Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Strahan holiday in search of convict history

My main purpose for heading west was to experience the atmosphere of a place steeped in some of Tasmania's ugliest history and with practices if is not proud of.
Amongst those: the notorious penal settlement on Sarah Island; the treacherous entrance to Macquarie harbour known as Hell’s Gates, and a dead King River – the product of greed and subsequent environmental pollution.
My visit was part of my research on Matthew Brady, the Tasmanian bushranger and convict who was sent to Sarah Island in 1823. Twenty two months later, he escaped in a stolen whaleboat and sailed to Hobart Town to begin his period of infamy.
But what I found on the wild west coast of Tasmania was a huge pristine harbour, a sleepy fishing village whose main industry in the summer season is tourists, stories of piners and miners and convict times, and some of the most unforgettable excursions which you cannot experience elsewhere in Australia.
Including a ride up the King River in a jetboat!

Pic: Strahan Harbour

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