends and the unending new experiences we enjoyed.

I must say you get used to being a hermit. On the farm I get very involved in my work. I know I am speaking somewhat for myself as Ann always realises there is another world other than our farm. The work is very time consuming and you never get to the end. My fellow farmer friends from the States would concur with me on that one. There are advantages though too in that you do get satisfaction in being the minder for your piece of land and the realisation that the land needs you too in order to survive. Perhaps to some city folk this handshake could seem a little ridiculous but alas it does exist for me.

It is nice to grow things and to do it well. Much of the America that I visited is blessed with good soils. Nevertheless I was somewhat alarmed to see the level of mechanisation that has taken place in America particularly California.

monocultures of almond trees in southern California

monocultures of almond trees in southern California

You don’t have to be a genius to understand why this happens. The temptation is always there for the farming to improve his mechanisation, change the way he works and greatly improve his production. But producing more we saw doesn’t translate into sales. More often the grower faces more stringent prices ; in effect cancelling his production improvements.

It is sad to see small holding being eaten up by agglomerates , farm houses standing derelict as the forests of trees or whatever are being grown move across the countryside in endless repetition. It is sad to see that the Dairy farms too look like factories where the animals have become machines and grass no longer is part of their environment.

But yes I can see what will happen in Australia too. Already bigger mass produced berry farms are coming to Tasmania and with that those changes probably we will not be able to compete. Already it is difficult for the small producer to supply the bigger food chains. For one thing small producers cannot meet their volume requirements but more importantly a small producer hasn’t got the oomph to stand up to them and be respected. Surprisedly for me was to see in the States even being big didn’t offer you security with your buyers as then you enter a world market. More and more it would seem that individuals smaller holdings have to take more control over their destinies by value adding thereby entering the market at a higher level or by selling directly to the consumer via say a farmers market.

Whether there is room for the two markets initiatives still remains to be seen.  Whether people will pay more for products produced on a small scale with possible benefits such as órganic’ is still a question. Whether the customers will continue to pay in hard times is difficult to know.

In Australia the feast and famine approach to farming  seems to be ongoing. for example many pastoralists in Tasmania planted trees some years ago as the profits looked good. I t seemed like easy money and the the timber company wanted the trees for pulp went broke. Now the trees remain and no one seems to have found another use. Even more recently the dairy industry was encouraged by the milk produces to largely increase their production The China market was booming they said. It was a guaranteed way of makiing money – until!

Rain, Rain go away come again another Day

Lots of rain in Tasmania. Not just the East Coast but all over Tasmania. One minute we are experiencing droughts and now floods. Fortunately not too much damage todate but certainly slows down the work program. Oh well such is life!

Roads or Tourists for Tassie’s East Coast

Elections coming up and the pollies are promising us everything. I hear recently that Mr. Gutwein , the State treasurer has promised $7 million to upgrade roads on the East Coast the so-called Great Eastern Drive.

The platitudes quoted is that it will give tourists a more wholesome experience.

Yes it is true that roads need maintenance and upgrades do become necessary. But to equate that with a better tourist experience is misleading. I came to Tasmania 25 years ago and have lived on the East Coast ever since. We run a largely tourism oriented business at Eureka Farm and thus pay a lot of attention listening to what the tourists value most where possible make changes to our operation to reflect on those comments that apply to our business.

I think Politicians could do with a bit more of that listening experience. The visitors we see love our roads. They love the calmness that prevails, the lack of traffic, the absence of traffic lights and so on. Whether they come from the mainland or overseas these types of comments prevail. I should add that is the reason I love this place too.

The general consensus I get from Tourists visiting us is that they want to stay on and explore the area. What they do crave is things to do- icons to see. The east coast abounds with beautiful places to see. The weather is usually much better than the rest of the state but it is true that like so much of Tasmania it depends on fair weather for activities.

In my community however the problem is making these places obvious to visitors. Sure there are magnificent beaches, rocky headlands and an extended backdrop of state forests. Hardly anything overdeveloped and to my mind very much like the east coast of New South Wales and Victoria was fifty years ago. But there are few walking trails along the coast and its hinterland and the same applies for bicycles. Sure bicycles can go on the roads but that is a risky business and no one which parents are likely to support for their children. Many of our reserves and parks are also somewhat inaccessible. We have Winifred Curtis reserve nearby and it has some magnificent walks inside its boundaries but access to the public is not so easy from nearby communities.

