December 31, 2011

on sale

Well, Christmas is done for the year, now it's time for the post-Christmas sales...then we have New Year sales...followed by the return of Easter-related products...the end of summer sales...pre-winter sales...mid-winter sales...stock-take sales...

You get the picture.

Hope everyone had a swell 2011, and looking forward to 2012 (except for you Mayans, of course).

December 30, 2011


Back in the mid-19th century, there was a large-enough Jewish population in Launceston to justify a whole synagogue. It's quite a neat little building.

December 29, 2011

1921, St John Street

Launceston is littered with these sorts of buildings. One just needs to wander the centre of town and keep paying attention to the stuff happening above street level.

December 28, 2011

An old advertisement, St John Street. Apple Isle Cyder (sic) is still prodcued by Cascade in Hobart - if you have the patience to wait for the fizzing to die down, it's quite a tasty beverage.

December 27, 2011

Reach for the sky

Footpath graffiti, somewhere along Frederick Street. Not the most detailed of scribblings, but at least it avoids the usual tropes (phallic iconography, scatological/political sloganry) on its way to making an impact.

December 25, 2011


Alfresco dining - or there will be, when it gets to lunch time. Charles Street.

Hope everyone had a splendid Christmas, end of year celebration, or just a neat-o 25th December.

December 23, 2011

A tale of new hotels & old hospitals...

This building, the former Launceston General Hospital, sat vacant for a long time. It was a bit of an eyesore, actually, and a shame because it is rather a handsome building. However, like a lot of large vacant buildings in Launceston, it just sat there waiting for someone with a bit of vision and a lot of cash.  So about 18 months ago, it finally re-opened as a swanky new hotel.

Maybe if I can locate a photo of this building during it's derelict hospital phase, I can do a before piece as well.

December 22, 2011

wine wine wine wine

That's a whole lot of wine right there. Taken at Pierre's, which is a local institution - Launceston's oldest cafe (55 years, still going strong), damn fine coffee in a nice atmosphere with excellent service. Often I find myself going to the chain stores when I'm not too fussy about my coffee, but I much prefer the coffee in the "real" (for want of a better word) cafes. More often than not, I make a bee-line for Pierre's.

Oh, and wine is also good. More on the Tamar Valley wine region later...

December 21, 2011


It doesn't happen often - usually the water trickles, rather than flows through - but when we've had a bit of rain in the north-east, the South Esk beats a furious path through Cataract Gorge. In a month or so, they'll contrive such conditions for a white-water kayaking event, by letting more water over Trevallyn Dam.
Whether by nature or by design, it's always a fearsomely jolly sight when the Gorge is "in flood".

December 20, 2011

Dolerite in the Gorge

Dolerite is rife in Tasmania. Rampant. Come to Launceston, and pick up a rock - chances are good that it's dolerite. In fact, an eminent geologist once wrote an entire book about it which he titled "The Rock Which Makes Tasmania". It's not mere hyperbole - dolerite caps our mountains, dominates our soils, and is quarried for our roads. Tourists come from all over to take photos of columnar jointed dolerite at the Cataract Gorge (as above), on Mount Wellington, and along the Tasman Peninsula. Some of our best rivers and waterways are flanked by the stuff.

It even describes the geological history of Tasmania - this is a rock that was born from the moment when Tasmania and Antarctica finally said goodbye to a united Gondwana, and the fact we can see so much of it is mostly because glaciers in the last few ice ages scraped all the overlying rocks away.

Yes, dolerite is awesome. It's not unique to Launceston or Tasmania, but we do the stuff better (and in larger quantities) than anywhere else in the world. True.

December 18, 2011

wishing well

Wishing well at the cliff-grounds side of the Gorge. This side of the reserve is heavily modified to resemble a "traditional" English-style park - lots of big trees, grassy areas, and rhododendrons. Oh, and peacocks.

I've never felt the urge to throw money into wishing wells, but there always seem to be a few coins in the bottom of this one.

December 16, 2011

The Gorge

Barely a 10 minute walk from the city centre is the entrance to the Cataract Gorge. Almost declared a national park many years ago, it's the natural centrepiece of town. As well as this, it's a popular recreation area, and I have been known to spend some time walking there myself...

December 15, 2011


Just another slice of a day in Launceston. Somewhere around Frederick Street, I wager.

