Cremorne Beach to Lauderdale

Walking Swathes of Yellow

There are homes on the low dunes backing Cremorne beach and behind them the small community stretches across the flat land in the elbow between the beach and Pipeclay Lagoon.  These reaches of Moomairemener land were first reshaped into farmland by the McCauley family who arrived in 1804 and ran cattle and sheep.  They also grew potatoes, barley and beans.  These days it’s a small community of permanent residents and holidaymakers; a place unspoilt by the inappropriate development that marrs so many other beachside villages although there is currently a developer who would really like to try.  I for one hope this community holds out against greed.

Cremorne Beach looking south
Cremorne Beach with Pipeclay Lagoon in the distance

Pipeclay Lagoon

Cremorne benefits from Pipeclay Lagoon, an enclosed, tidal body of water  that separates it from Clifton to the south.  I discovered, when I kayaked it, that it is shallow and that I’d chosen the perfect way to enjoy its serenity. There are oyster farms here and along its margins there are 45 ha of saltmarsh wetlands, protected to some extent by coastal reserve and the attentions of the Wildcare Deslacs Group, but also threatened by changes in tidal flows, habitat disturbance, unmanaged tracks and roads, ditches and litter.

One of the first farms on the banks of the lagoon was Waterloo Farm, owned by Captain Busby and his wife Mary.  When John Morrisby bought it from Mary he developed orchards of apples, pears, apricots and cherries and grew peas and root crops between the rows, enriching the alluvial soils with seaweed.  There’s a rare eucalypt (Eucalyptus Morrisbyi) that grows in this area and it takes its name from this farming family, who eventually sold, the subdivided land along the waterfront and lagoon giving way to weekenders.

Today, on the Cremorne side of the lagoon there is a narrow road squeezed between backyard fences and the shore.  It runs down to a tapering of beach beside the lagoon’s channel to the sea.  Four dolphins came through this channel earlier this year and stranded but for walkers it’s a good place to begin exploring the short, narrow beach.

Cremorne Beach (T405)

The beach has a domesticated feel because of the houses on the low dunes, but this is deceptive. When there are storm surges such as there were in 2010 and 2011, the waves have been known to undercut sections of the dunes and there have been a number of dramas at sea off this coastline.

Cathy and I came to Cremorne hoping to find a track we thought might exist at the northern end of the beach. It was a cold day, the tide was out and rain threatened but quite quickly we had walked the kilometer or so along the sand. Ahead of us was the steepish, yellowish slope of Calverts Hill, much of which was owned in the early days of the colony by Elias Grimsey, whose neighbour for a while was the  Rev Knopwood’s adopted daughter, Elizabeth.

Calverts Hill and Cremorne North (Beach T404)

We quickly found the track and walked quite easily across hillsides of tall yellow grass, coming across a small cove  about ten minutes into the walk. Beach T 404 is a short 50m pocket beach that looked to be mainly cobbles  trapped by the cliffs that are some 30m high.  It’s also only accessible from the sea and apparently at times sand fills it to form a low tide made terrace.

Most of Calverts Hill is reserve, perhaps to protect the endangered Eucalyptus morrisbyi which  is in decline, but fortunately there are people who care.

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On Calverts Hill

For a while we followed a fence line and then we descended down to the rocks and most of our walk ended up taking place just above the waterline as the path curved around one undulating hillside after another.   We idled along, discussing the rock formations we encountered.  The sea was quiet and rain was visible in the distance.  There were good views over Sloping Island to the Tasman Peninsula.

We passed five pied oyster catchers standing quietly on the rocks. We passed a couple of pacific gulls and then a shag standing very still on a pole, imbuing the mood of the day. It was hard to gauge how far we still had to walk.

Mays Beach (T403)

I was keen to reach Mays Beach because I had only ever seen it from the top of Richardson’s (aka Nobs) Hill and from there it seemed unattainable down at the bottom of the steep slope, separated from the road by private land, but as we rounded Calverts Hill on our walk the land flattened out and there before us was the beach, occupied just then by a flock of about twenty plovers.

