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Journeys : Aug Sep 2012
This year the farm will be open for spring flowering viewing from 24 September to 19 October. The Bloomin’ Tulips Festival will be held on Saturday 13 October. More: www.bloomintulips.com.au In Tasmania today Ifell in love with Paul at university in Hobart while doing my Arts degree. He planned to return to Wy nyard once he completed his Agricultural Science studies. Inevitably, I would end up living on the family farm at Table Cape too but I completed a Social Work degree in Melbourne before we married in 1977. I worked as a psychiatric social worker at the old Wynyard Hospital. It was an amazing introduction to the community of Wy nyard. People were so accepting of the Spencer Clinic. The low-care patients could go up the street to shop, resuming a bit of normality while struggling with a bad phase of their lives. I also worked at the Child and Adolescent Clinic in Burnie before having my two children, David and Meredith. I didn’t come from a farming background but we were an outdoorsy family. My father was involved in the Scouts in Launceston. We did lot s of bushwalking and camping – but that is different to making a living outdoors! Farming is not an easy life. It can be a fickle existence but people have a passion for the land they live and work on. I do feel connected to this land, and we feel a responsibility to look after it. It’s a sense of custodianship I suppose - but it’s not really ours solely, because it belongs to the people who have contributed to it over the years. It’s fascinating to learn about the way of life of the people who were here before us. There are still middens left behind by those who lived and shell-fished around the edge of the Cape. The history of settlement associated with the lighthouse is also very rich. I love to paint and I am particularly drawn to the fringes of the farm where the elements have impacted the most. I wander those areas to see nature wild again. I paint in the evenings and belong to a painting group, which helps keep the discipline running throughout the year. Sometimes my paintings have unconscious suggestions of tulips in them but I do a wide range of artwork, from realistic illustrations to abstracts. Painting is a mind game – you need to be thinking about it all of the time and improving your skills. My work is exhibited at the tulip festival, with the Burnie Coastal Art Group and some is sent away to exhibitions when I have the time. But when spring comes there isn’t time to paint because there is so much work to do. Next year will be our 25th year of growing tulips. Paul’s professor came up with the idea back in the 1980s when we were trawling for new ideas to take us forward after the beef industry was being centralised in Victoria and NSW. It’s a complicated crop. Everything was based on the Dutch experience but of course we have a different climate and hemisphere, so we had to rediscover it all again and we are still learning. Initially, people drove around the Cape to see the tulips in bloom but it was Jenny Cox who stirred the pot and gave us the final push to open the farm gates to visitors. The Bloomin’ Tulips Festival evolved from there. It’s a delicate game because we have to fit far m work around the tourists. There is a r isk of diseases, seeds and bugs being trekked in on people’s shoes but that is outweighed by the incredible joy you see on the faces of our visitors. It can be a spiritual experience for some. Ithasmeantalottoustohaveourson David return and contribute to the farm. We encouraged our children to pursue education and to come back only if they wanted too. This lifestyle is too tricky to wish it on them if they don’t have a passion for it. But of course David has grown up on the farm and loves it too. He’s interested in being a part of it at the moment and it has energ ised us – we’ve always hoped someone from our immediate or extended family would take the farm over when we retire. TourismTasmaniaandJessieWatsonTourismTasmaniaandJessieWatsonTourismTasmaniaandTonyCrehan August / September 2012 53
Jun Jul 2012
Oct Nov 2012