2019 Day 138 – Launceston

Freedom is within tantalising grasp. All it takes is a last push to pack the suitcases/ storage boxes and our work is done. Himself still has some motorhome wintering chores to complete on our last day, but for now we’re house elves no more. Yay!!

We celebrate with an exploratory tour of nearby Launceston. I don’t even care that it’s raining. It’s endless, the rain, by far the wettest end to any trip we’ve had. I’ve no longer any idea if it’s still the effect of Hurricane Lorenzo, or just a particularly wet autumn. I do know I’ll be glad to leave it behind.

With settlement as far back as the Bronze Age, Launceston is bursting with history. We see the intricately carved Church of Mary Magdalene with its ancient tower.

Inside there’s a wonderful display of the church’s timeline, intertwined with royal history. It’s very informative and well executed.

There’s a Norman Castle, (c. 1086),

unfortunately too wet to see today, the 14th century South Gate, a remnant of the town walls

and best of all on a rainy day, the Lawrence House Musuem. It’s indoors, which works for me.

With rooms dedicated to the history behind town’s inception,

the war periods,

18th century Georgian life,

a toy musuem,

fashion and lace making,

(I’m in awe of the skill lace making takes)

a herbarium,

historical household appliances and farming life,

there’s more than enough to keep us entertained. Not too sure about that frog evening bag though. It had claws!

There’s also a display of Australia’s First Fleet transportation to the “New World”.

Australia has a Launceston of its own, of course, in Tasmania. It’s very sobering to read the ages, crimes and punishments of the First Fleet (a page from the detailed list below). Many appear to be hunger related. “Transportation for stealing butter”. Isn’t that sad?

Himself’s paternal Grandmother’s Grandfather was transported in 1836, aged 12, convicted for the crime of stealing a handkerchief. To Port Arthur, of all places, one of the most deplorable penal colonies of the time. T’was a big family secret up until Himself’s generation. There was a time it was terribly shameful to have a convict in one’s family tree, now apparently it’s quite the badge of honour. He must have been tough, to survive his seven year sentence. On release, he moved from Tasmania to Melbourne, married, and went on to success, becoming a farmer and a hotelier.

Himself eventually drags me away: I’ll come back though. With three floors full of treasures, there’s much more to see. The Castle will be a must on a return visit too and I hear there’s a steam train! Lots to see and do then.