Category Archives: Australia – Tasmania 2021

Commencing on the 6 March to sometime in June 2021 when we return home

Day 90 – Tuesday, 1 June 2021

It was grey and overcast this morning when we got up so Russ has got his wish. He says, and I agree, it is much easier to navigate the roads without the constant interaction of light and shadow that makes seeing the surface of the road so difficult. It is nowhere near as cold as previous mornings, and the cloud cover probably has a lot to do with the conditions. 

Our idea of starting our travels a bit later is that the extra half hour or so will have some good impact on any patches of ice or frost should we come across any. By taking the longer route we have cut out most of the dangerous sections. 

We were all packed up and ready to leave just before the 10:30 time mark and we have turned on the GPS tracker as well as Google Maps to see us on our way. The Navman in the car is not always reliable when you are towing a caravan, plus the Google Maps show indications of roadworks ahead. Of which there were seven sections for the whole journey. 

St Mary’s Pass is the only section of road we travel on this route that is extremely narrow and winding. It climbs up to 295 metres at its highest point, a much more pleasant ride than the 900 metres above sea level if we went on the A3 through Weldborough, Derby and Scottsdale. 

We did have one vehicle stop coming from the opposite direction which stopped and let us around the corner first, and we stopped for a large truck coming in the opposite direction to let it get around a corner first. Apart from those episodes it was mostly plain sailing (or driving) after we passed through St Marys the township, and the sun came out intermittently for the rest of the day. 

We had lunch at a roadside stop just before Avoca and our turn onto the Midlands Highway (A3) heading towards Launceston. The highway passes at the side of Launceston and bypasses Perth completely so there was some traffic, but it wasn’t an unpleasant avalanche of cars and trucks. 

On the other side of Launceston, we turned onto the A8 which is the East Tamar Highway and goes all the way up to George Town. We turned off just before then onto the B82 which is the Bridport Main Road. For a B road it was in very good condition as it is used by the trucks carrying timber out of the area. We passed 15 trucks the size of B doubles, and two trucks without the extra carriageway attached. They are biiig monsters and the idea of having to pass one on the Scottsdale Road while towing a caravan is the idea of nightmares. 

We arrived At Bridport four hours after we left from St Helens and travelled 259 kilometres. The length of the travel was definitely compensated by the lack of more stress. Russ and the vehicles did good! 

Bridport Caravan Park is beautiful. We were able to pick which spot we would like to stay in and when you open the caravan door you can see the waves rushing to shore just down the rise. From our camp spot we can see the remains of the Old Pier, which was built in 1916. It was the terminus of the 28 kilometre Forester to Bridport Tramway, which brought sawn timber to the port for shipment to Melbourne during 1913 – 35. 

The pier was partially burned by arsonists in 1938 and finished off by another fire in 1941. The only remnant that remains is the posts in the sea which supported the walking surface of the peir. 

The town is a fairly large centre, just 53 kilometres from George Town and 20 kilometres from Scottsdale. The population of Bridport is 1.715 people, and it rests on the shores of Anderson Bay.  

During the spring and summer, it apparently explodes with wildflowers and visitors who come to see them. However, they assure us it is a perfect spot to visit all year round. It receives more sunshine than the rest of Tasmania and has spectacular views of Anderson Bay. 

Bridport takes its name from the town of the same name in Dorset, England. The local council is called the Dorset Council. 

On the way here, about 12 kilometres before Bridport, we passed a place called Bowood, which is the oldest building in northeast Tasmania. It is a handsome Georgian stone, brick and pit sawn timber dwelling and was built in 1938. 

The building team comprised of an ex-convict carpenter and an American stonemason who had deserted from his sealing ship. Unfortunately, the house is not open to the public and is owned by a local potato farmer who purchased it in 2005 for the princely sum of $7.75 million. Obviously, there is good money in potato farming! 

