Tag Archives: Australia

P- Port Arthur, Tasmania.

Welcome to Day 15 of the Blogging A-Z April Challenge.

As you may be aware, we’re Travelling Alphabetically Around Tasmania. So far, we’ve explored: The Nut at Stanley, Launceston, Home (Scottsdale)Eagle Hawk Neck and Bridport, while reading John Mitchel’s Jail Journal. We’ve indulged on Ashgrove Cheese, Convict Pizza and had fish & chips at Penguin.

In other words, we’ve been squeezing the essence out of every single nook and cranny and really absorbing Tasmania. Well, at least the parts we’ve been to, because there have been many glaring omissions and we could definitely return and easily run through an entirely different alphabet without too much trouble.

That is, if we still had any oomph left. I don’t know how you’re holding up but we’re starting to get a bit worn out and the kids are starting to ask the inevitable…”Are we there yet?”

Don’t get me wrong. I love travel. I don’t want to go home yet. Indeed, my husband and I have had more than a passing glance in real estate windows, while we’ve been in Tassie.

However, as much as we love Tasmania, I’m starting to feel like a pyjama day and not only sleeping in, but sleeping through an entire day and not going anywhere at all. Indeed, I’ve started wondering if they could lock me up at Port Arthur for a bit. Give me a chance to stare up at the sky and count clouds for an entire day or even a week, without feeling I’m supposed to be going somewhere, being somewhere else?  I’d also like to be a HUMAN BEING again, not just a HUMAN DOING, getting in and out of the car, looking, looking, looking, walking, photographing, eating,  wishing we could move here and be in this place forever, only to repeat the whole process the next day and the next. It does become rather exhausting and I have felt like I’ve been leaving bits of myself all over the place, while my bag fills up with enough of Tasmania to create an offshoot back home.

Yet, we’re made of tougher stuff and the journey goes on.

So, today, we’ll be driving 156.2 KM south from to Port Arthur, the notorious convict prison.

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OLD CONVICT CHURCH, PORT ARTHUR, The ruins of the old convict church at Port Arthur form one of the few remaining relics that mark the site of the once famous penal settlement of Tasmania. This settlement was situated on Tasman’s Peninsula, a narrow strip of land to the south east of Hobart, from which it is distant about 64 miles, and, on account of its almost complete isolation was considered to be the most secure prison in the island. Surrounded almost on every side with water which teemed with sharks, its only connection with the mainland ; by Eagle Hawk Neck being guarded by chains of sentinels and ferocious blood hounds, it well deserved the trust reposed in it by the convict authorities, for few were the escapes, that took . place from it. Even old hands that had broken prison time after time, recognised the fact and took for their motto “All hope abandon ye who enter here.” For over 40 years it remained a penal settlement, but in May, 1877, it ceased to be a prison, the establishment being broken up, and now very little remains to mark the spot of the ancient stronghold of the law. The old church, which we illustrate is one of the most interesting objects in the place, and if only on account of its picturesqueness is well worth visiting.” Illustrated Australian News (Melbourne, Vic. : 1876 – 1889), Saturday 8 January 1887, page 10.

However, for us Port Arthur is more than just a historic site. Since our trip, there’s been some doubt about whether or not Geoff’s 3rd great Grandfather had been held at Port Arthur while serving out his 14 year sentence for burglary. However, while we were there in January, we were under the impression that he had, which gave our visit there such poignancy. Such meaning. I couldn’t help but think about how James Newton would’ve felt when he first saw Port Arthur… It’s hard to imagine any human being in leg irons these days and enduring the barbaric punishments and isolation they experienced there, but it did. Knowing it happened to family, gave me chills. He didn’t kill anyone, but he did commit multiple burglaries on one night so he was no saint either.

However, since we only have a day to see Port Arthur, we’ll be taking the ferry ride passed the Isle of the Dead (where the convicts were buried) and onto Point Puer, where the young boys were detained. We’ll also go on a tour to hear some of the history of Port Arthur. Then, we’ll walk over to the Chapel, the Chaplain’s house and the gardens. This has left a vast amount of Port Arthur for next time, but as it is this will be enough. If we were able to stay overnight, I would’ve loved to do a ghost tour.

