Wednesday, 20 July 2011

A Mayoral Welcome in Burnie, Tasmania

Burnie's mayor welcoming passengers
Arriving in Burnie, Tasmania, our first Australian port of call, gave us another 'I feel like royalty' moment! At the bottom of the gangway the mayor of the city, resplendant in his velvet robes and gold chains of office, was waiting to greet us all personally as we disembarked.
    City volunteers took over then, ushering us onto the free buses that would take us from this working port into the town. We were each given a copy of a specially printed newspaper to mark our visit. In the main city centre there were sign boards out welcoming cruise ship passengers and lots of very friendly locals happy to talk to us. We certainly got a genuine 'Tassie' welcome!
    The guide books like 'Lonely Planet' and 'Fodors' were not exactly fulsome in their praise of the city. In fact they gave the impression that there was not a lot to do there. But we had a fantastic day.
    The Makers Workshop is a modern, seaside complex dedicated to the paper-making history of the city and to local artisans and artists. We saw paper being made, talked to craftspeople and shopped in the fantastic gift department.
     I went to the library to research some family history, and was thrilled to find details of an ancestor who arrived in Tasmania in 1855. Pete visited the museum with its layout of replica shops and buildings from the city's colonial era.
    Then to top off an excellent day, bagpipers serenaded our departure and a pod of common dolphins escorted the 'Volendam' out through Emu Bay. Full speed ahead to Melbourne!

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