Just before leaving Tasmania we met a local farmer who we spent a while talking to. He owned hundreds of acres and cultivated poppies and pyrethrum for the pharmaceutical industry, potatoes, cattle for the top end restaurant market and more besides. A beautiful oak and sycamore stood near the entrance of what appeared at first glance to be a poppy field but there was also a graveyard in the middle of the field.
Bruce showed us how the opium extraction begins then explained that the trees used to be at the entrance to the church that once stood there, and that a school used to stand next door. At nearly 80 years old he told us some of the local history that was slowly being forgotten. We took a photo with him then bade him a farewell after over an hour of chatting in one of his paddocks.
Tasmania is the only state that is legislated to grow opium poppies. Farmers must have an approved contract with a pharmaceutical company and the whole operations are monitored very closely by satellite, police and locals. Last time Amanda stopped to photograph a poppy field on a previous visit we had a police car arrive before she had got back in the car!
Our final thing to do was get some fruit picking in and close to the ferry we found a “pick your own” farm with raspberries, tayberries and strawberries. All the kids loved the photo opportunity involving a horse’s rear, as well as in the field with the fruit.
Then as we queued for the ferry in Devonport our last final excitement in Tasmania as the car in front us was descended upon by police. One man fled with cops in hot pursuit and his female passenger was escorted away. Before we got on the ferry the undercover cops arrived and were stripping the car!