A Travellerspoint blog

On The Road Again..................

Portland to Hahndorf to Adelaide to Kangaroo Island back to Adelaide

sunny 68 °F
View New Zealand & Australia 2009 on usroyal's travel map.

[We wrote this blog several days ago but haven't had an Internet connection since we are now in the Outback. Next blog will probably be a few weeks away since cell phone and internet connections are few and far between.]

Our introduction to the Adelaide area and the territory South Australia (SA) was through the Adelaide Hills, a wine growing region, and the oldest surviving German settlement in Australia, the town of Hahndorf. The first settlers arrived in 1838 to escape religious persecution in Germany. The town is very picturesque, particularly at this time of year when the leaves are turning red and orange. Hahndorf is full of antique shops and cheerful cafes and German restaurants.

Hahndorf__..stralia.jpg

Adelaide, a small city (1.4 million people), is perched between white sandy beaches and the Mount Lofty Ranges and is the capital of South Australia. It is a well-planned city, the vision of Colonel William Light, and is laid out in a grid pattern and bordered by wide terraces and parkland. Within the city are many garden squares and original stone buildings.

Three_Rive..ide_001.jpg

The city has always been proud of the fact that is had no convict settlers and was the province of free immigrants. Adelaide once had a stuffy reputation, but today the city prides itself as a center of culture, the arts and good living.

Eating_Out..ide__SA.jpgNo_Swine_F..ide__SA.jpg

From our base in Adelaide, we took a 2-day, 2-night tour of Kangaroo Island, which is located 10 miles off South Australia's coast. Kangaroo Island is Australia's third largest island and is 96 miles long and 34 miles wide and has a population of only 4,500 inhabitants. It is the site of South Australia's first official colonial settlement.

The island has a checkered past. In the early 1800s a mostly collection of whalers, sealers, escaped convicts and ship deserters began to make their homes on the island. They brought Aboriginal women from Tasmania, and abducted others from the mainland. Before long, Kangaroo Island had a reputation as one of the most lawless and vicious places in the British Empire. The worst scoundrels were rounded up in 1827 and the island is now a quiet wilderness and wildlife reserve.

Sparsely populated and geographically isolated, the island has few introduced predators and is a haven for a wide variety of animals and birds. The Island consists of 30% conservation or National Park areas, rugged coastline and beaches, native forest and bush and is home to native numerous bird species, koalas, kangaroos, penguins, seals and sea lions.

T___Kangar.._Island.jpgKoala__Kan..and__SA.jpg
Seas___Sea.._SA_006.jpgKangaroos_.._SA_006.jpg

The Remarkable Rocks, at Kirkpatrick Point in the southwest, is a group of large rocks that have been eroded into weird formations by the winds and sea.

The_Remark.._SA_029.jpgThe_Remark.._SA_018.jpgThe_Remark.._SA_011.jpgThe_Remark.._SA_007.jpgThe_Remark.._SA_004.jpgThe_Remark.._SA_001.jpg

We spent the days on a 4 wheel drive tour and the evenings at a farmstead Bed and Breakfast where we met several locals who were born and raised on the Island and say they would never live anywhere else. It is truly a magnificent place - we saw wildlife in its native environment and learned about the geology, history and animal life of the island.

Admirals_A.._SA_003.jpgMiddle_Riv.._Island.jpg

We returned to Adelaide for a one night stay before our 3-week journey into the Red Center. We stocked up on water, food and other supplies and are now off toward the Outback.

On the road again..................

Posted by usroyal 11:30 Archived in Australia Tagged automotive Comments (0)

Lest We Forget

Sydney to the Blue Mountains, to Canberra, to the Snowy Mountains, to the Murray River

semi-overcast 60 °F
View New Zealand & Australia 2009 on usroyal's travel map.

Today, April 25th, ANZAC Day, is Australia and New Zealand's most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as ANZACs, and the pride they soon took in that name endures to this day. This is a rare instance of two sovereign countries not only sharing the same national day, but also referencing both countries in its name.