We were fascinated to discover a small number of houses in the bush behind us, but they’re so tucked away that we couldn’t easily discern any driveways or even a road and as we crossed the beach we puzzled over their means of access – down Richardson’s Hill or from somewhere to the south?

This walk had taken about 2.5 hours and we were yearning for lunch and racing the approaching rain. Still, while Cathy explored the hillside looking for the path, I walked along the kilometre long curve of beach, crossing a spine of rock that divided it into two sections to its conclusion at Mays Point, where there is a right hand break.

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Mays Beach viewed from the point at the northern end

Richardson’s Hill

The hill is 79 m high but the good news is that the track is well made and links the beach to the top of the hill where the private road begins behind a gate.  We literally ran up it to reach the car we’d had the foresight to park at the top.  We had finished just in time – the temperature was dropping and the rain slammed down on us just as we got there.

One of us was digging about frantically in pockets but to no avail.  The car and its  keys were separated by the distance of our walk.  All thoughts of lunch in a cosy café faded.  Wildly we surveyed the landscape beneath us for a shortcut back to Cremorne but faced with what looked like a lot of private land we didn’t like our chances and so we set off back down the hill at a trot, laughing over our misadventure.

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The view from the top of Richardson’s Hill

Listen to the locals tell you what they love about Cremorne and help support them in their fight against Inappropriate Development.

Further reading:  The Cremorne community website 

Frederick Henry Bay: Cape Deslacs

A Different Sense of Direction:  the intimacy of Sea and Soil

Clifton Beach LOOKING TO CAPE DESLACS-2
Clifton Beach and Cape Deslacs

It seems so long ago now, but during summer, shortly after friends told me they’d seen thousands of shearwaters from their yacht as they were crossing Frederick Henry Bay, we came to Cape Deslacs one evening to watch the shearwaters return to their burrows.

It seemed to me that this, really is the best way to experience the cape – as a  refuge for these well travelled birds and so rather than wander its tracks or follow  its roads, we sought out the viewing platform.

I’d once seen  large flocks of Short-tailed Shearwaters (Puffinus tenuirostris)  rafting in Port Davey and I’d seen the very first of them return one year from their long migration down the latitudes to Fisher Island, a tiny granite island in the Great Dog Island Group between Flinders and Cape Barren Islands. Those Fisher Island birds have been the subject of a longitudinal monitoring program extending back to the 1950s and because they return literally to the day, we were there when the leaders arrived.  A scratching in the soil the next morning gave their presence away.

Although I’d read that they could be seen rafting off Taroona I’d rarely seen any on the Derwent River but when returning from Recherche Bay on Samos we saw for the first time in the D’Entrecasteaux a flock of perhaps two hundred winging their way down the Channel.  I’ve been unlucky because these long winged birds are Australia’s most numerous seabirds and while there are no longer flocks of many millions, as the explorer, Matthew Flinders  in 1798 asserted he’d seen, the flocks are large enough still to create awe when you see them.

The track to the platform led through native bushland.  The day was already darkening and gradually the stars came out.  In total there were  four of us stargazing on the platform, our sense of self miniaturised by the Milky Way and the looming sky.  All around Tasmania and especially around the Bass Strait islands great flocks of shearwaters were on their way home to their burrows but when the first dark shadows flitted overhead we thought at first that they might have been bats.

Aborigines believed they wintered behind the moon.  That’s apparently how they got the name ‘moon bird’.  They make a good meal and taste like sheep and so they’re more commonly called  ‘mutton birds’. They might migrate almost the length of the globe on those metre long wings and swim proficiently with those webbed feet, and for a bird have a keen sense of smell, but they are so inelegant at landing that you swear they must sustain bruises.  They are renowned for their  excellent time management and for their magnificent sense of direction.  They set off at the end of each Northern summer from the waters off Japan, Siberia and Alaska, barely, if ever making landfall, honing in on their tiny burrow at the far ends of the earth.

