Sunday, September 15, 2013


September 15, 2013

One of our jobs as missionaries in Tasmania is to inspect the missionary flats every transfer. We like interacting with the missionaries located around the state and seeing the sites on the roads less traveled, as we drive to their locations.   This transfer, after inspecting Launceston, Devonport, and Burnie, we drove on the north and west sides of the island to Hobart.

We were a bit disappointed that the lavender farms weren't in bloom, but could see that acres and acres would produce blossoms in a couple of months. 

So, we took a picture of a post card and can imagine how beautiful these fields look before they are harvested.  

Lilydale Falls was just a short walk from the road. (I tried to get Sharla to get closer to the Falls but she would not do it)

Elder Hurt watches in anticipation as Elders Hosman and Whitehead have a contest to see who can polish off the last two pieces of cheesecake first.  Elder Whitehead won.

We booked a cruise on the Gordon River on the Lady Franklin II, but were interested in the piles of Huon Pine on the dock.

Strahan, Tasmania is described as one of the most unique places in West Central Tasmania, located on a spectacularly beautiful harbor at the end of the world.  

This is more than is the Southern Ocean.  Heading this direction, the nearest land is Argentina. 

Hell's Gate is the narrow channel that links Strahan to Macquarie Harbor and is only 60 meters across.  It was named by the convicts imprisoned on Sarah Island.  Escape was next to impossible, and they thought it was the gates to hell on earth.  

A large expanse of water to the left of the lighthouse island is shallow and dangerous.  A captain of this lighthouse lost his entire family, when the ship they were on tried to cross at the wider area. 

Rainbow Trout and Atlantic Salmon by the tens of thousands are farmed in these enclosures in Macquarie Harbor.   Fish food is being sprayed into the pond.  

The water in the Gordon River is  stained dark brown by the tannin in the tea trees in the forest.  Supposedly the water is pure and safe to drink.  We didn't try any.  

The water is so calm that it is difficult to tell where the forest ends and the river begins. 

The vegetation in the cool temperate rain forest is very dense, yet prisoners tried to escape. 

This is a 2000 year old Huon Pine that has toppled to the ground, because the roots are shallow and the rain forest soil is thin.  This tree may be down, but it isn't out; as it drops seeds and new shoots grow from underground root stock.  

Huon Pine is famous around the world as an extremely durable boat-building timber and as a beautiful, golden colored, easily workable furniture timber.  It is impervious to rot and insects and is very slow growing.  

The isolation of Sarah Island made it an ideal place for the worst convicts, many who had escaped from other settlements.  

Looking across the Macquarie harbor are spectacular mountains.  (yes that is snow, and yes they reminded us of the Three Sisters in the Tetons.)

Nelson Falls, one of many in Tasmania.

We stayed at Derwent Bridge in a funny little cabin that was really cold.  

Only in Australia!

Lake St. Claire reminded us a lot of Glacier Lake in Montana.  

The three tiers, framed by lush vegetation, make Russel Falls in Mount Field National Park the most photographed waterfall in Tasmania.  

The Swamp Gum tree is the tallest flowering plant in the world.  This one is 79 meters high.  

Max is craning his neck to try to see the top of this giant tree. 

When they fall, the Swamp Gum Trees seem to go on forever. 

"Homeless in Hobart"
 Actually, we stayed at a serviced apartment just a block from the waterfront but had to park 3 blocks away.  Thank goodness, we were traveling light.  

Greg Duncan is creating a 100 meter wall, carved from Huon Pine, on 3 meter high panels, depicting the history of the harsh Central Highlands region.  It was an amazing display.  Unfortunately, taking pictures was not allowed.  

The Deloraine Ward sponsored a great evening, where the youth of the ward were honored and received  certificates for their achievements.    The Walters family is joined by Graham Brown.  Lionel Walters is a member of the stake presidency.  

Most of the young women in the ward, from ages 12 - 18. 

Abby and Adam Rousse.  Abby is Sister Hornes niece.  

Emily Triffit is one of  many Triffits who comprise the ward.   We have often commented that it seems everyone is related.

Edna Scicluna, Bev Scott, Phyllis Moores, and June Bounds

Mike and Phyllis Moores have been great friends to us since the day we arrived in Deloraine.

Angelo and Edna Scicluna live in the Devonport Ward, but have been assigned to the Deloraine Ward to provide additional support.  

On September 16, we leave this beautiful island of Tasmania and will sail across the Bass Strait to Melbourne.  We wonder what adventure awaits us in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.  

It has been our good fortune to have served in Deloraine, if only for a few short months.  When we came here in June, with six months remaining on our mission, we were sure we would finish here.  But, someone has something else in mind. Wagga Wagga, New South Wals is where we are headed.  What do we know about Wagga Wagga?  Not very much.  It is a long way from Deloraine.  It is in the "district" part of the mission (not part of any of the stakes,) and 450 - 500 K's north and east of Melbourne.  There are four sister missionaries serving in the branch, and we will be the first senior couple to live and serve there.  We probably will get to set up one more flat for ourselves to live in.  We know that it will be a much hotter summer than Tasmania would have been and even hotter than it was in Melbourne last year.  We know that it is a city of 50 - 60 thousand people rather than a town of 2500 people.  We know we will  miss the beauty of Tasmania, the people, and especially the missionaries with whom we have served, but we know we will come to love the people and missionaries in Wagga Wagga.  Stay tuned for the rest of the story.   

