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Journeys : April May 2010
Tasmanian farmer Rachael Treasure is an international bestselling author. Her novels include Jillaroo, The Stockman, The Rouseabout and The Cattleman's Daughter. She also wrote the SBS television screenplay Albert's Chook Tractor. For information on T&T FastGrass call 0417 388 890. To find out more about Rachael, visit www.rachaeltreasure.com This island is an adventure! I've bombed my way around it, mostly on dirt roads, in the cr umbiest of cars but always with the sense that this is where I belong. As a P-plater I ripped through the rainforest relicts of Wielangta in the Datsun 120Y, dodging wombats on the way to Gran's Orford shack. When I got there I'd sink my bare feet into the white squeaky sand of Stapleton Beach and watch the varying moods of Maria Island. Later, working as a jillaroo, I shuddered round corr ugated bends in the Toyota Corona between Ouse and Bothwell, weaving through what seemed like plagues of possums. Beneath a wild sky, I'd ride my pony up the steep pitches and through windblow n tussocks on those treeless hills. My adventures continued in a spluttering Subaru wagon when I lived between Fingal and Avoca. I carted the swag and my first sheepdog Dougall everywhere then. I was married in that valley beneath a gum tree beside the serene South Esk River with a backdrop of stunning cliffs and hay bales for pews. This island is and always will be my church. These days I get about in not just one, but two Holden beauties. There's the Rodeo ute she's a far m girl, with dints, inhabited cobwebs, dust and more dogs. Then I've gotmytownute--abrightredV8SS Crew man, with a six-stack CD player. Both are twin cabs so there's somewhere to fit the kids. Home now is on my father's farm and my favourite place is the winding Woodsdale Road that connects my community from Runnymede through to Oatlands. I work and play on this road and now that it's sealed, it's a must-see for all motorists! At Runnymede where we farm, our new venture, T&T FastGrass, now sells hydroponically-sprouted barley to the horse industry and I love delivering our vibrant green sprouts in my bright red ute -- I look like Christmas coming! Along further at Levendale is the tiny primary school that our community rescued from closure in 2009. This pretty little weatherboard school, nestled in a fairy-glen, allows our kids to be educated in a place that feels as comfortable as home. Another favourite place of mine is the Woodsdale/Levendale History Room s, with its men's shed, old school house and shearing interpretation centre. All r un by volunteers, our museum is Tassie hospitality at its best and the old feel of the place makes your skin bristle with spirits of the past. If you sit quietly enough I'm sure you can hear a team of bullockies dragging timber through the trees. My special winter haunt is the Woodsdale Football Club, where steaming casseroles are dished up on creamy local spuds for the boys at training -- and on match days, there's meat pies with sauce washed dow n with cold beer. But come summer, blink and you'll miss the football ground. The playing field has sheep gra zing between the goal posts and the clubrooms could be easily mistaken for farm sheds. In the winter I venture further -- I load up my tr uffle har vest dog and we zoom through the backroads to Oatlands and the Midland Highway, then onto the red soil of Deloraine and Bishopsbour ne, in search of truffles. These trips away give me glimpses of the farming seasons in other districts and confirm to me that when I tur n back onto the Woodsdale Road, I am tr uly coming home. This is where the most important adventures of my life are lived out with my friends, my work, my farm and my family. If you too want a Tassie adventure in my neck of the woods, try a journey along the Woodsdale Road -- just mind the bulls out on the road, Anne's turkeys and the occasional wayward pony! Clockwise from top left: After four years of no hay, suddenly Runnymede has had a year of abundance; Rachael, her children and animal friends sitting in paradise on a winter beach at Orford looking onto Maria Island; Rachael with her work ute and main sheep dog Diamond In Tasmania today 41 April / May 10
Feb March 2010
RACT MNJ June July 2010