They partner  for life (mostly), lay their single egg at the end of the November  and watch it crack open in January. Then they take turns minding their one and only, feeding it up until it’s double their size. Come April they fly north without it and abandoned, wandering about and testing their wings, the chicks don’t eat.  They tone down, feather up and intuitively follow their parents north a few weeks later in May.

Shearwaters are predators at sea and on land they are prey.  The snakes that inhabit some Bass Strait islands rely almost wholly on the  chicks for sustenance.  It’s a physically close and terrible relationship.  They are also commercially harvested for feathers, oil and meat and the traditional mutton bird harvesting practised by Aboriginal Australians continues.  Modern life has thrown in further difficulties.  Think gill nets and plastic, habitat loss and feral predators like cats.

That night on the cape the sky was soon awash with birds cascading down through the air.  It was awesome.  It was impossible to count them.  There was a profound sense of a community returning, of lives lived with purpose and capability, of birds bringing their oceanic experience back with them and deep down into their burrows within the earthy skin of the cape.

***

There is a circuit walk you can do on the cape.

For more on Short-tailed Shearwaters and pictures of these unassuming but talented birds see:

Birdlife

Tasmania.  Parks and Wildlife Service.  Short-tailed Shearwater, Puffinus tenuirostris

Frederick Henry Bay: Clifton Beach (T408)

Cape Contrariety to Cape Deslacs

 

Clifton Beach LOOKING TO CAPE DESLACS
Clifton Beach

After slithering down off Cape Contrariety we took off our shoes, Cathy and I, and walked barefoot along the swash, quickly leaving behind the small groups of swimmers and surfers taking advantage of sunny weather. Soon we had the whole beach to ourselves and forgot completely about the existence of the low lying houses between the beach and Pipe Clay Lagoon, except for when we paused to study the sand dunes, their shape steeply altered by marram grass, their mass being gnawed away at by the sea. The dunes extend about 300m inland and reach a height of about 20 m (Short, 2006) and amongst the native bush growing on their backs is Acacia longifolia and the threatened species Cynoglossum australe.  These Cape Deslacs/Clifton Beach dune fields are a geoconservation site of state significance, and Clifton’s Frederick Henry Bay beach alignment is also considered significant.

Especially along some parts of Bicheno Street the houses here are regarded as being at early risk from sea level rise (Sharples, 2009) and sea level rise will of course impact coastal values too and destroy the dune habitat the Clifton Beach community is currently working to preserve.

We studied the ripple marks and read the southerly swell, counting numerous rips and we observed that apart from a lone juvenile Pacific Gull studying our progress this popular beach, facing south- southeast into Frederick Henry and towards Storm Bay was  that day devoid of birds.

When we reached the end we lingered and with a little assistance from Memory Maps pointed out to each other the landmarks we were observing to the south and then we turned our attention to the cliffs at the base of  Cape Deslacs taking stabs in the dark about the pale rock, before guessing at sandstone.  Later I read that there have been numerous drownings at this northern area of the beach, so it’s a wise swimmer who stays within the flags down the southern end.

Our efforts at amateur geology ending in uncertainty, we walked back down the beach contemplating a stroll around the lagoon on a future low tide and pondering the difficulties Cape Deslacs might pose for our exploring.

 

Further Reading:

Sharples, C.  2009. Climate change impacts on Clarence coastal areas.  Clarence City Council, Clarence.

Short, Andrew. 2006.  Beaches of the Tasmanian coast & islands: a guide to their nature, characteristics, surf and safety.  Sydney University Press, Sydney.

 

Tasflora. 2012.  Clifton Beach Coastal Reserve: reserve activity plan 2012-2016, draft  (revision 3): advice prepared by Tasflora for Clarence City Council. Unpublished report.