What we need is coastal walks perhaps dual purpose in some places so that bikes can use them too. The coastal walks would connect to these parks and have regular entry points. The users would be able to spend a much larger time in the one area this way and I would imagine would more likely find interest with all members of the family. The entry points would enable small businesses to cater for guests in the way of accommodation and/or food. All thus activities would inevitably promote business activity. Living in the best place in the world I want this, I need this and I don’t think such changes would be difficult to implement.

This type of rationale is not original. Our counter parts in New Zealand and elsewhere have been doing this for years and successfully. We must be aware that experiences are what our visitors want to take home. If we don’t supply it they will go elsewhere. On a much smaller scale in our backyard we have seen what the mountain bike trails have done to Derby and as a result how Dorset Municipalities have extended their scope of activities.

The concept of spending your holidays driving everywhere is no longer what many people are seeking. The desire to do something is a growing need for many who often lead somewhat sedentary lives in their home lives. This need is in all of us all the time and doesn’t really matter whether we are on holidays here or live here. Tasmania’s east coast is the perfect venue for coastal walks and/or bike-rides.

Boiled up with Scamander Water

TasWater still has a boiled water alert out for the Scamander Water Supply. How could that be?
Many people were in favour of the then corporation Ben Lomond water taking over the water supplies throughout Tasmania. It was thought at the time that our water supply would be improved. My article written in December 14 , 2011 summarises the situation completely.
So we are paying a lot more for our water since TasWater took over from Break O’Day Municipality and to add insult to injury we get the following typical warning:
“Scamander boil water alert
Regular monitoring in drinking water supply systems is routinely conducted by the Tasmanian Water Corporations. It has been found that this system is unable to adequately treat the drinking water supply to ensure E. coli is not present. E. coli itself is generally not harmful but its presence in drinking water is associated with faecal matter. The presence of these bacteria indicates that the water may be contaminated with organisms that may cause disease.
As a precaution you are advised that water for consumption within the Scamander area should be brought to a rolling boil for one minute. Water should then be allowed to cool and stored in a clean container with a lid and refrigerated.”
The plant located at the crossing in Upper Scamander uses modern membrane technology coupled with aeration to lower solids before filtration. “The later step of flocculation was added when it was found that the membrane system wasn’t able to handle fluctuating solid loads. It is my understanding this is a prevalent condition after heavy rains etc.
The initial plant was completed in late 2011. Before this new plant was commissioned the water was simply chlorinated. At that time we only had boiled water alerts after heavy rains when the chlorination process was inoperable. Since it was built is was severely damaged by floods due to its lower location than the original pumping station.
The membrane treatment works I believe produces exceedingly good water much of the time but because they cannot guarantee that it will work all the time they have placed a boiled water alert. The air floatation system and flocculents added at a later date must be causing some problems which have not been explained to the public. However heightened concern over Taswater’s competence did occur when a large number of fish died near the outlet to the treatment plant large year.
 To continue this process of no information or  misinformation is entirely unacceptable  and doesn’t give us the consumers any confidence in their credibility to fix the problem EVER
It is now 2016 and we continue to pay exorbitant rates for a service which has not improved in 6 years. I think we should demand that if Taswater continue to claim that our water remains unacceptable for drinking we get a discounted rate as it is not treated and therefore should only incur a pumping fee.


In 2014 we started selling black currants on line. Our entre into this market was  heavily supported by Farmhousedirect and Australia Post. The following is the article that was written at that time. we have learnt a lot since that time about packaging and handling and hope we will have the opportunity to supply you once again.

Black currants

Black currants

How did this come about you may ask? Well you may be aware that this spring the weather was very wet and cold. Obviously the bees didn’t do their job and as a result trees which were in blossom at that time didn’t get pollinated. As a result we hardly had any apricots.

lots of blackcurrants

lots of blackcurrants

However the blackcurrants were unaffected and we had very good blackcurrants; so many in fact that we didn’t know what to do with them all. Unlike machine picked blackcurrants our blackcurrants are washed and clean of stalks and other foreign matter. This makes them ideal for desserts and of course jams.


We made lots of blackcurrant jam and mixed berry jam and froze a lot but still there were more blackcurrants to pick.

we made lots of blackcurrant jam

we made lots of blackcurrant jam

Blackcurrants everywhere

Blackcurrants everywhere

Looking at the internet I discovered that there is a big market for frozen and fresh blackcurrants in the United States. Maybe we could do the same here!

