On our way to Stanley we made a short stop at the town of Burnie on the northern coast.
Burnie, a major port for mining and forestry, has been in a constant state of reinvention for its entire 186-year history. Every time its economy has slumped, the local community has come together to build it back up.
One of the most recent revivals saw Burnie’s unemployed set to work on a project to hand-make paper using natural raw materials, such as wombat and kangaroo poo. With Burnie’s paper mill background, sourcing materials for the project was easy.
On a tour with papermaker Darren Simpson through the paper-making workshop at Burnie’s Makers’ centre, we learned about the differences between eucalypt and pine fibres, and how the many finer eucalypt fibres produce a denser, stronger and smoother paper quality.
The Makers’ Workshop just outside the city centre, near the penguin observation centre, is where you can try your hand at preparing some of your own paper, which you can take home to show and tell with family and friends.
Exhibits at the Makers’ Workshop showcase Tasmania’s art and craft heritage. Tasmanian wood, especially King William Pine and Blackwood, are highly prized and sought after by violin makers. These timbers give a violin a very ‘deep and warm’ sound. One such violin maker, Maria Pulez-Parido, shapes the sound hole on a violin after different animals and embeds shellwork into the scroll.
Artist Adrian Bradbury had his series of seascape paintings on display at the Makers’ centre. Inspired to take up the brush and paint after working on the construction of the Three Capes Track on the Tasman Peninsula, Adrian says he was ‘seduced’ by the paradoxal ‘wild tranquility’ of the sea. He explains his seascapes as much of an interior journey as a reflection of the physicality of the ocean.
Burnie offers free evening tours to view fairy penguins coming ashore between September and March. And if you miss the stamping of little feet, you can always visit the giant plastic penguin at the small village of Penguin all year round.
- Burnie Makers Workshop visitor signs
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