Meander Valley Gazette

Your Independent Community Newspaper


Hagley RV homestay conditional approval

NewsJoanne Eisemann

April 2019 | Sharon Webb

MEANDER VALLEY councillors have placed a condition on an application for a caravan park in Hagley to protect intrusion on a young family living across the road. Annette and Stephen Camino, who own a farming property at 62 Meander Valley Rd in Hagley applied for a permit to establish an RV homestay for 20 self-contained recreational vehicles.

It will operate seasonally at $10 a night for each RV and no facilities other than van space and a 3m high sign. The Caminos envisage setup to cost them $500–10,000.. Council officers had recommended the permit be approved but after councillors heard objections from Shaun and Danika Leatherbarrow they amended the permit. The amendment ensures RV locations directly opposite the Leatherbarrow residence will be filled only after all other spots had been filled. Mr Leatherbarrow told council at the March meeting that he and his wife were distressed by the proposed land use and its location.

“We stand to lose quite a considerable amount if this venture is to go ahead as planned. “The current plan has a caravan park directly opposite our house, with campers to be located no more than 30 meters from our toddler’s bedroom. Not only does this propose noise issues but also privacy and the risk of strangers almost on our doorstep on a regular basis.

“Whilst the caravans are planned to be behind a row of trees, to state that 20 RVs parked alongside of the road would not adversely impact the current charm of our little village is misguided. “I would never have bought this property if it was located opposite what is being proposed. We love this area, but have talked about selling up if our dream of a beautiful quiet home in the country is ruined.”

Land sale plan a reprieve for Quamby Parish churches

FeatureJoanne Eisemann

January 2019 | Sharon Webb

THE PROPOSED sale of a church-owned block of land in Carrick has removed three Quamby Parish churches given to the people in perpetuity from the Anglican church and cemetery fire sale.

In December of 2018, Tasmania’s Anglican Bishop, Richard Condie, released a list of church properties to parishioners state-wide, indicating which are to be sold and which reprieved.

St Mary’s Church rectory and cemetery in Hagley, built with donations from the Dry family; St Andrew’s Church in Carrick, given by the Reibey family; and St Andrew’s Church in Westbury, built by the British Government with convict labour, now will not be sold – if the parish can raise $400,000 from the sale of vacant land on the corner of Meander Valley Rd and East St in Carrick.

In addition, Deloraine’s saleyards, church hall and cemetery, and Meander’s St Saviour’s Church appear to be saved from the chopping block.

But according to Reverend Josephine Pyecroft from Quamby Parish, a row is brewing over which real estate agent will sell the Carrick land.

“We had it valued by Harrison Humphreys; Rob Harrison is a descendent of the Reibey family who gave the church to the people. But the Anglican Hobart office wants to arrange the sale with their choice of estate agent.

“However the deeds say the land can’t be sold without the signatures of the priest and two wardens and we need to go to the Reibey family to sell it.

“We want Harrison Humphreys to sell it, then the money must come back to the parish. We will then donate the money to the Anglican’s Child Sexual Abuse National Redress fund.”

Rev Pyecroft said she was amazed at the decision to save the three churches and their cemeteries.

“I thought we might save Hagley because Sir Richard Dry, the first Tasmanian-born premier of this State, is buried beneath the altar there, but all three churches were off the list,” she said.

“In the lead-up to the decision I asked parishioners to pray every day for two minutes at 12 noon and I’m silly enough to think that had a lot to do with it.”

Quamby Parish has raised more than $50,000 to head off the churches’ sale; in addition, new State draft legislation decreeing cemeteries cannot be closed until 100 years after the last burial instead of the current 30 years has damped down Bishop Condie’s sale plan. St Mary’s Church is defined as a cemetery because Sir Richard is buried in it.

Rev. Pyecroft said she could identify with people distressed at the thought of the sale of land containing their relatives’ graves; her parents’ ashes are buried in her husband’s grave in St Mary’s cemetery.

“This has been the emotional and spiritual abuse this year,” she said.

“I haven’t heard of anyone against the sexual abuse redress scheme, but all the while this other abuse has been going on in the background. This is not the Anglican Church I know.”