Australians and New Zealanders participate in parades, laying of wreaths, pilgrimages to France and Gallipoli, and memorial services to honor fallen soldiers. It is impressive how reverently the occasion is celebrated - it's much more than just a day off work or a department store sale.

We visited the Australian War Memorial in Canberra (more about our visit to the Australian Capital Territory later in the blog) and learned that every city, town, village and hamlet in Australia has a war memorial to honor the men and women that fought for Australia in all wars. It is amazing that even in areas where there isn't a town, maybe only a group of 3 or 4 houses, there is some sort of memorial or war artifact such as a gun, tank, plane or statue.

Apparently, as time has gone on, the significance of honoring those that fought for Australia has increased rather than decreased - thus the saying, "Lest We Forget".

The_Austra..Soldier.jpg
"The Australian Soldier", Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

Some Facts About Australia's Commitment To Serve:

When war broke out in 1914 Australia had been a federal commonwealth for only 14 years. The new national government was eager to establish its reputation among the nations of the world. In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula to open the way to the Black Sea for the allied navies. The plan was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul), the capital of the Ottoman Empire and an ally of Germany.

They landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian soldiers were killed. News of the landing at Gallipoli made a profound impact on Australians at home and 25 April quickly became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in war.

331,781 Australians fought in World War I in France, Belgium, Gallipoli and the Middle East. Almost 60,000 never came home. Of those who did, 213,000 returned wounded, either in body or mind. Another 85,000 Australians enlisted but did not serve overseas. In a nation of just 4 million, 416,809 of its men - all volunteers - were in uniform at some time during the years 1914-18.

Diggers

Australian soldiers are affectionately referred to as "Diggers". Digger is a New Zealand and Australian military slang term for soldiers from New Zealand and Australia. It originated during World War I and is attributed to the number of ex-gold diggers in the early army units and to the trench digging activities of the Australian soldiers during World War I.

Meehni, Wimlah & Gunnedoo

The Three Sisters are close to the town of Katoomba and are one of the Blue Mountains' most famous sights, towering above the Jamison Valley. Their names are Meehni (3025 Feet), Wimlah (3012 Feet), and Gunnedoo (2972 Feet).

DSC_0360.jpgDSC_0358.jpg

Legend says that three sisters fell in love with three men from a neighboring tribe, but marriage was forbidden by tribal law. Battle ensued, and the sisters were turned to stone by an elder to protect them, but he was killed in the fighting and no one else could turn them back. This legend is falsely claimed to be an Indigenous Australian Dreamtime (part of aboriginal culture which explains the origins and culture of the land and its people) legend.

Canberra

Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of over 340,000, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth largest Australian city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory, 170 miles south-west of Sydney, and 410 miles north-east of Melbourne.

The site of Canberra was selected for the location of the nation's capital in 1908 as a compromise between rivals Sydney and Melbourne, Australia's two largest cities. It is unusual among Australian cities, being an entirely purpose-built, planned city. Following an international contest for the city's design, a design by the Chicago architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin was selected and construction commenced in 1913.

The city's design was heavily influenced by the garden city movement and incorporates significant areas of natural vegetation that have earned Canberra the title "bush capital". Although the growth and development of Canberra were hindered by the World Wars and the Great Depression, it emerged as a thriving city after World War II.

As the seat of the government of Australia, Canberra is the site of Parliament House, the High Court of Australia and numerous government departments and agencies. It is also the location of many social and cultural institutions of national significance, such as the Australian War Memorial, National Gallery of Australia, National Museum of Australia and the National Library of Australia. The federal government contributes the largest percentage of Gross State Product and is the largest single employer in Canberra.

We also visited Parliament House which is the meeting place of the Parliament of Australia. Construction began in 1981, and the House was intended to be ready by Australia Day, January 26, 1988, the 200th anniversary of European settlement in Australia. It was expected to cost $220 million.

Neither the deadline nor the budget were met. It was opened on May 9, 1988 by Queen Elizabeth II, and cost in excess of $1.1 billion. At the time of its construction it was the most expensive building in the Southern Hemisphere.

