Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cataract Gorge and Boag's Brewery

David & Tina, far left, Bob, Di & Max, right

The Tasting - we enjoyed that part of the tour!

Boag's Head Office 39 William St Launceston

The Gorge

Homes perched beside the Tamar River

We booked in for the 11.30am cruise, Bob & Di & ourselves, and on arriving found that the Lady Launceston had blown a gasket - worse, she had blown a gasket a few days ago & the new gasket had been put ON TOP OF the old gasket! So I guess it was a double blown gasket ..... Fortunately it was repaired in time for us to set off more or less on time, and we enjoyed a 1 hour cruise around the Tamar and Gorge - we loved the eccentric homes perched on the slopes above the Tamar, some of them in need of serious repair. It was hard to believe the lovely Cataract Gorge is so close to the city centre - only one mile so our guide said.
Imagine our surprise and delight when we met up with old friends from Bowning, NSW, Tina & David - they were just about to board the Lady Launceston for the 12.30pm cruise!
We'd sighted a swish looking Fish'n'Chip restaurant on the boardwalk beside the river, and our guide said our tickets entitled us to 10% discount - we needed it, two pieces of flake (no chips) was $17.50!!! It was a delicious meal tho, and the surroundings were lovely.
Back to Legana for a brief respite, and Di & Bob checking that Meg (their little dog) was OK, and off again to Boag's Brewery. Wikipedia has a good description & history of Boag's if you're interested. We had a look at part of the brewing process (sadly no frothy, yeasty vats) and then the bottling, labelling & packaging section - amazingly fast & one man in charge of the whole operation as far as we could see. Then came The Tasting. Our guide, Matt, was quite enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the different beers, you taste it on the front of your tongue, then right at the back - which means you HAVE to swallow every tasting! :-) I was driving, so I had very teeny tastes! Every morning at precisely 10am the current brew is tasted - because taste buds are fresh at that time of the morning, and haven't been contaminated by the day's eating activities!
Amazing how the day flew by ... in fact we are amazed at how the whole holiday is flying by!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Tamar Valley - Brady's Lookout

Matthew Brady - a likely lad! see article from

From Brady's Lookout (both pics)

An easy drive today brought us to Legana, a few kilometres out of Launceston. We took a short drive in the afternoon, and stopped at Brady's Lookout, which we thought was quite spectacular.

We could just imagine Matt Brady and his gang up here, where they had a good view of what the troopers were up to, and where it would be easy to hide. The transcription below is from information at the Lookout:

Matthew Brady (1799-1826)
In 1820 Mathew Brady, described as a labourer, was sentenced by the Lancashire Quarter Sessions to be transported for seven years for stealing food.
Brady was transported in the 'Juliana' and during four years under convict discipline, received a total of 350 lashes for attempts to abscond and for other misdemeanours. In 1823 Brady was sent to Sarah Island, Macquarie Harbour but escaped next year with a group of confederates. During the two years that Brady was at large he fought a number of running battles with government troops and private settlers.
Prior to Brady's capture in 1826 he and his gang camped quietly in the thick bush on the castellated rocky outcrops overlooking the Tamar River at Rosevears. In the back of Brady's mind was always the thought that when Tasmania became too hot to hold him he would pirate a ship on the Tamar River and escape by sea. Several attempts were made to take over ships 'Duke of York'and 'Glory', but lack of enthusiasm on the part of his non-seafaring gang saw these efforts come to naught.
Whilst raiding Mr Dry's Elphin Farm in Launceston looking for supplies, Brady was captured after a shootout.
In April 1826 Brady was brought to Hobart to stand trial and his firm deportment excited much attention. With others he was charged with stealing a musket and a bayonet, with setting fire to the premises of W E Lawrence at the Lake River, with stealing horses from him and with the murder of Thomas Kenton.
Brady was convicted as charged and was hanged on 4th May 1826.