Rev. Pyecroft was also able to shed light on the rationale for Bishop Condie’s churches and cemetery sale plan.

“The Bishop told us he had to raise $8m for the redress scheme and he proposed to sell 106 properties,” she said.

“Twenty-five per cent of the money raised was to go to the redress scheme and the rest to be used to start a new Tasmanian ministry, where congregations would meet in school halls and people’s houses.

“The former Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen and his brother, Dean Phillip Jensen totally changed the face of the diocese to create an almost nonliturgical church run on Calvinist lines. And Bishop Condie has announced that he’s a Calvinist.”

Rev. Pyecroft, who has not been paid by the Anglican Church for the past 18 years, said clergy were not told what the new Tasmanian ministry would be like, just that the Quamby Parish would need to raise $216,000 for the redress scheme and $200,000 to indicate they could pay the salary of a new priest.

“More than $400,000 is an impossible task so we put in a submission to the Anglican Church Diocesan Council proposing to sell the Carrick land,” she said.

Two thirds of the Anglican properties listed for sale have not been rescued, including the Church of the Good Shepherd in Hadspen, the Fencing Paddock in Carrick, and vacant land in Elizabeth Town.

Photo | Mike Moores

St Andrews Church, in Westbury is one of four Meander Valley churches to escape closure and sale.

St Andrews Church, in Westbury is one of four Meander Valley churches to escape closure and sale.

Westbury, Meander Valley’s power cut capital

NewsJoanne EisemannComment

AUGUST 2018 | David Claridge

A HIGH number of recent power outages in the Westbury area have prompted locals to speak up in the hope of finding out what is going on.

Information supplied from Tas Networks can confirm that from 2017 to 2018 there have been 33 outages, with only 16 of them planned. The outages have varied in length from three minutes to nine hours.

Talking with a spokesman from Tas Networks, this reporter has learned that the bulk of the Westbury area is supplied by a feeder from the Hadspen substation. The same feeder also supplies Whitemore and Glenore.

Tas Networks are aware of the issue, claiming that ‘The Westbury community does not currently meet their reliability standards’.

“TasNetworks recognises Westbury urban community as one of the poor performing communities and has plans to reduce the length, and hence exposure, of the feeders supplying it” the spokesman said.

“A project has been proposed to rationalise the supply to Westbury urban area, enabling the feeder a cleaner, more direct route to Westbury.

“The project will involve extending our network 5 km along the Bass Highway between Hagley Station Lane and Veterans Row at an estimated cost of $1.7 million and it is planned to be operational by June 2023.”

“Interim solutions, such as investigating if we can eliminate or minimise outages through better protection and transfer capability are currently being investigated to improve the reliability performance of the community prior to the execution of the long term solution.”

It has been shared that one Westbury resident has been refunded $80.00 by Tas Networks for an outage that lasted longer than nine hours.

Photo | Mike Moores

Praise for Hazelbrae dining

BusinessJoanne EisemannComment

August 2018 | Wai Lin Coultas

FINE FOOD, wine and hospitality are in Nathan and Lauren Johnston’s blood.

Former Stillwater head chef, Nathan has been whipping up four course set dinners at Hazelbrae House in Hagley since October last year.

Inspiration from local produce is at the heart of Nathan’s Italian-influenced dinners, drawing from his years working with Gordon Ramsay and Angela Hartnett at Michelin-starred Murano and at Texture with Agnar Sverrisson in London. On the first and third Friday each month, dinners befitting the seasons are served in a refurbished 1890’s shearing shed set against the backdrop of the Western Tiers.

Rustic linen-covered tables provide a warm and friendly style of service drawing on Lauren Johnston’s experience at Murano, managing events at Hamilton Court on Park Lane and Madame Tussauds in London, and at Launceston’s Natural History Museum.

At TasTAFE Drysdale, Lauren teaches and manages hospitality service for the Great Chefs Series, where acclaimed chefs such as Tetsuya Wakuda, Alain Passard, Dominique Crenn and Guilliume Brahimi are invited to mentor students. Nathan also teaches in the Great Chefs Series.

