Jennifer StackhouseOur move to Tasmania

It is early July and the first frosty morning this winter. The sun is just coming up and it’s distinctly chilly. The weather station in the kitchen is showing the temperature outside at 2 degrees C, but it is always colder at ground level so I’d say it’s around zero outside.

Frosty morning Kurrajong

Frosty morning Kurrajong

As is typical of a frosty morning here the sky is clear blue and the air is still. The smoke from our chimney is rising in a thin white plume straight into the cold morning air. Despite the cold the camellias are glowing pink and red in the early morning light and the magpies and bellbirds are singing away.

Even the paddocks are still green – although this frost will sort that out, replacing green with winter brown.

In just one week our containers should be packed with all our belongings and we’ll be leaving the Kurrajong district in New South Wales and heading south to Tasmania to our new house in Barrington. We’ve lived here in the lower Blue Mountains above the Hawkesbury River for more than 20 years.

No need for a tractor at our new place in Barrington

No need for a tractor at our new place in Barrington

Everywhere I walk in the house I am surrounded by boxes, piles of stuff destined to go into boxes and then other piles that aren’t to go in the containers but are to be packed instead into our cars for the road trip down south. There still seems to be a lot to do.

Did you see I wrote containers meaning we need more than one. I am embarrassed to admit that we need two containers to transport our belongings. As Kim from the television show Kath and Kim would say we are “effluent Mum, effluent”.

Containers that move domestic loads are only half the length of the monsters that are piled on container ships to ply the international trade routes. But that still means we need 40 feet (two lots of 20 feet) of container space. Containers seem to be measured in feet not metres but that’s still around 12m in total. How did we acquire so much?

One of the mowers and some tools

One of the mowers and some tools

I blame Jim. I always do. Much of the space is taken up by his equipment and tools, which he can’t part with. Two ride-on mowers, two push mowers, several chainsaws, blower vacs, the fire fighting pump and all the rakes, spades and forks will take up a lot of the space. That’s not even touching on all the car-related tools and machinery and assorted power tools along with his father’s tools inherited more than 15 years ago and packed into mysterious metal containers.

Sold the old Fergie

Sold the old Fergie

We did sell the old grey Fergie tractor and slasher. It will stay here keeping the place in order. Even Jim admitted there wasn’t much call for a tractor when you’ve downsized to an acre.
As we are moving to Tassie everything we own has had to be thoroughly cleaned to make sure there’s no soil or debris remaining. Luckily we have a high pressure cleaner among all the power equipment.

Jim raking - all our tools have to be cleaned

Jim raking – all our tools have to be cleaned

Blissfully unaware of what's ahead

Blissfully unaware of what’s ahead





We also have to leave behind all plants, seeds and fruit. The pugs are coming, but only after they’ve been treated for hydatids (a type of intestinal worm Tasmania is trying to eradicate).

Our kind neighbours have offered a bed

Our kind neighbours have offered a bed

Once the containers are packed we move across the road to stay in our friends’ house (they are away) while we spend the last days here packing the cars and cleaning the house. Then it’s off to Melbourne and then across Bass Strait in the Spirit of Tasmania. We’ve booked an evening departure with a cabin for us and a cage for the pugs, who’ll be down in the hold near where the cars are carried. The kind lady in the booking office recommended taking blankets for the dogs. They don’t know what they are in for…..and probably neither do we.

Like this post? Why not share it with a friend?

Jennifer Stackhouse

About Jennifer Stackhouse

Recently Jennifer Stackhouse made the big move from Kurmond in NSW to a Federation house in the little village of Barrington tucked beneath Mt Roland in northwest Tasmania. With high rainfall, rich, red deep soil and a mild climate she reckons she's won the gardening lottery. She's taken on an acre garden that's been lovingly planted and tended for the past 28 years by a pair of keen gardeners so she is discovering a garden full of horticultural treasures. Jennifer is the author of several gardening books including 'Garden', which won a Book Laurel for 2013, as well as ‘The Organic Guide to Edible Gardens’, ‘Planting Techniques’ and ‘My Gardening Year’, which she wrote with her mother Shirley. She was editor of ABC 'Gardening Australia' magazine and now edits the trade journal 'Greenworld' magazine and writes regularly for the Saturday magazine in 'The Mercury'. She is often heard on radio and at garden shows answering garden queries.

9 thoughts on “Our move to Tasmania

  1. It will be sad to leave your beautiful home but what a lovely home awaits in Barrington! Missing you already xx

  2. How can you bear leaving behind those wonderful Hawkesbury River oysters? Or does Tassi have the equivalent? I wish you lots of luck in your move; you seem to have all the bases covered, and I sincerely hope your move is trouble-free!

    • Tassie has it all too! My husband’s particular Tassie treat is a lightly curred scallop pie. A Tassie speciality and nothing quite like it.

  3. Bon voyage Jennifer and Jim. A new and exciting chapter lies ahead. Had a bit of a giggle when you say it’s cold in Barrington, here in Bilpin it’s FREEZING. The wind chill is the cause. How good it will be getting to know the new garden. Imagine seeing the bulbs popping up and learning where they are.
    Hope the Bass Strait crossing is as calm as possible. My uncle did it once in an open Adam’s 10 sailing boat on his own. He bought it in Sydney and sailed it home. All the best, Peta.

    • Thanks Peta – give me a week and I’ll let you know if Barrington is freezing like Bilpin or just cold! It is those westerly winds that blow right through you in Bilpin. Jennifer

  4. Hi Jennifer,
    We retired to Southern Tassie about 8 years ago, and love it. Good idea about blankets for the dogs. Tranquillisers are also in order, it’s pretty scary for them. Very irritating that you’re not allowed to visit with them during the voyage. Best regards, David

  5. Bon voyage (and half your luck) Jennifer. Tassie’s a great place and full of delights you’ll enjoy. Our loss, their gain. The Garden History Society Tassie branch have great events you might wanna check out, and buy yourself a copy of Gwenda Sheridan’s marvelous book ‘The Launceston Horticultural Society – a History’ in any good book shop down there – a feast and eye-opener to what you will find.

  6. Jennifer

    I wish you all the best with the move and hope it goes smoothly. I’m look forward to hearing all about your future adventures on the Apple Isle.


Leave a Reply to Jennifer Stackhouse Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.