Oatlands has just held its annual Heritage Fair, and one of our neighbours mentioned there would be a bullock team there. I thought that was too good an opportunity to miss. How many bullock teams have you had the chance of seeing lately?
Oatlands is on the Heritage Highway, which travels between Launceston and Hobart, and follows the route of the first ‘main road’in Tasmania. You might recognise a couple of the towns that I have already written about in previous blogs – Ross and Campbell Town.
The Heritage Highway traces much of the original route between Launceston and Hobart, built by convict road gangs in the early 1800s. Drive through rolling farmlands, explore charming Georgian villages, stay on historic pastoral properties and savour the rich and colourful history of the place and its people.
I took the opportunity to join Karen and her delightful 2 year old son, Joe, who was really keen to see the bullocks, too, although I think at the end of the day it was the roadwork machinery that excited him more. He’s such a boy! A running commentary from the back seat told us about graders, diggers, dump trucks and steamrollers – it certainly made a change from exploring with only my own company.
Callington Mill was the place to start. It’s an old flour mill that continues to produce flour, mainly for tourists these days. The tourist information is centred there and you can buy flour for your home baking. Not being a baker, I found some nice locally produced Dijon mustard instead.
One of the local chaps urged us to the main street where the bullock team would be travelling on its way up to the mill. I found this great article from the ABC about Brian Fish, the bullocky, and what his plans for the day were. He’s a great character and loaded with information. I love coming across people with such passion. Here’s Brian with his 12 span team hauling the dray loaded with bales of wool – and a few more photos of the team.
The last time I saw a bullock team was at the Yarram Easter Parade in Gippsland, Victoria in 1993. From memory it was a 6 span and back then I thought I might never see one again, so how lucky am I to see a 12 span in 2016! You’ve got to love the people that keep these traditions alive.
There was also a display of colourful old drays and wagons, some restored but many in their now dilapidated condition waiting for an enthusiast to shower them with love – and a bit of paint.
In keeping with the Heritage theme there was a lovely old car and a horse drawn carriage that paraded down the main street, too.
When the bullocks arrived at the mill they were unhitched but still yolked together. Apparently they form quite a bond with their partner and learn to accommodate what the other one wants and how they want to move.
In keeping with the Heritage theme there was also an extensive array of arts and crafts happening but unfortunately we weren’t given a program until too late to see many of these events. We just missed the sheep shearing but did manage to see the quilt display and spinners at work. I love the name of their group – Sippers and SewHers.
I couldn’t leave Oatlands without capturing some of the lovely old stone buildings.
Happy Campers: Here’s a sign we love to see!
And this is what you would wake up to.
Can’t resist using this photo to declare this is THE END of today’s blog!