There is a little white weatherboard house with no power or driveway, sitting on the top of a green sun drenched hill. Looming above it, in true Tasmanian style, is Dry’s Bluff. A stunning rock face which runs East West, meaning that the chameleon like rock reflects the soft sunrise light, the bright midday sun, and also manages to dapple it’s colours with the sunset orange and pinks. It’s a place where Bob Brown goes for inspiration and quiet, and where, with cups of tea brewed on the billy or over the slow combustion stove, the Wilderness Society, the Greens Party and Bush Heritage were founded. It was difficult to not feel humbled as my family spent a few days there last week.
We arrived in the beautiful Liffey valley to rain, then a struggle up the hill in the sudden sunshine with all our gear. We got to the house with relief to find our son diving around the side of the house after a skink, only to return yelling and chased by a big black tiger snake. The snake disappeared into a crack in the wall, all except the tip of it’s tail which just couldn’t fit. We walked up the bank to see the new seats when the moment of sunshine turned in an instant into a hail storm, which again had us running for cover. As the sun appeared only moments later, the kids jumped under, and then up the old walnut tree. Leaving them to explore in kid paradise, I went inside to unpack, only to run outside again to more screams. The tree was crawling with jack jumpers, and Clay was in a quandary as to whether it was better to let go of the branch he was on, or get bitten by the ants crawling all over him.
Dodging the resident snake and sea of jack jumpers proved possible, and we spent long days making yachts and canoes out of bark, and discovering waterfalls and tree fern forests. Al, as manager of the land for Bush Heritage, was busy meeting with neighbours, spraying weeds and installing some new seats. The seats were chainsaw sculptures, as heavy as can be imagined, and needed to be carried, by bike, about a kilometre into the Liffey Reserve. They are works of art, and besides the Gondwanic rainforest and towering white gums the Reserve offers, it is worth a walk for the seats alone. Beware the leeches though, they creep towards their potential dinner as if in a Stephen King movie. Take vegemite along just in case they slip through your socks….