Saturday, 20 September 2008

Clog Barn and Little Holland in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia

In a country with such an obvious European heritage, it is only natural that some things will have come over from that continent with the settlers. Some of these are obvious – everyone speaks English, whilst just about every town in Australia will have an Irish pub, Italian restaurant and Greek kebab house.
However, every now and then you come across a glorious little pocket that has not tried to blend into the multi-cultural surroundings, and is absolute determined to retain the characteristics of the motherland.
For no discernable reason, completely at odds with the surrounding towns, you will stumble upon oompah bands in German villages in the Adelaide Hills (Hahndorf), or Spanish monastic communities an hour’s drive away from Perth (New Norcia).

Little Holland
Deserving a special mention for sheer bloody-mindedness, however, is Little Holland near Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. Clearly unable to persuade the rest of the area that they should build cannabis cafes, stick their fingers in dykes and revel in red light districts, proud Dutchman Tom Hartsuyker has cornered off his own piece of (flat) land, and has filled it with every other national stereotype he can think of.
The result is a 1/20 scale model village built over five tedious years, and it is a work of truly breathtaking pointlessness. Still, if making miniature windmills keeps him out of trouble and off the streets, then fair play to him.
Just in case that’s not quite Dutch enough, it is attached to a clog barn. Happily ignoring the fact that no-one, even in Holland, has worn clogs for roughly 200 years, they are on sale here.
At 11am and 4pm every day, there are clog-making demonstrations. Again, they are strangely endearing, even if everyone is looking at each other, sniggering under their hands and scratching their foreheads.

Getting to the Clog Barn and Little Holland, Coffs Harbour

Nearest International Airport: Coffs Harbour has its own airport, but it only receives domestic flights. Coffs itself is roughly half way between Sydney and Brisbane, and thus a long drive from either. The best option is to fly into Sydney Kingsford Smith and then get a connecting flight.

Within Coffs Harbour: The Clog Barn and Little Holland is on the north side of Coffs Harbour, on the highway out of town – on the way to The Big Banana. Entry to the Clog Barn and the demonstrations are free, but you’ll have to fork out to see the model village and railway.

More information: The Clog Barn

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