Old Meets New in This Creative Hub
A 35-minute drive from the Spirit of Tasmania in Devonport or just 20 minutes from the airport in Wynyard, discover the creative hotspot that is Burnie. Your first port of call is the glowing geometric structure in prime position overlooking West Beach – the Makers’ Workshop. Chat to the helpful staff in the visitor information centre to help plan your stay, sample the locally-made cheese in the tasting centre or stay longer for lunch in the cafe. Wander around the life-size paper mache people and take a hands-on paper-making tour to discover how the city’s industrial past has merged into an artisan experience. Then you can not only see art and craft on display and purchase something special to take home, you can watch makers creating on site and chat to them about their work.
From the Makers’ Workshop it’s a short, picturesque walk along the boardwalk to the city centre. On the way you must take a detour into the Burnie Regional Art Gallery, a world-class facility boasting an ever-changing range of exhibitions. During the city’s premier event, Burnie Shines in October, you can see the creations of not one but six feature artists this year. Work from the emerging North-West artists, who are all studying at the UTAS School of Creative Arts, will be on display from October 21 to November 5. The gallery will also host TASART, the most prestigious event on the North-West’s arts calendar, from September 23 to October 14, and works from the Burnie City Council Youth Art Challenge from October 9 to 15.
Step back in time
Next walk just up the road for an immersive experience of what the city was like over 100 years ago. At the Burnie Regional Museum you can walk down a street as it would have looked during the Federation era, with each store based on an actual business that existed in the town, packed with fascinating artefacts, memorabilia and tools of the trade. Entry is $8 for adults and $5 for concession. The temporary exhibitions are free to everyone. Currently on display is The Advocate Gift, a celebration of the local newspaper’s donation of more than one million photographic negatives to be preserved.
Patch of paradise
After exploring the city it’s time to jump in the car for a 10-minute drive to discover the stunning Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden. Created by volunteers over the past 35 years, wander or be driven in a buggy through the 11ha nature amphitheatre with its 22,000 rhodos and other plants, as well as waterways and bridges. Once you’ve worked up an appetite stop for an afternoon snack in the tearooms, which are now open daily until December 24. An event you must not miss is the Cherry Blossom Festival, on October 21 from 10am to 3pm. You will feel like you have been transported to Japan as you walk among the blossoming cherry trees, watch taiko drumming and martial arts performances, take part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and enjoy the bonsai and ikebana displays. There will also be stallholders offering local food and beverages for you to enjoy or take home. Entry is $10 for adults, $8 concession and children under 16 free.
Highlights from the 2017 Burnie Shines Program:
- The Coastal city will be humming with live music during the festival throughout October. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band album, there will be a tribute show at the Burnie Arts and Function Centre on October 7. The Otis Room, The Point and The Chapel will feature a host of performances throughout the month and The Burnie Music Society presents Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 The Musical. To top it all off Skyfields at West Park will feature Australian music legends the Hoodoo Gurus for the Australian Masters Games after party on October 28.
- There will be plenty of delicious local food and beverages to keep the revellers happy. The Chapel will hold an evening dedicated to enjoying Tasmanian whisky with Heartwood’s Tim Duckett on October 14 and a long table feast on October 21. Experience a coffee brewing session at Infuse Coffee Roasters on October 14 and 21. Go behind the scenes and tour the Hellyers Road Distillery then enjoy dinner in the restaurant between October 19 and 28.
- For the families there is the McGrath & Co Burnie Show on October 6-7, the Emu Bay Lions Club Giant Book Fair on October 14 and 28, Picnic in the Paddock at Guide Falls Farm on October 22, Australia’s premier 10km road race the Burnie Ten on October 22 and the 321Go Kids’ Race on October 29.
Words: Claire Turfrey
Photos: Claire Turfrey, Catherine Gale-Stanton