Homesick

A Walk Down The Lane
A Walk Down The Lane. Canon EOS 5d with Canon EF 28-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS lens, Cokin circular polarising filter and Cokin graduated neutral density filter.

Missing the endless blue skies and red dirt of the Wheatbelt of Western Australia terribly.

 

 

Seen Better Days
Seen Better Days. Pentax 645 IIn with Pentax 45-85 f4 lens with Cokin circular filter and Cokin graduated neutral density filter. Fujicolor 160S

 

 

York Panorama
York Panorama. Olympus EM10 with Olympus 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 lens.

 

As always clicking on the photo will take you to my online gallery.

 

Bicycle Race

The Victorian era was a time of incredible innovation and some of the inventions and processes are still practiced in their original form. In the field of photography despite the march of technology some photographers like Sally Mann and Robb Kendrick use antiquated processes in a modern context to express themselves. Well besides my interest in all things photographic I am also interested in cycling. A little after I migrated to Australia I heard about the Australian National Penny Farthing Championships which are held at the historic Tasmanian town of Evandale and I put on the bucket list of things to see. Well the other week I noticed in the upcoming events column of the Mercury newspaper that the races were on and I just had to go. The whole idea that anyone wants to race, let alone ride, a penny farthing is to me totally mad while at the same time seems a perfectly logical steampunk  activity.

Evandale is a pretty colonial era town just south of Launceston in the north of Tasmania. Every year in February, since 1983, the town puts on The Evandale Village Fair in conjunction with the penny farthing championship. This means that the town is a bustling hive of activity that attracts visitors not only from all over Tasmania but also from the Big Island, also known as the Australian Mainland.The fair has market stalls, live musical entertainment, Morris Dancing, vintage cars, costume parades and even a genuine old-time Punch and Judy show.

That's The Way To Do It
That’s The Way To Do It

But there is no doubt, the star attraction is the penny farthing racing which attracts riders from all over Australia.The event lasts a weekend with the Saturday hosting the main short course events that are held on a course in the township itself. On the Sunday the longer distance races are held, including the Century Ride, which is a penny farthing tradition that goes back to the 1880’s, which is a 162 Km race or 100 miles. Totally bonkers!!

Shadow
Shadow

 

It's All A Bit of a Blur
The bikes maybe old-fashioned but the riders can certainly shift while on the 1 mile 91.6 Km) course. Evandale National Penny Farthing Championship.

 

Nice Moustache
Having a perfectly groomed handlebar moustache is a requirement for the successful penny farthing racer. 2015 Evandale Village Fair and national penny farthing championship. Tasmania, Australia.

 

The details for next years event has already been posted on the website. If you want a fun, action packed and unusual day out then go to Evandale in February 2016.

 

The Man In Black
The Man In Black

As always clicking on an image will take you through to my online store.

Regular readers are aware that I my blogs have musical references to them and so here is the pop video for this entry.

 

The Highlands of Tasmania

ST ANDREWS RICHMOND HIGHLAND GATHERING

 

Now according to Wikipedia the Highlands of Scotland are:

“…north and west of the Highland Boundary Fault, although the exact boundaries are not clearly defined, particularly to the east. The Great Glen divides the Grampian Mountains to the southeast from the Northwest Highlands. The Scottish Gaelic name of A’ Ghàidhealtachd literally means “the place of the Gaels” and traditionally, from a Gaelic-speaking point of view, includes both the Western Isles and the Highlands.”

 

ST ANDREWS RICHMOND HIGHLAND GATHERING

 

The other day I knew that I was in the Georgian Town of Richmond in Tasmania, Australia, but you could be forgiven for looking out over the Coal River Valley at the distant hills and imagining that you had suddenly been transported 17,324 km (10764 miles) to the Scottish Highlands. This was particularly reinforced when the skirl of the pipes was to be heard floating across the valley. The reality was not that I had been suddenly swept up in Gaelic daydream and astral planed to a far off land but I was at the St Andrews Richmond Highland Gathering where all things Scottish were being celebrated. According to their Facebook page:

“The St Andrew Society Hobart Incorporated was formed in 1960 by a group of people who wanted to keep alive the traditions, dancing, music, sports and literature of Scotland. The motto of the Society is “Cairdeas”, a Gaelic word meaning “Friendship”. Membership of the Society is open to persons who are interested in fostering the objectives of the Society. “

 

ST ANDREWS RICHMOND HIGHLAND GATHERING

 

The Scots are the third largest migrant group in Tasmania and they were numerous among the early settlers lured across by the prospect of farming in the Midlands of Tasmania which reminded them of their homelands. Prior to 1830 most Scots who migrated were farmers and landowners who were trying to escape the economic recession of the 1820’s. Other Scots came because they had served in the British Colonial forces and they stayed on when their term of service ended. From the 1830’s onwards the working poor joined the diaspora and they headed for Hobart to work in the industries there. This rate of migration has remained steady throughout the Twentieth Century and into the Twenty First.

 

ST ANDREWS RICHMOND HIGHLAND GATHERING

 

So it was no wonder that as we pulled up in Richmond that the town was positively heaving with visitors. Now Richmond is well and truly on tourist route number 1 in Tasmania and can be busy throughout most of the year, especially so in summer. But nothing prepared us for this. I struggled to find a parking space, but luckily after a slow lap of the town I found a spot down by the Coal River and just a short walk from the village green where the action was happening.

 

ST ANDREWS RICHMOND HIGHLAND GATHERING

 

At this point I feel compelled to make a public disclosure. When I was a young lad I had been exposed to the bagpipes through attending things like the The Royal Tournament at Earls Court in London. At that point I was fairly bagpipe neutral – I neither liked or disliked them. Then in December of 1987 we were in Kathmandu, Nepal, during the wedding season. Part of the wedding ceremony is to have a procession through the streets which is led by a marching (and I use the term loosely here as most seemed rather shambolic) band. Here I was subjected to bag pipe-playing of the most hideous nature. There are not words in the English language that adequately describe how bloody awful it was. The nearest I can get is to imagine a cat with a soprano voice being fed through a mangle while gargling on razor blades whilst having its nether regions probed by red-hot pokers and that doesn’t nearly describe the aural torture that I experienced. Ever since then I would rather slide down a banister rail made out of razor blades using my testicles as brakes rather than listen to bagpipes. It was, then, with some trepidation that I approached the green. The first thing I saw was the Scottish dancing with young tartan clad girls deftly defying gravity as they leapt and pranced on the stage. A walk around the perimeter of the green found a plethora of stalls selling on manner of Scottish items ranging from Celtic crosses to your clan’s genealogy. In the centre of the green there were competitions for the best pipe band, the best piper, the best pipe major, the best dressed band, demonstrations of Scottish country dancing and a choir. The strange thing was that I really enjoyed it. There was no sound of screaming mangled cats – it was all a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

 

ST ANDREWS RICHMOND HIGHLAND GATHERING

 

ST ANDREWS RICHMOND HIGHLAND GATHERING

 

 

ST ANDREWS RICHMOND HIGHLAND GATHERING

 

ST ANDREWS RICHMOND HIGHLAND GATHERING

 

ST ANDREWS RICHMOND HIGHLAND GATHERING

 

ST ANDREWS RICHMOND HIGHLAND GATHERING

 

So if you ever find your self in Southern Tasmania in February nip up to Richmond for the Highland Gathering its a fun day out.

 

ST ANDREWS RICHMOND HIGHLAND GATHERING