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TAS Country : December 16th 2010
12 Friday, Decem FEATURE FAREWELL TO WADDAMANA PEACEFUL REACHES: The H ANOTHER TIME: Old equipment in the museum, children's swings and the peacocks at Waddamana. POWERFUL: The Transend switching station at the end of the street in Waddamana Village. land THIS Jennifer Crawley Light highl SENTRY: A big Hereford guards the STRUCTURE: Part of the land was compulsorily repurchased for a Transend switching yard. WADDAMANA, a lost jewel in the Central Highlands, is on the market. Frank and Helen Cooper, the couple who have tended it for the past 20 years, are leaving town. The abandoned village was lovingly restored by the Coopers, who bought the mini town in 1991. They came on a rainy day looking for a billiard table when they saw the village from the top of the hill. ''We came along and bought the whole lot,'' Helen said. Helen worked at the university and Frank for the Education Department before they bought Waddamana. The village had been empty for years and was known as the Mitre 10 for Central Highlands shacks owners, Frank said. ''Mostly everything was ripped out when we got here,'' he said. ''Hot water cylinders, sinks, toilets, you name it.'' Waddamana has had a permanent population of two for many years. No pub, no shop, and sporadic mobile coverage, Waddamana certainly doesn't appeal to everyone, but it appeals to the Coopers. ''It seems strange to want to leave,'' Frank said. ''We were in Hobart the other day with our grandson. ''We came back down here with him, the wallabies were in the backyard, we went down the river to throw stones, looking for echidnas, the native hens had their chickens, then we saw a wombat. '''This isn't such a bad back yard is it. Helen?' I said.'' Time has caught up with the Coopers, who over the years have catered for the school groups staying at the popular field studies centre at the village. ''We've had 18 years of working seven days a week,'' Helen said. ''We're at retiring age and we've got other things we want to do.'' The couple say they have never had arguments because they were not together all the time. Helen cooked for the school groups while Frank ran the education programs. ''When we're home, he's out mowing and I'm doing other things,'' she said. ''We are a bit like ships in the night.'' The field studies centre has been a big drawcard for schools throughout the state, on the mainland and overseas. Teachers have told the Coopers their camp is the best in the state. Frank and Helen have painted and refurbished each cottage one-by-one in a maintenance program that has left Waddamana in pristine condition. Open fireplaces, wood heaters, wide hallways,
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