Category Archives: Family Life

Zoodoo Wildlife Park

After our visit to Richmond Gaol,

we headed over to Zoodoo Wildlife Park,

which is also in Richmond.

(I told you…for a little village, there’s stacks to do in Richmond.)

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Now, Zoodoo isn’t a huge zoo.

It’s a privately owned attraction

and it’s a little rough around the edges,

but it’s got a lot of character

which we quite enjoyed.

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Our favourite experience, by far, was the safari bus ride.

We got into an open-style bus,

armed with a cup of plant-based food,

and headed off for the back paddocks.

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…where we met the emus!!

It was rather wild and chaotic

but hilariously funny.

Next, we stopped and visited the zebras

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where we got to pat them.

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Have you ever patted a zebra?

We can say we have.

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Finally, we stopped and visited the camels.

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We got up close and personal

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with this camel.

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Like…REALLY close.

You don’t realise how big they are

until they’ve got their face in your face.

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This was such a cool experience!!

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Leaving the camels, zebras and emus,

we headed back.

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Isn’t the property just beautiful?!

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The things you see in your photos AFTER you take the photo.


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After the bus tour,

we were led to the lion enclosure

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to feed a lion.

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Yes, FEED a lion.

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Armed with tongs,

people could line up

and hand feed a lion.

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No, we weren’t lining up for that activity!!

We like our fingers.

Just being this close to a roaring hungry lion was enough to impress us.

There were plenty of other animals at Zoodoo

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but the main reason for our visit to Zoodoo

was to see the Tasmanian Devils.

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We love Tassie Devils.

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These little critters have so much character.

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How could you not love them.

Just look at this little face!!

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While we only spent a little while at Zoodoo,

it was a fun few hours

that perfectly wrapped up our day in Richmond.



Richmond Gaol

After visiting the Old Hobart Town Model Village,

we wandered over to the historic Richmond Gaol.

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The Richmond Gaol is the oldest existing colonial gaol in Australia.

It was built in 1825 by convicts

(well, they kept adding bits to it until 1840),

and it continued to be used as a lock up until 1928.

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Today, it looks much the same as it did back in 1840,

when the gaol was necessary because of the number of convicts working in the area

– needing nightly accommodation and a place to punish those who needed to be kept in order.

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The oldest building is this little whitewashed single-storey building.

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Inside, you can walk through the rooms where the convicts were held.

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The front two rooms are where they slept,

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sometimes with up to 40 men in these two rooms.

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And, no, they are not big rooms,

by any means!!

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Oh and check out the outfit convicts had to wear if they were repeat offenders.

It’s called the ‘magpie’ uniform.

Wearing it was humiliating but it made the repeat offenders easy to identify.

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The back two rooms in the building were the ‘day rooms’

where the men spent their days when the weather was bad

and they were without work.

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In these rooms you can see some graffiti made by the convicts.

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Look closely…

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See, here on the window shutter.

Thomas Lake was in Richmond Gaol for burglary when he carved his name (T.Lake), his village (Writtle) and county (Essex) on the shutter.

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In the back of the building,

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there is also a dark punishment cell

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where the prisoner could be restrained in chains.

(My ‘prisoner’ wouldn’t put on his chains!)

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In this building,

we also saw evidence of how superstitious the colonial people were.

(See the shoes hidden under the floor boards.)

It is very common in Australia to find items,

like dead cats, clothing, children’s toys and shoes,

hidden under floors and in wall cavities in colonial buildings.

They believed that these items would lure evil spirits into tight cavities in the building,

which would trap the evil spirits,

and hence protect the inhabitants of the building.

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Heading back outside,

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we walked around the ‘airing yard’.

This is where the convicts exercised.

They were given an hour in the morning

and an hour again in the evening.

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The only people not given time outside

were those in solitary confinement

(and apparently they were given a whole day outside after their confinement).

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There were 12 solitary confinement cells for the men

and 4 for the women.

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Each cell was 2.13 metres by 1 metre.

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Some of the cells were dark cells

and some received a little light.

The occupants received only bread, water, a blanket and a ‘night’ bucket.

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It doesn’t sound like a very pleasant way to spend a few days to a month.

I would be wanting a bed, some light, air conditioning and a good book at least.

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Looking at the communal toilets,

I’m thinking the private night bucket might actually be a better option.

I mean, gosh, your bottoms would virtually be touching each other on these loos!!!

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But I suppose you could swing the door open

and get a good view of the daily floggings.

Yes, the dunny was in the flogging yard,

where at 9am the flagellator would administer lashes to his victims.

The flagellator was not a popular bloke, as you can imagine.

In fact, one flagellator, George Grover,

(and probably plenty of others),

used to lead people into trouble

because he got paid to flog them.

George Grover was so unpopular that he was thrown off the Richmond Bridge and killed.

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A doctor was always present when a person was being flogged.

They had the power to suspend a flogging,

however, the victim would have to return to receive the rest of their lashes

once the doctor had made them well again.

And yes, salt water would be applied to wounds to help them heal

which is where we get the expression,

‘rubbing salt into the wound’.

What I didn’t know is that women were not flogged in Australia.

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No, no executions were held here.

However, the colony’s hangmen, Soloman Blay, did reside at Richmond Gaol

He was doing four years of hard labour in Richmond,

but would be escorted to Hobart when needed to hang people.

He hung over 150 people.

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In 1834,

the gaoler’s house was added.