Since I’ve already written about these before, I’ll simply leave the links for you to pursue yourself on what becomes something of a self-guided tour.

Port Arthur Harbour Cruise.

The Chapel, Port Arthur.

The Chaplain’s Voice

The Gardens At Port Arthur

On that note, I’d better be heading to bed myself. While I’ve been running around Port Arthur on the blog today, in real life I was meandering around Sydney’s Royal Easter Show, much of it looking for the dodgem cars. We walked over 5 kilometres and I can barely walk after arriving home. My legs are on strike!!

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed out very brief trip to Port Arthur.

Best wishes,

Rowena

E- Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania: A-Z Challenge.

Welcome to Day Five of the A-Z April Challenge.

Despite my best intentions of darting haphazardly across Tasmania in our Alphabetical Tour, so far we’ve been travelling in a fairly direct route.  We started out at Ashgrove Cheese at Elizabeth Town, moved onto Bridport in the North-East, down to Campbell Town and then onto Doo Town on Eaglehawk Neck, South of Hobart near the historic convict prison, Port Arthur.

 

Today, we’re staying close and exploring the broader region of Eaglehawk Neck. Not that Eaglehawk Neck, as its name suggests, is a vast expanse.

The Eaglehawk Neck is a narrow isthmus that connects the Tasman Peninsula with the Forestier Peninsula, and hence to mainland Tasmania. A township settlement in the same region is also called Eaglehawk Neck. Locally known as the Neck, the isthmus itself is around 400 metres (1,300 ft) long and under 30 metres (98 ft) wide at its narrowest point[1].

The area features rugged terrain and several unusual geological formations. These include the Tessellated Pavement, Tasman’s Arch, the Blowhole and the Devil’s Kitchen.

Map Bridport to Eaglehawk Neck

These days when you visit the Neck, you’re immediately struck by its natural beauty and if you hadn’t already heard about the the Dog Line, which was set up to prevent convicts from Port Arthur escaping, you find out about it quick once you visit the area. There’s even a statue.

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A Great Place For Pizza.

However, what I didn’t know about until I started searching old newspapers today, was about Tasmania’s “Black War” and while I had read about the Black Line over the last couple of months, I didn’t really know what it was.

Indeed, I studied Australian History at university and even did my Honours and I hadn’t heard anything about this. I only remember seeing a “video” about the “primitive” Tasmanian Aborigines and how they were so backward they didn’t even fire. This video, not unsurprisingly, failed to mention any of their strengths.

We were also taught that Truganini was the last “full” Tasmanian, and this also appears to be incorrect.
Since I’m obviously no authority on the subject given that I only stumbled on it today, I’m not going to explore this war in further detail here. However, I’ve included a newspaper account from 1886:

EAGLEHAWK NECK, TASMAN’S PENINSULA.

Apart from its picturesqueness, which is of  no mean order, Eaglehawk Neck is mainly memorable as the scene of that gigantic and yet fruitless enterprises ever undertaken by Tasmania, known as the Black War. In the early days of the colony the settlers had experienced but little trouble from the blacks, but as time went on the continued to increase in the number of convicts let loose had its result.. Accustomed to brutality and acts of violence, they repeated them on the unfortunate natives to an incredible extent. Their children were kidnapped, men and women were shot down indiscriminately on the slightest pretext; in fact a blackfellow hunt was looked upon as one of the pastimes of the day. No cruelty was too great to be inflicted on them, and in the words of the ‘historian West, who describes one of the frequent midnight raids “The wounded were brained ; the infant cast into the flames ; the bayonet was driven into the quivering flesh; the social ‘ fire ‘ around which the natives gathered to slumber became before morning their funeral pile.’ This infamous treatment bore its’ fruit. Savage murders were committed in retaliation, the maddened blacks sparing neither friend nor foe in their thirst for revenge; and to such a degree had the war between the two races reached, that Governor Arthur, finding it impossible either to conciliate the blacks or re strain the outrages of the convict element of the populace, determined making that gigantic coup-de-main known as the Black Line. The object of the undertaking was to establish a cordon from one end of the island to the other, and drive the hostile tribes on to what is known as Tasman’s Peninsula, where they would be finally secured. How the plan failed is now a matter of history, but it suffices to say that although there were in all about 3000 persons engaged in maintaining the line, yet the sole result of the expedition was the capture, in an accidental way, of one man, and a boy. Thus ended the Black War of 1830, an undertaking which cost upwards of ‘£50,000. Illustrated Australian News (Melbourne, Vic. : 1876 – 1889), Saturday 18 September 1886, page 154

Obviously, I’ve uncovered a huge area for further research, which I intend to follow-up soon. My son will also be studying what is now referred to as the invasion of Australia and it would be good to catch up.