The first courses for the June dinners at Hazelbrae were a light ricotta al Forno with a subtle yet distinctive hazelnut flavour, beautifully accompanied by savoury yet gently dressed Yorktown leaves and a warming ‘Brodino’ chicken broth with risoni and Grana Padano, heartily welcomed on a chilly evening.

Risoni with Spring Bay mussels in a lemon and white wine-laced tomato sugo was second. Feedback that it was a tad lemony was taken most seriously. The next time we dined there the risoni had just the right hint of lemon, perfected with an equally fitting note of spiced sausage.

The mains were faultless. Scottsdale pork belly with crispy crackling and melt-in-your- mouth Cape Grim beef brisket with hints of fennel demonstrated that expensive cuts are not needed to work culinary magic.

Accompanying sides included celeriac to die for, baked or roasted. The simplicity of shallots roasted in garlic and thyme was only overshadowed by the gutsy flavours of grilled Brussel sprouts with confit shallots and capers.

Pastry Chef, Karen Johnston, capped it off with a deconstructed lemon tart and hazelnut icecream, crunchy salted roast hazelnuts under a citrus tang of soft ‘creamed custard’ paired with feathery shards of crispy baked buttered filo.

On the second occasion, Nathan’s mum demonstrated her intuitive feel and practice for baking with icecream and a hazelnut brownie, delivering an added layer of light spongy sweetness gently toning down the nuts’ saltiness.

With Nathan’s forte for delicious vegetables, there are also vegetarian options for the dinners. First courses were handmade fettucine laced with lemon, parsley and Grana Padano and mushroom risotto. Toasted cauliflower steaks with mushrooms and spiced hazelnut crumb were replacement mains.

Dinners at Hazelbrae House are $55.00 per head, with wine pairings an additional $30.00.

Hazelbrae House is also open for lunch and cake daily at 127 Hagley Station Lane in Hagley. Weekend brunches, weddings, private events, offsite catering and hazelnut farm tours offer plenty of opportunity to savour the welcoming service and wickedly delicious food.

A century of sheep sales

RuralJoanne EisemannComment

JANUARY 2018 | Lorraine Clarke

NOT MANY Tasmanian farming families are still running a sustainable family business spanning 4 generations, but the Archers have achieved this.

Quamby Plains at Hagley was established in 1894. Today, it is run by Richard Archer with his son Charles and daughter Victoria. One of Victoria’s roles involves running the Corriedale Stud.

The Quamby Plains Corriedale stud was established by Compton Archer in 1917 (Victoria’s Great Grandfather). This was a fairly young breed at that time, having been created simultaneously in Australia and New Zealand from 1868.

Fine wool Saxon Merino sheep were crossed with the long wool Lincoln sheep to produce a hardy, fertile medium- bodied dual purpose animal with excellent growth rate for meat, as well as a heavy cut of excellent quality wool.

Today, the descendants of those first Quamby Plains sheep are keenly sought for their superior genetics locally and by buyers from mainland states, New Zealand and the USA.

On 20th November 2017, Quamby Plains hosted its 100th annual Corriedale Stud Ram Sale. This was a very exciting milestone event to reach 100 years with a stud operation. Richard Archer was rather laid-back about it though. “Not really,” he said. “We do it every year.” Are these fine animals pampered for their big day? “No, we just run ‘em in.” Their quality obviously shines through without artifice.

The farm runs 3,000 commercial ewes and 450 stud ewes. About 40 stud rams are selected for the annual sale from the flock which is recorded under LAMBPLAN protocols.

The rams are run under commercial conditions in a large group and are grass fed. Growth figures of the rams, wool micron and wool weights are itemised in the catalogue, allowing buyers to select the sire most suitable for their requirements.

This year’s ram’s micron range was 21.5 to 28.5, with most rams achieving gold or silver Performance Corriedale medal status. This was evident in the prices achieved, as the sale average was pushed to a record top of $3,600 and averaged $1,732. This year, three-quarters of the rams went to Tasmanian buyers.

Warren Johnston was the auctioneer, and Jock Gibson the spotter at the sale run by Roberts Ltd.

The Archer family also established a Poll Hereford stud in 1973, with emphasis on commercial qualities to suit today’s market. 200 stud cows and heifers are run alongside 150 commercial cows.

