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  • Writer's pictureHelen Avaient

The incredible village of Lower Crackpot in Tasmania Australia

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

Nestled in the interestingly named Promised Land, in Tasmania Australia, is a unique tourist attraction. In fact, it has been voted one of the ten top attractions in the world by, as well as thousands of annual visitors.

I visited the towns of Lower Crackpot and Upper Lower Crackpot (with its distinct yellow brick road) with Laura Inder as my guide. This was an insight into the outstanding and interesting little townships, and a discovery of Laura’s incredibly talented, passionate and inventive husband Brian.

Brian Inder (1930-2019) was a tourism pioneer in Tasmania and he created the tiny towns of Lower Crackpot and Upper Lower Crackpot. The name Crackpot comes from a real village in Swaledale, Yorkshire, UK. It means “a low place where crows gather”. Brian added the “Lower” to the name, as his village is in the southern hemisphere. With the magestic Mount Roland in the background this is a truly picturesque wonderland setting.

Made of brick, concrete and stone, there is a variety of styles from Elizabethan, Georgian and Federation to futuristic. Each building in this fairy tale setting has a story and an “occupant”.

The buildings are 1/5 scale and all created on site. The walls are made of standard clinker bricks with wire reinforcing mesh. The roofs are framed in timber and covered with fibro-cement and concrete mix. The buildings are then rendered with a waterproof cement mortar before painting. It took around sixty hours to complete each building. Many of the buildings are a personal tribute to friends and family. Others have been suggested by visitors, some built as a social comment.

There is the University of Lower Crackpot, School of Woodchopping, Professor David Foster. “David Foster OAM is an Australian world champion woodchopper, and Tasmanian community figure. He has held the World Woodchopping Championship title for 21 consecutive years, and is Australia's most successful athlete and possibly the only athlete in any sport in the world to win over 1000 titles.” - Wikipedia

Brian’s mother always wanted to return to Tasmania and open a teahouse. Sadly, she never did. So Brian has created a teahouse just for his mum and named it after her, Lillian’s tea room.

The building that is now the Shiralee Child Minding centre started out as the Old Curiosity Shop of Charles Dickens. However, Australian actor Bryan Brown was visiting one day and asked Brian what he had to do to get his name on a building. Brian chatted with Bryan and asked what was his favourite movie, that he had starred in. Bryan said The Shiralee, as it was a love story. So now Bryan Brown is the Father-in –Residence of the child minding centre.

Shirley’s joint is a casino, named after Brian’s mother-in-law. Next door is Shanghai Red’s, a brothel, and close by is the Crackpot Angels Motor Cycle Club, all in the “seedy” part of town. The Dirty Shame Saloon exists in Yaak Montana, the state Brian’s wife Laura hails from. When they visited there once, the proprietor said that he had heard of Lower Crackpot. People who had visited there told him about the saloon named after his establishment. It seems the name originated in Montana when some cavalrymen once said “it’s a dirty shame that the local women are not better looking!”

The village requires constant upkeep and maintenance and is staffed by talented tradespeople, continuing the dream.

Speaking of seedy, further up the yellow brick road in Upper Lower Crackpot is the Scandal House. A lady informed Brian that she was the scandal of Lower Crackpot and wanted a house built between two roads. That way when one boyfriend came in the front door she could send another one out the back door. Two more women turned up and wanted rooms for themselves in the Scandal House and the house then doubled in size. When three more announced their intentions, Brian painted the entire house scarlet.

Across from the Scandal House is The Lairds Hunting Lodge. The Crackpot Hunting Tartan decorates the roof. This tartan was designed and worn by the Inders. It is even entered into the Scottish Tartans World Register. The colours represent: green for the maze, white and pink for the flowers that appear on the maze in winter, and lavender for the lavender grown here.

Heather's Home was built for a friend who complained she could never keep warm enough and wanted to move to Queensland. Brian built this house for her with an extra large chimney to satisfy her desire to keep out the cold.

The Signalman’s Arms is built as an eighteenth century style pub, and is a tribute to Laura’s father. Her father had been a signalman in WWII. His shipmates still visit this pub. The Battle of the Coral Sea Memorial Service has been held in front of The Signalman’s Arms for many years. They even received permission to fly the White Ensign here, usually it can only be flown by a navy ship or shore establishment. Lower Crackpot is a bona fide naval shore establishment for this ceremony and received permission by the British Admiralty.

The Police Station and Lockup are built of actual bricks made by convicts.

The Make a Wish Foundation grants wishes for ill children. Donations can be made here in the special letterbox.

The GST house had 10% of the building missing to symbolise the 10% that the government take for a goods and services tax in Australia. Next door is an ivory tower for Sir Joh Bjelke Peterson. Sir Joh moved to Sheffield for a couple of years, after he retired as Premier of Queensland.

The Pink Palace was built after a young lady, named Sam, asked Brian if he would be her grandfather. Sam surprised him by saying that her actual grandfather had ignored her since she was born and she felt that something was missing from her life. She said that she had seen herself as a fairy princess when young, living in a pink palace. So her honorary grandfather build his new granddaughter a place of her own. This is a crowd favourite with all the visiting princesses.

The Georgian mansion is named James Harrisson after the grandnephew of Brian’s who passed away when he was only six and a half, from pneumonia and heart complications. His favourite plants were sunflowers and lavender, which are now the colours of his house.

One house is completely upside down, standing on its roof.

The village is a testiment to the tenacity and hard work of both Brian and Laura Inder. A man with a dream, a plan and the will to see it come to fruitition so visitors of all ages can explore and enjoy. One of the best "soveniers" people can take home are great memories, and Crackpot will long be remembered.

Also included in the entry fee is access to the eight mazes and the embassy gardens here. The pancake tearoom serves delicious treats for visitors, and their gift shop stocks Tasmanian goods.

Located at Tasmazia

500 Staverton Road, Promised Land, Tasmania, Australia

Happy Travels!

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3 comentarios

07 ene 2023

What a fascinating place & I love the story behind each structure. 🤗

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Walter J Van Praag
Walter J Van Praag
19 dic 2021

This has to be one of my favorite attractions in Tasmania. I used to baulk at the entry price and just let the kids go in, but once you've been led 'up the garden path' you won't regret it. Now I go in with anyone I take!

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19 dic 2021

Hahaha. Thanks for giving me a great big smile and a bit of a chuckle. What a delightful attraction. Thanks so much for bringing it to us! ❤️

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