Frederick Henry Bay: Cape Contrariety

Clifton Beach FRAMED
Clifton Beach and Pipe Clay Lagoon viewed from Cape Contrierity

Tiptoeing Along a Cliff Edge

Zooming in with Google Earth I thought I spied a couple of small beaches north of Smugglers Cove and the light tracing of a path through what looked to be a nature reserve. It was enough to convince us that it was worth trying to tackle the cape from Clifton Beach on the northern side and so on a sunny day at low tide, while people swam  between the flags and surfers lolled on their boards beyond the break Cathy and I scrutinised the dunes and the cliffs at the southern end of the beach and found a path that led up a steep gully.  With an eye out for snakes, we scrambled up it, trusting our weight to the branches of a couple of conveniently located bushes.

There was a narrow strip at the top between  the ‘keep out’ barbed wire fencing and casurinas rimming the high cliffs, some of which had fallen away. Peering over the edge we could see their broken pieces tumbled down against the sea.

We found a path, but it looked wallaby made and we meandered on and off it making a difficult passage over and under vegetation, sometimes trusting to the generosity of land owners by slipping over the fenceline to where the walking was easier. In one memorable spot, we had pretty well a foot wide space of sky we needed to cross. I avoided looking down. The drop was horrible, but Cathy skipped over it oblivious to Death’s outstretched hands.

Clifton Beach.jpg

Our tardy progress was made even slower because the views were compelling and so we’d stop, point out landmarks we were confident about and speculate about those we weren’t.

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Clifton Beach and Cape Deslacs.  Tasman Peninsula is visible across Frederick Henry Bay

We finally found ourselves on the far end of the casurina copse, gazing down a long slope of golden grass and up the slope on the other side. There was no clear path and it had the look of large expanses of private land.  With a couple of households dotting the cape, we decided to avoid rebuke and reluctantly turned back, walking single file.   Cathy quietly observed  the tail of a snake disappearing down a hole between us, so we were pretty pleased to reach the beach unbitten, and as the day was still young and the beach glorious, we decided to take an amble to the cliffs below Cape Deslacs.

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The interplay of land and water made the walk worthwhile

Not much has been written about this cape, but on Placenames Tasmania I discovered that D’Entrecasteaux had noted this name on his voyages of discovery and that it had another as well – Watsons Bluff.  Watson was definitely no lady because  it’s my observation that places get named after men, rarely women.  No doubt he was merely an earlier landowner whose name buried earlier ones tangled with mythology,

I dug about on Trove as well and discovered a 2000 fisheries arrangement between the Commonwealth and Tasmania that referred to a shark nursery in the ‘area known as Frederick Henry Bay and Norfolk Bay being all waters within an imaginary straight line between North-West Head and Cape Contrariety’ and in an article on geology in the Sanford area, Green (1961) mentions dolerite intrusions into mudstone as well as landslips in the cape’s basalt soil.  As he also mentions lavas here,  this little cape has some complexity but keeps a low profile in the island’s literature.

Green, D.C.  1961.  The geology of the South Arm-Sanford area, Tasmania.  Papers and Proceedings of The Royal Society of Tasmania, Vol 95.

 

Frederick Henry Bay: Goat Bluff to Cape Contrariety – Calverts Beach

CALVERTS BEACH (T411)

The moon had given us a low tide and with a slender window between cold fronts Cathy and I whipped on our walking gear to continue our saunter along the coastline.

We paused on Goats Bluff to look across the long expanse of Hope Beach before making our way down the narrow path through native bush to the beach. The last time I’d come here it had been 25 degrees and people, heavily tattooed, were lounging under umbrellas beside the sedimentary cliffs.  Today was crisp but sunny. Ever since the geo and I had driven off the ferry after a couple of weeks spent in shorts and t shirts on the mainland, Tassie had been lashed by a bout of wild, wintery weather, so this was a brilliant reprieve.