And from Eureka Council website:

Matthew Brady (1799-1826) was a Manchester boy sentenced by the Salford Assizes in 1820 to seven years exile for stealing a basket with some bacon, butter and rice.
Wild with resentment, he tried again and again to escape and was pushed down from Assignment to a chain gang, and was finally condemned to the penal hell hole at Macquarie Harbour.
In the first four years of his transportation he took 350 lashes.
In June 1824, Brady and thirteen other convicts escaped from Macquarie Harbour in a whaleboat. Before the end of the month they reached the Derwent, came ashore, robbed a settler of his guns and provisions and then set up a permanent headquarters in the bush.
His gang robbed travellers and outlying settlers, gaining wealth and reputation in the process.
In fact they quickly became famous. Colonel George Arthur, the new lieutenant-governor of Van Dieman's Land, papered the gum trees with proclamations calling "in the most earnest manner" on all settlers to join in the hunt for the Brady gang and to order their Crown servants to pass on whatever information they heard.
It was futile, for the convicts would rather join Brady than rat on him. On many occasions convict servants hid Brady and his men in barns, fed them and showed them where the master's guns were kept.
Arthur next appealed to baser motives by posting rewards: first £10 per head for each member of the growing Brady gang, which by now was rumoured to be one hundred strong, then £25.
If a convict gave information that led to the arrest of one of these bandits, he would get his ticket-of-leave. If he caught the bushranger himself, he got a conditional pardon.
The only result was a notice pinned to the door of the Royal Oak Inn at Cross-Marsh a week later:
"It has caused Matthew Brady much concern that such a person known as Sir George Arthur is at large. Twenty gallons of rum will be given to any person that can deliver his person to me."
There was no question that the lad was flash. He was chivalrous, too. He was nicknamed the "gentleman bushranger", because he was so polite to women, thanked those he robbed, and would never kill a free men.
Brady would never harm a woman or let any of his gang do so. When his partner McCabe threatened to rape a settler's wife, Brady shot him through the hand, flogged him mercilessly and threw him out of the gang; Arthur's police caught McCabe ten, days later, and hanged him.
In another incident, a psychopathic convict named Mark Jeffries, a government executioner and flogger had absconded. He was known as "The Monster". He had captured a settler's wife while he was on the run but was irked by the crying of her new-born baby. He picked it up by the legs and smashed its head against a gum tree. Later he was caught and jailed for trial in Launceston. When Brady heard about this he had to be argued out of leading his gang in a frontal assault on the Launceston lockup, freeing all the prisoners, dragging Jeffries out and flogging him to death.
He waged systematic war against the Empire, its army, police and administration. For example he attacked the prison at Sorell, 14 miles east of Hobart, and released all the convicts and put the guards behind bars. (At that time such prisons were maned by military personal with a civilian in administrative charge. The were effectively military fortifications.)
The Brady gang fought like Tasmanian devils when cornered, with skill and coolness, shooting their way past many police ambushes.
They were fearless in attacking the Empire; and systematically targeted their civil oppressors, especially "flogging magistrates".
Through all this, Brady truly embodied the best of the English, Arthurian heritage that demands that strength be used to "Up-hold the Right and defend the weak." Thus he would always treat their captives fairly.
When they took John Barnes, colonial surgeon, a prisoner while ransacking a magistrate's house at Coal River, in Barnes' own words,
"One of the men who stopped me … had been punished a few days before by order of the magistrate, upon some trifling complaint of his master; the man was not in very good health ... and I took him down before the whole of the flagellation had been inflicted, and requested that the magistrate would pardon him the rest;he reflected the circumstance with a little gratitude, or probably I might have been more severely handled."
They took his watch but gave him back his lancet-case, telling him that it "might be of service to him by and by" and then they released him unharmed.
Brady also "defended the weak". He took care not to harm assigned servants in the homesteads he raided; but in case they "gave music" to the police later, he forced them to drink their masters' whiskey until they were too fuddled to remember what his men had said, or which way they had gone. At least one luckless teetotaller died from this; and others, due to the vile quality of colonial spirits, became very sick, but like Robin Hood, he was loved for this.
Not by Lieutenant-Governor Arthur though, who was a tirelessly methodical man, and he eventually wore Brady down.
He offered irresistible rewards-300 guineas, or 300 acres of land free of quit-rent to the man who brought Brady in; or, for convicts, a full unconditional pardon and free passage to England.
With a reorganised police force and re-enforcements from the 40th Regiment of Foot under his command, he waged a war of attrition, picking off the gang members one by one, in a series of running skirmishes.
He also successfully sent out police spies wearing convicts chains, who infiltrated Brady's force using the cover story that they had escaped from an Iron Gang and were on the run.
Thus betrayed from within he was quickly outflanked by Government forces. Brady was shot in the leg in the ensuing battle near Paterson's Plains, just outside of Launceston. He got away but was captured a few days later, limping and exhausted, by a settler named John Batman (the future founder of Melbourne).
They put Matthew Brady in Launceston jail and a few days later put him in chains and brought him down to Hobart, accompanied, to his disgust, by the man he most despised in the world, the infant-killer Mark Jeffries.
Before his trial and hanging, Brady was feted as a popular hero. If his fate had been decided by popular vote, he would have gone free.
Dozens of petitions for clemency arrived at Government House.
Women shed tears for the "likely lad," the "poor colonial boy," who had shown such consideration to their sex. His cell was filled every day with visitors bringing baskets of flowers, fan letters, fruit and fresh-baked cakes.
But the judge was determined to make a solemn and awful example of him. On May 4, 1826, Brady received his last Communion and mounted the scaffold above a sea of colonial faces, contorted in grief, and they cheered him over the drop; only his enemies were silent.
( The government could not expunge his name from popular memory: A 4,000 foot peak in the Western Tiers Mountains, which looks down onto the Lake named for Governor Arthur, is still known as Brady's Lookout, and there is also a Brady's Lake out past the Tungatinah power station on the Lyell Highway).