The coast is full of nooks and crannies that hide white sand beaches, and there are plenty of coastal parks for picnics and BBQs. There are also many bushland nature walks, and we are looking forward to doing some of them while we are here. 

Apparently, Bridport is a golf town which boasts the finest public golf course in Australia. In fact, Barnbougle Dunes Golf Course is considered one of the best golf courses in the world. It is clearly understood that when you come here you will visit the reserves around town which contain natural treasures such as waterfalls, sand-dunes, wildlife, birdlife and jaw-dropping coastal views. Time will tell. 

Just down the road from Bridport is the Bridestowe Lavender Estate, 265 acres of manicured lavender fields and beautiful gardens. That’s another one we will call into see. 

The following is a brief history of Bridport and surrounds. 

In 1798 Bass and Flinders passed along the coast where the modern township now lies during their exploration of the Tasmanian coastline. 

In 1830 Thomas Lewis, a surveyor, explored the area and became the first European to travel through the district. The first European settlers were Andrew and Janet Anderson who were granted 1,800 acres at Barnbougle in 1833, and Anderson Bay is named after them. 

Two years later in 1835 Peter Brewer was granted 500 acres upon which he built the impressive Bowood (the one does not open to the public). 

In 1836 James Scott (Scottsdale is named after him) surveyed the future town but it was another 30 years before any of the surveyed land was sold.  

By the late 1830s the Chinese Tin Miners had arrived in the area. 

In 1855 a jetty was built and continued to operate until it was pulled down in 1917. 

In 1859 after blocks of land were sold, a policeman arrived in the district. 

In 1869 Lewey Richardson discovered gold at Waterhouse (now Waterhouse Conservation Area to the northeast of Bridport), but the goldrush was shortlived as the area was exhausted by 1875. 

In 1875 tin was discovered inland from Bridport which turned the small settlement into a busy port, and in 1876 Captain William Henry Jones built The Forester Inn which sold anything and everything. 

In 1889 the economy of Bridport collapsed when the railway line between Scottsdale and Launceston opened. 

In 1911 the Forester Timber Mill was opened, and 20 kilometres of railway line and two jetties were constructed to transport the timber. By the 1920s Bridport had become a very popular holiday destination and was called the ‘Riviera of the North Coast’. 

The Forester Timber Mill closed down in 1930, and in 1940 a jetty was built near the bridge across the Brid River. 

In 1947 Fish Canneries of Tasmania established a processing factory in town. 

Today Bridport mixes tourism with fishing. It is also the centre of major scallop, boat building, trout breeding and lobster industries. 

By comparison Scottsdale has a population of 2,373 people. It has very fertile soil, a mild climate and plentiful rain, and its industries include potato farming, dairy farming, pine plantations, poppy cultivation and mining. 

We look forward to our week of investigating the area more fully. 

Day 89 – Monday, 31 May 2021

It was once again very nippy this morning, but not as cold as Benalla or Ballarat from all accounts. The sun was shining brightly on another beautiful autumn day – the last time I can say that for the diary as Winter officially starts tomorrow. 

In view of the fact that tomorrow is going to be a long day we only did the important jobs like groceries, filling the vehicle with fuel and emptying the cassette. 

We have decided to go to Bridport the long way via Launceston on the A4 and A1 then onto the A8 and the B82. The benefits of this route is that we will only have a very small range of mountain to cross, approximately 290 metres as compared to 900 metres if we took the A3, and only about 9 kilometres instead of 100 kilometres as well as wide roads compared to narrow, tortuous and winding roads from St Helens through to Scottsdale. 

St Helen’s has the lousiest street lighting I have ever seen for about 40 years. Most of the light in the business district comes from the businesses themselves. The street lamps are pitiful and few and far between – low wattage, and some have burnt out and not been replaced as yet. 

A very chatty gentleman at the BP Service Station when we fuelled up said that after being in Tasmania for three months, we would be considered locals! His daughter lives in Wallan and has been talking to him about the lockdown in Victoria. 

