It was a nice little town and we a nice bakery lunch. I've managed to sort out these country bakeries that have great food but lousy coffee. Instead of a long black, I ask for a double espresso and it is ok. This an email James' sister sent to A when we planned the Tasmanian visit.
Howdy to you. That's a tough one trying to describe our home town. Not sure if it's an adventure or expedition. We lived in Royal George. ( one horse town). 1.1/2 hours from Launceston. Turn off the Midlands Highway at Conara head east. Keep going to Avoca. In the centre of Avoca turn right, opposite general store. Follow road right through to Royal George. From Avoca end ) our home is the last one on the right. Our Gran lived at Merrywood. To find that place although it was pulled down many years ago. Go past our house and keep travelling east until you come to a T intersection turn left. May have Merrywood on sign?? Travel up that road on the left side until you run out of road and find two locked gates. That's Merrywood just under the brow of a mountain. Don't trespass as I don't trust the locals, law unto their selves. Happy travels.
The day before I must have mentioned something about driving and T said she would drive if I wanted. She is normally competent at whatever she does so I said yes. I suppose there must be some bad dyke drivers, but I have never come across one and she was no exception. We didn't quite realise the distances involved. Had we have gone directly from Launceston, it would have not have been such a long day, but the timing turned out to be fortuitous.
I think we travelled from Scottsdale over Mount Victoria to Avoca with about twenty kilometres of well graded gravel road. My god, was our car a mess, with dust everywhere on the outside added to embedded dead splattered insects on the front and then a shower of rain making things a whole lot worse. Our car is for the city and motorways, not country roads. From Avoca it was not too far to Royal George where we paused to look at James' family home. A young man came out from a house to enquire about our presence. He was satisfied with our answer and returned inside and the bush telegraph promptly went to work.
James' siblings numbered many and he was sent to live with his grandmother a bit out of the one horse town in a place called Merrywood. He loved his grandmother more than his mother and she taught him how to sew, cook and all those things boys weren't supposed to learn back in the 1950s.
Once back at T's place, which didn't take too long on the major north south highway, A called James' sister who lives here in Victoria and they spoke for about an hour. In isolated and country areas of Tasmania, incest was common. James' sister had to fight off her brothers at times along with other relatives. She said that James was abused and humiliated by his youngest brother and raped a number of times by family members and townfolk, and yet he used to go up to a mine in the steep hills above to perve on men.
We stopped at this lookout area that had great views.
I can't remember where these chainsaw carved sculptures were.
Avoca I think, where we had a toilet stop. The kiln was for what? Brickmaking?
As per James' sister's email, here are the locked gates. The farmer owner of the land was there just entering his land via another gate. Of course on a dead end road two old gay men, a dyke and a glam hairdresser rather caught his attention. He was very knowledgeable about James' family and filled us in with many details. While a local, he was educated in Melbourne at I expect a boarding school. It showed not by his appearance but by the way he spoke.
Under this dominate tree was James' grandmother's house where he grew up. A shed and an outside lavatory remain.
This is where James went to school, long gone but A went for a walk and saw what she thought were concrete toilet pit covers. It was a long way to walk to school for James. His secondary education was in Avoca.
We did get some information from S and if you think of the old movie Deliverance and the hillbillies, you will be close to what S was like, including gapped teeth, perhaps a product of earlier day incest.
James' mother and grandmother died just two years apart and his close friend A did not know. We found out names and I insisted A write them down as we left. It is so easy to forget.
Before the click of loading shotguns was heard (ok, exaggerating), we high tailed back to the civilised Launceston and went straight for a fine but another expensive dinner at the Chinese restaurant Dynasty. You get what you pay for and we paid big but good value. The interior was amazing.