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(the cookhouse, solitary cells and women’s room were added in 1835

and a stone wall was erected around the gaol in 1840)

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The gaoler’s house was used as a residence

but also a watch house and a place for the javelin men to sleep.

The javelin men were basically gaol wardens,

who were convicts themselves.

(They were called javelin men because of the long weapon-like pole that they carried).

As you can imagine,

these javelin men were not the most reliable wardens

and could easily be corrupted.

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I wondered whether any families lived in the gaoler’s residence.

Imagine looking out your window and seeing a yard full of convicts.

Or, worse still, having them look in!

I can’t imagine it would have been a nice place to live.

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We spent over an hour exploring Richmond Gaol,

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but we are the kind of people who read every single plaque

and make sure we don’t miss a thing.

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I think the gaol was my favourite thing in the little town of Richmond

but, then, I’m very partial to history.

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Old Hobart Town Model Village

While in Richmond,

we visited the Old Hobart Town Model Village.

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(Richmond is a quaint little town

that will keep you occupied for the whole day!

Just make sure to park the car

and get out and walk

so you don’t miss any treasures.)

Now, the Old Hobart Town Model Village is small.

So don’t expect anything on a grand scale.

However, small does not mean bad.

If you walk through the models in only a few minutes,

then you’ve ruined the experience for yourself.

These models are like fine chocolate.

You need to savour the experience and take your time.

There is a LOT to see in this one model village.

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When you enter,

you’ll be given a map of Old Hobart Town

so you can identify the buildings in the model village.

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The model is set out exactly like Old Hobart Town

so you can get a real feel for what Old Hobart Town might have looked like.

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On the back of the map are photos of some of the buildings

that still remain in the city of Hobart today.

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There’s also a bit of a treasure hunt to keep the kids amused.

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As you walk through the model village,

you need to keep an eye out for:

a woman killing a snake,

a Tasmanian Tiger,

a man falling out of a tree

and a man skinning an animal.

But don’t expect them to be easy to find.

You have to look carefully.

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But that’s the key to the whole model village experience…

look carefully.

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There’s so much to see

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if you take your time to fully appreciate the village.

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And plenty of humorous little scenes to be found too.

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As we walked around the village,

we imagined ourselves living there:

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walking down the streets,

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and going about our daily life.

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We found the punishment scenes

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particularly interesting.

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The model village really helps you place yourself back in time.

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And if you take the time to read the many little plaques,

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you’ll also learn plenty about the history of Old Hobart Town.

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We thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent

at the Old Hobart Town Model Village.

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It was definitely worth a visit.

Next, we headed off to goal.


Off on an Adventure

You won’t have noticed, because my blogging has been soooo slack this year,

but we’ve been off on a month long adventure.

We hit the road at the beginning of September and only just arrived home.

Where did we go?

Well, my five year old niece told people that we were ‘going around the world’,

however, ‘the world’ was really just the east coast of Australia.

We drove all the way from the Gold Coast in Queensland to Hobart, Tasmania, and then back again.

Our odometer recorded the journey as 6000km.

That’s a lot of sitting in the car.  (Thank goodness for audio stories!)

We went sooo many places and did soooo much that the best place to start is from the very beginning.

First up – Sydney.

Well, actually, the first day was just a whole lot of boring driving.

Nine and a half hours of it.

Thankfully much of it was dual carriageway and 110km/h.

But, still, we arrived in Sydney pretty exhausted


and had to find the oomph to face Sydney traffic.


Thankfully, we arrived on a Sunday afternoon.

I wish I could say that I planned that on purpose, but that would be a lie.

Oh and I’m so thankful that we live in the age of Google Maps,

and that Google Maps knows what to do when people can’t manage to follow her directions correctly.

There was a LOT of rerouting happening to get us to our destination.


And how sweet of Google Maps to take us on the scenic route over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.


How did she know we were on holidays and would be delighted by such a trip?!

(And, no, I haven’t checked my etoll invoice yet to see just how much that cost me.

Maybe I don’t want to know.)


In Sydney, we chose to stay at Rydges in the city centre.

I know, pretty swish and costly.

But it wasn’t all that costly because we booked during a sale.

Plus, we compared the expense of staying further out, where it would be cheaper,

and then having to drive into the city each day and park,

or take public transport for four adults.

The hotel in the city came out on top for money value,

although we did have to put our car in the hotel’s valet parking.

(Don’t ask me the cost of that.  It makes me feel faint thinking about it.)

But it was worth it.

We were within walking distance of all the places we wanted to visit.

Circular Quay was literally just down the road from the hotel.

Okay, ‘just down the road’ being a 25 minute walk but it was all flat and interesting.

No, Circular Quay wasn’t necessarily ‘one of the places we wanted to visit’,

but it was the gateway to many of them.

Circular Quay is really just a harbourside transport hub.

Trains on one side, ferries on the other.

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But if you walk one way, you’ll find yourself at the Sydney Opera House,

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and the other, will take you to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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On a nice sunny day, it can be very picturesque.

However, our first day in Sydney was overcast and showery, turning to rain by the afternoon.


But we made the most of it,

and enjoyed the fact that grey skies meant less people

and cooler daytime temperatures.


Check out the jelly fish in the harbour!

The water, wherever you looked, was absolutely full of them.

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However, we didn’t dally long at Circular Quay, although the jellyfish were mesmerising.

We had to dash off to the Rocks district to meet our guide for a tour.

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