December 13, 2011

Ben Lomond

Strictly speaking, this isn't Launceston - but you guessed that already. Ben Lomond is, however, an important mountain to Launcestonians (whether they realise it or not). It's an important part of the water catchment for Launceston and the northern midlands, and during winter it's the only developed skifield - marginal though it may be - within an hour's drive of the city.

It's also an incredibly beautiful place to go for a walk, if you fancy that sort of thing. Me, I like the quiet up there during summer.

December 12, 2011


More from Inveresk. The smaller building to the right is the Annexe Theatre; the larger building in the middle-ground is the Stone Building (the local art school), and in the background, part of the Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery.

Yep, it's a veritable cornucopia of culture down at Inveresk. Colour photos one day...

December 6, 2011

Princes Square Fountain (part 2)

More from the fountain in Princes Square. I understand that the absolute top feature of the fountain was removed before it was installed, on account of, er, public taste (I understand it featured some kind of nudity). Whether it's true or not, it's still a beautiful fountain and for many visitors it's one of Launceston's most unexpected features.

December 5, 2011

Princes Square fountain

I believe this Val d'Osne fountain was shipped out here from Paris to celebrate the anniversary of Launceston's municipal water system in 1858 (I think). It's quite pretty, more to come.

December 3, 2011


Chalmers Church is one of the most recognisable buildings in the city. It sits 5 minutes walk from the city centre, in a part of town that used to be called (predictably) Chalmers - however, these days it's just part of central Launceston. Quite a few historic building in the area, which I'll probably blog about later.

I believe Chalmers is long de-consecrated, and as long as I've been in Launceston it's been a private residence. Naturally, a somewhat run-down church in an old part of town is a point of interest for those with a supernatural bent.

December 1, 2011

There is actually a connection - the owner of the Jackson Motor Company was also the developer who, er, "developed" the Seaport. I believe they have plans to expand the Seaport to the northern bank of the North Esk, although this is being delayed by the upgraded levee bank system being built by the local council.

November 29, 2011

Royal Park

A bench, a tree, and a flood retention wall pretending to be bleachers.

Royal Park  is a remnant of the early attempts to dredge the Tamar basin - basically, the whole thing is an accumulation of dumped river silt. The original shoreline (or what passed for it, given it was probably semi-tidal wetlands) was about another 50 metres further on from the concrete wall in background.

November 28, 2011

Lots of water in the Gorge

This was taken a few months ago, when the Cataract Gorge was in one of it's infrequent flooding phases. It's happened quite a few times in recent years, thanks to some heavy rains in the north-east (the headwater of both the North and South Esk Rivers).

If memory serves correct, in this instance residents of Invermay (a former swamp barely above sea level) were told to be prepared in case the city's flood levees failed. In the end, it was a bit of a fizzer, but I assume it was a bloody relief for those living in Invermay.

Tent + Horse

The Junction Arts Festival is held in Launceston every August, and features a variety of live music, performance, and assorted artistic goings-on. It seems to be going quite well, and most people are keen to see it continue indefinitely - Launceston does suffer a little from a lack of things to do of an evening, especially during winter. The main hub of the festival is the Junc Room, a circus tent erected in Civic Square where a lot of the performance stuff happens.

The horse suspended from the ceiling is a sort of (tongue-in-cheek) local celebrity - it's almost always on display at a horse-goods store by a busy suburban intersection, but in recent years it seems to have found itself turning up at all sorts of events.

November 26, 2011

School of Architecture

The School of Architecture and Design at Inveresk. This building used to be another workshop forming part of the railyards precinct. A few years ago, it was "repurposed" as a place for kids to go learn how to design good buildings and furniture. I've been in this building three times, myself - first time in 1999, it was just an empty warehouse; in 2003-ish, it was home to a number of information stalls at the Launceston Show; most recently, I attended a university open day with a friend...the change is rather stunning.

November 25, 2011


Since 2003, the Stone Building at the former Inveresk railyards precinct has been the School of Visual and Performing Arts (part of UTas). I myself was a student there from 2003-2004, and while they were still ironing out the kinks in the new building, it was an interesting space to paint, print, and draw.

Inveresk is also Launceston's arts and cultural hub, and a fine area to wander around with a camera.

November 24, 2011

Launceston Seaport

The Launceston Seaport, on the North Esk River.

Marvellous place for a stroll on a Sunday afternoon, as well as a good place for a coffee/wine/beer/meal...