Artificial insemination is utilised to introduce the best genetics into the herd. Stringent selection criteria ensures that the quality of the stock continues to improve.

The rolling plains produce not only superior stud stock, but a range of agricultural crops as well, including poppies. The future of Quamby Plains as a primary producer of quality livestock and crops seems assured, as they combine the latest management techniques with generations of practical experience and the rich Hagley soil.

Photo | Mike Moores

Nuts about Hazelbrae

BusinessJoanne EisemannComment


JANUARY 2017 | David Claridge

AFTER STARTING out with a small cropping business in the North West, Michael Delphin and Christie Mcleod tried a new challenge in 2014 by becoming the new owners of Hazelbrae - the largest hazelnut orchard in Tasmania; with a speciality café attached.

Located in Hagley on an estate with a lovingly restored and expanded original homestead dating back to the late 1800s, Hazelbrae is home to almost 5000 hazelnut trees across 18 hectares, planted by its previous French owners in 2005.

It has been a huge challenge learning about hazelnut growing and developing the business, but Michael and Christie have enjoyed every minute of it; even when they “go a bit nutty trying to keep up” during the really busy periods of autumn harvest, and from spring to Christmas.

“But when we finally get a chance to breathe, we are extremely proud of what we have achieved,” Christie shared

The grove currently produces more than ten tonnes of product each year, and they are expecting another record crop this season – although it will be later than usual due to the long, cold spring.

Once the trees reach full maturity it is believed the output will reach fifty tonnes a year.

“Being the largest producing farm in Tasmania, most visitors are keen to see what that looks like and how we manage it,” she added. “And our 6-year-old son, Jack has even started taking some around the farm on impromptu tours.”

The hazelnuts are available in many different shapes and sizes, and come raw, roasted and even covered in chocolate. You can purchase hazelnut oil too.

Hoping to begin developing an export market into Asia over the next 12 months, Michael and Christie will remain committed “to keeping enough premium product in Tasmania to service local supporters as they value their contribution to building the Hazelbrae business”.

Its café food is also becoming popular, as it has “a great deck with an incredible view over the orchard and Great Western Tiers”, and uses the area’s best ingredients to put together delicious hazelnut inspired dishes; with its new cook, Kylie, dreaming up some very special additions like the Hazelnut Brie Melt on the new Sunday breakfast menu.

And visitors to the estate, usually locals and tourists on the Cradle to Coast Tasting trail map, have something else to look forward to this New Year. Michael and Christie plan to organise casual, as well as formal, sunset dinner events on Fridays throughout the summer and autumn.

Closed only in the winter, Hazelbrae opens from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm daily, with Sunday breakfast from 8.00am.

Photo | Mike Moores

Sorghum turns into maze at Hagley

RuralJoanne EisemannComment

rupertswood maze

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MARCH 2016

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AN ENORMOUS image of a cloud and rain falling over a wheat field has been etched into a crop by farmer, Rowan Clark, of Hagley, Tasmania.

The design, initially developed to highlight the plight of farmers battling droughtlike conditions, was recently amended after heavy rain fell across northern Tasmania.

“It has been a tough season for farmers…one of ‘droughts and flooding rains’, so I thought this would be a good way to raise awareness of the difficult water challenges that face our food producers,” Mr Clark said.

The Crop Maze image, designed by international Maze specialists, Mazescape, took Mr Clark two days to mow into his three hectare sorghum crop.

This year, Rupertswood Farm is also delighted to support Right as Rain, a new health equity project from the Tasmanian Royal Flying Doctor Service.

A cloud ‘mini-maze’ has been cut for younger visitors.

The Crop Maze will open to the public to walk through from Saturday, 27th February for four weekends only.

Visitors are encouraged to go to www.rupertswoodfarm. com when planning their visit.

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157 years of service to Hagley

Events, NewsJoanne EisemannComment


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February 2016 | Chere Kenyon

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HAGLEY UNITING Church has marked the end of an era with a special thanksgiving service on 31 January 2016 at 2.30pm.

157 years of church services have been held on the Tasmanian Heritage Registered site and the final Sunday in January saw the doors close for the last time. Officiating at the service was Rev. Brian Morgan and Mr David Reeve, Chairman of the Presbytery of Tasmania.

