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.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Stanley 18 - 19 February 2008

After a slow start we set off along the coast to Stanley, enjoying the undulating farmlands and coastal views of rolling surf. Stanley is a very pretty place, small and quaint, but openly very dependent on tourists. Most of the old houses are renovated B&B’s.
Stanley is dominated by a pugnacious plug of basalt, known locally as The Nut.
We climbed The Nut, a strenuous hike up the VERY steep path, rather than wimp out and take the chair lift. While we used muscles we didn’t know we had, we had the satisfaction of feeling…… half dead!
At the top we had an hour’s circuit walk with superb views of the ocean, the town and the farming hinterland. The view was much better than we had expected! It is hard to imagine that early settlers cleared most of the vegetation in days of old and grazed sheep right up here! I only thought goats could make it! We had two nights of free camping – the first on the old wharf area with about 20 other vehicles (all buffeted by quite a strong wind), so the next night we chose a quieter sheltered spot near the showground. Phew!
Parked for the day by the waters edge on the lee side of the Nut on the beach and felt like we were in Gerringong. Same look, but no green grass on the headland!
Set off to visit Highfield, the home of the original settlers of this area. The Van Diemen’s Land Company, established in London by businessman, merchants and politicians, was granted 250,000 acres of land in the south-west and were virtually potentates of this region. It took nearly 80 convicts to keep it going! When the convicts were no longer available it all fell apart! This part of Tasmania was considered to be very poor land, as the company soon found this out, when ninety percent of the Merino sheep died in 2 years - too cold and wet! Though it was tough then, the company still survives and has farms in the area today!
One of the disturbing aspects of life at Highfield was the regular excursions where Aboriginals were killed. A letter written by a lady visitor describes the honour felt by the settlers in killing natives and she stated that their goal was to exterminate them entirely!


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