My favourite ten things to see and do in Deloraine Tasmania Australia
Picture a quaint and pretty town, population around 3,000, with the calming Meaner River flowing right through the centre. The river is well named, as it entices you to take your time and enjoy what the town has to offer. Here, you can slow down and enjoy the vibrant green grassy banks, the sound of the water passing by and the smell of fresh clean air. This country town set amongst rural farms has a lot to offer tourists.
1. The Yarning Circle and fire pit
Created by both local Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals, a yarning circle is where the community can come together as one, as do locals and visitors when they all enjoy the beauty of this picturesque spot on the riverbank. Yarning circles are where a collective group of people can learn together and build relationships. This is very symbolic, and appropriate, for Deloraine, as people come from all over the world to visit this town.
Tasmanian Aboriginal Elder and Artist, Aunty Dawn Blazely, designed the fire pit lid. She also contributed the concepts and cultural advice for the mosaic wall: River Walk. Look for the flora and fauna designs in the wall, they all belong in and around the river.
2. The River Walk
Various local social clubs have contributed to creating a marvellous loop path along the river. The walk will take around an hour at a strolling pace, as there is so much to see. Not only the beauty of nature, but also cleverly created statues. One footbridge at each end allows easy access to both sides of the river. The concrete path is easily navigated for people of all fitness levels.
I love hearing local stories and the meaning behind place names. Rotary Park is also known as Floodlight Park and has a wonderful back story to that name. Back in the 1940s, during a flood, a mare was giving birth to a foal. With both their lives in danger from the floodwaters, friends and family of the owner positioned their vehicles in the paddock so that their car headlights could assist in rescuing the mare. The foal was named Floodlight, as is the park, and he went on to win many races, and sire many foals himself.
3. The Statue Walk
Along the river, as well as the main street are various statues, each one interestingly unique. Constellation by Trevor and Sue Rodwell is a sculpture of six large polymer concrete spheres. They echo the community energy of Deloraine. Into the stainless-steel bands that surround each one of five sphere is etched text from historical accounts of the local district, and one sphere has a contemporary text. This also unites the past and the present.
Try sitting in the lap of the mountain man/man mountain mosaic statue, both decorative and functional. Tony Woodward’s creation symbolises the mythology of the surrounding Great Western Tiers area and its people.
4. Cruiz in the 50s diner
After the walk it must be time for a good meal. A great place to eat in Deloraine is this 50s diner, just a few blocks from the main street, and worth the extra steps. This leap back in time eatery has a large collection of 50s memorabilia inside and an immaculate topiary garden outside. The food was absolutely delicious.
5. The Deloraine Deli
Another great place to enjoy a delicious meal is the Deloraine Deli in the main street. Visitors can also take home some fabulous produce from their range of Wholeheartedly Tasmania fare.
6. Found in Earth
Save room for a coffee at the gorgeous flower and gift shop across the road, Found in Earth.
The chairs were so inviting, I could have sat there and enjoyed a blissful day of good coffee looking at all the tempting gorgeous gift and household items available to purchase here.
7. Deloraine Steampunk Shop with a secret
The owner of this store has an amazing knowledge of, and a personal connection, to London's Jack the Ripper. His great great uncle was a Detective Constable in Whitechapel and worked on the ripper case in 1888. Part of his store has been converted into an alley, chock full of information connected with the case. His dioramas are meticulously recreations of the buildings and their gruesome discoveries.
His display is both intriguing and horrifying, but well worth a stop. Hopefully he is there when you visit, for a chat. The store opened in 2015 and is the only shop if its kind in Tasmania that specialises in Goth and Steampunk. People of all ages visit here, from all over the state. He did say that he wasn't sure what was quirkier, his stock or his staff. (They were amazingly friendly and laid back).
I did buy a gorgeous hat from this store, after all, it matches my coat, so how could I not do so!
8. Deloraine Museum
A small, well researched and excellently presented museum sits at the top of main street, in the old Deloraine Inn. Built in the 1850s, each room has been recreated to represent different rooms of the pub and house as it would have been in that era. Information on local characters, snarers and trappers, make the past come to life. The inside of the cellar can be looked at from the outside of the building.
This is where I first found the absolutely amazing art project Roses from the Heart. Dr Christina Henri’s project involves making bonnets for each of the 25,566 convict woman transported to Australia. People from around the world now contribute bonnets to this collection. Click here to read more about the project.
Step outside the museum and find buildings that have been created to resemble 1800s life, including a dairy, toolshed and blacksmith shop. You can even step inside an early settler's hut and see the rustic conditions they endured. Imagine pasting newspapers to your walls to keep out the cold! It is hard to picture a whole large family all eating, sleeping and living in this one room cottage.
Snaring was banned in Tasmania from 1984. Before the ban, snarers would stay in these trapper huts located in the wilderness areas. Step inside this life sized one room hut and imagine the trapper with his fire at one end to keep warm, eat on and skins drying out. At the other end would have been his humble bed. They lived like this for the eight week season each year.
9. Yarns in Silk
Next to the museum is the Yarns display. This is an amazing textile artwork. Each of the large four panels represents a different season, showcasing the history, landscape and lifestyle of the local area and its residents. Viewing the audio-visual presentation is a must, where you learn how each panel was made and the different textures and styles that combined to make this outstanding piece of silk art. Created between 1992 and 1995, many hundreds of people contributed to this beautiful display. A book here tells their individual stories to those who want to know more about the creators.
Deloraine has a large craft reputation. Every November the four day working craft fair sees this small town experience a surge of visitors, estimated to be upwards of 30,000. More than 200 exhibitors display their skillful creations, from kites to candles, woodwork, glasswork, textiles, paintings and more.
10. Victorian and Georgian Buildings
Dating back to when Captain Roland first explored the area in 1821, Deloraine was first settled in the 1830s. Around 25 historic buildings still survive to this day. Some are used as galleries, craft shops, antique shops, coffee shops, hotels or bed and breakfasts. I had the pleasure of being shown around Bowerbank Mill by owner Anne. This accommodation venue still has the six storey chimney standing. The rooms are well-presented, very comfortable and Anne is a delightful host. Up for sale in 2022, it was tempting to buy the mill and move here myself.
Deloraine is a town that you want to visit more than once, not just to fit everything in, but also to revisit and savour your favourite places.
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