On Saturday I had the immense pleasure of attending an Instameet in the Huon Valley. What’s an Instameet I hear you ask. Essentially it’s a social gathering of Instagram users who get together to document a particular location or event and get to know one another in the process. I was very pleasantly surprised to be invited along by Hobart & Beyond and Instatassie for the 28th Instameet of the Tasmanian Instagram community.
The chosen location for the event was the Huon Valley, whereby we would get to travel aboard the beautifully restored Yukon sailing ship and then enjoy the atmosphere of the Huon Valley Mid Winter Festival at the Apple Shed. Jared from Hobart & Beyond was most kind in offering to give me a lift to the event and along with his wife Nathalie we made our way to the valley, discussing photography and life in Tasmania along the way.
We arrived at the Petty Sessions Cafe in Franklin and immediately set about giving the poor young lad inside a gruelling bit of work as 20+ photographers piled in asking for coffee. Afterwards it was a chance to get to know everyone as Max from Instatassie introduced everyone in a circle. It was great to put a face to the names I’d been seeing since engaging with the community on Instagram. After the introductions you could tell people’s trigger fingers were starting to itch as slowly people started bringing their cameras to their eye and looking around for things to shoot. I did the same, initially looking along the shoreline of the river before turning my attention to an interesting looking building behind me.The hanging baskets that adorned Ye Old Franklin Tavern had caught my eye on the way in with their sheer numbers. Nary an inch of balcony space was without a basket and it really made for a charming building. I’m not sure of its current state however as it seemed a little empty looking and the website links to a Japanese education website…….obviously.
Around the side there was a lovely painted mural of a lady serving scones. The good people who run the Huon Trail Facebook page have since spread some light on her. “And yes indeed the mural in Franklin is of a lovely lady by the name of Nonnie Car who passed away several years ago. Nonnie was renowned for her amazing cooking skills (especially her scones!), running that small bar where her image now sits and was often seen riding her push bike to and from work between the bar and her home a few km further south”. Don’t you just love such little snippets into the lives of people in these small towns? Really interesting to find out the story behind this mural. I also came across a group of chickens in the yard behind the tavern who came barrelling towards me when I peeked through the doorway. Their initial excitement soon waned as they realised I wasn’t bringing them food. Sorry chickens.
By the time I had taken a few photos around the side of the tavern it was 11:15 and our boat trip was scheduled for 11:30. I turned around to see the carpark was empty and there was no sign of anyone from our group. I knew the dock was just up the road so I began strolling (briskly) up the road, stopping occasionally to grab a quick shot of some of the quaint buildings along the road.
I made it to the docks with a minute or so to spare and wasn’t even the last one on board. Phew! Everyone piled on board the Yukon as our hosts, David Nash, his Danish wife Ea and their two children prepared the vessel for departure. The Yukon has a fascinating history and I’d definitely recommend checking out their website and reading all about how they rescued her from the bottom of a Danish harbour and then circumnavigated the globe to bring her here to Franklin. The plan was to motor up the river a little bit before turning round, setting sail and calmly drifting back towards the docks. Our gracious hosts provided free cider courtesy of Franks which has been in business for almost two centuries. So needless to say the cider tasted amazing. We also had some lovely nibbles of olives and crisps with a delicious home-made dip.
After everyone was fed and watered (cidered) that urge to photograph grew once more and cameras and phones began snapping away at the ship and the beautiful scenery along the river as we moseyed on by. Conversations were struck up, cameras were discussed and old and new friendships were strengthened and formed.
All too soon we were back ashore and picking up our tickets for the next phase of our Instameet, the Huon Valley Mid Winter Festival, which promised to be a most memorable evening. More to come on that soon.
I’d like to say a massive thank you to the organisers of this event and I’m hugely grateful for the invite and look forward to getting to know the Tassie Instagram community a little better over the coming months. There’s so much talent on this small island and to be invited along to join in the community was a real honour for me. Thanks again!