Posts Tagged Gordon River

Strahan is spectacular


On the Gordon River and what a stunning day. It is the classic view.

IMG_9864A very long drive is required to Strahan from every main city or town in Tasmania but this is the reward.

IMG_9899The town of Strahan that reminded us of Padstow in England.


A village full of quaint cottages and terraces mostly owned by the Federal Group. Shame about the parking sign. Tie up your horse here would have been an alternative.


You pay for parking everywhere but when we checked the cost it was only 40c an hour.  We stayed high on the hill overlooking the village.


It was easy to pick the houses that are operated by the Federal Group as the houses had room numbers and shared the same black outdoor seating.


That was a glimpse of the town but the star attraction in Strahan is out on the water. A lighthouse to guide vessels out through Hells Gates into the ocean.IMG_9804

A narrow and dangerous opening.


On board the crowds swell to the front but the man in the checked shirt decides to turn away, what was he thinking.

IMG_9868Thankfully no need for this on our trip but I did listen to the life raft drill.

IMG_9886We alighted on the infamous Sarah Island, this is a must do tour. For harsh conditions for convicts it was the most notorious penal settlement and built  before Port Arthur.

IMG_9897There is so little evidence of the many buildings erected but now the island is covered in trees and vegetation that it is impossible to believe the guides when they tell us there was no greenery whatsoever. All the trees were cleared in 1822 to make way for the buildings and it is only on seeing the drawings of the buildings that you can imagine its former life with a tannery, bakehouse, gaol, military barracks, forges and other workshops, hospital,  stores and quarry. Even the Government House and administrative offices have disappeared.


What is left of the Bakehouse.

If you go to Strahan you must attend the theatre group ROUND EARTH COMPANY production. It is a bonus that the actors actually come along on the boat trip to tell the story of the islands former inhabitants and they do a wonderful job bringing the history to us with no props, only a handful of ruins as their stage.

Later that evening we attended their performance in town. It is in the amphitheatre next to the tourist office. The play is written about a famous escape – The Ship that never was.  Richard Davey has written the story of a group of convicts who escaped Sarah Island, had some adventures but were eventually brought back and put on trial.  The play focuses on the ensuing and ludicrous argument they presented in court as their defence. The play has run for 20 years, a record for Australian theatre we are told.

A footnote. Sarah Island was named after the wife of the doctor who financed the expedition. Sarah was born on Norfolk Island and was the daughter of George Guest of the First Fleet and Mary Bateman, Second Fleet. I am sure she would not have been pleased her name was attributed to a place of punishment and degradation.

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