Parliament_House_002.jpgFlag_Flyin..liament.jpg

We found it very interesting that in Australia, voting is compulsory both at federal elections and at elections for the state and territory legislatures. About 5% of enrolled voters fail to vote at most elections. People in this situation are asked to explain their failure to vote. If no satisfactory reason is provided (for example, illness or religious prohibition), a relatively small fine is imposed ($20-$70), and failure to pay the fine may result in a court hearing.

After leaving Canberra we drove west to cross the Great Dividing Range and the Snowy Mountains. From the town of Jindabyne, we drove through Kosciusko National Park to the ski resort of Thredbo. We also visited Khancoban, Corryong, Tumbarumba and Wagga Wagga and then left the Snowy Mountains to the town of Albury and then into the Murray River Valley.

Not sure what the fascination with oversized statues is but here are some great examples of livestock and fish we saw along the way!

The_Big_Trout.jpgThe_Big_Merino.jpgDSCN1489.jpgDSCN1485.jpg

We are now on our way to Adelaide where we'll enjoy another Australian city and Kangaroo Island before making our way through the Red Center.

G'day Mates!

Trevor and Rebecca

Posted by usroyal 18:21 Archived in Australia Tagged automotive Comments (0)

Spring Forward, Fall Back? Think Again!

Sydney, New South Wales

sunny 80 °F
View New Zealand & Australia 2009 on usroyal's travel map.

After our Tassie adventure we drove along the Princes Highway from Melbourne to Sydney. The coastline drive includes temperate rain forests, secluded lagoons, surf beaches, world-class fishing, National Trust villages, 100- year old cheese factories, historic villages and wildlife viewing areas.

Our arrival in Sydney was breathtaking - we viewed the Sydney Harbor Bridge and Sydney Opera House from Darling Point Road before making our way to our home for two weeks at Double Bay, known affectionately as "Double Pay", which is "a place of high fashion, beautiful people, an upmarket cafe society and grand residential homes". We've probably lowered the property values since our arrival!

T___Double_Bay.jpg

On the day of our arrival the clocks in Australia fell back, signifying the autumn equinox. How odd that the clocks where all of you are sprung forward, signifying the spring equinox. Spring, Fall - depends on where you are in the world. A bit difficult to get your head (and watch) around!

Highlights of our Sydney experience:

History Buff Stuff:

It was at Sydney Cove, where the ferries run from Circular Quay (the city's transportation hub) that Australia's first European settlement was established in 1788 on a rocky spur of land.

"The Rocks" was Australia's first 'village'. Convict tents were pitched here in 1788 and the area developed into an important site with the nation's first fort, windmill, hospital and wharves. The Rocks later became a slum, and the domain of thieves, drunks and prostitutes. It was almost demolished after an outbreak of bubonic plague in 1900 and again during the development-crazy 1960s and 1970s, but thankfully much of this historic and picturesque area has been preserved and restored, including Cadman's Cottage, the oldest building in Sydney (1816) and also the oldest surviving cast iron urinal in Australia!

The Rocks forms part of the colorful promenade from the Sydney Harbor Bridge to the spectacular Sydney Opera House.

Cadman_s_C..e_Rocks.jpgCast_Iron_..e_Rocks.jpg

Culture Vulture, Iconic Structures and Architectural Marvels:

No other building on earth looks like Sydney Opera House with its glittering, sail-like roofs which stands at the end of Bennelong Point. Prior to its construction between 1959 and 1973, there was an unattractive tram depot on the site but the New South Wales government had the foresight to create an iconic Opera House on the already glorious harbor.

Its birth was long and complicated - many of the construction problems had not been faced before, resulting in an architectural adventure which lasted 14 years. Today it is the city's most popular tourist attraction as well as one of the world's busiest performing centers.

Sydney_Ope..use_017.jpgSydney_Ope..use_013.jpg

We did a behind the scenes tour of the Opera House and got to see some of the inner workings of this fantastic attraction. The Opera House project was fraught with technical and political problems including the resignation of the Danish architect, Joern Utzon, prior to its completion in 1966. Utzon died in 2008 and never did see the completed building. In 2008, The Sydney Opera House was designated a World Heritage Site.