I spoke with Rebecca at the reception here in St Helens and asked about the possibility of starting later than the designated 10:00am. She said in view of the fact that there were very few people staying at the Park at the moment, and no one booked onto our site tomorrow we would be welcome to take our time. 

Day 88 – Sunday, 30 May 2021

Today is Alyshia’s birthday. Many happy returns. 

It was again very nippy this morning when we woke up, with the sun shining brightly. 

Last night I washed the towels and clothes, and this morning I stripped the sheets, doona and pillowcases from the bed. When the doona was washed, I took all the wash load (Russ carried it up the hill to the clothesline) and pegged them out. 

We then loaded our lunches and cameras and headed up the C843 road to Anson’s Bay, which is the top end of the Bay of Fires (so called because the rocks are coloured red/yellow). Much of this road was gravel but in reasonable condition with only a few sections of corrugations.  

The scenery was beautiful, and especially worth a mention was Bottleneck Ford. It was so serene today and that description really doesn’t do it justice. 

We arrived at Anson’s Bay and had a bit of a drive around. If you think of an obtuse triangle you will begin to understand the shape of the bay area, which only has one break in the coastline to provide access to the sea. The rips outside the bay appear to be ferocious. 

Time has stood still at Anson’s Bay, which is a small fishing village that hasn’t changed much since the 1940s. Temporary fibro houses are still standing with tinnies waiting to be pushed off in search of fish, and the quiet and sleepy holiday ambience makes it one of the wonderful secrets known only to locals and a select group of anglers. Having said all of that I wouldn’t like to live there. It is isolated and the stacks of wood beside the houses are huge! 

On 5 March 1788 Lt Henry Lidgbird Ball, whilst exploring the east coast of Tasmania, named the bay after George Anson, a British admiral fondly remembered as a great explorer, and who had been the first Lord of the Admiralty from1751 until his death in 1761. 

The first European to sight the area, however, was Captain Tobias Furneaux who, in 1772 when he was captain of the HMS Adventure and whilst accompanying Captain James Cook on his second voyage to the South Seas, was separated from the rest of the fleet and explored much of the eastern coast of Van Diemen’s Land. 

European settlers moved into the area in the 1830s and the dominant industry was logging. You can see the results of this as you travel along the road to Anson’s Bay, as the trees are more like open heathland than heavily forested areas. The stumps are also visible through the trees. 

As recently as 1913 the first motor car arrived in the district, driven by Dr Anderson, and in the same year a simple type of post office was opened. 

We then travelled to Policeman’s Point where we had lunch. This place is just to the southeast of Anson’s Bay and a popular camping area from the look of things. Very scenic. We took a stroll along the beach area and tried to take some shots that would indicate the beauty and wildness of the area where Anson Bay meets the ocean. 

After lunch we headed back along the road we had already travelled until we came to Kennel Hill Road (C850). This gravel track (it doesn’t deserve to be called a road) was narrow, winding and corrugated with big potholes and on par with most Victorian gravel 4WD roads. 

It brought us out at The Gardens, a seaside township halfway along the actual bay of the Bay of Fires. Apparently, it has some of the best vistas of the Bay of Fires but there are many houses built along the top of the dunes that restrict access to the views. 

It was named by Lady Jane Franklin, wife of the governor of Tasmania in the early 1800s, due to the abundance of wildflowers in the area. If you are very lucky when you are there you may spot a pod of dolphins or a humpback whale. It was not our lucky day, but the view with the wave action was terrific. 

We also called in and had a look at both north and south Cozy Corner camping areas, where we earlier contemplated staying for two days, and we both agree we are better off at St Helen’s. 

When we got back to the van the washing was dry, has now been folded and put away. The last load has been washed and is now in the dryer – $4 for 30 minutes, seems a bit expensive to me but beggars can’t be choosers. 

