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Primrose Sands

In the words of Alex...

"It’s difficult to put into words the deep affinity I have for Primrose Sands, but it’s a connection centered on family, sea air and escapism.

There’s a great deal of sentimentality and nostalgia all around this little seaside hamlet, 45 minutes south east of Hobart, which began long before I was born 29 years ago.

My Nonna and Nonno migrated from Italy to Hobart after World War II and a number of years later were some of the first people to buy up a block of land on at Primrose - around 55 years ago.

Back then, Primrose was known as “little Italy” due to the large number of Italian migrants – many of whom were friends of my grandparents.

They built our family’s first shack on Petrel Street that grew to become a peaceful getaway for them and their daughters, my mum and Zia (aunty), from a very young age.

Weekend after weekend all four of them would venture to Primrose, head to the beach or go out fishing in my Nonno’s boat, a Savage Tasman dubbed Kentucky II.

Coupled with summer friendships, the beach and countless other adventures on their doorstep - it wasn’t a bad way to spend their days.

When my mum met dad during the mid-1980s, he was quickly introduced to the wonder of Primrose, and you can be sure he caught the bug – with fishing and beach days the only things on their minds.

Mum, dad and Nonno would fish for hours during the day, before settling in for grand family dinners at night. Dad also befriended partners of mum’s shack friends, and would go fishing and diving with them too.

Then I came on the scene in 1992, and my brother in 1994. We were born into the Primrose Sands life, living at the beach or going fishing every summer and Easter break.

As a young boy, nothing beat this place. Our summer friends were the kids of my parents’ friends and we would all go on to have some memorable nights.

However, once my two cousins came along in the early 2000s, the three bedroom shack became too small for all 10 of us.

My mum and dad made the tough decision to branch out and buy a small two bedroom shack in 2003, on nearby Frogmouth Lane. While it was hard to say goodbye to my grandparents’ shack, we decided that rather than lose Primrose altogether, we would keep our time here alive.

The first trip to our new haven was Easter 2004, but it’s changed a lot since then.

We ripped up the old lino floors, polished the floorboards, painted the walls and the quick brick exterior, and added all the quintessential shacky quirks to every nook and cranny – shells, fish, fishing rods, sail boats, beach prints. You name it, we’ve got it.

We’ve also changed furniture more times than I can count, but the characteristics of our shack have always remained constant.

It’s also become a summer home to our family boat, a Haines Signature dubbed the Slopen Eagle II, coincidentally baring the namesake of nearby Slopen Island. I think a shack is not fully complete without a boat, and this one’s certainly done the job for us over the past 12 years.

Every chance we get, we’re on the water catching flathead or diving for crays and abalone. In the past we’ve also done our fair share of knee boarding and water skiing.

While I don’t remember our first days at Frogmouth Lane nearly 20 years ago, we have sure made some amazing memories in the countless trips since then.

Funnily enough, these memories are similar to the ones my family made at Petrel Street when I was a young boy, and to those my grandparents and parents made in the years before I was born.

These memories are not just the smell of salt water, the sand between your toes, or those warm summer days and nights.

It’s time spent with family and friends. Laughter, storytelling, plenty of drinks and food, as well as all the hours spent in the boat or at the beach – that’s what makes our shack a home.

And while we lost our Nonno four years ago in February, these traditions, the ones he and my Nonna started, are showing no signs of slowing down.

My aunty, uncle and cousins – and from time to time my Nonna - still use Petrel Street in his absence, with other relatives building their own shacks nearby in recent years.

My wife and I, as well as my brother and his fiancé, will one day welcome the next generation, and we can’t wait to share with them our little slice of paradise that is Primrose Sands.

Maybe it’s that sentimentality or nostalgia, but I know deep down in my heart that the laughter, storytelling, gluttony and hours by the water will continue for many years to come."


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