It was a simple plaque with a list of names that hit like a hammer blow. This is a memorial to the victims of the massacre that began in the now-demolished Broad Arrow Cafe. On that day in 1996 thirty five people lost their lives and twenty one were wounded when a gunman opened fire. For those of us living in Australia at that time the shock is still fresh in our minds. Unlike the prisoners of long ago, these were people were easy to relate to. They were people like us visiting the ruins of the prison colony to learn a bit more about Australian history.
Until last year, Port Arthur was the prime tourist destination in Tasmania. It's since been overtaken by the MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, in Hobart. I'd heard good things about this imaginative building and its equally imaginative art collection but nothing prepared me for how original it really is. Parts of the collection is confronting but the friendly staff make sure that everyone knows where not to take the kids.
Below is a bit of the outside of MONA. Much of the building is deep underground. The Museum allows visitors to photograph the artworks but not to publish them on the Internet so all I can show you is the queue of people waiting to get in.
My son and grandsons live in Tasmania so that's a good enough excuse to visit, but we usually also manage to take in some of the spectacular scenery of the coast, the woodlands and the mountains. On this trip we wended our way up the east coast from the bottom of the Tasman Peninsula, where Port Arthur is, to the Bass Strait in the north.
This is the tessellated pavement at Eaglehawk Neck. I always thought that square or octagonal rocks like these were the result of lava cooling in just the right way but these aren't volcanic but sandstone. Somehow the cracks formed with the movement of the earth's crust around them.
Cape Raoul is at the far southeast of the island.
We didn't see any Tasmanian Devils but Tassie is "the road kill capital of Australia" and some of the many mangled roadside remains may have been Devils. We didn't stop to inspect them as we'd have interrupted crows having dinner.
Here we found a baby fairy penguin hiding in a crevice in the rocks. Hopefully its mother eventually found it before a predator did.
There isn't much rainforest left on the east coast of Tasmania. The photos below were taken on a walk through, St Columba Falls Reserve, one of the surviving pockets. We recognised the tree ferns as Dicksonia antarctica but didn't have a hope of naming the many species of smaller ferns clinging to them.
This flowering gum in Bridport on the north coast may not be a Tasmanian native but I couldn't resist including a photo.