DAY 283: Snowballing through a drug and alcohol free town

11 Jun


THE weather down in Lilydale’s fine, but the tips of some of Tasmania’s mountains are capped with snow, so I set out on a mission to have snowball fights up two of them.

Old Dog’s in the driver’s seat, which is a good thing, as Mountain No.1 – Mt Barrow – turns out to be a tight squeeze. It’s like Sunday afternoon suburbia up here.

Old Dog gets tetchy about town folk with four-wheel drives they’re afraid to get wet. Parking halfway up, we lope off into the bush and lob some snowballs around, before building a snowdog for prosperity.

These young men were overjoyed when we furnished them with a carrot for their snowman.

When we drove past again and insisted they take peanuts for freckles we creeped them out a bit.

Mountain No.2 is one of the Great Western Tiers. Old Dog tells me it’s like the surface of the moon up on the Central Plateau — 10,000km2 of boulders and over 4000 lakes, 1000m above sea level.

We drive up through Poatina – a small town that was bought, in 1995, by Christian youth organisation Fusion Australia. It serves as a drug and alcohol-free community for vulnerable youths, some of whom we see jumping off the roof of the local shop in utter boredom.

What? The hedge maze wasn’t fun enough?

Poatina’s motto is “it takes a community to raise a child”, which turned out to be a bit unfortunate when their leader was accused (by Derryn Hinch, no less) of sexually abusing a teenager – a teenager whose history was one of sexual abuse. To their credit, this article is archived on the Poatina website, and the man has since stepped down. But we don’t know any of this at the time, and are more fascinated by the fact that all the buildings are made of the same kind of brick.

Up on the plateau, we turn off the headlights and drive through the snow, stopping off at lakes to skim stones, marvel at the snarled, twisted trees without canopies, and lob icy snowballs.

Keeper? Yes.

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