Hobart- Port Arthur

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The beautiful city of Hobart was founded in 1804 in Sullivan's Cove, much of it stands on land reclaimed by convicts.  They also manned the quarry and built the Georgian sandstone warehouses of Salamanca Place .  If the name sounds familiar, it was named for the Duke of Wellington's 1812 victory in the Battle of Salamanca during the Napoleonic Wars.  This part of the city has a colourful past having been the stomping grounds of sailors and whalers long before it's current gentrification
Imaginative use of the derelict Henry Jones IXL Jam Factory

'Seals and Penguins' is part of an art installation by Stephen Walker celebrating the city's connection with Antarctica.  A second installation the 'The Bernacchi Tribute' memorialises Louis Bernacchi, scientist and photogapher who was the first Australian to winter in Antarctica 

The plaque commemorates Sir James Clark Ross who led the first expedition from Hobart in 1840, the last completely under sail

'High' density housing Hobart style

The Tasman Bridge 1964

Spans the Derwent River linking Queens Domain with the suburb of Montagu

In 1975 it was struck by a bulk ore carrier causing two pylons and three sections of concrete decking to fall from the bridge and sink the ship.   Seven crewmen lost their lives along with five motorists.  The river is deep at this point and the wreck of the Lake Illawarra lies on the bottom with a concrete slab on top, without it's being hazardous to navigation

This was a major inconvenience to regular users of the short cut to the city.   It would take almost a year before a Bailey bridge could be built and two years and $44 million for the official reopening of the bridge.   All vehicular traffic is now kept off the bridge while large ships transit underneath

Louisa's Walk
Judith plays Louisa Rogan from her arrest in London for stealing a loaf of bread, through her trail and sentencing to 7 years in a penal colony, her arrival at the Female factory in Cascades Hobart and the brutal conditions of life there for women and the unfortunate children born there.  It wasn't difficult to be engaged by their performance and to walk the walk with them, much of it for me in tears.  Her husband Chris played all the men in her life and a pretty nasty lot they were too,  until the happy ever after upon release.  They remained in character until we arrived back at  Cascades park where they produced a bottle of wine for us to toast the memory of all the poor souls who passed though those gates
Cascade Park and Brewery

Judith and Chris

Memorial to the women of the Female Factory

This was undoubtedly the highlight of our time in Tasmania.  I had heard about a new tour and went straight to the information center to book.  We were the only people that day and were very happy when Judith and Chris Cornish agreed to perform just for us.  At the park they explained they were a couple of actors who didn't want to leave home to work so came up with this (brilliant) piece of strolling Theatre.  I heard from Judith in 2018 and she told us Port Arthur took over the running of the Female Factory and asked them to create a new play 'Her Story", taking place wholly on site which they did in 2012.  For a time the 2 plays overlapped, they stopped Louisa in 2016  Although sad to let her go they thought 10 years was enough

Port Arthur

It was the best of days, it was the worst of days

 

The Tasmanian weather really socked in on our flying visit to Port Arthur.  On the one hand it made for a very atmospheric introduction to this most hated of destinations. 

It was not hard to imagine how inmates must have felt at their first sight of the penal colony from which there was reputed to be no way of escape.  On the other hand it was the worst way to see it from our point of view

Another petty annoyance was the presence of the Sydney Symphony and Chorus 'roadies' setting up for a performance of the 1812 Overture the next day.  Their trucks and massive steel structures to support the stage along with miles of cable rather spoilt the atmosphere the weather had conjured up.  I hope the rain stopped for them

We were shocked and saddened to see the posters asking visitors not to engage staff in conversations about the massacre.  It was the first we had heard about it

 I did not make the emotional connection I felt at the Female Factory in Hobart but I wish I could have a rain check for Port Arthur, no pun intended
We liked Tasmania and Hobart very much and toyed with the idea of spending a Canadian winter there.   If only it were not on the other side of the world
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