After hearing the stories of convicts, bush rangers and intrepid settlers when we were on the Tamar River cruise yesterday I was keen to explore the Tamar Valley. A perfect day for a road trip.
This is wine country and the vineyards can be seen coating the green rolling hills. With the Tamar River snaking its way through to the ocean.
The first landmark we spot is a sign pointing along a side road to “Grindelwald”.
The small town of Grindelwald was developed in the style of a Swiss village by Roelf Vos, a Dutch immigrant to Tasmania, after he sold his “Roelf Vos” supermarket chain to Woolworths. Mr & Mrs Vos were inspired create the village after a scenic holiday to Switzerland. Upon returning home Mrs Vos pleaded with Mr Voss that they should move to Grindelwald Switzerland because she loved it so much on her holiday. As Mr Voss was a Tasmanian Businessman and could not up and leave to Switzerland, Mr Vos did the next best thing and built Mrs Vos her very own Swiss Village in Tasmania.
It was rather quaint, but very touristy. So we move on.
The next stop was to walk up to the top of “Brady’s Lookout”. The hideout of this notorious bush ranger.
With views all round Brady and his gang had a clear view of the comings and goings of the locals. We were told this story by the captain on yesterdays cruise.
Brady (1799 – 1826) was an English-born convict who became a bushranger. He was sometimes known as “Gentleman Brady” due to his good treatment and fine manners when robbing his victims. Brady was convicted of stealing a basket and some butter, bacon, sugar and rice and tried at Lancaster on 17 April 1820. He received a seven-year sentence of transportation, arriving in Australia in the convict ship Juliana on 29 December 1820.
He rebelled against the conditions in Sydney and received, over time, a total of 350 lashes in punishment for misdemeanours and attempts to escape. In 1823, he was sent to the new penal settlement at Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbour, Van Diemen’s Land, which had been established ‘for secondary offenders and desperate prisoners’.
On 7 June 1824, Brady was part of a group of fifteen escapees from Sarah Island, who sailed a whaleboat around the south coast to the River Derwent and spent the next two years as bushrangers. Brady was considered a gentleman, who rarely robbed or insulted women. Brady was briefly captured in 1826 but managed to escape and swore revenge. Days later Brady and his gang captured a boat, intending to sail it to the Australian mainland. Due to bad weather crossing Bass Strait, they were forced to turn back.
After being injured in an unsuccessful capture attempt, Brady surrendered to settler John Batman. The outlaw was ill and suffering much pain, and did as he was asked. After pleading guilty to murder, the only one attributed to him, and the theft of four horses, Brady was hanged on 4 May 1826, at the old Hobart gaol.
Having been told all the stories it was interesting to actually visit the places we had heard about. It gives more meaning to a road trip to know the background and history of the place. The scenery was tranquil and peaceful today. But just a few weeks ago there had been torrential rain and we could see from all the debris along this river bank how wild it must’ve been. How lucky we are with the weather for this trip.
This was a delightful walk, despite the warnings to be careful. The track along the bank was well formed and flat, easy walking. The ruins were very photogenic and I took lots of photos with the intention of doing some painting when I get home.
This particular part of the ruins seemed to be watching me…
Now it was time for a cuppa and we did a short detour along a side road that took us under the imposing Batman bridge to Gravelly Beach
Only a small village but it did have a couple of cafes and as we found in all the cafes the food was interesting and delicious. Jack chose chillie sausage roll and I couldn’t go past the Tiramasu slice. Very decadent. Remember the boat wrapped in netting I spotted yesterday? Well I looked out of the window and there it was. Rather like a ghost ship.
I asked the waitress if she knew why it was wrapped up. She said it would be to keep the spiders from taking residence, building their webs all over it and breeding on it!!! She said it with a very straight face….
About 2pm we roll into Beaconsfield. This was once Tasmania’s richest gold mining town. In 2006 two miners were trapped one kilometre underground for 14 days after a dramatic rock fall. It captured global attention and it was a huge relief when they were eventually rescued. But the mine has been closed since 2012 due to the falling gold prices.
We had a slow wander around the town. Then decided to have a late lunch. This place sounds interesting.
It was an Indian restaurant and we were the only customers at this time of day. For an hour we chatted to the owners and enjoyed our meal.
It’s 4pm and we are getting tired it has been a very busy and full few days so decide just to drive to Beauty Point because the name attracts us and only 5 minute drive away.
Beauty Point was originally established as the first deep-water port in the area. The port is still the heart of the town and hosts Australia’s National Institute for Maritime Studies. It also has a seahorse aquarium and a platypus house. Both would be worth a visit, but sadly it is almost 5pm and they are both about to close.
Black clouds are starting to form on the horizon, so time to cross the Batman Bridge, the only bridge over the Tamar River, and head back home along the highway on the eastern side of the river.
We get home just before a storm crashes over. The only rain we had during our 2 week stay.
Now to plan what we will do tomorrow…