Tag Archives: 1 Acre Lane

A splendid hidden world

The shuffling walk down 1 Acre Lane with the wheelie bins was well worth it. The old lady answered my many questions before she continued on to her house when I stopped to admire the first of many extraordinary buildings.

When I look back over this two day walk along the Derwent River, finding an historic precinct at the end of a dusty lane was my greatest joy.  An absolute treasure.  In Europe such a place would attract hundreds of coaches disgorging thousands of people each day to visit. Yet in Bushy Park Tasmania, I was the only visitor. Extraordinary. Some of my blog followers are brilliant photographers and would, if they visited, create amazing pictures.  I hope my photos are sufficient to whet everyone’s appetite for a visit and to have their own experience of this historic site.

The precinct contains an innovative and more recent initiative – a Junior Angling Pond.  Perhaps fishing is the main hobby of locals and what better way to lure new devotees than to offer children their own safe experience.

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The buildings had no or limited signage, therefore identifying the purpose of most was impossible for me.

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The photo below looks like a large unusual house but apparently this was the bakery feeding the hundreds of workers involved with the hop industry in the past.

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The most surprising structure was, what is now known as, the Text Kiln, built in 1867. As I approached the building I did not know this name or the year. Immediately I loved the shapes of the structures then suddenly I was stunned see a sandstone plaque embedded high up on a wooden wall. This was a biblical text.  And nearby was a second text. My mouth dropped open; I wrinkled my forehead and shook my head.  What am I seeing? What is going on here? In this remote location, clearly the early hop growers placed a great deal of importance on the Christian scriptures. I wondered if this text indicated a puritanical god-fearing way of living in the 19th century in Bushy Park. What was that community like?

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Beneath a window one text offers: ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life’.  In a triangular alley another plaque exhorts us to ‘Have faith in God’.

As I walked around the building, I saw many more texts .

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In all, approximately 13 different texts exist on three sides of this magnificent building.

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Eventually I left the Text Kiln and wandered further around the precinct.

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The old lady, owner of the wheelie rubbish bins, lived on-site in the red-roofed house.

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I guess the red bricks have been painted over in the building named the Red Brick Kiln, shown in the photos below.

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The last building I looked at before following another dirt road to the main road, was the Picil Kiln as pictured below.

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I hope to bring friends here with a picnic hamper and perhaps a bottle of bubbly in order to relax and soak in the quietness, and to be pleasantly stunned by the scale and dramatic shapes of the buildings.  Perhaps I will see you there one day.

Hop farms

Suddenly, I was on the outskirts of the tiny town of Bushy Park and hop fields began to edge the road.  In case you don’t know, hops are the raw material for beer so the agricultural activity in this area is serious business. In Tasmania we have two mainstream brewers; the Cascade and Boags breweries plus other interesting boutique beer makers.

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The Beer Pilgrim  has lots of photographic information to offer. An ABC news item includes photos of the hops and some processes. In addition, information about the growing patterns of hops, their harvests and other details are located at Hop Products Australia abbreviated to HPA.   I was fascinated when I read ‘The hop plant originated in China, but it was the Germans – way back in the 11th century – who first discovered the crop’s potential as an ingredient for beer, and they’ve been at it ever since.’ I wondered whether the world would be a different place if the Chinese had made that discovery first.  What would be the Chinese equivalent of an Oktoberfest?

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When I read the sign in the photo above, I felt good that I hadn’t found a way to walk on the river edge on the other side of these hop fields – if I had, then the soles of my shoes might have delivered exotic seeds or destructive pests to the ground.

As I continued walking, I enjoyed looking at properties and different vintages of houses.

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The hop vines were not yet growing up the lines so the views across the paddocks were relatively uninterrupted. Before long, across a hop field I could see specialised hop buildings near private houses.

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Then, as I reached 1 Acre Lane, at the far end I could see Oast Houses and other large buildings.  In the Google Map photo below the hops have grown up the vines on the left and they obliterate the views I had over the empty paddocks – but this is the lane if you are visiting Bushy Park and looking for what I could see. On the street view of Google maps no sign naming the lane is in evidence, but since that street view was made a sign has been attached to a pole on the non-lane side of the road.

Bushy Park lane to oast houses

My feet were aching and touchy at each step. I wondered whether I had it in me to walk down the lane to see whether there was public access and have a look around, and then have the feet to walk back to the road.  I still had quite a few kilometres to go to reach my day’s destination at Gretna and I felt rationing my steps could be a good idea.

Just then an old woman, on the main road, was dragging two large empty rubbish wheelie bins towards me and the lane.  A tiny lady, I felt she could have fitted inside one of these.  It looked like a massive effort for her. She was pleased to rest and chat with me. I asked if public access was available and she told me that I could look around the buildings but not in them, and that most were heritage buildings and no longer operational. She headed off down that very lane. That long lane.  After she had taken a few steps she stopped for a rest. I realised this was a weekly challenge for her after the rubbish had been collected. I had no idea how far she had to walk with the bins, and since I could not see any residential houses I guessed that somewhere at the end of the lane in the precinct with the Oast Houses and other specialist hop buildings, she had a house. I called out ‘Can I give you a hand and take one of them?’  She didn’t have the energy to look grateful and simply said, ‘Yes’.

With apologies to The Beatles – The long and straightened road / That leads to her door / Will never disappear / I have not seen the road before / It will always lead me there / Lead me to her door