Monday, March 23, 2009

The East Coast - St Helen's & Bicheno - & Cornwall!


The coast between Scamander and Bicheno

St Helen's - cray boats

The route we took

We set off at 9am and headed north up the Midland Hwy, and turning off at the Esk Hwy.

Just before St Mary's we saw a sign pointing to - CORNWALL! Yes! we thought, at last, some Cornish input for the blog. Only 3km up the road, we found the little village, which had been the site of a coal mine opened in 1886 (coal had been found in 1843, but it needed the railway to make it a viable business proposition). Some Cornish tin miners had been brought out to teach their mining skills, and the company formed was appropriately called the Cornwall Coal Mining Company. I couldn't find any further info about the tin miners, who they were and how many, or what happened to them .... but there is a Wall of remembrance with the names of many, many miners who had worked in the district. After the obligatory pictures had been taken we continued on to St Mary's, then through St Mary's Pass - shudder, steep drop on my side, be CAREFUL Max!!! On to the Tasman Hwy - we made St Helen's by lunch time, and had yummy fish and chips from The Captain's Catch - very nicely done, none of your greasies in St Helen's!

Next stop Bicheno - oh, we like Bicheno! It had clouded over by the time we got there, but the brisk breeze blowing at St Helen's had dropped right away, and it was very pleasant. A walk along the clifftop, admiring Diamond Island and the wonderful rock formations, and then we decided to look for a cray for tea - this was Bicheno, after all! We asked at the Visitor Centre - certainly we could buy a cray, over at the butchers of all places! It was a gourmet butcher admittedly, who specialised in sausages - Max pointed out the varieties listed, there must have been thirty at least! Half a cray cost us $54 and a dozen green prawns was another $12 - then I noticed the butcher made his own brawn, now I haven't seen brawn since my mother used to make it - so we had to have some of that! Well, it was an expensive tea, but it was worth it!

By this time it was about 3.30pm and we thought it was time to head for home - Ross was 100km away, taking the Lake Leake Road back to the Midland Hwy. The sun was shining on the midlands, and we remarked on the difference in the weather, presuming the mountains are the influence which make it so changeable.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ross - lovely old town on the Macquarie River

The famous Ross Bridge

Max in his nifty blue galoshes!

From our campsite at Berriedale, on the Derwent River

It rained overnight, wouldn't you know it, so Max improvised with a couple of plastic bags on his feet - it worked! To pack up the van, he has to do a considerable amount of walking around it and muddy feet is not fun in the car!
Fortunately it has only rained at night, and today stayed true to form - a lovely autumn day for our short (100km or so) drive to Ross.
We stopped for morning tea at the Kentish Hotel in Oatlands - they have a bakery attached to the pub, and why not? We pulled in to Ross around midday, found the caravan park, um, campground? very pleasantly situated right next to the bridge, and with only one other van there - the facilities are fairly ordinary, but it's all about position, position, position isn't it? We are right next to the military barracks, Ross was a military town with several different corps stationed here at various times. We had dinner at the Man O' Ross Hotel, having had a good look at the various antique shops, a lovely garden-cum-nursery, a wood work exhibition and a wool exhibition.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Botanical Gardens, Clarendon and the Salmon Ponds

