Tag Archives: Constitution Dock

Y- Yachts…The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

Welcome to the second last day of the Blogging A-Z April Challenge.

We’ve almost made it to the end of our journey, which is a good thing because the next leg is going to be precarious, pitted against the elements and there are no guarantees we’re going to make it.

That’s because we’re going on the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

Actually, hold that thought.

We’re not sailing anywhere. Rather, we’re driving from the Don River Railway near Devonport to Constitution Dock in Hobart to check out some yachts.

Don River to Hobart

The Beginnings of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

While we’re on the way, I thought you might appreciate a brief history of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

It’s an annual event hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, starting in Sydney, New South Wales on Boxing Day and finishing in Hobart, Tasmania. The race distance is approximately 630 nautical miles (1,170 km).[1] The race is run in co-operation with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, and is widely considered to be one of the most difficult yacht races in the world.[2] The race was initially planned to be a cruise by Peter Luke and some friends who had formed a club for those who enjoyed cruising as opposed to racing, however when a visiting British Royal Navy Officer, Captain John Illingworth, suggested it be made a race, the event was born. The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race has grown over the decades, since the inaugural race in 1945, to become one of the top three offshore yacht races in the world, and it now attracts maxi yachts from all around the globe – Wikipaedia.

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Map Showing the Route of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

I also thought you might enjoy this report on the first race held in 1945, which gives a good insight into the challenges of the race:

THE YACHT RACE. SYDNEY TO HOBART.

Six Complete the Course. HOBART, Jan 3.-

After crossing over 600 miles of ocean and encountering gales and heavy seas. the yacht Ambermerle ran aground in the River Derwent today, about 1½ miles from the finishing line of the Sydney-Hobart race. She was refloated after about half an hour and completed the course to get second place on corrected time by 41 minutes. Other boats which finished today were Kathleen, Horizon and Mistral. Six yachts have now completed the course, those which have not finished being Salt Air and the Wayfarer. They were not sighted yesterday.

The Hobart yacht Winston Churchill, which arrived at Hobart at 6.38 pm yesterday came in second. 17 hours behind the Sydney yacht Rani, which won.The Rani finished at 1.22 am yesterday. The Winston Churchill completed the 635 miles in 176 hours 38 minutes 5 seconds and on corrected time was 29 hours 42 minutes behind the Rani The Winston Churchill’s skipper was Mr P. Coverdale. Horizon, Kathleen, Ambermerle and Mistral, which entered the Derwent this morning, were engaged all day in a battle against a stiff northerly wind which at times reached 50 miles an hour and whipped the water into foam.

When Kathleen rounded Derwent Light at 11 am Horizon was off Crayfish Point, four miles from Hobart and Ambermerle was off Brown’s River, 11 miles from Hobart. Ban for Shelter. Horizon ripped her mainsail and had to run for shelter into D’Entrecasteaux Channel. She was followed by Mistral, which was mak ing little headway. Ambermerle then took the lead, with Kathleen next. When Horizon turned back down the river she gave away what chance she had of getting second, which place she would have filled had she finished before 1 pm. Kathleen made good progress up the river and passed Ambermerle to cross the line third.

Ambermerle, which was under jury rig, with balloon jib and storm tri sail set, appeared to be making slow progress beating along the Sandy Bay shore. She misstayed when going about and ran aground on Red Chapel beach, about 1 miles from the finishing line. She was refloated after about half an hour and continued to the finishing line.

While she was aground she was passed by Horizon. Mr J. Alderton, helmsman of the Ambermerle, said that the trip was practically uneventful until nearing the entrance to the Derwent, when the jib and mainsail were blown out She continued from there under jury rig. The boat behaved well in the storm which struck the yachts on the second day out from Sydney. Ambermerle was hove to for a night off One Tree Point on the south coast of New South Wales and for half a day when off Bermagui.

Missing for Five Days.