Sydney_Ope..use_002.jpgSydney_Ope..use_004.jpg

We learned the 3 out of 5 people in the world recognize the Sydney Opera House - the most recognized building in the world.

We also enjoyed a concert at the Opera House during our stay. We saw an Australian singer-songwriter, LIOR, complete with an unusual shadow puppet performance in the background. We are anxious to hear more from this talented singer-songwriter (had never heard of him prior to this trip).

Since 1932, The Sydney Harbor Bridge has connected and defined the picturesque harbor city of Sydney. The Bridge is a truly awe-inspiring sight and is Sydney's most photographed landmark. At over 2,800 tons, it's the largest single-span, steel arch Bridge in the world - with its summit towering a majestic 450 feet above the Sydney Harbor. It was built by 1,400 men over 8 years, with 6 million hand driven rivets and 53,000 tons of steel, at a cost of $6.3 Million (in 1932). It is fondly known by locals as "The Coathanger".

Sydney_Har..dge_014.jpgSydney_Har..dge_006.jpg

Rebecca did the 3 1/2 hour bridge climb which was an unforgettable adventure. The first hour of the climb is spent getting into the gear and learning about the climb. The climb was not for the faint-hearted or anyone with a fear of heights. The view from the top of the span was worth the effort where the guide took the photos below. 1,437 steps later, I would recommend the climb if you are ever in Sydney.

R_Bridge_Climb.jpgR_Bridge_Climb_Group.jpg

Other Great Observation Points:

The Sydney Tower, which is the highest observation deck in the southern hemisphere, was completed in 1981. About 1 million people a year admire the stunning views from the tower. We couldn't get any great shots from the tower due to the reflection in the windows but did enjoy 360 degree views.

Sydney_Tower.jpg

For those with an aversion to heights, Mrs Macquaries Chair is a carved rock seat which sits at the end of the scenic Mrs Macquaries Road in the city's Royal Botanic Gardens. The seat offers impressive panoramic views of the city and the harbor.

R___Mrs_Ma..s_Chair.jpgSydney_Ope..dge_020.jpg

Best Way to Get Around:

The Travel Pass which gave us unlimited trips on Sydney Ferries and Buses. We loved traveling around the area by ferry and bus to avoid parking and traffic.

For more than a century, Sydney ferries have been a picturesque as well as a practical feature of the Sydney scene. Traveling by ferry is both a pleasure and efficient way to journey between Sydney's various harbor suburbs. We walked a block from our apartment to the ferry which took us into Circular Quay within 10 minutes.

Sydney_Har..dge_002.jpg

Scariest:

A nocturnal visit in our third-floor, city apartment (city of 4 million people) by a possum at about 3 am on our second night in Sydney was truly frightening and surprising. Unfortunately, we left our tiny window open to get some fresh air and we were woken to the blinds moving noisily - when Trevor got up to see what it was, a possum had started to come in through the kitchen blinds. Trevor shoo-ed the animal away.

About 10 minutes later we heard the blinds on the opposite window hitting the wall and when we turned on the light the possum was on the table, frozen in fear (couldn't have been in as much fear as we were) on the desk in the living room.

Trevor kept a cool head and stared the possum down - the animal then turned around and exited the same way it got in. Needless to say we've kept the windows closed and the air conditioning on since that incident. We've been worried about the critters in the Outback but never imagined we'd have to think about it in Sydney!

Aquatic Exotic:

Sydney's 65 miles of coastline means there are numerous beaches and harbors in the Sydney area.

Most notable:

Darling Harbor was the New South Wales' bicentennial gift to itself. This imaginative urban redevelopment, close to the heart of Sydney was opened in 1988, complete with the National Maritime Museum and Sydney Aquarium and lots of shopping and restaurants. We were in Sydney for the 4-day Easter break and enjoyed a local event hosted in Darling Harbor called 'Hoopla',(celebrating the harbor's 21st birthday) which consisted of outdoor entertainers, a circus, and lots and lots of people enjoying the long weekend.

