Blog 217 Salamanca Market 24th – 25th March 2012

Saturday dawned a bit sketchy but we had a market to visit, last Saturday we were doing the Aurora Australis tour so we missed it. The iconic Salamanca market established in 1972 is very well known in Tassie and we were told by quite a few people not to miss it. It is held on Hobart waterfront with the backdrop of the historic Georgian sandstone warehouses of Salamanca Place and extends right down the street. Not only are there all the stalls but the art galleries and cafes are open and there is a real cosmopolitan feel to it. Market stalls and vendors sell everything from hot food to hand crafted products made from Tasmania’s speciality timbers to sheepskin boots. The fresh fruit and vegetable stalls sell local produce and buskers entertain the crowds.


We had arranged to meet up with Martin and Natalie from Melbourne as they were having a weeks holiday in Tassie. Our timing was perfect and they rolled up just as we were removing our crash helmets. They were with Dan whom we had met on the Tassie TT run a few days previously. We spent a very pleasant few hours wandering round the market stalls with Nat and again lady luck was with us, one of the stalls was selling hats not dissimilar to our lost ones at a very reasonable price. Kev found one to fit him instantly I struggled there wasn’t one in my size, the stall owner went through the rest of his stock and found a lovely hat which was a perfect fit sadly it was double the price but he offered to reduce it to the same price as Kev’s, what a nice man and an absolute bargain. We are now the proud owners of two new Aussie hats.

Have a look at the Silly Billys stall and the picture after it, how good is this guys imagination?. We also bought some Tasmanian leatherwood honey from one of the local apiaries, leatherwood is a Tasmanian flowering tree which grows in its wild forests. Had it not been for our screen we could have probably told you in bee stings how many beehives we passed that were strategically placed in the remoter parts of the west coast so the bees could access leatherwood. It has a different taste to normal honey, it’s hard to describe but it’s more of a caramely/balsamicy sort of taste which is delicious. The last picture is almost a painting itself, it is a local artist who has a studio in the parade, have a look at his smock that is true art.


We also felt we would like to say thank you to Kerry in some small way and knew she enjoyed her garden. We saw a stall selling ceramic garden ornaments and bought her a green man to remind her of us. A Green Man is a sculpture, drawing or other representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves. Primarily it is interpreted as a symbol of rebirth representing the cycle of growth each spring. It is well known in the UK and found in old churches and linked to paganism. The earliest example of a green man is c 400 AD. To add to this we also bought some seeds for her to sow so the roos would have a bit of variety when eating her plants….

Here is a picture of a Green Man ceramic done by the Isle of Wight pottery co. in England to give you an idea if you have never seen one before. (Hope they don’t mind me using there piece as an example, it’s free advertising guys :)


Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day so we jumped on the bike and rode half way up Mount Wellington to take photos of a feature known as the organ pipes. It was the right time of day for pictures with the sun behind us. The organ pipes are columns of Dolerite formed by upsurges of molten rock when Tasmania and Australia were torn away from Antarctica and Gondwanaland 40 million years ago. Gondwanaland was one the two original super-continents and included Antarctica, Australia, South America, Africa and Madagascar as well as much of the Indian subcontinent. Overland travel would have been easy then, hardly any shipping !


Kerry had recommended an alternative ride down the mountain passing the reservoirs where we pulled in to have lunch amidst the backdrop of Mount Wellington and you guessed it the organ pipes. The reservoirs have been in this spot for many years and the old pump house is now an informative museum. In 1861 after several outbreaks of disease the first pipeline was built to bring water from Mount Wellington to this reservoir to supply the city with drinking water. Unbelievably there was considerable resistance to this as some landowners had vested interests and were actually controlling and selling water to the town. The drinking water supply system for the whole city wasn’t completed until 1918. It’s now popular with the locals as an escape from the city and was a lovely lunch spot.


We were reminded again of our slow progress as the Endeavour had yet again caught up and was now in Hobart harbour so we had to go back to waterfront for yet more photos. It wasn’t long before we started to draw a crowd. Kev joked and said he must put me to work juggling or something with a collection bucket in these circumstances.

Joking aside we put our explanation sheet of where we have been (and are going) on the front of the bike with a collection pot when we parked the bike to go into Salamanca market and it was almost full of coins when we got back. A lot of people saw it in the newspaper the previous day, there was enough to nearly pay for our two hats which was really nice, thank you Hobartians. The bike was busking all by itself.


From here we made our way to the royal botanical gardens overlooking the river. We were very pleasantly surprised to find only a donation as an entrance fee to what were truly remarkable gardens. Opened in 1824 there are many different sections celebrating some of the cultures that influenced the islands history, the water sculpture is a French memorial but there are also Japanese and European gardens. We enjoyed an ice cream as we strolled around relaxing in the beautiful setting. The tree in the first picture is a Sequoiadendron Giganteum (Californian Redwood) and is a mere infant at 120 years old and 30 metres high. These giants can live for 4000years and top 100 metres in height.


Here are some more pictures of some of Hobart’s stunning historic buildings we passed by as we were wandering around. The fourth picture is Salamanca Place without the market and the last is the shot tower which is just out of town. It’s purpose was for making lead shot for muskets, molten lead was dropped from the top which formed into droplets as it fell until it was quenched by a container of cold water at the bottom.


Talking of historic have a look at these two. Kev spotted this and thinks the car is an Austin 1100.  We saw it parked up on the waterfront and haven’t seen one in years. Kev said his next door neighbour had one when he was about eight and he got the occasional lift to school in it.

Check out Kerry’s TV, again the last one we saw like this when we were kids of about eight or nine but that didn’t have a Laverda engine on top of it. You have to get up and press the button to change channel no remote here. We don’t recall it being turned on that much but it still worked well and was a nice piece of furniture as well as a talking point.


  We had been in Hobart for nearly two weeks by this point and although we enjoyed every minute of our stay with Kerry, Paul, and Wes it really was time to move on. There was so much left to see on the east coast of Tasmania and  our time was running out as we already had a return ferry crossing booked. 

Our day of departure dawned bright and sunny, I had wanted Kerry to have a ride on the Guzzi since our arrival here so I got Kev to ask her, the answer was clear when she returned with her crash helmet. Like most bikes with panniers the Guzz can be tricky to mount at the best of times so Kerry got on first then Kev. Initially they were just going to the local pub but sometime later I heard the Guzz echoing round the mountains. The grin on Kerry’s face is something we will treasure, it was good to do a small something for her for a change.

Here is a final couple of pics of Kerry and Wes which we liked. We will miss Kerry’s sense of humour and company.


Next up Port Arthur



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