The Salmon Ponds


Pete's Vegie Patch - that pumpkin was HUGE!
The Botanical Gardens Hobart

We met friends from Lakes Entrance, Di & Bob, for lunch at the Gardens - they are caravanning too, and will be returning on the Spirit of Tasmania on the same day as us. We wandered up to Pete's Vegie Patch, Pete being Peter Cundall of the ABC television's Gardening Show. Pete is retired now, but his enthusiasm has inspired thousands over the years - and at 80-plus, he is as fit and active as can be, a great advertisement for the therapeutic benefits of gardening. The vegie garden is all organic, and looks wonderful - it was hard to resist the impulse to harvest the beans which were ready for picking, and all the other goodies. The espaliered apple trees particularly caught our eye - and of course the HUMUNGOUS pumpkin!
We left Bob & Di and went on up the Lyell Highway to Gretna, where I knew Clarendon was located. Clarendon was built by my 3x great grandfather William Borrodaile Wilson. It is rather confusing, as I have 2 Wilson families in my tree who are not related, but who intermarried. This William B Wilson arrived in Sydney in 1819 & was on the same ship (the 'Surrey' as the Terry family, whose daughter Grace he married in 1821). He was granted land & arrived in Van Diemen's Land in 1819; he is doubtless the Mr Wilson who came by the 'Daphne' on 1 July of that year (Hobart Town Gazette 3 July 1819). Because of the inaccuracy of the original survey of the Derwent in this district most settlers received much more land than was intended. Wilson obtained an order for 800 acres from Governor Macquarie and it was measured out by surveyor GW Evans. Later the block was found to contain 1272 acres (C801/180/4337).

On 22 March, 1821, Wilson, aged 23, was married at Hobart Town to Grace, aged 22, eldest daughter of John Terry of 'Lachlan Mills' by whom he had a large family (in May 1831 he had '8 children with the immediate prospect of another' (Terry pedigree, Archives Office of Tasmania; CS01/180/4337). In 1825, after some argument over the extra land he had unwittingly received, he was granted an additional two hundred acres of land. In 1831 he was allowed another 247 acres. Wilson's brother (perhaps one Thomas Wilson about whom nothing has been discovered) was also granted land in this district. In 1825 Wilson claimed that he was building a flour mill. In 1831 he stated that he intended erecting 'works for the manufacture of woollen cloths'. Whether either of these was constructed has not been found (CS01/180/4337).

In the depression of the early 'forties Wilson became bankrupt (Hobart Town Courier 19 Aug 1842). The Hobart Town Courier of 16 September 1842 contains the following notice:

Sale of a Most Valuable Estate

The Auction Company's Agent,
Is instructed to SELL BY PUBLIC AUCTION,
on the premises, On FRIDAY, the 23rd instant, at 12 o'clock,
(by order of the assignee of Mr William Borrodaile Wilson, and with consent of the mortgagees,)
All that most DESIRABLE and VALUABLE PROPERTY, known as 'WILSON'S FARM', situated on the MACQUARIE PLAINS, bounded in front by the river Derwent, and adjoining the estates of Messrs. Spode, Fenton and Terry. the farm comprises about 2,000 acres; a considerable portion is in a high state of cultivation, about 100 acres are now under crop; 14 miles of fencing has been recently completed; and the homestead surpasses any in the district, having been erected at an expense of upwards of 4,000 pounds. A considerable portion of this estate might be irrigated at little expense by means of machinery from the Derwent.
There is at present a water-course cut, which secures a fall of about fifteen feet, sufficient to turn any power of machinery, and there is upwards of thirty feet fall in the Derwent in front of the property. Nearly 1000 acres might be brought into cultivation. Nevertheless, this estate, with all its natural advantages and important improvements, must be sold, without reserve, at the times price.

Presumably it was at this time that John Walker, the well-known Hobart Towan brewer and miller, bought the property. Certainly the Colonial Times of 7 September, 1844, contains a notice of milling charges at his 'Clarendon Mill', Macquarie Plains.

In 1848 Wilson was living on his own in an unfinished brick house at The Falls belonging to Mrs Bridger. Thomas Wilson was living nearby in another uncompleted brick residence belonging to WB Wilson. Grace was a resident of Burnett Street, New Norfolk (Census returns 1848). WB Wilson was still alive on 28 August 1851, when his second daughter Mary Ann was married to the Reverend Charles Simson on 3 September 1851. Grace Wilson died on18th April 1855 after a long illness. WBW died on the goldfields of Bendigo in 1854. Perhaps he had gone there trying to rebuild his life after losing Clarendon in the depression of the 1840s.

