Rolling off the Spirit of Tasmania ferry at 6 am, all that was on my mind was coffee! It had been a rough night’s crossing from Melbourne but we had finally arrived at Devonport on day 25 of our round the world trip and after picking up our hire car, Sheffield was to be our first stop in Tasmania.
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Sheffield, Tasmania – the Town of Murals
The town had suffered hardships in the past and in 1986 the local council decided to put Sheffield back on the map with the introduction of murals on the sides of its buildings. The idea had worked and this once sleepy town is now an attraction in its own right with over 200,000 visitors a year viewing over 50 works of art. Lucky for us when we arrived we were the only visitors there due to the time of day. Unlucky for us the coffee shop didn’t open for another hour and I was gasping!
With a while to kill before the town came awake, we took advantage of the lack of cars or visitors and wandered around the town taking photographs of the wonderful murals and scenery. The subjects range from rural life, historic events and wildlife from the area.
The first mural was painted in 1986 and depicts a mountaineer and conservationist sharing his home with the wild animals.
The Blacksmith Cafe had one of the most stunning murals painted on the shop front and side.
A.G.Rowe has been commemorated in this painting as a local inventor of a coin-operated self-service automated fuel pump, a pressure cooker and a machine for washing carrots for use on farms.
Notice the trompe l’oeil effect of the small child peering into the shop window.
The cascading waterfall depicts many that are found throughout Tasmania linking the town to the nature around it.
Local eagles painted on the grocery storefront. We were lucky enough to see the real thing on the outskirts of the town.
Notice our shadows on the ground in the early morning sunshine.
A religious scene of Jesus and his worshippers in the rural landscape of Tasmania.
Have you ever seen a cuter ice-cream shop depicting early school days in Sheffield?
My favourite mural featuring all the animals indigenous to Tasmania.
The mural of a shopkeeper serving a girl with two of the world’s most famous brands on show. Painted straight on brickwork gave this one a tiled appearance.
Sheffield Mural Town
Sheffield is more than just murals, it has a feeling of calm with a stunning backdrop of Mount Roland. It was a total contrast to the non-stop city of Melbourne that we had only left the previous day. We were still in Australia and yet it felt a million miles away with its colonial-style buildings and manicured front lawns. Sheffield has a charming identity and you would be forgiven for thinking you had stepped back in time. It had been a really great introduction to Tasmania and we discovered that there were plenty of other things to do in this area as well as an International Mural Festival held annually at Easter.
Finally, signs of life became apparent around town and we headed to a coffee shop aptly named Fudge n’ good Coffee so that I could satisfy my inner coffee monster. The name was true to its word and we ended up buying their homemade fudge for our continuing road trip.
Sheffield had been a fabulous introduction to Tasmania and on our exit, this signpost caught our eye. We stopped for a photograph and asked a local if the names were real and guess what, they all are. Just imagine living in the Garden of Eden or even Paradise!
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