Mailboxes and Murals

A few years ago, we traveled to Tasmania. It was for us like finding a beautiful gemstone while playing in the sand.

It is an island roughly the size of West Virginia located about one hundred  fifty miles across the Bass Strait from Melbourne, Australia. It was discovered in 1642 by a Dutchman named Abel Tasman, but there were a number of Aboriginal tribes there when the British came to settle it in the late 1700s. At the time we were there, the population was just over half a million people.

Until recently, fully one third of the island was in a protected forest, with no roads, no villages to disturb the natural beauty. In the last couple of years, some timber companies have been allowed into this area (a mistake in my opinion).

One day we set out to drive across the middle of Tasmania. We observed some rather interesting mail boxes. Upon asking some questions in the first village we came into, we learned that the people who lived along this highway had a friendly competition to see who could come up with the most unique mail boxes.

Some of these were extremely elaborate, many very clever, all attention-grabbing   And throughout the day, we continued to find such out-of-the-ordinary ways to receive mail.

In the midst of this, we came upon the town of Sheffield, often called Tasmania’s Outdoor Art Gallery.   If we found a building with an exposed side wall, we would find a mural. The first mural in Sheffield was commissioned in 1986. Many of the pictures give aspects of the history of the town and Tas. We could not count all of the murals, but there must have been close to a hundred walls colorfully decorated. Keep in mind that Sheffield is a small town of approximately 1,400 people.   However, it has become a major tourist attraction, with an estimated 200,000 visitors each year.

But Sheffield and the mailboxes are not the only things to see and be amazed over in the middle of Tasmania. In another blog, I’ll talk about the incredible wall being carved and the amazing use of hydro electric generation in Tasmania.   Oh, and we must not forget the Tasmania Devils, the only thing we knew about the island (thanks mostly to Walt Disney)before we visited it.



Feel free to add your comment about interesting things you’ve seen on your travels.  Thanks.


SIDE NOTE:  The winner of the free book, Blind Man’s Bluff, A Candle Island Cozy by the Sadie and Sophie Cuffe, was won by Mary Watson Hamilton.  Congratulations.  It’s a great book.

James R. Callan
















In print & e-book format

6 thoughts on “Mailboxes and Murals

  1. Near our home in Upstate New York is a mansion positioned on a hill set back from the road. Several years ago it had a large metal sculpture near the entrance. It looked like some medieval god. On either side of the drive were rock posts. On one was a sign that said “Go Away.” The sculpture has been removed recently and so has the sign. I’ve heard the house has been sold, obviously to much friendlier folks

    • The sculpture was probably meant to scare people away. Fortunately, the owner went away. Glad the house sold. Maybe the mansion owner was afraid. Oh well, at least he moved on.
      None of the mail boxes were scary, and the murals were quite interesting. Thanks for the comment, Lesley. Always love to have you stop by.

  2. You always have the most interesting travel stories. If youve ever been to Sebastopol (near Santa Rosa) in California, you will see a number of metal art projects on lawns. These are made from car parts, cans, vases, jars, bicycle parts, wheels, anything metal, etc., each depicting an animal or person. Can’t say I’d want one in my yard, but they are interesting to drive by and leave in one’s memory of how cute, unique, ugly, or ridiculous they look in the middle of one’s lawn. (I guess I’m a critic).

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