After 1945 the property was resumed for soldier settlement, divided in two and both farms bought by Terry descendants.
It was wonderful to see the home with my own eyes, although it had been let go badly by previous owners. The current owners are restoring the home as they can afford to, and I was very grateful to be allowed to photograph this piece of family history.
We left Clarendon and went back to New Norfolk, and then out to the Salmon Ponds, where we saw huge brown and rainbow trout, and Atlantic salmon, and wandered through the very interesting museum which traces the history of trout fishing in Tasmania. The first trout eggs were brought out packed in moss, then in ice, all the way from England. It was thought that they would not survive - but they did!

The Tasman Peninsula and Port Arthur

Port Arthur ruins

Tasman Arch
East coast of Tasman Peninsula
We had an early start today, Thursday 19th March, and after an hour & a half drive we arrived at - well, at their departure point! Wow! What a morning we had, cruising along the Tasman Peninsula, in and out of the coastline, into and under the Tasman Arch, the Devil's Kitchen, along to Waterfall Bay, watched the seals basking on the rocks, down to Cape Pillar and a lady on board told us how her 3x great grandparents who were on board the 'Tyne' when it was wrecked right on the coast we were looking at - go to
if you are interested in more info.
After being put off the boat at Stewart's Bay (we boarded at Pirate's Bay) we drove down into Port Arthur and had a delicious lunch (the ubiquitous chicken and camembert pie!) and then another cruise around the bay and a stroll around the ruins. We were assigned a convict when we bought our ticket and then invited to follow his story - my poor chap was a sawyer by trade from Edinburgh, and died of typhoid when he was 19 - Max's had no trade, and he died when he was 63 - both of them buried out on the island in the bay in front of the prison, called 'the Isle of the Dead'. A thousand plus prisoners were buried on this one tiny island - seems hard to believe. For more info on Port Arthur, go to .
No one can go to Port Arthur without thinking of that terrible day in April 1996 when lone gunman Martin Bryant went on his murderous rampage - the original visitor centre/restaurant has been left as a shell, just the walls standing, as part of the memorial.
The weather has been so kind to us - blue skies and sunshine, & no wind! Wow!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Historic Richmond and The Bridge

Hobart in miniature - Government House on the left

Tommy Lake thinking of Home

Richmond Bridge

One of the marked stones

Steve Cain at work

A better view of the bridge

We'd planned to take a bus trip up to the top of Mount Wellington, but at 10am it was heavy with cloud, so we cancelled out, and set off for Richmond. On the way we spotted people picking blackberries and we thought "Hmmmm blackberry pie, jam .... let's get some!" So we did, and rose hips too, and I spent tonight putting up blackberry conserve and rose hip jam - Carol would be proud of me, (Carol is our gardening and living close to the earth guru, she gave our U3A Gardening Group a wonderful talk recently on 'Preserving your Bounty', and told how she will stop and pick wild apples and plums growing by the roadside and bring them home to bottle).
On to Richmond - an early settlement in Tasmania's history, and important to our family, because 3 x great grandfather William Hartley Wilson was the stonemason in charge of the building of the bridge. We stopped and chatted to Steve Cain who was re-pointing the cement under one of the arches, and he told us he had worked on the bridge for 40 years. I asked about traffic on the bridge, as I there was some talk of closing it to motor traffic, but he told us the engineers have decided the downward pressure exerted by the traffic is good for its stability. Steve also pointed out to us some of the marked stones - the significance is not known, but some of the stones have initials, or symbols, carved into them. Steve was very sure they were of convict origin, and not carved at some later stage.
We lunched at The Richmond Arms, and then headed for the gaol. Max was not impressed - he has never liked visiting gaols, I think he finds them too depressing - understandably. Apart from the solitary cells, which were absolutely horrific in their pitchy blackness, the thing that impacted me the most was the wooden window shutter, quite high up in the wall of one of the 'day rooms'. Two sailing ships had been carved into the wood, and T. Lake had carved his name, and the name of his village Writtle, Essex. I could just picture him, sitting up there, thinking of home ..... The pamphlet stated that Thomas Lake (alias Leake) had been sentenced in 1842 for highway robbery, he was 20 years old. He was eventually given a free pardon, I'm glad to say, in 1858. I wonder if he ever got home.
We needed a cup of tea after that, and then we headed down the main street to the reconstruction of Hobart Town in miniature. I had visited this attraction years ago, and was pleased to find it is looking even better - it has been built completely to scale, from plans and pictures, and depicts Hobart as it was in the 1820s, when GGG Grandfather William and his bride Margaret arrived. The family story goes that Margaret cried and cried for the first week, she couldn't stand the noise of the convicts screaming.