Sunday, September 8, 2013


September 8, 2013

My turn to shine!   Sharla has (thankfully) been the master-mind and production staff one and all for the BLOG.  That is good for me and for anyone who might happen to read it, but today is my turn. Tasmania, Australia as I have noted in emails to family is indeed a beautiful place. It is very much like a mountain hike, and you are nearing what appears to be the top of one of the most beautiful places you have ever seen. Of course when you arrive at that point, before you is one even more beautiful mountain to climb. This is an island of endless pastures, hills, amazing trees and vegetation, rivers, valleys, towns, dairy and beef cattle, sheep of every breed, along with an amazing variety of crops, including poppy's grown commercially for legal pharmaceutical uses. Wallabies, platypus, wombats, Tasmanian Devils, birds of every variety fill the forests, and unfortunately provide the greatest amount and assortment of road kill  I have ever seen.  It is a state of raw beauty and endless wonder.

We  took advantage of our assignment to inspect missionary flats in Hobart, to drive the scenic route through Scottsdale,  St. Helens, and along the eastern coast of Tasmania.  Binalong Bay has white sandy beaches.

This looks like Old Faithful erupting, but instead is a blow hole, that spews ocean water high into the sky when the waves crash against the rocks. 

The Bay of Fires has giant granite boulders, kelp forests, and underwater caves.  

This is another bridge built by convicts.  The vertical  rocks were placed along both sides of the bridge to keep cattle and sheep from falling into the ravine below. 

Another convict built bridge that has become part of the road base for the current modern highway

This recently constructed dam was built to regulate the flow of the Meander River.  Record breaking rain caused the water in the dam to rise 30 - 40 feet from our visit just a few weeks earlier. 

Max came home from his morning walk and complained that this Plover had swooped at him again and again.  They are very protective of their young, and have sharp, yellow, black-tipped spurs on each wing, said by some people to be poisonous.

Two beautiful black swans built their nest in the brush just a few feet off the Meander River Trail.  We loved watching them build and maintain their nest, and one morning I was lucky enough to see them exchange "nest sitting."  We were so sad one morning to see the nest empty and the swans swimming in the river nearby.  We think an animal or scumbag, to quote a local, drove the swans from the nest and ate or destroyed the eggs. 

We love feeding the missionaries every chance we get and seldom have left-overs.  Seated from left to right:  Elders Hurt, Hosman,Whitehead, Garrett, Urry, Sargeant, Wood, and Clark.

Quamby Bluff has beckoned to us since the day we arrived in Deloraine.  One fine P.Day, we decided to hike to the top.

 The trail was pretty much a mystery, but occasionally markers were tied or nailed to trees indicating which way to go in this dense forest.  

We were totally alone, miles from nowhere in the bush, and Max spotted this ominous sign on the rock, formed  by moss and algae.  Creepy, huh?!

After about an hour of hiking, we came to this boulder field.  We decided to not risk life or limb, and gave up on our summit attempt.

Every little town is famous for something, and Westbury has "Pearns Steam and Tractor Museum," featuring over 200 major steam engines, tractors, and other machinery used in farming.  We aren't as old as this old steam engine, but unfortunately remembered farming with some of the old tractors on display.

 McDonalds were visiting from Hobart, and since it was pouring rain outside, we spent a lot of time in the museum.

Who's driving this old fire engine?

Cataract Gorge was flooded from the heavy rainfall, completely submerging the footpath to the suspension bridge.  

Peacocks strut their stuff on the grounds around  Cataract Gorge. 

Our first Zone Conference with President and Sister Maxwell.  The Relief Society from the Launceston Stake really put on a feast for the missionaries. 

The Tasmania Zone is composed of 16 missionaries, including two senior couples.  

If you're tired of Ragnars, ultra-marathons, and iron man triathlons,  here's a new adventure for you.  

Platypus in a tank at the Platypus House in Beauty Point. 

This echidna is looking for bugs in the rocks and leaves.

 Max insisted I take a picture of this poor wombat roadkill.

 Can you tell we love the beaches?  This coastline view is from an overlook at Narawntapu National Park.  

The Tamar River taken from Batman Bridge

 Batman Bridge over the Tamar River

 The hillsides are splendidly dressed in the yellow blossoms from the Wattyl trees. 

Boys never grow out of their love for trains.  This steam engine is at a park near the Meander River in Deloraine.

 Malua, the most versatile Australian thoroughbred racehorse in history is Deloraines claim to fame, winning many races, including the Melbourne Cup in 1884.   

These birds are a common sight in the trees by the Meander River. They are actually pure white but the rainbow in the background caused a pink hue. 

Our swan pair seem to be looking towards their nest, wondering what happened to their posterity. 

It must be time for another transfer, because Max finally not only saw platypus in the Meander River, but was able to take this excellent photo of one coming up for air.  Many Australians have never seen platypus in the wild, so this was a reason to celebrate.