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This feature in the cliffs below Goat Bluff may be linked to its history (see previous blog post)

Calverts had been our ‘go to beach’ when we first came to Tasmania.  Every time I walk it I remember a tiny kelpie x border collie puppy from the Stirling Ranges in Western Australia. Along with two of his siblings he’d been bundled into a box and on to a plane in Perth. Several hours later I plucked him out of that box at Kununurra Airport in the Kimberly region of WA and for the next two years he enjoyed field camp living with us. The creek, the waterholes, the fishing expeditions and the parties in the annex, the walks down to the chopper to meet the guys returning from another blisteringly hot day doing mag anomalies. Two years in a caravan in boab country, living small. Two years in a tiny field camp in all that wild, vast inaccessible space. We were lucky though, because sometimes, in the chopper, we got to explore caves rich with rock art and canyons with verdant microenvironments that felt way off the map, far from roads or even a track, that you wouldn’t know were there unless you could spot them from the air.

This puppy, born of working stock, climbed trees (sort of). His acrobatics intrigued children. His speed was astonishing and Calverts was a beach he raced along, trying unsuccessfully to round up seagulls. He drove around Australia, squeezed on top of a mattress that was wedged on top of a motorbike, that weighed down the already sagging boot of our Holden station wagon.

Cathy and I walking along discussing economic conundrums, saw a spout of water off Betsey Island, just as two birds lifted into the air close by.  Further down the beach a lone man stood on the sand dunes assessing the swell on this rip-prone beach. Behind him, the dunes sloped down to Calverts Lagoon, a change in the vegetation and a quieter sort of environment.

We reached the opposite headland. This is where the geo and I have always turned back, but had occasionally noticed people making their way down it and had puzzled over where they were coming from. Cathy was the person who let me in on that secret, but before we set off up that path we explored the rock platform that slants upwards around its base because another beachwalking friend had told me that if you climbed to the end of it and peered around the corner you could see a little cobbled beach. But what we saw when we reached the end was the narrow shape of a gulch that at low tide probably did leave cobbles and rocks exposed. While I stood there musing, Cathy bounded up the daunting cliff face and when I looked up I could see her standing on the headland enjoying the view.

I followed slowly up that steep side. There was only marram grass to grab hold and it looked rather puny. Besides, it’s hostile and I wasn’t wearing gloves. I surveyed the big drop beneath me and the hard faced rocks. Those I was clambering up were damp and my shoes lacked grip. One up to Cathy, I decided, and slithered slowly down to a more welcoming ledge before seeking out the little path further back along the headland.

From the top we could see Calverts Lagoon, fingers of land and stretches of sea. The best was yet to come, because on the other side of the bluff lies a hidden beach, outstandingly beautiful. I’d been here once before, pretty much as soon as Cathy had told me about it. It had been a hot day and our party had disturbed a lover’s tryst. ‘Beware the snake,’ the man had yelled at us, jumping up to shoo us away. We had clearly destroyed their moment because it wasn’t too long before they were trailing us back along Calverts.

 

Smugglers Cove and Calverts Beach agn-1
Smugglers Cove and Calverts Beach

 

Smugglers Cove (Beach T 410)

We descended through soft sand, stepping over dead birds and a dead sheep to reach Smugglers Cove. It’s seriously lovely and is cupped by the steep headlands of Cape Contrariety. It’s also seriously private and intimate even though it’s spacious enough to accommodate several parties of beach goers. Two eagles wheeled above us and a pied oyster catcher stood on the rocks regarding us.

After a while we followed a fence line up the bluff on the other side, keen to reach the other end of the Cape. I’d tried hunting down the owner of the private land without any luck, so we didn’t like our chances. There were mutton bird burrows. There were sheep, happily alive. We followed their tracks until we reached a fence that crossed our path.

