Travelling around Australia in a motorhome. A story of our travels starting from NSW then through Queensland, across to Northern Territory and Western Australia, then to South Australia, Victoria and finally across the seas to Tasmania. We have enjoyed everywhere we have visited and look forward to setting off again in our motorhome.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Saltwater Creek (Coalmine Site) 16th January, 2008

We spent the morning looking around Sorell then we moved on down the Tasman Peninsular. We followed the road around the coast stopping at a number of interesting sites. Eaglehawk Neck was a very good intro to the convict trail and was the main boundary to stop escapees from Port Arthur. It is a small isthmus that was guarded by 15 savage dogs, underfed and vicious, on a diet of 1/2lb of meat and 1/2 lb of flour a day. They were chained in a cleared area leaving no gaps and therefore no one escaped. They tell a great tale about an escapee who made an elaborate disguise in a kangaroo skin who hopped down the beach but had to give himself up when the soldiers were about to shoot him for food! Lucky the dogs did not get him!
We moved on to The Coal Mines Historic Site and spent the night in the carpark with a few others. This was yet another convict nightmare. Coal was found here, about 30kms from Port Arthur. They used the worst convicts as labour for this very imposing establishment. The convicts were treated very badly and every part of it seemed a nightmare. The underground solitary confinement cells were horrific and it was hard to go inside and we were shocked to see so many. We thought there may be a few but there about 20. Peter discovered, by looking carefully, they were sound and lightproof. Even the tiny air-vent was designed to prevent light. They were very small as well. The formal buildings were once very elaborate and the ruins still give a good sense of the past. It is surprisingly a very beautiful ands uninhabited area. It must be exactly like it was years ago.


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