Darling_Ha..ney_001.jpgDarling_Ha..ney_004.jpg

Manly Beach, which is 'seven miles from Sydney, a thousand miles from care', where surfers enjoy world class surfing.

Watson's Bay which is a place to eat great seafood (if you care for that sort of thing!) and people watch.

Bondi Beach, a kilometer long beach, known for surfing, trendy seafront cafes and cosmopolitan ambiance.

Double Bay, our home away from home for two weeks.

One day we drove to the Northern Beaches which are about 25 miles from the city. The beaches there include Newport Beach and Palm Beach (we thought we were back in the US) and are surrounded by some of Sydney's most desirable residences (film-star and artist country).

We are just about to leave Sydney for a trip westwards to the Blue Mountains before making our way south west to Adelaide and further adventures - provided that we can get our car back on the road! As you can see from the following photograph, we had a slight accident when a stone chipped the windshield . Once we get that fixed we'll be on our way!

Reental_Car_Mishap.jpg

(It's a joke!!! This is actually sculpture would you believe?)

G'day Mates!

Trevor & Rebecca

Posted by usroyal 20:51 Archived in Australia Tagged boating Comments (0)

Sympathy For The Devil

Hobart, Richmond, Strahan, Cradle Mountain, Stanley, Wynyard, Penguin & Devonport

60 °F
View New Zealand & Australia 2009 on usroyal's travel map.

Tasmania is relatively unknown. Mention it in conversation and no one is quite sure where it is! Australia's only island state lies 125 miles south of Melbourne., an eleven hour ferry journey across the Bass Strait.

But wherever you travel, everyone seems to have heard of it's most famous resident.

Tasmanian_Devil.jpg

The Tasmanian devil has always been emblematic of the island. The shy nocturnal marsupial (extinct on mainland Australia) was recently relatively common throughout the island. During the past ten years however, a deadly cancer has halved the population and the devil is now officially listed as an endangered species.

Unfortunately, we haven't seen a Tasmanian Devil since we've been here and since it's our last day in Tassie chances are it won't happen - at least not on this trip! (We could have paid to go into several sites where devils are reared in captivity but that seemed like cheating!)

We enjoyed Hobart and surrounds during the middle part of our Tassie travels. We stayed in the maritime village of Battery Point, one of the most historic districts in Hobart, at a very quaint B&B which is located 2 blocks from the finish line of the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

The village with its views down to the Derwent River, was originally home to a naval gun battery, positioned to ward of potential enemy invaders. It still retains a strong sense of history, with its narrow gas-lit streets and workers' houses, cottage gardens, colonial mansions and pubs.

We had several interesting conversations with the owner of the B&B and in one breakfast discussion she revealed that there is "latent resentment" amongst Australians towards the United States for the economic turmoil now affecting Australia. She said that the overwhelming feeling is that "greedy" Americans have caused the world economic situation. Interesting to receive someone else's perspective.

We drove to the top of Mt. Wellington a 1270 meter (3700 foot) peak that dominates the Hobart landscape. It was blowing a gale at the top - 70 mph winds. We were able to hold the camera still long enough for a few shots (actually through the glass of a viewing platform at the summit - out of the wind).

1Hobart_Fro..ton_002.jpgHobart_Fro..ton_008.jpg

We also visited the village of Richmond, about 16 miles from Hobart, which lies in the heart of Tasmania's fastest growing wine region, the Coal River Valley. Richmond is a small English-like village, and contains more than fifty buildings from the 19th century This was the first area granted to free settlers from England for farming, and at its center they established a township reminiscent of their homeland. At its heart is the historic Richmond Bridge, built by convicts in 1823 and Austrtralia's oldest bridge still in use. It was very quaint and like stepping back in time.

9Richmond__..nia_006.jpg9Richmond__..nia_008.jpg

Off the wild west coast of Tasmania, there is nothing but vast stretches of water until the southern tip of Argentina, on the other side of the globe! The region bears the full brunt of the "Roaring Forties" - the name given to the tremendous winds which whip southwesterly off the Southern Ocean.