I forget to mention this little story yesterday. When we began our journey along the A3, I took my phone and brought up the mapping app on Google Maps and placed it on the magnetic holder (remember this bit) for Russ to be able to see where any possible roadworks would occur.  

We had been travelling for quite some time and taking a lot of interest in the Derby and Weldborough townships, and also Moorina where the Tin Dragon Discovery Trail starts. Also there was a congregation of mountain bike riders who had invaded Weldborough. Mountain bike riding in this area is BIG. Even St Helen’s has an internationally rated mountain bike trail and gets lots of visitors for this reason.  

The mountain bike trail from Weldborough takes all the C roads through the mountains and makes a loop around Moorina, Derby and Branxholm back to Weldborough. Or for the more adventurous they can bike on the C roads all the way to the Bay of Fires. There were heaps of them getting ready as we went through.  

While we were navigating our way along the twisty mountain highway, we talked about the possibility of taking an alternate route with the caravan. I said I would look it up and couldn’t find my phone anywhere. I knew I had carried it from the caravan to the car and checked under my seat and down the sides as it usually sits beside my right leg. Russ said to ring myself from his phone which I proceeded to do. We heard the chime while it was ringing but couldn’t find a direction to look. 

I said it is definitely in the car so I will look for it when we stop. It was another fifteen minutes or so when I looked to see what the road ahead looked like and then dug Russ in the ribs and pointed – yes, to my phone doing its job of navigating us. 

Day 87 – Saturday, 29 May 2021

It was another very cold morning today when we woke up. The heater worked just fine and we were feeling toasty while we had our breakfast and showers. 

We headed out along the A3 Tasman Highway with the idea of going to Branxholm and then onto the 4WD track with a few stops to see some more waterfalls. To get to this point of the journey we had to wend our way along narrow and very winding roads with lots of sign warning how slippery it gets when frosty or wet. And it was very frosty. The areas still in shadow looked like they had been snowed upon. 

This was the road we were supposed to take when leaving St Helen’s with the van to get to Scottsdale before turning north to Bridport. This decision is now immediately under review – there has to be a better way. The scenery was awesome though. 

The first road we detoured onto brought us to Legerwood and we stopped to take photos of the memorial carvings which were magnificent. The trees were planted on 15 October 1918 to honour the fallen heroes from around Legerwood who gave their lives in World War 1. They were chainsaw carved by Eddie Freeman in December 2004. 

The first carving depicts a bugler at Lone Pine with the cross and flag. 

The second carving depicts Lance Corporal John Risely who was born on 8 September 1881. He was a member of the 47th Infantry. He was in a fatigue party who were burning rubbish in a shell hole to keep warm, which was on top of an unexploded bomb. The heat from the fire exploded and he was seriously wounded. It instantly killed another member of the fatigue party named Blackmore. John died of his wounds on 13 April 1917. 

John was thought to have been working at the local sawmill before his call to arms. He left behind a wife, Alice May (nee McNally). 

The next carving depicts Private George Peddle who was a member of the 40th Battlion and was born on 4 April 1892. He was killed in action on 13 October 1917. His final resting place is unknown due to conflicting reports. 

One version says he was killed by a sniper bullet at Passendale in Belgium, and his body was never recovered, while another report says he is buried with a cross erected in his memory in a Ploegsteert, Belgium cemetery. This town is approximately 2 kilometres north of the French border. 

Next comes Private John Henry McDougall who was born in Scottsdale on 28 September 1897. He was a member of the 40th Battalion. John was killed in action on 13 October 1917 at Passendale aged 20 and had enlisted at Ringarooma. He worked as a railway porter at the Legerwood Railway Station. Many of his relatives still live in the area. He was the son of Archibald and Elizabeth. 

Then we have Private Robert James Jenkins from the 12th Battalion Australian Infantry who was born in 1889. He died of wounds on 7 January 1917 in France aged 28. 

