Friday, March 13, 2009

A quiet day in Zeehan

My friend the snake

Crocoite - Tasmania's mineral emblem

The Gaiety Theatre - When I lived in Zeehan I was a volunteer at the art gallery which is on the ground floor.

I spoke to my sister Anne today, she was incredulous that we were staying in Zeehan. 'Most people keep driving!' was her comment. It's true - Zeehan is a sad town. The mine (Renison Bell) has closed once again, for good this time a woman told me yesterday, and if the mine closes, Zeehan has absolutely no reason for its existence. All it has is its past - and it is capitalising on that for all its worth! In the 25 years since I lived here, the museum (which used to be The School of Mines) has grown enormously, local people have got together and lobbied for funding obviously, and there is now a large complex which includes the lovely old Gaiety theatre (in process of being restored as funds become available), the magistrates court, the police station, a wonderful virtual underground mining experience - and the mineral collection has to be seen to be believed! The old steam train collection is still there, but much better to have them working, as we experienced yesterday.

I asked at the museum about the percentage of Cornish people in the mining population during the boom days - they didn't have a clue of course, nice young women who were able to give us info about the layout etc, but who had no historical knowledge of the district at all. They did give me a name tho, of a chap who used to live in Zeehan and who ran the Family History society - now defunct in Zeehan, and removed to Launceston with the gentleman. I was sad to hear St Luke's Church of England had been sold and the congregation now meet in a private home. Mind, restoration of St Luke's would have been a formidable task, I'll get a picture before we leave and post it tomorrow.
I went for a walk this afternoon, found that St Luke's church may be sold off, but it has an Op Shop which presumably is thriving - it was closed at 3pm tho. The shop next door was also closed, with a note advising that anyone interested in purchasing an item should enquire at the service station up the road .... Numerous shops and homes for sale - the future is looking bleak again for Zeehan. Walking down the road behind the Gaiety I saw a 3ft black snake crossing the road in front of me. I greeted it politely and gave it right of way!
We'll be leaving Zeehan tomorrow - I wish it well, it's a brave little town.

1 comment:

  1. Great pics Jen, glad you are both enjoying Tassie. Hope the weather stays good and glad you got to Waratah. Love M & D