April 13, 2017 – Burnie, Tasmania, Australia
When we docked this morning, we took the shuttle bus into town. This city, like Eden, had a local volunteer on board who gave a bit of the history of the town. The 1st stop was at the Makers Workshop. They had a variety of artists there who did everything from paper making to jewelry to wood craft and everything in between. We bought some jams and honey to bring home to folks. We took the shuttle to the 2d stop which was the local museum. We looked around in the gift shop but did not pay to go look at a main street re-creation from the early 1900s.
We caught the shuttle back to the ship in time to grab a bite of lunch before heading out for our afternoon tour. It was titled “Devils and ‘Roos”. We took a beautiful drive through the countryside to Wing’s Wildlife Park. This is a sanctuary for injured animals as well as a zoo. If they can be rehabilitated, they are returned to the bush. If not, they live out their lives at the park. We saw kangaroos which we could pet. We also saw wombats, Tasmanian devils (at feeding time, no less), golden pheasants, echidnas, emus, meerkats, chukar partridges, masked lapwings, silver pheasants, Tasmanian pademelon (a wallaby), masked owl, Southern boobooks, kookaburras, naked neck chickens, koala, Guinea fowl, Southern brown bandicoot, sulphur-crested cockatoo (who kept saying Hello Cocky), black swans and goats. You could buy food to feed the animals, but we chose not to do that. For an extra fee, you could have an up close encounter with 3 different animals – baby Tasmanian devil, baby wombat and a koala. PS from ps: Joyce petted the koala and held and petted a wombat, and I took 200 pictures to document the occasion. I am sure she will not post all of them!
All of the baby animals came to the park as orphans. The older ones came as the result of accidents which injured them. The koala was a female who came with a male partner as part of a breeding program. Unfortunately, the male died. At the moment they are looking for a replacement male.
The feeding of the Tasmanian devils was interesting to watch. The keeper held a kangaroo leg over the fence. One of the devils jumped up and got it. The race was on then. He ran around the enclosure several times with the others chasing him after they picked up his scent. He tried to hide in a hollowed out log, but 2 of the 4 chasing him soon found him. He managed to get out and took off again. Finally, he got trapped in the log by all of them. They grabbed on end of the leg and dragged him out. From then on, it was a free-for-all as they each tried to claim the leg as theirs. This is evidently the way that they do in the bush so it was interesting to see. They eat mostly carrion, but, if necessary, will kill baby kangaroos or other animals. If you flip through the pictures quickly, you’ll get a small sense of the feeding frenzy.
The baby wombat was cute. If you flip through the pictures quickly, it looks like he is dancing. He is standing on one hind foot and rotating on it as he paws the window. These animals have a backward or bottom opening pouch as does the Tasmanian devil. The pouch opens between their hind legs instead of at the top near the waist of the animal. This is because both the wombat and devil are diggers. If the pouch opened at the top, it would fill with dirt as they dig. Also, there is a real possibility that the joey could fall out into the hole they are digging. The wombat has a wide body and a very hard, boney rear end. When they are frightened, they wedge themselves into a small hole head first. Their body is wide enough to fill the hole so that the predator has to bite into the boney rear end. It is hard enough that it can break the teeth of some predators. At the very least, they get hard knock to their teeth.
The park also had a Caravan (RV) Park. The spots were simply any place you wanted to park on a grassy field. The charge was $6.50 per person. If you wanted electricity that was another $7. Water was available, which means it was a spigot and you carried it to your caravan. There was no sewer/dump station available.
Burnie is a port city on the north-west coast of Tasmania. When founded in 1827, Burnie was named Emu Bay, but it was renamed for William Burnie, a director of the Van Diemen’s Land Company, in the early 1840s.
At the 2011 Australian Census Burnie had an urban population of 19,819 which made it the fourth largest city in Tasmania. Burnie together with nearby Wynyard had an estimated urban population of 26,869 at June 2015.
The key industries are heavy manufacturing, forestry and farming. The Burnie port along with the forestry industry provides the main source of revenue for the city. Burnie was the main port for the west coast mines after the opening of the Emu Bay Railway in 1897. Most industry in Burnie was based around the railway and the port that served it.
After the handover of the Surrey Hills and Hampshire Hills lots, the agriculture industry was largely replaced by forestry. The influence of forestry had a major role on Burnie's development in the 1900s with the founding of the pulp and paper mill by Associated Pulp and Paper Mills in 1938 and the woodchip terminal in the later part of the century. The Burnie Paper Mill closed in 2010 after failing to secure a buyer.
Burnie is home to the Cradle Coast campus of the University of Tasmania as well as campuses of the Tasmanian Polytechnic and the Tasmanian Academy. The University of Tasmania campus includes the Cuthbertson Research Laboratories run by the Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research.
Burnie has an oceanic climate with mild summers and cool winters. The average temperature in summer ranges from 54 to 70 degrees with drier days as warm as 80 degrees. There are around 16 hours of sunlight per day. In winter, temperature ranges from 43 to 55 degrees. There are only 8 hours of sunlight. Relative humidity averages over 60% for the year in the afternoon. Burnie averages 39” of rainfall per year. Most of the rain is during the cooler months from May to October. The summer months bring constant daily sunshine and only occasional rainfall.