Robert was a native of Chacewater in Cornwall, England, and came to Australia with his two brothers when he was 21 years old. He was known as a great singer (tenor) and was in much demand at local halls. 

He married Amy Francis (nee Forsyth) and nicknamed Trippy. She never remarried but for the rest of her life she kept her engagement ring in a box beside his photo on her dressing table. She was a great help to a lot of people in the community during her life and died on 5 June 1968 aged 76. The carving depicts Robert’s beloved Trippy and many other facets of life in the trenches. 

Next was Private William Henry Hyde who was in the 52nd Battalion Australian Infantry who was born on 1 May 1889. He died of wounds on 7 July 1916 at Armentieres in France aged 27. 

William was born in Longford, Tasmania and was the son of Henry and Mary of Franklin Village in Tasmania. He was employed by the local sawmill. Upon receipt of his death on 28 July 1916 the Union Jack was flown at half mast and the mill ceased work for the remainder of the day. 

Private Thomas Edward Edwards was born on 9 September 1883. He was killed in action on 19 February 1918 in Belgium aged 35. He enlisted at Ringarooma. 

Thomas was married to Florence Pathina (nee Down) in 1908. Florence and her sister Alice McDonald did a lot of catering and worked hard all their lives. In 1921 Florence remarried to George Henry McDonald, the brother of her sister Alice’s husband. 

George, whose nickname was Tas, was with Thomas when he was shot and Thomas asked Tas to look after his wife. Photos of Thomas were always on display at their home.  

On 11 June 1918 the North East Advertiser reported that five former employees of the sawmill had been killed. 

Last, but not least, comes Private Alan Robert Andrews of the 12th Battalion who was born on 9 May 1897. He was killed in action on 25 July 1916 at Pozieres Ridge in France aged 19 years. 

He was the son of Joseph and Anna Jane, and was another person who worked at the local sawmill. He was the first soldier born and raised in Ringarooma to give his life in World War 1. In the carving he is waving his hat and is accompanied by his faithful dog. 

We moved onto Ringarooma and from there onto the C423 which went to Mathinna. This road is partly 4WD gravel but does not have the many twists and turns of the A3. The gravel surface was terrific and we contemplated taking it with the van but unfortunately, it is also wet and slippery so that knocked that one out of consideration. 

Although the temperature hovered around 8 degrees when we left St Helen’s it had dropped significantly when we were in the mountain passes. At 12:30pm  the temperature was 4 degrees and the water lying in the ditches at the side of the road were iced over. I even put a heavy rock on a patch of ice and it didn’t break the surface. The frosts in the shadowed areas of the mountains made it look like it had snowed. 

We travelled a total of 211 kilometres and reached a height of 823 metres above sea level. 

We hurried back to watch/listen to the footy game. The Pies were playing Geelong and for most of the first three quarters they were absolutely woeful and couldn’t kick a goal to save themselves. The last time the Cats had the Pies goalless at half time was in 1896! The last time they endured a goalless first half at the MCG was in 2005.They came back somewhat in the last quarter and Brody Grundy was injured and the medical substitute was called onto the ground. It’s going to be a ,looong season. 

Day 86 – Friday, May 28 2021

The sun was shining brightly this morning when the alarm went off at 8:30am. The temperature, however, was another matter entirely registering 4.3 degrees with a feels-like temp of minus 2.2 degrees. Very nippy indeed. 

We were packed up and leaving the Bicheno caravan park at 10:15am. It was a slower drive than usual due to the narrow and winding road – mostly on a good surface – and with many interruptions for roadworks. We reckon that at least 5 kilometres of the journey was through roadworks at a speed of 40 kilometres per hour. 

St Helen’s Caravan Park is a Big4 and is really quite big and well set out. The joint would be hopping during summer. One of the locals the other day estimated that the area along this part of the east coast would swell by 14,000 people during Easter and Christmas, and there are many major trail bike events held around here also. 

