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Queenstown, Tasmania - the Wild West

NOT to be confused with Queenstown, EnZed!

As Katie and Rob had left to explore Cradle Mountain we made the relatively short trip back to Queenstown to see more of this wild west town. Like many of the places we visited on this trip we had seen it on ABC TV's ‘Backroads' program and wanted to see it for ourselves. We booked into the local caravan park for a couple of nights and our first excursion was on the West Coast Wilderness Railway. The old train departs from the impressive station with its engine turntable. It currently doesn’t make the trip along the tracks to Strahan but just does a short trip up to a historic stop where you can play at panning for gold.

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There was a mosquito inside the window on the train and it looked almost big enough to make vampire-like incisions into the jugular but we later found out it was an 'elephant mosquito' which is a nectar feeder not a bloodsucker!

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Queenstown is an attractive place architecturally speaking with some quaint homes and lovely old hotels and public buildings. The Queen River shown here is a strange colour. It currently has no life due to the high levels of pollution from past mining activity which ceased in 1995. Despite the beautiful location its is the most polluted river in Australia! It's expected to take about 150 years to become clean enough to support life again.

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There's a sculpture depicting a mining family from around the mid-1800s and some nice street art.

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Even our caravan park with spectacular views all round had an art feature.

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This was the camp kitchen - with its ‘interesting' games offerings!

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This Queenstown museum photo shows miners at Rosebery zinc and copper mine about 1897 - it looks so grim.

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There was a typhoid outbreak here in the 1890s and one unfortunate victim was a young nurse, Margaret Madden who died from typhoid in 1899 aged just 23. See the ghostly image - I don’t recall seeing that when I took a photo of the photo! And it's not my reflection - who takes a nurse costume camping!

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Nearby Mount Lyell was the scene of a tragic mining disaster on 12 October 1912 when a fire broke out killing 42 of the 170 men who'd entered the mine that day. The Queenstown museum holds many accounts and photos of the tragedy and its aftermath.

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The strangest exhibit in the museum was the maternity hospital setup. This recreated ward shows a very young girl who seems to have had twins perhaps - see the two bassinets. She also has a full range of bedpans to choose from! Then there's the 'stirrups' just nearby - reminiscent of the way births were handled not all that long ago!

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Perhaps she was reaching out for some of this clothing so she could get dressed and hightail it out of there?

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Being a mining town there are plenty of rocks in the museum too.

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And for some strange reason there's some coprolites - also known as dinosaur poo! It's not just any old local Jurassic Park poo either - it's from New South Wales!

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The final interesting part of the Queenstown museum was fishy, or should I say crabby - showing what can be caught off the nearby coast at Strahan.

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We left Queenstown via the famous 99 bends road again, this time stopping at Horsetail Falls - which wasn't flowing much but was still worth the walk up the boardwalk to view.

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As we passed through the remote area of Gormanston and into Linda we saw this creepy old building and I imagined breaking down in a place like this - the gloomy weather didn’t help either. it's a great spot for a horror movie!

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Equally desolate and eerie was the Linda cemetery.

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We crossed Lake Burbury and made our way to Derwent Bridge to see The Wall - and yes we saw this on 'Backroads' too 😉 On the way through the 99 bends there are several beehives set up in groups. Most of the honey here is from the Leatherwood trees and has a unique and delicious flavour. Of course we bought some and were able to take what we hadn’t used into Victoria when we took the ferry back from Tasmania. We were also allowed to take it into South Australia at the quarantine station from Victoria BUT we had to surrender the little bit we had left at the WA border - which we fully expected as honey is on the prohibited produce list. After all we all know how important it is to protect the bees and honey industry in WA.

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On the drive from the main road into The Wall - which is at Derwent Bridge - there are large sculptures on poles.

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Once inside the huge building that houses The Wall you’re not allowed to take photos.

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The official website shows what it's about and it's an incredible artistic work - still in progress - so check out this link to learn about it.

The Wall website

After The Wall we made our way to the central town of Hamilton where we camped by the river and had a pub meal at the supposedly haunted Hamilton Inn!

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Next time - Convicts, Crime and The Isle of the Dead!

Posted by GraveNomads 08:54 Archived in Australia

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