2020 Tas To Kellys Basin
To Kelly’s Basin for the night
So named after Captain James Kelly, a sealer and harbourmaster who found the entrance to Macquarie Harbour in 1815, this little inlet (number 6 on the Trevor Norton chart) provided more than one safe anchorage out of the persistent winds and we anchored Zoonie in the inner bay behind the little ‘hook’ headland known as St Legers Pt, a perfect spot complete with a sea eagle and helicopter at different times circling overhead.
In the distance, at the head of the bay we spotted a long jetty reaching out into the water and were drawn to explore East Pillinger, once a boom copper smelting, logging and brick making town but now consumed by the rainforest. The old jetty still struggled to exist, reaching 240 metres across the water, the steel railway track suspended where the wooden supports have long since rotted away. Sawn timber and bricks made here in the brick kilns were loaded onto steamers for transport to Strahan and beyond.
The town was only active for five short years, like the gold rush towns of North America and there was nothing left to keep people here after the Lyell Company was taken over following the death, back in London of its owner and the preference of Strahan as the main town.
It was fun scrambling around the ruins, peering into the dense bush and seeing the odd man-made structure, imagining the sounds of human activity and the noise of railway trucks trundling along metal in this once 1000 strong settlement. What must it have been like for the few remaining inhabitants who lived her until the mid WW11 years, providing refreshments and water for the passing trains? As peaceful as life was for the Claytons back in Bathurst maybe.