St Helen’s itself is one of the larger business areas along the coast although it doesn’t have a Coles or Woolworths, only the IGA. It sits on Georges Bay. It is the largest town on the north east coast and Tasmania’s second largest fishing port and is known as the game fishing capital of Tasmania. It caters for everyone from deep sea fishing to rock lobster, two sorts of tuna, oysters and abalone. It is also the gateway to the Bay of Fires. 

Day 85 – Thursday, 27 May 2021

What a magnificent day. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and a gentle breeze is blowing. However, it didn’t last very long before the temperature plummeted and it got very cold, the sky was overcast and grey. 

We printed out the diary and posted it off from Bicheno. Only two more excerpts to go, and the last one will be printed at Lake Learmonth the morning we get back into Victoria off the ferry. 

I took all the mats out for a good shaking and swept the floor – again! It keeps getting tiny pebbles from outside. They catch in our shoes and don’t come out when we wipe our feet, so we end up bringing them inside. 

I also took the opportunity of checking all the buttons on the cupboards. Some of them needed tightening as they come loose from the road vibrations. 

Our afternoon was fairly quiet and we attended to all the items that needed checking before we head off again tomorrow. 

The diesel heater is still working, fingers crossed, although it blows out an enormous amount of smoke when first starting. Russ says it is in need of a really good service and this will happen when we are back in Victoria. 

Janelle (Trish, Janelle is our niece and Russ is her godfather) rang tonight and talked with Russ for a good catchup of all things happening. We hope to meet with her when we are attending my specialist appointment in Melbourne, Covid 19 allowing this we hope. The phone call lasted 2 hours and 16 minutes and there was a lot of chatter and laughter. I did the dishes and chuckled. 

Day 84 – Wednesday, 26 May 2021

We travelled a total of 170 kilometres today. 

 I went to sleep at the normal time of 10:30pm and slept until 12:30am when I woke up completely and was unable to go back to sleep. I made a cup of hot chocolate when Russ got up to use the bathroom, and he went back to bed and back to sleep straight away, and snored. 

I read until 3:30am and decided I might be able to go back to sleep, which did happen, thank goodness. 

We breakfasted while the washing was done, two loads, and I hung them out on the clothesline while Russ had his shower. 

We finally headed out for the day about 10:30am and headed to the Douglas Apsley National Park. We took a lovely stroll through the bush along the Waterhole Loop Track, and took a lot of photos. 

Then we headed north to St Helens to check out the caravan park we are going to on Friday. It will be an interesting drive as there are major sets of roadworks along the way. 

We had lunch at Diana’s Beach and then walked down onto the shore to take photos of the surf. We had a wonderful chat with one of the locals who was playing fetch with Stella, his dog. He was very angry that some people had come into the conservation area and lit a fire on the beach, and instead of taking their bottles and cans away with them they had buried them under the coals of the fire. This meant that the heat actually broke the bottles and there was glass all through the area where the local let their dogs off the leach. 

We then continued further south back towards Bicheno and stopped at Mariposa Beach. Here we not only got action shots of the tremendous surf and waves, but were able to get photographs of the surfers trying to catch a wave. 

We passed a beautiful two storey Georgian-style house that could have been plucked from a Jane Austin novel and further investigation provided us with a name, Enstone Park. The building was constructed in 1860 and is perched on the outskirts of Falmouth. Apparently it has been purchased by a man who intends to restore both Enstone Park and the neighbouring property, Glencoe, to their previous glory and open them as accommodation units with some land set aside for caravans. 

The buildings are close to a lagoon and part of the drawcard for tourists will be the local birdlife. The farm at Glencoe is also in the process of converting its 3,000 head sheep flock back to merinos. 