The Horizon, which was sighted yesterday after having been reported missing for five days, was cheered as she crossed the finishing line. The skipper, Mr J. Bartlett, of Elizabeth Bay, Sydney, expressed surprise that there should have been any misgivings regarding the safety of the boat. The inability of the Catalina to sight the yacht, he thought, was due to the wide seaward course taken. When the fierce southerly gale scattered the yachts, he said, waves 14 to 15 feet high barred any possibility of progress. The Horizon was hove to for 24 hours. Seas broke over her, but she did not ship any water.

The Kathleen was hove to in a southerly gale off the New South Wales coast on the second day out and was becalmed off Twofold Bay on the third day. She had a good wind across Bass Strait, but was again becalmed off the Tasmanian coast.

West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954), Friday 4 January 1946, page 8

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Humph…This is not a yacht. Constitution Dock 2005.

Anyway, we’ve now arrived at Constitution Dock. However, it appears there aren’t any yachts in town. I guess that’s what happens when you turn up at the end of April well in Autumn. Indeed, htere weren’t any yachts there on my last two9 visits. So, I hope you like photos of fishing boats!

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This isn’t a yacht either. Yet, another fishing boat parked at Constitution Dock, 2017.


 

This raises another difficulty facing travel writers. While it’s all very well to travel spontaneously without a plan, that doesn’t work when you’re wanting to capture something specific. You need to be there at the right time and if you’re wanting to capture the arrival of the Sydney to Hobart fleet, you need to be there in December after December 27 through to early January. We were in Hobart on the 20th-21st January and as you can see, there wasn’t a yacht in sight.

So, I had to cheat.

wild oats

Here’s the former Sydney to Hobart winner Wild Oats something or other moored in Newport, Sydney. Not quite the same as photographing the end of the race or an actual yacht in full sail but at this stage, I’m just looking for a yacht.

Do you enjoy sailing? Our son is a member of the local sailing club and has been racing a small yacht called an Optimus, something I’m sure they picked up at our local Bunnings Hardware store, because it looks just like a bathtub to me. My Dad inspired the sailing bug in the family. He sails a Catalina…a real step up from our Laser.

I hope you’re looking forward to our last stop! Stay tuned!

xx Rowena

 

S- Prelude to Salamanca Place, Hobart.

Welcome to Day 18 of the Blogging A-Z April Challenge.

As you may recall, we are Travelling Alphabetically around Tasmania. Last night, we drove from the Richmond to Hobart to get an early start at the Salamanca Markets.

Although you might think I planned to get us here for the markets, it’s pure luck. I simply added places to letters and don’t have the brain power to calculate when and where we’re going to be on a given day, especially as we get towards the end of the list.  So, we’ll have to put it down to “serendipity”, that funny sense of “meant to be” you experience when random things collide. You see, Salamanca Markets are only open on Saturdays from 9.00 AM to 3.00 PM. So, they’re very easy to miss, when you’re trying to squeeze the entire island into such a finite time.

However, before we hit the markets, we’d better touch on Hobart’s origins.

Located on the Derwent River, Hobart is the capital of Tasmania and the second oldest city in Australia. Prior to British settlement, the area had been occupied by the semi-nomadic Mouheneener tribe, a sub-group of the Nuennone, or South-East tribe for at least 8,000 years, but possibly for as long as 35,000 years.[1] In 1803, the British established a settlement at Risdon Cove after explorers George Bass and Matthew Flinders proved Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) was an island and they were concerned about a French invasion. In 1804, Hobart was established in 1804 at Sullivan Cove at the mouth of the Derwent River where it make a major convict outpost. From 1803 – 1853, over 75,000 convicts served time in Van Diemen’s Land, but prior to 1812, all VDL convicts came out via NSW.

Drunken Admiral

While it’s hard to find a family connection with Hobart, we do know that Geoff’s 3rd Great Grandmother, Bridget Vaughan was accommodated at what in now the the Drunken Admiral Restaurant, on Constitution Dock when she first arrived in Van Dieman’s Land. An inmate of the Ennimyston Workhouse in Ireland, Bridget was brought out as part of the Orphan Immigration Scheme, arriving on board The Beulah. The Beulah sailed out of Plymouth on 15 July 1851, arriving at the Old Wharf at Hobart in Van Diemen’s Land. I don’t know how long Bridget spent in Hobart, but it felt quite profound and almost creepy walking over the same wooden floorboards Bridget had trod on our last visit.

