The Somerset Beachside Caravan and Cabin Park site has quite an interesting history. Prior to becoming a “Drive In” in 1958, the land had been developed from farm land to a golf course – apparently the club was established in the mid 1940’s and was one of a very few golf clubs ever which was completely owned and conducted by ladies. We believe the large pines at the southern end of the park may have been planted as part of the golf course layout. Some concrete footings remain in the grass and much speculation can be made about their relevance to the golf course...a Dorothy Dixer!!.
The sale of the golf club to the Village Drive In group was instrumental in funding the existing Burnie Golf Club, located just across our local Cam River. It ran as a Drive In for about 26 years until, in about 1984, the park was purchased by a local family consortium and within a short time, was taken over solely by a couple from within the family. These two people are the architects and work force, which developed the caravan park and café facilities. The physical work and clear thinking done over the next 10-12 years is amazing.
There are still many reminders of its previous use as a Drive In, some are obvious and others reveal themselves more subtly – the emergence every now and then of a old rip top can lid up through the gravel is a wee bit significant when related to the Drive In!! One of the huge benefits this park has is its enormous amenities block which was originally built to cater for the drive in patrons – the Drive In had 600 car places – access to showers and cubicles is easy!!
The park office was originally the drive in café and projection room – the managers two storied accommodation was built on the front of the projection room - the projector mounting sites and the projection holes in the wall are still easily identifiable. The wonderful amenities block capacity of this park reflects the needs of a drive in full of people waiting for the half time break!!
The wall behind the clothes line is comprised of speaker stand bases. There are two remaining lights within the park from Drive In days, plus several of the large lights, which were used to assist people getting in and out of the Drive In. The large posts at the entrance are the original Drive In gates, complete with circled orb on top!! (You’ll notice that one now anyway!!)
Other reminders of the Drive In are the hurdy gurdy ( **the hurdy gurdy was removed in Feb 2008 unfortunately due to the current interpretation of duty of care) and slide (which was in front of the screen – and from all accounts this was pretty standard at most Village Drive Ins). These are still in their original location and memory says they were about 5 metres in front of the actual screen. Originally traffic entered on the western side of the park.
The infra structure in the park has been incredibly well thought out, particularly given it required evolution from a drive in. The whole park has a covering of gravel about 2 ft deep, to dig here is murder after the first foot of digging exuberance!
The chalet style cabins were all built on site and they have an absolute rustic quality which typifies many things within Tassie, functional and well done. Originally there were about 16 cabins but over the years several have been removed.
The park was planted out with a range of native and deciduous trees as the construction work was being done. This park really shows the attributes of each season, from the wonderful period of bloom in early spring to the bedding of tired leaves in autumn! Please take the time to stroll through the gardens, its wonderfully relaxing. Barbecues and tables are available for patrons to use the garden area, that way we all get to enjoy the barbecue aroma!