Sing Australia Post Gathering Tour, Tasmania
Wednesday 11 October

We had intended to go to Deloraine this morning but we had a better offer. Phil and Anne Donges informed us that they had been in touch with friends who own the nearby Ashgrove Cheese factory. We all agreed this would be wonderful and Phil arranged with the owners for us to also have morning tea. On arrival we were ushered into a room where one of the owners, Michael Bennett gave us a fascinating background to the development and running of the factory and the dairy farms. The morning tea took a while but the scones and cream were yummy. Thanks Phil and Anne for the tip.
We then travelled onto Sheffield where we had lunch and an opportunity to walk around the town famous for it’s murals.
In the evening, following dinner in our Devonport Gateway Hotel we visited the Sing Australia Devonport group for a night of singing. After a brief welcome from the Leader, Wilma Aherne, we sang around 20 songs beautifully accompanied by their accompanist Meg Magupa. We saw the 'cut out' that they took to the opening night of the Gathering.It was a pretty 'full on' sing and a lot of fun. Because of all our singing we only had a short time for supper before having to catch our coach back to the Hotel. This was our first and only experience of rain for the tour. We had to make a dash for the bus.

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Sing Australia Post Gathering Tour, Tasmania
Tuesday 10 October
We had another early start. We travelled to Bridport for the purpose of having morning tea, a big sing and lunch with the Sing Australia Bridport group. We organised to sing in a large room in the local hotel in order to accommodate the size of our group. We pre-organised a sandwich lunch. The members of Bridport were on hand to assist with the morning tea. We had a fabulous sing using the CDs for accompaniment. There was no piano in the hotel. It was the perfect opportunity to thank the Leadership team at Bridport – Wanda Campbell, Helen Watts and Lana Bardenhagen and the accompanist, Margaret Viney. It was my very great pleasure to award Judith Robbers with a Life Membership Award for her devotion to Sing Australia as a Leader and Conductor for more than 10 years. We also acknowledged the work of Judith’s husband, Terry who has greatly assisted Judith. We had a lot of fun singing. Apparently we were the largest singing group ever to sing in the hotel. The men particularly relished the opportunity to sing a couple of songs by themselves.

We made our way back to Launceston. A number of people wanted some time to look around Launceston before returning to the Country Club.

In the evening we totally took over a restaurant at the Country Club and members of Sing Australia Launceston joined us. We had a fun night singing. A couple of the men from the Launceston group showed us their singing and dancing prowess. First of all Frank McDougal honoured us with his beautiful bass baritone voice by singing Westering Home and How Great Thou Art. Ron Baines showed us his great skill at moving his body with such expression to the song ‘Now we can dance’. Both men had us captivated. It was also a great pleasure to sing with ‘Perhaps Love’ with Jan Pringle from our tour group. What a lovely voice she has. It really was a terrific night. The food was in abundance! The Launceston group sang – “Return to Sender”.
We were very fortunate to have Deborah Handley on our tour. She is the Accompanist for Magill. She provided us with fabulous accompaniment on the electric piano provided by the Launceston group.
A big day for everyone on tour and great to sing with Bridport and Launceston groups.

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Sing Australia Post Gathering Tour of Tasmania
Sunday 8 October to Sunday 15 October

Sunday 8 October

Coming off a real high from a very successful National Gathering we really didn’t have any time to bask in the glory of it.

Following the National Gathering that finished at 12 noon, 65 members from the National Gathering checked into Wrest Point Hotel where we gathered in the evening for dinner to meet up with each other and to prepare for an early start the next morning. We had members from Coffs Harbour, Heathmont, Southern Highlands, Bayside, Gordon, Swan Valley, Vincentia, Kadina, Ballarat North, Glenelg, Magill, Sutherland, Texas, Camberwell, Canberra City, Collaroy Plateau, Wollongong, Bathurst, Majura, Fremantle, Tuggeranong, Goolwa, Fremantle, Dalyellup.

Monday 9 October
Following breakfast we had an early start in order to meet a morning tea and performing commitment at Port Arthur at 9.30am. Our drivers, Lindsay and Craig from Coal River Coaches were right on the ball. We always have a numbering system to indicate that everyone is on board. Our tour participants never faltered on this. They each knew their number and the called it out seamlessly for the entire trip. I would say the very best ever. The weather for cast was for wet weather in Port Arthur but it didn’t rain. We were invited to sing several sacred songs in the historic Church without a roof and the Port Arthur management issued a media release to advertise this to the locals. It was our first sing together as a tour group and it was marvellous. We sang unaccompanied Amazing Grace, The Lord’s my Shepherd and Let there be Peace. It was greatly appreciated by the people who had come to listen but even just for ourselves it was a very nice experience. Following this we had a guided tour around Port Arthur convict settlement and then a tour of the harbour. This sheltered deep-water harbour is now visited by many large Cruise Ships.
Following this tour we had a pre-organised a lunch pack of salad and meat rolls, fruit juice, apple and chocolate. This was to save us some time. Our next journey was to Launceston where we stayed at the Country Club Villas.
We had a very nice buffet dinner and everyone was pretty keen for an early night.

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