This was as far as we figured we could go. From there we could see the spot we’d reached on an earlier expedition, when we’d attempted to cross the Cape from the Clifton side (see next blog post), so that long slope separating us from that point near the top was frustrating. We knew there was a nature reserve along the tip of the cape and that another beach (T409) was down there too.

On the Beachsafe site its described as ‘a 150 m long high tide cobble beach located along the western end of the cove, with a sand and rock low tide terrace. Waves averaging about 1 m break across the 50 m wide bar and surge up the cobbles, with the steep slopes right behind. The 4 ha tip of the cape is a private wildlife sanctuary.’

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Walking Cape Contrierty

We’d been defeated but the walk back was uplifting. A yacht was crossing Norfolk Bay, a north easterly filling its sails. That whale breached and blew again. We saw Little Betsey Island tucked away behind Betsey Island, Black Jack Reef and the great sweep of Hope Beach beyond Goats Bluff.  We saw the Iron Pot at the entrance to the Derwent and snow on kunanyi and the Snowy Range.   And as we clambered back down the path to Calverts there were seven surfers in the swell beneath us, where originally there had been only one. You’ve got to have ichor coursing through your veins to take  on Tasmania’s winter ocean. I lack even a single drop and just the sight of them had me zipping up my down jacket.

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Calverts and Hope, with snow in the background

 

This walk: 1 September 2017. If you’ve walked this cape or know the contact details of the farmer, please let me know so we can try again.

 

 

 

 

D’Entrecasteaux Channel: Kettering and Little Oyster Cove

Back in the Land of the Nuenonne

When we were preparing the house for sale earlier this year, we moved on board Samos, thinking we’d be at Kettering in Little Oyster Cove for several months. We planned to spend that time cruising the D’Entrecasteaux and Norfolk Bay but within a matter of days our lovely mountain home had found itself new owners and we barely had time to tackle our list of boat tasks before we were home again packing boxes.

Travelling in a small van as we did last year and cruising in a small yacht proves that truism of life being richer as possessions get exfoliated and waste gets reduced. But moving house is not good for the environment. You may give the Red Cross Shop your library and St Vinnies the clothes off your back, but the recycling and refuse bins fill exponentially and zero waste targets shatter alarmingly.

We went down to the marina on a sunny day and stepping on board Samos I noticed a swirling black ring beneath the water, just behind the yacht’s transom, and an overlapping circle of silver, moving that little bit quicker. A cormorant was hunting a school of bait fish that panicked into a leaping confusion as the bird downed its catch while rising to the surface.

Relaxing beneath the boom tent with a g&t on a blue day before summer’s lease expired, we watched a puffer fish slowly inspecting the seaweed attached to the floating marina and each time the black swans came visiting the dogs were transfixed.

When the cygnets were young

Life in the marina spools out slowly. Those of us working on our boats shared tools, suggestions, advice and meals while in the background yachts slipped quietly through the marina, the Bruny Island ferries came and went where once the Nuenonne paddled their bark canoes, where Bruni D’Entrecasteaux sailed – sealers and whalers too – and the constant sound on the boat, in the quieter moments and most noticeably in the silence of the night, was the idle clicking of tiny beings feasting on the hull.

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The additional summer ferry crossing to Bruny Island from Kettering

The super blue blood moon rose over Bruny Island, the Channel and the yachts while the dark hills slept and we looked up at the moon and also down at its reflection, snagged in the riggings of yachts impressed by its light on the water.

Super blue blood moon

There have been other times at the marina when nature has gifted us a surprise or two. We’ve been astonished by flocks of about 200 black cockatoos swirling around the pine trees. We’ve stopped to watch the parade of crabs along the marina shallows. Kayaking this cove I once followed a ray as it made its way around the north east corner. I like rays. The ones I have encountered all seem capable and full of purpose.

