Monday, March 16, 2009

Hobart - Arguably Australia's most beautiful city

Left: Hobart and the mountain from the Eastern Shore.

Left: Wrest Point Casino tower.

Left: Jamie's tree.

We left the West Coast on Saturday morning and travelled via Queenstown (my, that road out of Queenstown is scary!) across the mountains to southern Tasmania and the city of Hobart, Tasmania's capital. By the time we got to Derwent Bridge it was raining in fits and starts - we stopped there at Greg Duncan's curious attraction 'The Wall in the Wilderness'. Have a look at the website Greg is certainly a master craftsman and we were very impressed. The weather deteriorated from then on, but we were not begrudging them one drop - when we left the forest country and saw the state of the farmland around Gretna and environs, we realised they had a drought on their hands every bit as bad as the mainland.

We passed a road called 'Clarendon Road' near Gretna, and I have a fair idea that might lead to the old homestead 'Clarendon' built by 3rd great grandfather William Borrodaile Wilson in the 1830s, but sadly lost by him in the 1840s depression. He'd underwritten some friends bad debts - it left deep and painful wounds in the family for many years. We're going to go back and explore further, see if we can find the house.

Our camp is on the River Derwent, at Berriedale. Very pleasant, considering it is in the heart of suburbia, and only 10km from Hobart. Sunday was spent with friends, and today we visited Jane Franklin Hall, a hall of residence of the University of Tasmania, where my son James died 23 years ago. The students planted a tree and erected a plaque in his memory, so every time I visit Tasmania, I make sure I go and see how the tree is. After all these years, it hasn't grown a whole lot, it grows in the shade of a monster oak and a liquidambar or somesuch, so it probably doesn't have much of a chance. But it's hanging in there, I'm pleased to say. We called in to the office to thank them for their kindness to my sister, who visited last year, and were shown the same kind of hospitality and caring concern they extended to Anne & her husband Maurie - lovely people, and the students who are calling Jane Franklin Hall home while they study are lucky indeed.

Lunch with friends Ray & Nancy was next, and we had a sumptuous repast at one of the Wrest Point Casino's many restaurants. Afterwards we wandered through to the original gaming room on the ground floor of the tower, and then strolled along the boardwalk outside. We said goodbye to Ray and Nancy and then we took a drive over the Tasman Bridge to view Hobart from Rosny Hill, and further around - the afternoon threatened showers again, so a lot of Mount Wellington was wreathed in mist as it often is when rain is about.

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