Meander Valley Gazette

Your Independent Community Newspaper

Westbury Village Green

Heritage celebrated through St Patrick’s day festival

EventsJoanne Eisemann
The Westbury St Patrick’s Day Festival will be held on the Village Green Saturday 16th March from 10.00am, entry by donation.   Photo | Mike Moores

The Westbury St Patrick’s Day Festival will be held on the Village Green Saturday 16th March from 10.00am, entry by donation.

Photo | Mike Moores

March 2019 | David Claridge

WESTBURY WILL be green in March with a family festival to coincide with Saint Patricks Day. After last year’s festival was cancelled due to planning problems, the committee has made sure 2019 will go ahead on the 16th March.

Secretary Amanda Taylor expressed how the annual festival comes about to celebrate Westbury’s Irish heritage. “We want it to be a family friendly festival. There will be local performers as we celebrate Westbury’s history. “It was settled by many Irish immigrants and convicts such as Richard Dry”, she said. Westbury in the 1820s was a garrison village.

The first settlers were mainly Irish ex-convicts, retired soldiers and free settlers. By 1850 it was the largest military community in Tasmania. Richard Dry was the largest landowner in Westbury. An ex-convict through political exile, he helped many Irish people set up in Westbury. His son became the first nativeborn Premier of Tasmania.

From the events Facebook Page: There will be a street parade at 10.ooam along with performers and food and craft stalls, a church market, vintage tractors and children’s activities. As previously published in Meander Valley Gazette, “The event’s new steering group is working hard to recreate a village festival that celebrates Westbury’s Irish heritage with an emphasis on folk tradition and rural activities.”

The festival will be at the Westbury Village Green from 10.00am - 4.00pm. Entry will be by donation.

The Criterium Masters

FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Competitors in the Masters Criterium power past the Village Green in Westbury on Boxing Day.

Competitors in the Masters Criterium power past the Village Green in Westbury on Boxing Day.

Kayne 7yrs enjoys the community ride with dad Greig Watson.

Kayne 7yrs enjoys the community ride with dad Greig Watson.

WESTBURY’S TRANQUIL streets bordering the Village Green came alive with cyclists of all ages and abilities on Boxing Day. The green was tinged with gold when the superstars of Australian track cycling descended for the 2018 edition of the Westbury Cycling Criterium, which kick started the 2018-19 Tasmanian Christmas Sports Carnivals.

Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold medallists Sam Welsford, Alex Porter and eventual winner Kelland O’Brien headlined the men’s race, while in the women’s Alexandra Manly was upstaged by local Perth-raised rider Georgia Baker, who was upbeat in praise. “It’s always great to be back in Westbury.”

The day also had a Masters Criterium and a people’s community ride which ensured more than 100 cyclists showcased their talents and the feature events had the largest amount of competitors across all three Criteriums in the series. Meander Valley Council Mayor Wayne Johnston said he was thrilled that carnivals’ criterium racing had returned to Westbury after an absence last year. “It’s fabulous that cyclists of such high calibre graced our streets on one of Tasmania’s most challenging and spectacular criterium courses,” he enthused.

The Mayor also launched the 30-minute community ride which kick-started the criterium festival. Participants had the opportunity to complete as many laps of the 1.3km circuit as possible and new Councillor Susie Bower led the charge. Council and Carnival organisers were very pleased with the great atmosphere for families. Mayor Johnston described Westbury’s Boxing Day criterium festival as a success and one that is sure to grow in coming years.

Photo | Mike Moores

Village green carol service

EventsJoanne Eisemann

By Lorraine Clarke

ONE OF life’s enduring memories for many folks is the annual Christmas Carol Service attended in childhood. This is a cherished family tradition throughout much of the world, and Westbury has been hosting such a service for longer than anyone can remember.

For the past 18 years, the carol service has been held on the Village Green, with the Hall booked in reserve in case of inclement weather. It is an initiative of the Combined Churches of Westbury and the Meander Valley Choir.

The event begins at 7.00 pm on the Westbury Village Green, on Sunday 16th December. The Lions’ Food Van will be in attendance to provide snacks and coffee, and there will be a lolly scramble for the children.

Launceston’s City Band Ensemble kicks off the musical program. Communal carol singing will be led by the M.V. Choir. Carol booklets are available so that everyone can join in.

Guest artists include the Westbury Primary School Choir, Our Lady of Mercy Children’s Choir, the ‘Uke3A Strummers and Drummers’, and Patrick Gambles.

Bring along a rug and cushions to sit on the grass, candles if you wish and build a family tradition that the next generation will always treasure.

Veteran cars

EventsJoanne EisemannComment

March 2018

A NATIONAL Veteran car tour will be based in Deloraine and tour the surrounding districts from Wed 21st to Sun 25th March 2018.

The event is for one and two cylinder cars and motorbikes built before the end of 1918 with most of them built before 1910. Health permitting, the two oldest Fords in Australia will be on show - a 1903 and 1904 model, and possibly an 1898 Renault, as well as a good selection of American and European cars which are rarely seen in Tasmania.

On Friday night of the 23rd, just on dark, a gaslight parade up and down the main street will give the public a chance to see the cars, many with their gas and kerosene lamps lit. During the daytime on the 23rd the cars will be displayed on Westbury Village Green at lunchtime for the public to see the collection.

Spinning a yarn on the village green

FeatureJoanne EisemannComment
ali-distaff-high-res.jpg

FEBRUARY 2018 | Lorraine Clarke

THE š7TH JANUARY traditionally marks the end of the festive season when oldtime cottagers returned to their regular labours in the British midwinter.

Spinsters named this “St Distaff’s Day” as it was the first day of the new year when they began to spin fleece from their distaffs into the yarns needed to create all the woven and knitted fabrics needed for the family, and to sell.

Where better to celebrate this cultural tradition, than on Westbury’s Village Green? Each year, members of the Handweavers, Spinners and Dyers Guild of Tasmania meet there to share a day of convivial spinning, sharing techniques and renewing friendships. In 2018, about 40 folk gathered beneath the deep shade of the gracious old trees, having come from as far as Geeveston, Cygnet, Kelso, Ulverstone, Launceston and Devonport to join Meander Valley spinners.

Those who have never seen a distaff in use, were treated to a display of this old tool by Ali Keywood. Ali taught herself the technique of in-hand spinning on a small spindle which she turns with her right hand, drawing a few threads from the distaff‹.

A distaff is a rod held vertically under an arm or tucked into a belt, with combed raw fleece wrapped and tied loosely around the top. Ali crafted her own distaff from a branch of her cherry tree. She skillfully spins super fine thread on this arrangement, which can be which can be carried and used anywhere.