Meanwhile, even my very basic gleanings here, remind me of the importance of writing about what we don’t know, don’t understand and use writing as a learning experience. That writing becomes a way of extending ourselves when we break free of that old adage: “write about what you know”and being a very limited expert in your pencil-thin ivory tower.

It’s important to remain curious.

After all, what I’m starting to notice is so-called smart kids, is an unquenchable curiosity with its endless complex questions. There’s a constant quest to find out rather than the “I know”.

Moreover, if we only ever write about what we know, we’ll never grow!

However, we would have well-formulated paragraphs, conclusions and some idea of what we’re writing about. We’d be feeling confident and knowledgeable, in our comfort zones and let’s face it…who likes getting lost, even if it is only in your head or on paper. It feels so much better to know, doesn’t it!!

So, goodness knows what else we’re going to find on this somewhat crazy Alphabetical Journey Around Tasmania. Bring it on!

Best wishes,

Rowena

Further Reading:

http://theconversation.com/tasmanias-black-war-a-tragic-case-of-lest-we-remember-25663

http://theconversation.com/noted-works-the-black-war-29344

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Warhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_War

References

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eaglehawk_Neckhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eaglehawk_Neckhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eaglehawk_Neck

D- Doo Town, Tasmania.

Welcome to Day Four of the April Blogging A-Z April Challenge.

Today, we are leaving Campbell Town and driving South to Doo Town, located at Eaglehawk Neck. While we could have gone to Devonport where the Spirit of Tasmania comes in or to Deloraine, I chose Doo Town due to its quirky, Australian appeal.

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A Fairly Typical Doo Town Fishing Shack: “Doo Nix”.

Located 79 km southeast of Hobart, Doo Town was established in the 1830s as an unnamed timber station which eventually developed into a shack community. In 1935 a Hobart architect, Eric Round, placed the name plate Doo I 99 on his weekend shack. A neighbor, Charles Gibson, responded with a plate reading Doo Me then Bill Eldrige with Doo Us. Eric Round later renamed his shack Xanadoo.[1][2] The trend caught on and most of the homes have a plate that includes the name Doo.

I first visited Doo Town on my first trip to Tassie in 1995.   Being a procrastinator, I’ve never forgotten “Gunnerdoo”. Indeed, it would be a very apt name for our current home, which is a renovating dreamer’s homage to an endless list of unfinished projects. Indeed, it has way too many applications to mention!

Anyway, here’s a few Doo’s…and no don’ts!

Hope you’ve enjoyed our trip to Doo Town and I’ll be back to drive you to our next destination in the morning.

xx Rowena

Whatsitsname Beach, Tasmania

After leaving Port Arthur, I spotted this stunning beach out the window and Geoff obediently stopped. If you haven’t worked it out by now, we’ve been having so many photo stops on this holiday, that I’m lucky there hasn’t been a photography ban…or worse.

Personally, this beach seems so untouched, a kind of seaside wilderness. The sort of place you could runaway to, even in the middle of Summer, and bask in solitude…Tranquility Bay.

xx Rowena

Penguin…On the Road Around Tasmania.

 

After so many early starts what with driving to Melbourne and boarding the Spirit of Tasmania, we slept in past midday on our first full day in Tasmania and decided to have an easy day and stay local. We are staying with friends in bushland outside Devonport most of the time. Therefore, a 30 minute drive to nearby Penguin made sense.

Yet, for us, Penguin is so much more than a tourist destination, or random spot on the map.

Geoff’s father was born and raised in Penguin. He was born in the late 20s and much of his childhood was during the Depression. Obviously, times for most were incredibly tough. However,their struggles were seriously compounded when his mother died when he was only 9. That’s dreadful for any kid but his father was often away for work, leaving the two boys to pretty much fend for themselves. I can’t even begin to understand what this was like, but my father-in-law was always a cautious man. Not that I ever met him. He passed away when my husband was 16.

