Back on the mainland we headed for Port Arthur. This is the site of a Penal colony built around 1830 to reform repeat offenders, make them part of a machine that would show them the light. The site contains over thirty historic buildings. We booked into the Port Arthur Holiday Park which is situated on Stewart Bay and amongst the bush. There is a multitude of wild life that frequent the park as evidenced by their calling cards. The bird life is abundant but the ones that made themselves known most was the Superb Fairy Wren. This is a small wren where the male has beautiful blue markings and the female, as in most birds, a rather dowdy brown. These birds love to look at themselves and the favourite spot is in the car’s rear vision mirrors or they attack there reflection. This great excitement causes them to defecate (poop) every where. Thus each morning involved de-poopping the car before the days travels. They were cute.
We were most impressed with the way Port Arthur site is run. Your entry gives you access to a walking guided tour and harbour cruise. The entry pass also gives you two days access to the site and if you pay an extra $6.00 they give you a “Ticket of Leave” which will give you access to the site for 2 years. The guided tour gives you a quick history of the site and what it was designed to achieve. There are several places on the site where you can eat and are very reasonably priced. It is possible to spend quite a bit of time here as there are museums and displays. There is also access to the database of all the convicts that went through Port Arthur.
After Port Arthur we went to the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park. There they had displays of devils, quolls, wallabies and birds of prey. Feeding of the Devils is a frenzied affair as the Devils fight for the food. They feed them rats and they will devour them completely including bones and fur. They are reputed to have the most powerful jaws of any mammal.
The next day we toured the rest on the Tasman Peninsular on which Port Arthur is situated. This started at Eaglehawk Neck. This it a narrow strip of land that joins the peninsular to the mainland. This is only about 50 metres wide and about 500 metres long. At the narrowest point the Warders of the penal colony set up a line of dogs chained just far enough apart not the eat each other but able to share a food bowl. This line was to stop escapees from crossing the line to “freedom” but mainly to warn the guards of prisoners approaching. Swimming was not an option for most prisoners as they hadn’t developed “Aus-swim” in those days plus the water was bloody cold.
Then we followed the coast to DOO Town. Most of the houses have name here like DOO NIX, DOO MEE, DOO NUTHIN, DOO LITTLE and DOO F@#% ALL are some of the names. We lunched at a mobile food van called DOO – LICIOUS. They did seafood and chips served in paper cones various pies including Venison, rabbit, scallops and meat. Their food was very good and the location great as it is parked next to “The Blowhole.” This is a channel eroded through the sedimentary rock by the sea. This is an ongoing process that also formed the nearby Tasman arch and Devils kitchen