Saturday, December 7, 2013

Around the Tamar River - Tasmania - Part 1

Friday - 06/12/2013

Well we have been at the Beauty Point Marina for just over two weeks now and I must say it is a nice place to stay with very nice people. There are two blokes Ron and David that run the marina for the Launceston Yacht Club on a volunteer basis they take turns a month about but you often see them most days helping construct new parts for the marina. We have achieved some work on the boat along with some sightseeing. We are fortunate to have a car courtesy of Glen and Anne have who loaned us one of their cars which has been handy to shoot into Launceston some 40kms away to shop for parts and do some sightseeing.
One purchase Nancy is very pleased with is a new Force 10 stove, the old one was not working as well as it should be and age was showing in the burners causing it to be inefficient.  Nancy baked bread and has cooked a roast chook and the results have been great, I am just waiting for her to make me an apple pie and I will be pleased with it to.
I have had to order original Lewmar hatch seals for the side hatches as I cannot find any rubber seal that I could use, naturally being Lewmar part they are not cheap being $90 for the 600mm x 200mm hatch and $80 for the 480mm x 200mm hatch, there are four of each required. Although we only have three hatches with light leaks it will only be a matter of time before the others show their age and leak to. The heavy seas we have experienced put all hatches to the test and we suffered some drip leaks from the hatches in the deck in the two forward cabins and the aft port head, this was between the deck and the hatch. I removed them and cleaned the surfaces and reset them in the deck and we have had two lots of rain that have tested them and they have not leaked.
(Standing on the fwd bed with hatch removed)
(Removing and sanding the old seal face on the deck)
(The worst job removing the old sealant from the hatch)
We have taken the opportunity to see some of the places we have not seen before as we have visited Tasmania in the past, we brought a car over on the ferry in 1998 and spent nearly three weeks here. I must admit it is easier to get around these days with highways to major centres and not just country roads as was when we visited before.
Tasmania has a lot of history and some of the buildings including many houses go back in time.
We know that Tasman was the first European to discover Tasmania and he named it Van Dieman's  Land and was changed after Bass and Flinders proved that Van Dieman's Land was an island, the name was changed to Tasmania in 1856 after a penal colony was established. Bass and Flinders sailed from Sydney in 1798 to find out if there was a Strait between Van Dieman's Land and the Mainland of Australia in doing so they found the entrance to the Tamar River which they named Port Dalrymple, it is unclear where they first landed there is a small plaque a short distance from the marina in Beauty Point that states they landed there on 4 November 1798 and there is a plaque at the Pilot Station north of George Town where it states that Bass and Flinders discovered Port Dalrymple 3 November 1798, also near this site it shows a map of the sightings Mathew Flinders took for the navigation purposes of Port Dalrymple, but it does not state the day he landed there.

George Town

Low Head Lighthouse

The following is taken from the website: -
In 1808, the Hebe was wrecked on the rocks at the mouth to the Tamar, thence giving them its name. Altogether, a dozen ships were wrecked in the Tamar over the next 100 years.
A pilots and a signal station was established at Low Head (Georgetown) in 1805 and is Australia's oldest continuously used pilot station. Current buildings date from 1838.
When a sail was sighted at dusk, a fire was lit and kept burning all night to keep the vessel in touch with the port.
After a review of pilotage in 1827 it was resolved to build a lighthouse at Low Head.
The tower was built in 1833. It was constructed of local rubble with a coat of stucco to make the structure durable and to provide a worthwhile landmark. The crown was built of freestone from Launceston.
The keepers' quarters consisted of four rooms attached to the base of the tower. The only case of the quarters being attached in any Tasmanian lighthouse.
The tower was 15.25 metres from top to bottom. The lantern room was built of timber in Launceston.
It had been designed by the then Colonial Architect John Lee Archer who was responsible for the design of many other Tasmanian lights.
The original apparatus was provided by a Mr. W Hart of Launceston. He supplied "six dozen lamps, including reflectors, at three shillings and sixpence each".
This first light was known as the 'Georgetown Station'.
It is Australia's third and Tasmania's second lighthouse built.
Conditions were poor on the early Tasmanian lightstations. Low head was no exception, being manned by a superintendent (headkeeper) and two convict assistants who were locked in their quarters overnight.
In 1835, the light was upgraded by installation of a revolving shutter which was rotated by a weight-driven clockwork mechanism.
In April 1838, the original tin reflectors and Argand lamps were replaced by a new revolving lens array from Wilkins and Co of London, UK. In 1851, the candelas were increased, but no figures are quoted.
The 1833 tower was poorly constructed and after 50 years had fallen into a state of disrepair. In 1888, this original convict-built stone tower was pulled down.
In the same year it was replaced with the present double brick structure, was designed by Marine Board architect Robert Huckson, with new lantern room and apparatus. The new tower was painted white.
The lens apparatus was modernised in 1916 with a more up-to-date Chance Bros. revolving lens using an incandescent kerosene mantle lantern.
An auxiliary red light to cover Hebe Reef had been installed in 1898.
In 1926, a broad red band was painted around the middle of the tower to ensure adequate visibility during daylight hours.
In 1929, Tasmania's only a foghorn was instated at the station but discontinued in 1973 due to improvements in navigational equipment.
In 1940, electricity replaced the old vaporised oil system and mantle, and the clockwork rotating mechanism was replaced by an electric motor.
From 1865 to 1912, the light was under the control of Alfred C. Rockwell and his son Alfred Rockwell Jnr, a period of 47 years!
The station was also responsible for the smaller Tamar Leading Lights which were separately manned for some years.
This light is now unmanned.

(The above is the Fog Horn at the lighthouse)
(Lister kero stand-by engine)

(The Pilot Boat Harbour)
(Pilot Station, now the Maritime Museum)
(Plaque at Pilot Station)
(Sign showing Flinders navigation sightings)
(The rear Lead Light, new light mounted on top right, the house is up for sale)

Launceston and Tamar River,_Tasmania
Following is extract from this website:
The first inhabitants of the area of Launceston were largely nomadic Tasmanian Aborigines believed to have been part of the North Midlands Tribe. Walter George Arthur, who petitioned Queen Victoria in 1847 while interned with other Tasmanian Aborigines on Flinders Island, lived for several years in Launceston as one of numerous homeless children, before being taken into custody by George Augustus Robinson who sent him to the Boy's Orphan School in Hobart in 1832.
The first white visitors did not arrive until 1798, when George Bass and Matthew Flinders were sent to explore the possibility that there was a strait between Australia and Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania). They originally landed in Port Dalrymple (the mouth of the Tamar River), 40 kilometres to the north-west of Launceston.
The first significant colonial settlement in the region dates from 1804, when the commandant of the British garrison Lt. Col. William Paterson, and his men set up a camp on the current site of George Town. A few weeks later, the settlement was moved across the river to York Town, and a year later was moved to its definitive position where Launceston stands.
 Initially the settlement was called Patersonia; however, Paterson later changed the name to Launceston in honour of the New South Wales Governor Captain Philip Gidley King, who was born in Launceston, Cornwall. The name still survives in the tiny hamlet of Patersonia 18 kilometres  north-west of Launceston. Paterson himself also served as Lieutenant-Governor of northern Van Diemen's Land from 1804 to 1808.

There is today's history lessen, Tasmania is an intriguing place with its history. The next post will be about Beaconsfield which became well known on Anzac Day 2006 when the mine collapsed trapping miners and the long period of time it took to rescue two survivors and one deceased.

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