Birralee Singers – celebrating a wonderful tour

Final days of tour for the Birralee Singers 

Content by Joshua Clifford 

With the Singers’ performances officially behind us, the sight-seeing began! Day five was full of learning about Tasmania’s rich history and discovering the hidden wonders of its natural beauty.

After breakfast, we boarded coaches and hire cars to leave camp to begin the trek to some other parts of the east coast of the island. Our first stop was Eaglehawk Neck Lookout, where we were all shown a view of the stunning vista of Pirates Bay.

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Plenty of group pics and selfies were taken here; the deep blues of the ocean and the curve of the distant cliffs were truly awesome! Next up were the intriguing natural formations known as the Tessellated Pavement, a flat rock surface where the fractures have formed into regularly shaped rectangles and blocks. Here the Singers saw up close the intricate balance between land and sea in Tassy, and the omnipotent powers of nature.

Following this our touring group progressed to Remarkable Cave. This enchanting part of the coastline featured a walk surrounded by beach scrub and at the mouth of the Cave, superbly smooth rocks and pebbles, obviously corroded over time by the roll of the waves into such exquisite shapes. After exploring these spots, we were all taken to Port Arthur Historic Site where our choristers gave a spontaneous performance of Michael Row the Boat Ashore. 

The Singers travelled to the Port Arthur Lavender Farm Restaurant to enjoy a hearty, warm meal of salad, vegetables, roast chicken and lamb and a flavoured ice cream for dessert.

This was such a glorious meal – many Singers (and myself!) going back for seconds – as a token of our appreciation, the choir gave a lovely performance of the simple yet affective Be With Me.

The owner of the Lavender Restaurant was so impressed by this piece, and the impeccable manners of all the Singers during the meal, he gave us a very special presentation of how the farm operates, and how the bunches of Lavender are dried, distilled, and then turned into a huge variety of products from perfume to paper.

With full stomachs and happy hearts, we parted ways with the people at Port Arthur Lavender and began the bus ride home, many of the Singers succumbing to tiredness on the way!

As the evening drew to a close, I’m sure each tourer could feel a much deeper engagement with Tasmania and its history.

Before we knew it, it was the final day of touring.

The past week has been a great journey for all the Singers; the opportunity to tour as a chorister is such a special one, where lifelong memories are made!

As everyone finalised their packing and communally cleaned the Bush Cabin spaces, a sense of excitement at the day ahead was delicately balanced with a slight sense of sadness that the tour was almost over.

Our first attraction of the day was the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Berriedale, outside Hobart. Here the tourers wandered the winding halls of this contemporary art gallery, observing the art exhibits.

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Highlights included an interactive station where lights flickered based on the rate of your pulse, a room full of televisions broadcasting various people singing Madonna and the ‘Museum of Everything’ where they pretty much indeed had everything! Such a diverse range of finely curated artworks! This led into a delectable lunch provided by the York Hotel, only a short coach trip from MONA.

The Singers enjoyed a selection of pre-ordered food including pizza, avocado smash sandwiches, caesar salads, nachos, and fish and chips. As a gesture of thanks, we performed the uplifting Michael Row the Boat Ashore. A staff member commented afterwards to me on how well mannered each child was – she was very impressed!

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Our final destination before heading to the airport was the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. This facility provides protection, rehabilitation and rehoming services for injured native animals across this region, and the Singers met some of the animals, most notably the Tasmanian Devil.

Seeing these little beasts up close was a highlight of the day for many. We also got to stroke the fur of a very sleepy Koala, scratch the back of a cuddly Wombat, speak to a very chatty cockatoo and feed some very welcoming kangaroos. Bright smiles lit up the open kangaroo enclosure as the Singers’ fed and scratched these gentle animals.

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At long last, the moment we had all been putting off in our heads had arrived. Arriving at Hobart Domestic Airport was bittersweet; the desire to go home to our familiarities was strong, but that meant the tour would be over! We checked into flights, baggage was dropped and planes to Melbourne and onward planes to Brisbane were boarded.

I truly believe the connections and friendships formed on this tour will continue to grow back home!

The Singers should be incredibly proud of their singing and performances in Tasmania and what they achieved with their angelic voices.

A huge congratulations to Mrs C and Miss Claire for being such dedicated and inspiring leaders on this tour, and an extra thanks to all the other Tour Personnel including Ruth, Sarah Meagher, Sonya, Sarah Crisp, Codie and Sally! And of course, our tour manager, the fabulous Louise Wall – you’re a star! Thanks for all your hard work and commitment to ensuring things ran as smoothly as possible!

To those singers from Brisbane Birralee Voices who stepped up every day as leaders in the music and as helpers to the adults, a HUGE thank you – you’ve provided amazing assistance and we can’t express our gratitude enough.

Until next time, Keep Singing!

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