The Channel Heritage Centre
The Channel Heritage Centre is one of those Tasmanian gems that we discovered when we had to change our itinerary because of the fire that left the Red Velvet Lounge in Cygnet out of commission for a season of Huon Valley Food and Wine Tours. On the outside, the museum is a modern-looking, brand new building but the inside is another world.
As the founder of the museum Mr JB Waldie wrote in 1977:
“We owe it to our early settlers to keep their memory before the present generation.
The pioneers of this area were the whaler, the timber cutter, the shingle splitter, the bullock driver, the pit sawyer, the early sailing ship and river craft men etc. Later came the road builders, farmers, orchardists and the scallop and cray fishermen.”
All of these aspects and history of the region are beautifully represented in the museum; each with their own extraordinary displays of artifacts and memorabilia. Also on display are early to mid-19th century kitchens, bathrooms, a school house and old-fashioned country store, as well a historical events that occurred in the region. Our tour serves mostly Australians who are in Tasmania to tour the state with a larger tour company so there is something there that everyone can relate to. We love to see their reactions to the memorabilia “Oh! we had one of these when were kids” or “I remember my Mum using one of these” or “my goodness, I still have one of these!”
The fire that damaged the Red Velvet Lounge also caused the loss of dozens of historical, quirky and original artifacts that no longer grace its walls and ceilings, but it is a great pleasure to be able to take our customers to the Channel Heritage centre and hear their exclamations of recognition as they explore the different displays, all beautifully laid out in their own area devoted to all the vocations and history mentioned above by the originator of this wonderful place.