I then contacted Farmhousedirect who handle our products for on-line sales as well as many other similar producers. They were very supportive and we arranged for a special sale to happen with dispatch to go out the following Monday by Express Post.

Well I was dumbfounded for within a couple of hours all our blackcurrants were sold. In fact due to an error in my ad we really didn’t have enough.

Now we were entering new territory. How were we going to get these items to our customers? My experience is that they didn’t deteriorate quickly in our chilled coolroom. However they did tend to juice and the skins became softer. With this in mind I decided to pack them in heavy duty plastic bags and heat seal the ends. I then enclosed this bag in another lighter bag just in case the bag was not perfectly sealed. A 2kg package fitted well in one of our own purpose made boxes.  All the boxes once packaged were put back in the cool room until despatch which was planned for the Monday.

On advice from FarmHouse Direct we drove to Perth just outside of Launceston , Tasmania so as to be at an Express Post outlet. We had now discovered that all Post Offices in Australia were not equal. In fact there was not only a National Network but a State Network too. And to further complicate matters if you moved into another State Network all bets were off as to how long it took to get there.

We didn’t examine these conditions in great detail at the time as we weren’t really aware of these loop holes in the Express Post network. We were also not aware that transit time would play such a role in getting these parcels to our customers in good shape. In hindsight we should have checked all postal codes and been more specific in warning our customers that they had to be in one of the appropriate Express Post Networks. However it being summer and extremely hot weather conditions were prevailing on advice again from Vanessa at Farmhouse Direct we did confine deliveries to Tasmania, Victoria and N.S.W.

Getting to Tassie gets harder

  On  a recent visit to Sydney I became acutely aware as to how difficult it is to get back to Tasmania. That was in early April. So in checking the Jetstar timetable I note that there are 2 direct flights to Launceston each day. One goes at 7:20am and the other goes at 5:25pm.  With Virgin airlines there is only one direct flight per day and that leaves at 7:40am. I believe later in May Jetstar flights drop down to only one flight per day too and that is the 7:20am.

Ok , It is understandable that tourist traffic in winter would be expected to drop. But in early April the weather is usually good and day light hours are reasonable. Lots of reasons to come too as schools have holidays and the Easter weekend brings people over.

Where is this leading you may ask. Well I for one am very used to direct flights from
Sydney to Launceston. Yes there are more flights into Tasmania from Melbourne but for JetStar travellers coming from Sydney this can be a very irksome way of making a visit.  As nearly everyone would be aware you have to collect your bags unless you are only carry on and then go through security. Missing a connecting flight is more or less your responsibility if you only have cheap tickets and so on. Families with young children, older people often have this baggage problem and that can lead to their holidays escalating quickly into a nightmare. But worst of all is the extra time it takes up from just under 2 hours to nearly 4 hours ; more than doubling this part of the travel time. And worse of all Jetstar do not sell cheap tickets to Sydney via Melbourne. Virgin often do book on a point to  point basis as they recognise that they have fewer flights.

But the worse thing about it all is the time slots that both Jetstar and Virgin have allotted for direct flights. The below 8am means that most Sydney-siders just can’t get to the airport using public transport. For example the Jetstar flight leaving at 7:20am really means that you should be at the airport by 6:20am. To take a train from Epping or Blacktown you would have to board at 5:30am and from Katomba at 3:36am. Bus connections usually at this hour are non-existent as I found even when trying to get to the airport from one of the Sydney beach side suburbs. And connecting to early flights using Taxis can make the airfare look like one of the cheaper components in your travel expenses to Tassie.

So here is a situation where potentially many of our visitors come from are facing great difficulty getting here. According to the stats Victoria is the largest supplier of visitors to Tassie with N.S.W running up in second place. (401k versus 237k) . Sure you could make the argument that Victoria is closer. But the reality is the difference in fares for direct flights is not significant. The population base for both Sydney and Melbourne are about the same being just under 5 million. But if one considers the coastal corridor of Sydney which could be argued now goes from Wollongong to Newcastle and as far west as the Blue mountains potentially that Sydney  of the problem is that the airlines flight schedules are stopping many Sydney-siders from coming. I reason that the Tasmanian government could well spend a few moments analysing whether the bottlenecks that I am discussing are real and if so how they can be improved.

I look forward to hearing what my readers have to say.