I arrived in Devonport the evening before I caught the Spirit of Tasmania to come home, but the extra time was not wasted. I went to the lighthouse in the hope of catching a sunset across the sea, but the view was not sufficiently Westerly. I did manage to get some great shots of the lighthouse against the sun and then with an amazing pink sky behind it. The next day was spent exploring the town, visiting Home Hill, the home of Joseph Lyons who was once Prime Minister of Australia, and his wife Dame Enid with their twelve children. I also traveled to Sheffield to view the many murals painted on walls in the town, and to La Trobe an interesting town with old buildings, before returning to board the Ferry for a rough crossing of Bass Straight to Melbourne overnight.
When I reached Penguin, a pretty town on the Northern coast of Tasmania, I was amazed to see several big bright orange Chamberlain Tractors wearing stickers and flags, pulling caravans or camper trailers, parked along the foreshore. Fourteen of these 1950′s vintage tractors, from all over Australia were on their annual trek, raising funds for charity while having a lot of fun along the way. Members of the Chamberlain 9G Tractor Club of W.A., they had been on the road for three weeks, and were on the way to Devonport to catch the ferry back to the mainland. In the town, there were lots of grey haired nomads getting their lunch, and all very willing to chat about their tractors, the trip, and the pleasures problems and perils of touring the island at such a leisurely pace. I came across them again the next night as we were waiting to board the ferry, and they were quite a sight amongst the other cars.
This great cruise on the luxurious Lady Franklin took most of the day, leaving from Strahan early on a misty morning, we went out through Macquarie Harbour, past the pens of a salmon farm and the two lighthouses that mark its entrance at Hell’s Gate – so called because of the submerged rocks, rough waters and the powerful tides that exist there, making it dangerous and difficult to navigate. Turning around just outside in what is the Great Southern Ocean, the boat proceeded back down the harbour and entered the Gordon River. This is a most beautiful area of cold climate rain forest, an ancient wilderness with unique trees, and is a world heritage area. The still dark water provided endless views and amazing reflections of the shoreline. At one point we were able to go ashore and walk through a section of rainforest to see close-up its lush beauty, where trunks were covered with emerald green mosses, and trees festooned with hanging bunches of moss and lichen, while everything dripped around us. After this experience, we returned to the boat for a delicious lunch and a short trip back up the river, stopping at Sarah Island where we again went ashore to see the remains of the penal colony that was there from 1822 -33, and to learn the history of the island from an amusing and well informed guide. Despite the at times inclement weather, it was a wonderful day, and I would recommend anyone to take this cruise if you visit Strahan.
After experiencing a couple of fairly ordinary motels on my trip so far, I decided that a little luxury was well deserved and chose accommodation in Strahan that overlooked the harbour of this lovely little port on Macquarie Harbour on the west coast. My room was on the top floor of the yellowish building with a great view from inside and the balcony, across the water and towards the town proper. In the morning that patch of grass was full of seagulls, ducks and geese making quite a din, all well used to being fed by the tourists. I had two days here, enjoying delicious seafood meals, exploring the area, watching the sunset on a beach facing directly west, with nothing between it and South America except miles of ocean, and you guessed it – taking many photographs.
Up at sunrise on the first morning for more photos before heading to the dock to join others for a cruise down the Gordon River to see the world heritage area for myself, and to visit Sarah Island, the site of a particularly harsh penal colony established in 1822, before Port Arthur, as a place for the worst sort of convict. It closed in 1833, and is well known due to Alexander Pearce, a convict to escaped with several others who tried to reach Hobart. Pearce alone was caught, and it is said that he had eaten his companions in order to survive. He escaped a second time, and did the same thing, eventually making it to Hobart where he was captured and executed for his crimes. Marcus Clark’s novel For the Term of his Natural Life is based on events which occurred on this island although his hero, Rufus Dawes is a fictional character.
From Deloraine I drove West again, heading for Cradle Mountain and hoping to see the caves at Mole Creek but I was too early in the morning and did not want to hang around until they opened. The countryside along the way was both mountainous with winding narrow roads, green and lush with tree ferns, but then flat and bleak across the plateau with stunning views of acres of what appeared to be dead trees. Cradle Mountain Information Centre, the start of many walking tracks, was crowded with people and the queues were long for those waiting for the bus to take us to Dove Lake. I guess as it was a public holiday (Anzac Day) there might have been more than usual, but one needed great patience as the queue was not an orderly one and I waited almost an hour. After doing my own little walk at the Lake, I wandered back to an area of rain forest for photos of moss covered logs and trees. Having initially decided it was too far to drive to the West Coast so late in the day, I changed my mind and headed for Strahan – once more on narrow winding roads, over picturesque river, through areas where copper is mined, most of it in the rain….I was glad to see the sand dunes of Coastal Beach, whic overlooks the Great Southern Ocean on the extreme western side of Tasmania – there is nothing across that stretch of ocean until one hits South America.
