Monday, March 28, 2011

Focus on Franklin 2011

We have just had a weekend packed with activity, thanks to the hardworking organisers of the annual Focus on Franklin celebration. This year, our little town celebrates 175 years since settlement. The weekend kicked off with the Tierney Law Maritime Ball on Friday night, attended by plenty of sailors, captains, commodores, pirates, some Titanic survivors, Gilligan, a ghost ship, a black swan and even a 'catch of the day'. Music from 'Rumour' and the Hobart City Swing Band had everyone dancing.

Saturday morning we headed back into Franklin. We inspected the apple teacakes, crumbles, pies and ciders on display in the Apple Delights cooking competition and chatted with some of the cooks, but the smell of baked goods became too much. A history display in the Palais revealed some interesting old photographs of the area. Outside the Lady Franklin Tavern, the wood chopping contest was underway and we watched a couple of heats.

Down the road, artist Marcus Tatton had installed a sculpture in front of the Church Studio, which will remain there for a month for us all to enjoy. Inside, an exhibition by local jewelery artists Jill Bruce and Sandi Trajdos showed many lovely pieces. I loved the woven sterling silver and the silver leaves on some of the neck pieces. By then we were in need of coffee, so we headed to Petty Sessions for a takeaway. The walk to the other end of town was worth it, not just for the good coffee - an exhibition of coloured pencil drawings of Tasmanian wilderness by prize winning artist Lisa Falk lined the restaurant walls. It is hard to believe they are drawings, the colour and depth makes them look almost like a photograph.

The 'on the water' program was in full swing, and down on the jetty we secured tickets on The Admiral, Australia's second-oldest working boat, to take a tour through the Egg Island canal and back around the top of the island. Built in 1865 and restored in 2009, she is made of Huon Pine. It was a real treat being on such a beautiful old boat with some of the volunteers who restored her - even if we passengers had to take it in turns to row! With the heavy oars, our wrists and forearms soon proved not up the task and we retired to the passenger seats in mild pain. A few photos of the trip are included below.

We finally sampled some Tempura Mushrooms, popular fare at all of the festivals we've been to in Tasmania. So popular, in fact, that the queue has put me off trying them earlier. Then followed some Franklin Woodfired Pizza and a Huon Valley Soft Serve ice cream, while catching up with friends. In the afternoon we brought the dogs down to the oval where they were patted by many and (excuse the pun) lapped it up. We saw an art exhibition at the masonic lodge, and a screening of Now and Then, a DVD of old photographs of Franklin blended with new ones taken by local musician and photographer Mike Peters, set to the haunting music of Mike's band Rumour. The song is still in my mind. Then we sampled some local pinot from Heriots Point and watched other more energetic folk Zumba away to the music. As it got dark, a parade of boats strung with coloured lights appeared on the river. The multi-talented young man who made our coffee earlier in the day was spotted performing with fire sticks. Then it was time to help pack everything away.

On Sunday night pacific reggae act O-Shen played at the Palais in Franklin as part of the Ten Days on The Island program, a biennial visual and performing arts festival in Tasmania. Locals young and old got on their feet to dance. What a great finish to the weekend. We couldn't be happier that we've chosen this wonderful place to live.

Rowing The Admiral across the Huon from Franklin
Looking back at Franklin township from the canal
Inside peaceful Egg Island canal
On the eastern side of the Huon
Rowing back into Franklin

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