Aborigines survived in this inhospitable environment for thousands of years before English convicts, civilians and soldiers were sent here in the 1820's and took over their land.

Their harsh and isolated settlement was a penal station on Sarah Island, situated in the middle of the immense Macquarie Harbor. The name of the harbor entrance "Hells Gates", reflects the conditions endured by seaman and convicts - shipwrecks, drownings, suicides and murders all occurred here.

We left Hobart and drove directly west through Queenstown to the old fishing village of Strahan, which grew up around an early timber industry supported by convict labor who harvested the Huon Pine which was used to build boats and ships for the British Government.

7Strahan_002.jpg9Strahan_003.jpg

We took a 6 hour boat journey from Strahan into Macquarie Harbor, out to the Southern Ocean and cruised along the Gordon River in the Tasmanian Wilderness, a world-heritage site. We also visited Sarah Island, which was closed in 1833 to be replaced by the "model prison" of Port Arthur.

Sarah_Isla..rie_Bay.jpg

One thing that struck us is that even though Tasmania has more than its fair share of World Heritage sites, there is a tremendous amount of logging and mining still going on today. The town of Queenstown looks like a moonscape from all the copper mining. Continued logging of the Tasmanian wilderness is an emotional subject amongst Tasmanians.

From Strahan we drove to Cradle Mountain, a National Park and another World Heritage site. It turned cold and gray during our visit and we enjoyed sitting by the fire in the cabin after a couple of long hikes. Apparently the weather is notoriously fickle at Cradle Mountain - it rains 7 out of 10 days and has 54 snowy days annually. Our picture of Lake Dove with Cradle Mountain in the background indicates the weather patterns we experienced during our visit!

4Lake_Dove_..le_Lake.jpg

The wildlife was interesting though!

Wombat__Cr..in_N_P_.jpgWallaby__C..in_N_P_.jpg

From Cradle Mountain National Park we drove to the north western coast of Tassie to the beautiful, picturesque fishing village of Stanley which is nestled at the foot of the extraordinary Circular Head, known as the "Nut" - Aborigines called it Moo-Nut-Re-Ker.

The_Nut__Stanley.jpg

Formed over 13 million years ago when lava shot through the earth's surface, cooled and formed basalt, the Nut rises 500 feet above Stanley from the Bass Strait. It was proclaimed a State Reserve in 1980.

Out last night In Tasmania was spent in Wynyard, an old historic fishing village. The weather remains gray and wet.

7Wynyard.jpgTable_Cape.._Wynard.jpg

On our short drive along the coast to Devonport to board the Spirit of Tasmania, we stopped in several quaint costal towns including Penguin.

0R___Penguin__Penguin.jpg

Having a little time to kill before our evening sailing , we paid a fleeting visit to the Don River Railway where we took a short train ride along the Don River in a restored locomotive.

6Don_River_Railway_002.jpg7Don_River_Railway_001.jpg

Tomorrow we'll be back on the mainland and will start our three-day trek from Melbourne to Sydney.

G'Day Mates!

Trevor and Rebecca

Posted by usroyal 00:53 Archived in Australia Tagged automotive Comments (0)

"A Mill To Grind Rogues Honest"

Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania

semi-overcast 65 °F
View New Zealand & Australia 2009 on usroyal's travel map.

Note: This blog entry is based on our visit to Port Arthur, the penal colony near Hobart. We spent a complete day at Port Arthur and enjoyed the historic site, the most visited tourist attraction in Tasmania. In this blog we've summarized some of the history and social significance of Port Arthur.

Also please note that the pictures included are thumbnail entries and can be enlarged by clicking on each photo.

The English prison reformer Jeremy Bentham described his penitentiary - London's Pentonville Prison as 'a machine for grinding rogues honest'.

Port Arthur penal colony was based on Pentonville Prison.