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Geoff retracing his father’s footsteps.

So, our trip to Penguin was much more of a pilgrimage. It was a heartfelt effort to do the very best we could to put ourselves into his father’s shoes and walk with him for a bit.

Of course, this “we” also included our kids. This young boy grieving for his dead mother, was their grandfather. While they’ll never be able to know him, go fishing, do the things you do with grandparents, we at least wanted them to have a sense of him. For them to know, that he was just as real as you and I and should never be left out of our story simply because he left too soon.

Not unsurprisingly, when it came to retracing the family’s steps, we had so little to go on. An address where they used to live up the West end of town, which we found out is called Mission Hill. They farmed up there and that’s apparently where Geoff’s uncle was bitten by a deadly snake and his Dad had to get him to safety. I don’t know if his views on snakes were defined by that moment. However, I’ve been told that he was renowned for saying: “the only good snake is a dead snake!”

Unfortunately, the houses on Mission Hill have been cleared and new housing has taken its place.

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Penguin had a drive to collect 2000 penguins.

However, we stopped in at the Visitors’ Centre asking about where they lived after leaving the farm, when times got really tough after Geoff’s grandmother’s death. Apparently, they lived above a bakery. Fortunately, there was only one option there and we were put onto HG Brown’s old bakery. Apparently, it was rebuilt in 1912 after a fire destroyed the bakery in 1911. A homeware’s shop is now located on the ground floor. They were lovely letting us take photos and as I was sticking my camera lens down the side of the building, the guy living upstairs introduced himself and I asked if we could have a look. He agreed and I can’t tell you what that meant to us. We were so stoked. Overjoyed to actually get inside where Geoff’s Dad had once lived. Indeed, our son said it was one of the best things he’d done on our first days here.

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I had quite a heavy heart walking around Penguin. We crossed what has become a rather omnipresent railway track and went onto the beach. Our son climbed a huge rock projecting out of the sand and then we headed over to the rocky point.

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This is when I switched gears entirely and turned on my photographic eyes and started viewing the rocks in 6 x 4. All my senses switched on and I was on full alert. There were these rugged, black,  basalt boulders protruding out of the sand, many painted with bright orange algae. It was so WOW!!! The shots were fantastic!

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Penguin’s Lolly Shop.

At some point through all of this, we took the kids to the Penguin lolly shop. It was like they’d been lured away by the pied piper. It was a great place where they could fill a plastic cup up with lollies… the sensational Jersey Caramels being their faves.

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Given our late start, it wasn’t long before we were thinking about dinner. We ended up buying fish and chips. They were really good, although I was struck by the colour. The batter was bright orange and I’ve never seen batter that colour before. We have since had discussions about what makes it orange, considering such things as the type of flour, perhaps a different type of beer. I later found out that many of the fish and chip places around here add orange food colouring to the batter. They also mentioned they can accidentally add too much food and it goes a really bright orange. We avoid colours so wasn’t real happy about that but I survive. Didn’t get too OTT.

As we went to go home, we realized that we’d almost left Penguin without taking our obligatory photo with the fake Penguin. I swear this Penguin looks like he’s had way too much caffeine, drugs or something. Definitely looks odd!

I’d definitely recommend a day in Penguin with its friendly locals, great food and stunning coastal scenery.

Tomorrow, we head for Penguin’s Ferndene and a drive West to Wynyard.

xx  Rowena

PS While we’ve been enjoying lovely mild Summer temperatures down here, Sydney is sweltering at around 40ºC. Our houseminders have been taking particularly good care of our dogs and we’re so grateful!

Driving from Sydney to Melbourne.

Tonight, I’m backpedaling faster than a confused Olympic sprinter, as I battle to catch up on our trip to Tasmania.

Although travelling opens your eyes, Internet connectivity can be difficult to outright impossible. We’re currently staying with friends out of town with limited access, making it difficult to keep up with the trip.

Anyway, last Sunday we drove down to Melbourne to catch the ferry to Tasmania. As the ferry was leaving at 9.00AM, we stayed in Melbourne overnight.

However, we haven’t reached Melbourne yet. We’re still driving along the Hume Highway. There’s a long way to go!

