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Tasmania snow just part of life in Central Highlands lakeside town of Miena

By April McLennan, Sunday August 9, 2020 - 12:06 EST
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Miena resident Greg Pullen says full snow is the perfect time to get a load of washing done. - ABC

As the wood fire smoke swirls up, mingling with the snowflakes, the chimneys are barely visible, poking their heads through the snow covered rooftops.

Trucks line the side of the road with their logs now blanketed by snow, the drivers abandoning them with the journey down the mountain deemed too risky to attempt.

There are fewer than 100 people living in the shack community of Miena in Tasmania's Central Highlands and it is as if they are trapped inside their own personal snow globe.

The average temperature through winter is a maximum of 6 degrees Celsius and a minimum of -2C.

But that does not stop local resident Greg Pullen from keeping up with his daily chores.

Carrying his wet laundry in a bright yellow bucket, he pulls on his waders and squelches through the snow, following yesterday's tracks to the clothes line.

"Those clothes dry on a day like this with a bit of breeze, might be 1 or 2 degrees and some sun," he said.

"Full snow and you get a load of washing done."

But it is the privacy, rather than the weather that is the selling point.

Sometimes after having a scorching hot shower, Mr Pullen likes to soak up the afternoon rays, running out of the shower and into the snow.

"Yeah, absolutely butt naked."

"I had a pair of gaiters on over the top of the gum-boots so the snow didn't go down the side because they're fairly short gum-boots, it was quite pleasant running around," he said.

Along the lake's edge, John Warden resides in a cosy shack overlooking the plains, moving to Miena to escape the harsh sun in northern New South Wales.

Like a true local, Mr Warden treks through the snow in his thongs as he pushes a load of firewood towards his house.

"I'm a bit of an anomaly in the area because most people fish and hunt, I just like the cold weather," he said.

"All these shacks you see around here, they're all just fishermen, they're all weekenders basically, there's not a lot of people that live up here permanently."

When they are snowed in and there is nothing else to do, some of the locals head down to the pub to keep warm.

It is the kind of place where everyone at the bar knows each other's name and if the bill is left unpaid, it is not a cause for concern as the owner probably knows where you live.

"For a town of this size to have two pubs, that's pretty unique," Mr Warden said.

A regular at both establishments, David Wise said he likes to share his love between the two watering holes to support the local businesses equally.

"If you want to come up here for bells and whistles and bright lights, you've come to the wrong place."

He has owned a shack in the area for 26 years and as an avid fisher, it was always his retirement plan to move up to the Great Lake.

"I've just come up here and just live in another world, it's absolutely beautiful when you look out over the lake over there," he said.

As the snowflakes continue to fall, the local residents could not think of a better place to call home.

"It's a lovely place to live, it's quiet, it's peaceful, I mean it's beautiful but it's bleak and barren and desolate as well," Mr Warden said.

"I've travelled all over the world and this is as good as it gets, really and truly."


© ABC 2020

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