Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tas-mania: Port Arthur

This little family recently went on a trip, over the hills and far away.  Mother duck said: "quack quack, quack quack."  Wait, that's not it.

Adrian turned a big number this year.  To celebrate, his family had us come over to Victoria. We took the opportunity to visit Tasmania for a couple of days beforehand.  It was swell.

The land is rich and rolling; the temperature is cool and refreshing.  The towns are small and close together.  It was wonderful.  We stayed just outside of Hobart and travelled from there.  We would go back in a heartbeat.  The hill up to our room was quite intense, almost a 40 degree angle.  Wouldn't want to do that in a standard!

On our first full day there, we went to Port Arthur which used to be a penitentiary for the Brits.  While there, it was hard to believe that it was a punishment.  The gardens were beautiful, the landscape quaint and verdant, the buildings impressive.  The solitary confinement area kind of brought it to focus, though.  It's hard to be alone sometimes, and this area made them super alone!  Even when they went to church the prisoners would have been ushered in one at a time into booths which had built up sides.  All that they could see was the preacher.  I hope he didn't forget the gospel!  It's an interesting thought, really, that they would only be focused on the cross.

Port Arthur
Modern lifestyles and ease of moving around make the idea of it as a prison odd as well.  There's nothing to really compare it to.  These people, though, were picked up from their home, carried across the world in a boat, dropped onto a small rocky area, green though it may have been. It maintained this greenness by being saturated by rain often.  These criminals would live in rock buildings in cool weather, buffeted by fierce winds and given hard labour to occupy them.  There was little chance of escape, although we heard a few amusing tales.  The Tasman peninsula is connected to the rest of Tasmania with a small passing called Eaglehawk Neck.  It was patrolled by dogs and men.  One fellow dressed himself in a kangaroo skin and tried to hop across.  They pulled out guns to shoot him - to feed the dogs and got a bit of surprise when he yelled to stop.

From the walk at Tasman's Arch

On the way to Port Arthur we stopped at some beautiful places like Pirates' Cove (which honestly contains Penzance road!) and Doo Town (which is a collection of establishments with mostly rude names).  We looked at Devil's Kitchen which was not a kitchen at all (nor chocolatey, sigh) but instead was some beautiful cut aways and gorges - kind of like the Gap in Albany (which is quite different to the Gap in a mall).  The whole trip down was just gorgeous.  Had I been Anne of Green Gables, I'd have renamed the whole area. Or perhaps put down roots.

More gushing about Tasmania soon.


  1. I'll look forward to more gushing, we went there on our honeymoon and loved it!

  2. Sounds awesome! I wanna go there too now. (My list of places to visit is getting longer all the time)