From Hobart and time with family and friends, I headed North up the Midland Highway, through many little towns and beautiful countryside with striking metal sculptures depicting times past, to an historic town called Oatlands on the shores of Lake Dulverton. Named by Govenor Macquarie in 1821, it is important as it contains the largest number of original Georgian buildings in a village setting in Australia, made of sandstone and built by convicts in the early 19th century. From here I backtracked, and drove to see the Central Plateau area and the Highland Lakes. Unfortunately the weather was dreadful, visibility poor, the roads unsealed and churned into mud by speeding logging trucks, and I continued on to Deloraine where I stayed. No photos taken in this little town – it was just too wet and I retired to a mediocre motel for the night.
Kim’s Texture Tuesday this week had “Light” for a theme……..so this is my submission. One of two lighthouses at the entrance to MacQuarie Harbour on the West Coast of Tasmania – named by early convicts as Hell’s Gate, due to the submerged rocks, and rough water when the tide comes swirling in through the gap. Taken on an overcast day, this has several different textures at various opacities and modes which intensify the misty feeling of the shot.
I visited the home of a couple who are friends of the friend with whom I stayed a few days in Hobart ……they have a beautiful home high on the hill, cleverly designed to enjoy extraordinary views from every window as it overlooks the River below and the hills beyond. The owner is an artist and their home and garden were full of wonderful pieces of sculpture and paintings. I particularly liked the eagle with its captured prey…seemingly in mid-air. There were also a couple of cute dogs in residence, and feeling very dog deprived I was more than happy to give them the attention they were seeking.
May I suggest that anyone who goes to Hobart must go and see the new Museum of Old and New Art – if only for the fantastic building in which it is housed. It is mostly underground, built by tunneling into the hillside above the Derwent River by David Walsh, a wealthy businessman and art connoisseur, it is purported to have cost over one hundred million dollars and houses a most eclectic collection of art and antiquities. One could spend a week there, and still not see everything. The owner has described as a subversive adult Disneyland.
These were taken around Constitution Dock, famous for being the mooring place for boats that have completed the annual Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race, and at MONA.
The first photo is of the Tasman Bridge leading into Hobart from the Rosney Point Lookout, which is just above where my Brother lives. That is the city of Hobart on the other side of the river, with Mount Wellington under those clouds. The remainder are just a few shots taken while waiting for someone at the Salamanca market on Saturday – set near the docks and surrounded by historic sandstone buildings and old warehouses, it is a vibrant colourful place full of interesting folk, local produce, gourmet food, and very tempting items of all sorts to purchase. I escaped with a new leather handbag and a beautiful embroidered jacket from Kashmir, but could have spent a great deal more!
This man is playing Uilleann pipes or Irish Bagpipes which have a different sound from the Scots Bagpipes below.
A day trip from Hobart to the Huon Valley, along the River to Franklin and Dover brought more spectacular views and photo opportunities, plus lunch at a most unassuming roadside cafe where I had the best hamburger ever! My brother is a keen sailor, and a short time after my visit he was planning to bring his boat down here on a four day cruise. It was again overcast, a misty morning, sometimes raining a little, and everything looked lush and green. This is an area well known for the gourmet foods grown there, and we saw acres of apple orchards, the trees laden with fruit.
From Bicheno I traveled south down the Tasmanian East Coast, spending time in some of the little towns along the way until I reached Richmond. I did not go to the Freycinet National Park or Wineglass Bay as I had seen them on a previous trip. I did not have a lot of time to spare as this was the only part of my trip which had time restrictions, because I needed to reach Hobart on a particular day. Richmond is one of the most historic towns in Tasmania with the original 1823 convict built bridge still standing as well as many other original sandstone buildings in the main street and local area. I found it full of tourist centred galleries and kitch souvenir shops, very commercialized and difficult to photograph without lots of advertising signs spoiling the view. Instead I took shots of worn original door steps and wondered about all those folk who had crossed the thresholds over the years. What stories the stones might tell if they could speak.
I have great admiration for Street Photographers – those who take candid shots in public places, mostly of people with, and without their knowledge. The world is full of folk with character filled faces, interesting scenarios, poignant moments which give a personal view of society. I think it takes courage and a bit of cheek to do it well, as it can appear intrusive. I don’t usually have that sort of bravery, mind you, on the few occasions I have asked strangers if I may take their pictures, they have agreed. There were many occasions on my trip when I would have liked to capture people I saw going about their normal lives but did not feel I could. Instead I perhaps invented a new genre…..Foot Photography!
My absence has been due to a fantastic trip to Tasmania – primarily to see the state, take different sorts of photo to my usual macros, and to visit some family and friends. I traveled in my own car on my own, with few plans, no accommodation booked ahead, so could go where I wanted to, stop whenever I saw something worth a photograph or wanted to spend some time – all without having to consider anyone else or stick to a schedule. Selfish, indulgent and wonderful!
I’ll be sharing some of the photos over the next little while – I took over 1000 and am still culling and processing them.
From Devonport where the ferry docks, I drove to the East Coast – these were all taken around Bicheno a popular and pretty coastal town – the weather was overcast but some of these were shot at sunrise or sunset.