What with all the last minute pre-trip freaking out, I got to bed rather late the night before and slept through much of the trip. However, I opened my eyes occasionally…along with the camera lens.

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We were just North of Gundagai when we pulled up by this historic blue stone Church in Bookham.

Being just out of Gundagai, I launched into singing: Along the Road to Gundagai…a classic Australian bush song everybody used to know:

“There’s a track winding back,

Along an old-fashioned track,

Along the road to Gundagai…”

However, it turned out that neither of the kids had ever heard it.

Of course, I was absolutely flabbergasted, dumbstruck and shocked. What has the state of modern education coming to??? This was the cultural equivalent of being illiterate…and it was MY KIDS. I guess this is why they say going on a long family drive can be “educational”. You get to teach your kids a few things a long the way.

Anyway, at this point while I was ranting about the need for an Australian cultural festival, my husband interjected calling this great Australian classic: “cringe-worthy”.

The kids agreed.

Disgust. I was absolutely disgusted. Not even my husband was standing by me.

This made me think about the songs I grew up with singing in the car on long family drives to Queensland. My Dad loved singing in the car. He’d pipe up with: “Oh what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day”, from Oklahoma and there was Jamaican Farewell: “Down the way where the nights are gay…” By the way, my kids assure me Dad’s still singing: “We’re off to see the Wizard” in the car and that’s only been on short drives too.

Anyway, the kids survived my singing. I survive their jokes. Yet, we’d only reached Holbrook roughly halfway to Melbourne and there was too much road ahead.

By now, it was time for lunch.

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Taken in Holbrook’s Main Street

Holbrook’s main claim to fame is having a submarine parked in the local park. The main street is lined with old wares shops, which I must say is like honey to a bee. I almost broke out in a sweat. I didn’t know which way to turn until reality hit. With my husband and the two kids in tow, I wasn’t going far. They impose impossible limits on poor repressed addicts. Anyway, there were some second hand books as cheap as chips…almost guilt free!

All too soon, we were on the road again, continuing further along the endless Hume Highway, which flows like an artery through the East-Coast south of Sydney.

Eventually, we crossed the border into Victoria.

Yawn!

Yawn!

This trip was dragging on…”Are we there yet?”

More yawns.

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Thank goodness the Great Esky Wall worked a treat in the back seat. The kids were pretty good but I’ll also give credit where credit’s due…iPads!

Finally, we were heading through suburban Melbourne and an almighty shriek went up…tram tracks!

Worse still, we were driving on the tram tracks and had no idea what the rules were.

We were starting to feel endangered at best…not that we had a persecution complex or anything but who wants to get run over by a tram?!!

Nothing like driving through a strange city when you don’t know quite where you’re going and you have trams hunting you down.

Scary stuff.

Yet, we survived!

Melbourne…we made it.

Have you ever been to Melbourne? Do you have any songs you sing driving on long car trips? I’d love to hear them, although it might take awhile to reply.

xx Rowena

 

 

American Diner Down Under.

The Ipswich fish & chips shop was being bulldozed, making way for an American diner. As the bulldozers fired up, Pauline raged: “I’ll show Ronald Glump!”

“You won’t get away with this. Queensland’s not the 51st state of America. Ipswich says No. Not over my dead body.”

“Mr Glump, sir we’re under attack from a red-headed missile,” Robert Campbell IV, Vice-President Asia-Pacific shrieked down the phone. Australians wrestled crocodiles, wielded knives like swords and he’d failed boy scouts.

“Where’s the riot squad? Call my mate, Mr Turnbull. He’ll build a wall. That’ll keep ‘em out.”

“But what about the customers?”

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This is a contribution for Friday Fictioneers. This week’s PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot.

The Pauline alluded to in this story is highly controversial Australian Senator, Pauline Hanson founder and I think leader of the One Nation Party. Before going into politics, she owned a fish & chips shop in Ipswich, Queensland. She’s famous for a lot of things including her flaming red hair, her infamous saying: “Please explain!” which has become part of the Australian lexicon. You can read her bio here. And here’s a link to her alter-ego Pauline Pantsdown. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about this colourful character and what would ever happen if she and President Elect Trump came to blows. WWIII? Nup! That would be child’s play!

xx Rowena