This reminds me that, although Geoff came from Tasmania, he’s barely dipped his little toe in Hobart. Growing up in N.E Tasmania, Hobart was a 3 hour drive each way and they simply drove down and back in a day. Moreover, as Geoff’s older siblings had left Tassie when he was still a boy, family holidays tended to be on the Mainland or off to Nanna’s in Bridport. Even at university, he only ever visited Hobart for kayaking competitions. That was sufficient. Sounds  to me like Hobart was a different world.

Constitution Dock

Constitution Dock, 2017.

This reminds me of the intense rivalry between the North and South in Tasmania. For a small State which is frequently left off the map and struggles economically, it’s hard to conceive how this rivalry  could be so intense. Rather, you’d expect Tasmanians to stick together against their common enemy…the Mainlander and maybe they ultimately do. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t turn on each other with a passion. Oatlands, at least was,  considered the dividing line or “trench” between them. With Launceston being the “capital” of the North, Hobart was Tasmania’s official state capital. There were mostly free settlers in the North, and a higher concentration of convicts in Hobart. The battle between North and South, even extends to the beer. In the North, they’ve historically drunk Boag’s and in the South, it’s been Cascade and never the twain shall meet. When Geoff was there, it must also be remembered, there was also no National Aussie Rules Competition and the Tasmanian competition was divided into three regions, and never the three shall meet…South, North-East and North-West.

So, this means that while I’ve been researching Salamanca Place and trying to get an intimate feel for the geography of Hobart, I haven’t been able to consult my in-house Tasmanian expert. Rather, I’ve had to depend on historic newspaper sources and maps to establish that sense of Salamanca Place as a working landscape. That its been more than just a bunch of historical buildings and background canvas for the markets.

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Salamanca Markets January 2017 with historic buildings in the background.

So, prelude over, let’s adjourn to Salamanca Place! We’re only walking down the street, but it’s still a big day.

xx Rowena

 

Not Quite “Hobart”.

As you might be aware, our family has been spending three weeks travelling through Tasmania. While the kids and I are “Mainlanders”, my husband was born and bred in Scottsdale on the North-East and we’ve been on a bit of a “Tasmanian Odyssey” exploring his old stomping grounds. Naturally, we felt seeing where Daddy came from was important. However, it’s turned out, that we’ve also been getting to know more about their grandfather as well as meeting extended family.

This brings me to the latest stop on our journey…Hobart.

Although Hobart is Tasmania’s capital city, Geoff hasn’t spent much time there. Scottsdale is closer to Launceston in the North and most of the time, there was no need to go there.

map_of_tasmania

I haven’t mentioned this previously, but historically speaking, Tasmania has been divided into three distinct regions: North, South and North-West with a particularly strong rivalry between North and South. Indeed, there was an unofficial border between the two around Oatlands. Basically what I’ve been told, is that the settlers in the North tended to be free settlers, rather than convicts and stuck together. I’ve also heard a bit of derogatory talk about inbreeding in the North while I was in Hobart. By the way, this divide even extended to beer. Northerners drank Boags and in the South, it was Cascade. Not sure how much of this has changed since Geoff left 30 years ago.

For better or worse, our plans for Hobart were rather derailed. Although we’d planned to drive down to the former convict settlement, Port Arthur; it was pouring with rain. So, we decided to head off to MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art) and have an indoor museum day instead. However, unfortunately Mona Foma, their  festival of music and art was on and out of our price range.

So, on our first day in Hobart, Port Arthur and MONA had been scratched off the list. Now, we were off to the Cascades Female Factory Site. As they say, the best laid plans of mice and men.