Enstone Park was built be J Steel in 1867 for the sum of 1,740 pounds. It was completed in 1868. The Launceston Examiner wrote, ‘On a gentle slope about half a mile from the sea stands the mansion known as Thompson Villa. The exterior of the building produces a highly picturesque and pleasing effect [It is built from yellow sandstone]. The principal rooms open onto a wide veranda, which is decidedly ornamental. The entrance hall is divided by Corinthian fluted columns, with pilasters and Corinthinian cornice, well lighted by a beautiful ornamental stained glass window, recognised as the handiwork of our enterprising fellow colonists, Messrs Ferguson, Urie and Lyon of North Melbourne’. 

It was named Enstone Park after World War 1 by LJ Steel who lived in the house until his death at the age of 102 in 1968. We didn’t get to see any of this inside beauty but the house itself looks classical and lovely. 

It has been another beautiful autumn day and the temperature peaked at 18 degrees. By the time we made it back to the van the clothes on the line were dry and I was able to remove them, fold them, and they were put away. 

Day 83 – Tuesday, 25 May 2021

It rained here overnight and was very overcast, grey and windy this morning. Surprisingly, I slept like a log and have only had to blow my nose a few times throughout the day. At least it has stopped leaking like a faulty faucet.  

We had a very lazy morning, then had lunch before heading into town. We had both cassettes to empty first off at the Dump Point, and after that we travelled to the Blowhole at the end of the Esplanade. 

Surprise! Surprise! It actually was a blowhole, and the tide was incoming, so along with the wild weather we were witnesses to some awesome scenes. 

We then did the grocery shopping, went to the Pharmacy for scripts and tablets. I also checked out the Surf Shop which has some beautiful stuff. I didn’t buy myself a single thing, but thoroughly enjoyed looking. 

Whilst we were strolling along the footpath we came across the Historic Society and a lovely sculpture of an indigenous woman. Her story is absolutely fascinating. Whalers and sealers settled in what would become Bicheno in the early 1800s. Originally the settlement was called Waubs Harbour after Wauba Debar. 

Wauba was an Aboriginal woman who had been kidnapped as a teenage to become the wife of a sealer. This was quite a common practice in those days, and slacery was still legal in Britain, and the girls were often taken as much for their hunting and fishing skills as for the fact that they could share a man’s bed. 

Wauba was a strong swimmer, and when her husband and another sealer were shipwrecked during a storm, she swam out to the spot about one kilometre off shore and rescued them. 

She died at sea in 1832, aged 40, during a raid on their campsite and was kidnapped once again but did not survive the ordeal, and in an act that was very unusual for the time, in 1855 some local settlers raised funds to put a headstone on her grave. 

Her remains are actually no longer here as her body, without the knowledge or consultation with her indigenous people or the Bicheno community, was exhumed in 1893 and sent to the Museum of Tasmania, a practice that was common in that period of time, as they were determined to have the remains as an exhibit. 

Wauba Debar’s remains were returned to the Tasmanian Aboriginal community in the 1990s and they were cremated. Her gravestone in Bicheno and her memory are still being tended to by the community in Bicheno today. Her memorial and empty grave remind us of the atrocities that were part of the European invasion. 

The sun came out shortly after we returned to the van, and Russ had his SCAN.  The surf is still very loud as it comes into the bay.  

We now have a man in a tent, with his golden retriever, camping in the tent area, and unfortunately, a whizz bang arrived and is parked behind our van for the night. 

Day 82 – Monday, 24 May 2021

I woke up at 4:00am this morning and sneezed silently five times, got up and took a pain killer then dozed until the alarm went off at 8:30am. The nose was running freely, and I took a Zyrtec in the hopes that it was a bout of hay fever, and the tablet would help with the nose. However, it did for only a short time so I may have picked up a head cold. I have no idea where and am not feeling too bad as yet. I spent the rest of the day with the tissues close at hand and sneezing intermittently. 

I was feeling so miserable by the time we were on the way back to the van that we rang ahead for takeout and picked up two bowls of seafood chowder at the Pondering Frog as we went past. Lester was still in fine form and asked how our adventures were coming along. 