The service was followed by a bittersweet afternoon tea.

The Methodist Chapel, which is now the hall, was opened in 1859, pre-dating some other well-known historic sites in Hagley.

The current Uniting Church building was added in 1957.

Lack of members and the high cost of maintaining a small church has forced the closure and future services will be alternatively held at Whitemore and Westbury churches.

The Uniting Church site was listed on the Tasmanian Heritage Register in June 2009. It is believed that the property may be sold.


[udesign_icon_font name="fa fa-camera" color="#000000"] Mike Moores

Sport in brief

SportJoanne EisemannComment

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December 2015

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DIGGERS CRICKET Club veteran, Lee Clarke. Life member who joined the TCL Club 25 years ago became its most capped player.

Reaching his 350 game milestone at Diggers home ground Hagley, 21st November 2015. Lee Clarke’s first match with the club was 31st October, 1992. Lee started as an opening bowler before becoming a wicket-keeper batsman. Congratulations Lee, “Go Diggers”.

Little Athletics

THE 2015 Little Athletics season started with some fantastic results by Deloraine athletes both locally and around the state.

November saw 26 athletes represent the club at the Northern Centre Challenge where the club earned 3rd place in the points based competition. 35 athletes represented the club at St Leonards for the Northern All State where many athletes performed personal bests and 5 club records were broken.

The athletes are now gearing themselves up for the season’s major competitions


Hazelbrae Hazelnuts deliver the good oil on a range of products

RuralJoanne EisemannComment

Sept 2015 Christie Mcleod Hazelbrae Hazelnuts Hagley

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SEPTEMBER 2015 | Joanne Eisemann

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THEY ARE not scared of a bit of work, the farmers at Hazelbrae Hazelnuts.

Michael Delphin and Christie McLeod purchased the 74-hectare farm just before harvest in 2014.

Christie says, “I can count on one hand how many full days off I have had in the last eighteen months.”

But the work has paid off with Hazelbrae’s roasted hazelnuts recently receiving a medal in the ‘From the Earth (Artisan)’ category Hazelbrae Hazelnuts deliver the good oil on a range of products at the national finals of the prestigious Delicious Magazine Produce Awards, after being up against a range of produce such as honey and salt.

New customers were also won from the meal served on the award night, as Christie explains, “They used our produce on the night. The chefs who used it were pretty happy with the quality of the product, so now they are buying ours instead of the imported Italian ones.”

Not new to farming, Christie and Michael moved to Hagley from Moriarty where they had a smaller mixed cropping and cattle fattening property.

“We wanted to get into something that was a little bit different and a bit more under our control. Rather than bowing to the pressures of big companies that just decide what they are going to pay you,” Christie adds.

The property has 5000 hazelnut trees planted on eighteen hectares. Christie says that this year’s harvest of over 10 tonnes of nuts was probably Australia’s largest.

Hazelnuts are wind pollinated and so rely on having compatible varieties planted close by.

Hazelbrae has 3 varieties: one suitable for raw nuts, one for roasting and the third gets cold pressed yielding 50% oil.

“You can get 60% if you use chemical processing. We cold press because it is a cleaner healthier product,” adds Christie.

Hazelnut oil can be used for anything a good olive oil can be used for, having similar nutritional benefits. It is high in vitamin E, so is good for skin.

All the nuts are sold shelled, as Christie and Michael are keen to ensure the quality of their produce. When they do sell shelled nuts, in a low percentage of cases, they may be misshapen or affected by moisture.

Cracking and roasting are done on the farm. And with assistance from an Australian Innovation and Investment Fund Grant, a tasting centre is currently under construction.

“People will be able to come and see everything we can find to do with hazelnuts, have a coffee, light lunch, do a tour of the farm, we’re even planning a hazelnut treasure hunt for kids” shares Christie.

The centre will open late November, operating nine months of the year. They expect to employ seven staff.

In the meantime, Hazelbrae hazelnut products can be purchased from the Hagley General Store and via

[udesign_icon_font name="fa fa-camera" color="#000000"] Mike Moores