Port_Arthur_003.jpgPort_Arthur_002.jpgPort_Arthur_012.jpg

The cogs of this 'machine' were discipline and punishment, religious and moral instruction, classification and separation, training and education.

It was an ambitious experiment. Its methods seem cruel today, and many men were broken. Some were absorbed into other experiments - the beginnings of the modern welfare system and of the modern asylum.

But some men did leave equipped for a future that they could not otherwise have dreamed of.

In stark contrast to the convict experience, a community of military men and free officers with wives and families tried to make normal lives. They held parties, regattas, cricket matches and literary evenings. Their children played and went to school.

Port Arthur was the cradle of modern Australia's adult and juvenile prisons. The principles of classification, relentless surveillance, in Port Arthur as a coherent and deliberate system are still the cornerstones of modern penal systems.

Port Arthur History

Port Arthur penal station was established in 1830 as a timber-getting camp, producing sawn logs for government projects. After 1833 it became a punishment station for repeat offenders from all the Australian colonies. It also managed a number of outstations that produced raw material like timber and food.

By 1840 over 2000 convicts, soldiers and civil staff lived here. It had become a major industrial settlement, producing ships and shoes, clothing and bells, furniture and worked stone, brooms and bricks.

Eaglehawk_Neck_003.jpgPort_Arthur_010.jpgPort_Arthur_008.jpg

Convicts were transported in ships from from Great Britain, sentenced to seven years, fourteen years or for life, most for petty offenses. Surprisingly, one in four convicts were Irish, many seeking "voluntary" transportation to escape religious and political persecution and the potato famine at home.

Prisoners could earn their "Ticket Of Leave" by conforming to the system and completing their sentences. Most acquired skilled trades and went on to lead fruitful lives in their new country. Few made it back home to the British Isles. Your outbound ticket was paid for but you were on your own when it came down to repatriation!

"The Isle Of The Dead" is a small island which lies in Mason Cove served as the cemetery for Port Arthur. About 1100 people were buried on the island. Even in death, strict social order was maintained. The higher ground is occupied by free men and women , military and civilian, in marked graves. The lower half of the island was reserved for convicts, lunatics, invalids and paupers who were buried in unmarked plots.

Isle_Of_The_Dead_003.jpgIsle_Of_The_Dead_002.jpgIsle_Of_The_Dead_001.jpg

Transportation to Van Diemen's Land [the original name for Tasmania] ended in 1853 and Port Arthur began to enter its welfare phase. It housed the wreckage of the convict system, men too physically or mentally disabled to look after themselves.

Port_Arthur_028.jpgPort_Arthur_014.jpgPort_Arthur_032.jpg

By the time penal settlement finally closed in 1877, after forty seven years, over 12,000 men and boys, had passed through what was commonly regarded as the harshest institution of its kind in the British Empire.

Many of the settlement's buildings were subsequently pulled down or gutted by fire. Others were sold to private settlers and gradually a small town, named Carnarvon, was established. Carnarvon was named in an attempt "to erase the hated stain" but subsequently resumed its former name of Port Arthur.

More Tragedy At Port Arthur

On Sunday 28 April 1996, the Port Arthur Historic Site was the scene of a devastating violent crime, when a single gunman armed with automatic weapons shot to death 35 people, including visitors and staff, wounding many more. The gunmen was apprehended, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to imprisonment for life with no eligibility for parole. A memorial garden, incorporating the shell of the Broad Arrow Cafe in which more than twenty victims were killed, was established in April 2000.

Personal Note: A search of the Port Arthur criminal database revealed that Frederick Lawton, Police No.25655, arrived at the penal colony of Port Arthur on the ship "Fairlie" on July 4th, 1852.

I intend to conduct further research into this individual in an attempt to prove that this was not in fact my Dad, Fred Lawton. If "Frederick" and "Fred" were in fact the same person, my Dad was actually approximately 167 years old when he passed away in 1999! If so, I hope I inherit his longevity genes!

G'day Mates!

Trevor & Rebecca

Posted by usroyal 17:52 Archived in Australia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

(Entries 6 - 10 of 23) « Page 1 [2] 3 4 5 »