2019 Tas On the Road to Port Arthur
Dear Readers, I understand these blogs will not make much sense without the photos but I need the security of knowing they are off the boat and posted, besides I like to keep you as up to date as possible
On the Road to Port Arthur
Why is a Rock Loaf not a Pan and
What is the Key to the Eaglehawk’s Neck?
It was fun to drive over the canal swing bridge at Dunalley where previously we had passed through the same Denison Canal in Zoonie, then stop at a fine view point overlooking Waterfall Bay and the Tasman Sea, the part we hadn’t sailed in Zoonie. The day’s blend of coffee at the little kiosk was Ethiopian and Brazilian and it lived up to its reputation and was delicious accompanied by a shared raspberry brownie.
Onward to the Tessellated Pavements. A short walk down a sandy track brings the visitor to some more remarkable geology in action. Nature’s paving stones have rock ‘mortar’ between them. If the rock formations are away from the shore the surface is more exposed to the eroding effect of salt water leaving the harder ‘mortar’ raised around the pans. Whereas nearer the water the pavements are more exposed to erosion from sand in the seawater which grinds away the ‘mortar’ leaving the loaf raised up, quod erat demonstrandum.
The use of the word ‘Key’ as a metaphor by Commandant Charles O’Hara Booth to illustrate his power both to free and imprison convicts was overturned when Martin Cash looked down upon the camp at Eaglehawk Neck after he had escaped, in his rare case taking away that power. Guarding the narrow Eaglehaw’s neck seemed to provide an ideal place for a convict camp. But it wasn’t as easy as the officials thought.
The ‘little rickety wooden house’ is still there. Once the officers’ accommodation it now tells the story of the prison camp and the barbaric use of the Dogline, where escapees across the narrow neck of land to freedom were likely to be torn apart by angry underfed dogs and the Black Line, an invention of the Governor Lt Arthur to drive the aborigines from their hunting grounds onto the peninsula and leave the settlers in peace.
We had a brief respite from learning about mans’ inhumanity to man at the blowhole on the other side of Waterfall Bay and watched the waves crashing against O’Hara Bluff. The Sydney to Hobart Race leaders were out there somewhere and we scanned the horizon whenever we could for the tall, charcoal coloured sails. We saw them crossing the estuary to Port Arthur outside Maingon Bay and we planned to take a look see in Hobart the next day.