Tassie shacklife

Tassie shacklife

Tasmanians have escaped to family-built shacks for generations. Often cobbled together from salvaged materials, these humble retreats have become a distinctive part of island culture.

Shacklife is in the blood of most Tasmanians. Shacks stand for long days exploring, fresh fish on the barbeque, family card games and swatting mosquitoes. They stand for afternoon snoozes, long cricket matches, old magazines and chocolate ripple cake.

Most of all they stand for family. Tassie shacks are the place where families abandon everyday life and lose themselves in each other and their surrounds. WiFi and TV are discarded in favour of reconnection with each other and the great outdoors. Shacks are where Tasmanians refuel on rest and bottle precious family memories.

Islanders are drawn to the sea, hence you’ll find the quintessential Tassie shack bunkered down close to the ocean. Perhaps it’s nestled quietly behind the dunes or rests beneath a stand of whispering she-oaks. For years it's sheltered its inhabitants from scorching summer rays and provided a refuge from the wildest of southern storms.

The shack is unassuming, weathered and full of character. The façade is likely to be dressed in vertical boards. A chimney is a must, and the windows are paper thin - rattling and howling when the next squall rolls in. There might be a fence to keep the dog in check, but chances are the kids spill off the deck and tumble right down to the water’s edge. They’ll come back when they’re hungry.

You don’t clean at the shack. An occasional sweep with the broom collects the sand and grit that relentlessly brings the outdoors in. It’s the only time grandma will allow sandy feet indoors, although she’d prefer it if you used the bucket at the door to rinse them off. Muk Mat could be her new bestie, allowing her to focus once again on another potato salad and that same set of favourite bedtime stories.

- Amanda @thewildesmith