The day was fine, and it was 15 degrees when we left the van this morning. We travelled 259 kilometres around the countryside and went from 7 metres above sea level to 717 metres as we travelled through the Elephant Pass, which is 27 kilometres north of Bicheno. The temperature dropped down to 9 degrees when we were at the heights. Thanks heavens we don’t have to travel the Elephant Pass to get to St Helen’s. It is a torturous and narrow winding road without any chance of it being made better because it is carved out of the rocky mountainside. 

We had made plans from our tourist maps to see several waterfalls in the area along with some 4WD tracks. It was a very frustrating time as several of the tracks were closed, or in such horrible condition that we turned around and left them alone. 

We came through the little village of Royal George which had once been a minor mining site but interesting as it was on the Old Coach Road, a gravel road through the hills. At either end of the section through the hills there’s a sign stating, ‘Built by convicts, re-opened by residents 1959’. 

In 1845 Charles Meridith, husband of Louise Meridith, moved his family from Swansea to Port Sorell and took this route which was then described as a bridle path. In his wife’s 1852 recount of her time in Tasmania (“My Home in Tasmania”, still in print) she noted the presence of a probation station along the way. There is, however, no actual record of any convict work actually being done on the road, and apparently the probation station mentioned in her book is described as abandoned before it was occupied. There was a convict outpost at Avoca and a sub-post at Fingal but no record of them working out past Mt Henry on this road. 

The town has a population of 28 people and is on the St Paul’s River. The village and mine were named after the Royal Navy vessel HMS Royal George, which was under the command of Captain Robert Hepburn during the Napoleonic Wars, and the captain settled nearby at Roy’s Hill in 1828. The scenery along the way was marvellous. 

Once we reached the highway at Cranbrook, we turned towards Rawlinna on the B34 road. We didn’t get to Rawlinna as our objective was to see Meetus Falls on a 4WD track which turned off before the township itself. This road was in fairly good condition, much like other 4WD tracks we have taking before today. 

However, the track takes a turn off the main 4WD area to get to the falls themselves, and this track was full of potholes brimming with water. It was a very uncomfortable and slow journey to the carpark. 

The track to the falls was a Grade 3 walk, but we didn’t find that out until we were well on the way home. Both of us handled it pretty well, and we commented that we could not have handled it when we first arrived in Tasmania all those weeks ago. It was very rocky with steep ascent/descent sections, but the view at the end was worthwhile.  

The Meetus Falls is a 35-metre cascade from Lake Leake to the Cygnet River. It had quite a volume of water pouring over the edge considering that it is autumn and there has been no significant rainfall in the area for a while. 

I was glad to make it back and have a cuppa before Russ had his SCAN. The seafood chowder was every bit as good as it had been two days ago. 

Day 81 – Sunday, 23 May 2021

We had intended to do the historic walk around Bicheno today, but Russ woke up with a migraine, had his breakfast, took some more medication, and went back to sleep for a while to see if he could get rid of it. 

It is another beautiful day with the temperature getting to 19 degrees. The breeze is mild but nippy. 

I hung the washing out on the line first thing this morning as I had washed the towels and clothes last night. I had a lazy day reading until the Pies game started at 3:40pm after cutting the steak for the casserole and turning on the slow cooker. 

The Pies put up a gutsy effort for a change and went down to Port Adelaide by a point. Apparently, Eddie Maguire was hosting a group of Americans who had come to watch the game, and the match was terrific so they shouldn’t have gone away too disappointed with the spectacle of Aussie Rules Football. 

All the clothes had dried on the line except for the mat, and the casserole was tasty and tender to eat. Neither Russ nor I are enjoying Tasmanian potatoes and are looking forward to some real tatties when we get back to Victoria. 

Did I mention previously that there are no emus in Tasmania? I have meant to do so on several occasions but then forgot. The early settlers hunted them to extinction as a meat product. 

The Caravan Park has been very quiet for the last couple of days, and we are the only van on site.