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Putting it very simply, the World Heritage Listed  Cascades Female Factory Historic Site was where female convicts were housed. They could be assigned from there to settlers but after arriving in Hobart Town, they’d do the “walk of shame” through town to the prison. Naturally, the prison wasn’t built for comfort and regularly flooded. It is located in the shadow of Mt Wellington, which can get covered in snow during winter. Therefore, the winds blowing through the prison were freezing. Women were frequently raped both as convicts within the jail, but also as assigned servants. Inevitably children were born within the jail and many of these inevitably died.  It was obviously very sobering to hear how these women lived and I was relieved that none of Geoff’s ancestors to date, were inmates here. We really enjoyed the tour and found it highly informative and the story was very well told. We’d highly recommend you visit.

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The creek which flooded the Female Factory.

We were quite hungry by the time the tour ended. So, we drove into the centre of Hobart for lunch.

If you’re an architecture buff, you’ll love Hobart. Unlike Sydney where much of its early architecture has been bulldozed, much of Hobart’s Georgian architecture  still shines. Indeed, walking around Hobart feels like you’re stepping back in time and you’ve just stepped off a Tall Ship in Constitution Dock into Hobart Town.

Anyway, it didn’t take long for the sands to run through the hour glass. Unfortunately, we missed the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

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Yet, the night was still young. Consequently, we found ourselves visiting Mawson’s Hut, which was still open. I really should be going into this in more detail as well. However, I am travelling and exploring so many places, foods and people, that it’s impossible to go into it all now. Suffice to say that when Mawson and his crew went on their historic expedition to Antarctica, they sailed out of Hobart and there’s quite a sense of connection with the expedition and Hobart. I am intending to read more about Mawson’s expedition and am so inspired by his grit and determination in such hostile conditions…along with the rest of the men. Their experience makes me wonder whether we have it too easy. That we need to toughen up.

While we were wandering around, we also stumbled across the Franko Food Markets in Franklin Square. This market features up and coming food producers and their products must use ingredients which come straight from the farm to the market. It’s a fantastic concept. While we were initially drawn to sour dough mini donut balls served with a very yummy chocolate sauce, we also had home made pork buns made from their own pork and a Dutch pasty  filled with beef and mushrooms and something else. It was so yum! I also really enjoyed chatting to the stallholders and hearing their stories…establishing  a personal connection. Such a shame these markets are in Hobart and are such a long way from home. Otherwise, I’d be there every Friday night.

Saturday morning, we headed off to Salamanka Markets before meeting up with Geoff’s second cousin we’d never met at the Tasmanian Museum cafe.

Given how much Geoff and the kids have complained about going shopping or to markets in the past, I didn’t allow for long at Salamanka and we were only there for about 2 hours. I think that was long enough. Although we didn’t get to see everything, we’re on a budget and we have very little space left in the car.

At the same time, I really wanted to buy myself something special there. Something I could look at and think Hobart, our 2017 trip to Tassie and feel all warm and gooey inside.

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It took awhile for me to find that something but in the end I bought a CD. I’ve buried it deep in our luggage at the moment. The guy was playing the Chapman stick or “the stick”. Being a violinist myself, this amazing string instrument really played my heart strings. Have you ever heard it?

After farewelling Geoff’s cousin, we walked around Constitution Dock. This is the finish line for the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. The yachts were long gone by the time we turned up, but I have always loved the historical buildings at Constitution Dock. We were admiring these when I strayed across a plaque saying that the women from The Beulah were housed at the building now known as a seafood restaurant, The Drunken Admiral. Geoff’s 3rd Great Grandmother was a famine orphan sent out to Australia onboard The Beulah so this was a great find.

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With much of Hobart now closed, we drove up Mt Wellington. We seemed to be driving round and round and round. This is a serious mountain, at least by mainland standards where much of the country is “pancake”. By the time we reached the summit, the trees were twisted and gnarled from the rugged conditions and the ground was covered in rocks. It was freezing up there, even in Summer. Couldn’t imagine the Winter chill.

Unfortunately, our list of what we didn’t see in Hobart way exceeded all we did. Moreover, what we saw was perhaps a bit off track but it was our Hobart.

Have you been to Hobart? Please share your thoughts and add links to any posts.

Xx Rowena