We were at the marina long enough to enjoy several coffees and breakfasts at the café beside the ferry terminal with its views of Bruny Island and to enjoy the pub up the hill. Really, the marina is for me the heart of Kettering and Kettering the link between mainland Tasmania and Bruny Island. For a small place it’s pretty amazing that along with the pub it has three cafes as well as artistic credentials and links, some believe to planets elsewhere. This extra terrestrial history inspired the Kettering Incident.

We walked the short track through coastal woodland around to Trial Bay, lazed at Kettering Point and in the evening took the short walking track below the cricket oval on the northern side of the cove.  There are houses on the hills which were once entirely forested, that therefore drew timber cutters in Kettering’s early days, and tucked away in the valleys behind the village are farms producing organic produce for which Tasmania is rightly famous.

Marinas can be tough on the watery world but this one has achieved some recognition for its environmental efforts and living on board proved so enjoyable that we agreed that while small is beautiful if we want to live on board all summer long then a yacht a little bigger would be more comfortable.  And so our lovely yacht Samos is on the market and a new adventure is about to begin.

 

 

Bays of Dismay 4: Storm Bay – a threatened seascape

Iron Pot the reef and Bruny Island
Storm Bay viewed from the South Arm Peninsula

Greed’s Heavy Footstep

The view from Goat’s Bluff is splendiferous and uplifting, but it’s a threatened vista because the toads are coming.  I didn’t know if such a term (threatened vista) for endangered beauty existed but then I found literature on seascapes and this, right here on a Tas government site:

‘The condition of scenic landscape values is important for Tasmania for a variety of reasons… landscape values often have an association with environmental and natural resource values – the values that people appreciate in a landscape may often also be important ecologically.’

Tasmania. Dept of Justice. 2003. State of the Environment report recommendation 2.9: Scenic and Landscape Values.

And the report goes on to recommend that ‘… scenic landscapes and areas of consistent and recognisable landscape character be recognised in local and regional strategies in relation to beneficial values including  natural resource management; open space and recreation; vegetation management; catchment management; and coastal management.’

Which brings us to the messy issue surrounding Storm Bay

Storm Bay is bound by North Bruny Island, South Arm Peninsula, the Tasman Peninsula and the tip of the Tinderbox Peninsula, which means that there are any number of brilliant perspectives from which you can view this tempestuous bay.

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Google Earth image of Storm Bay

It’s the wilds – right there, where the Derwent River and the D’Entrecasteaux enter it in company and sometimes a gale blowing across the bay can bring that sense of the menacing wild right up the river and into the city.

Storm Bay has a few anchorages along the exposed coastline of Bruny Island for yachts seeking sanctuary from foul weather.   Samos has hung out in Bull Bay off North Bruny enjoying this environment distinct from the river, where the movement of the swell and the surf hold warnings and the feeling of being out here is unique from the river and Channel.

Let’s Not Forget the Voiceless

It’s not just people who are vested in the bay. It provides feeding grounds for the migratory shearwater and other shorebirds and seabirds. It is traversed by dolphins and whales, penguins and seals. Life flourishes on its reefs and I hope you’ll agree that seaweeds have a right to the good life too.

Storm Bay is the magnificently scenic entry that stops people’s hearts when approaching Hobart by sea, the you and me as well as those Sydney-Hobart sailors and passengers on cruise liners.  And rounding the Iron Pot, as you sail down the Derwent marks the point, both mental and physical, at which you finally feel you are sailing the ocean, albeit coastal.

It is the aquatic commons of the whole glorious multiplicity of us  and its moody beauty is deeply loved. Even on a fine day you know its mood can change in an instant and with too much sail out you are quickly humbled.

Goodbye to All That

Storm Bay is about to change into an industrial zone. The three Tasmanian fish farming companies – Tassal, Petuna and Huon Aquaculture – are encroaching massively on our aquatic commons and while their heady expansion plans are good for the economy in the short term, the public’s interest and that of other sentient and non-sentient communities stand to be sacrificed by government complicity. There are fish farm leases planned for Storm Bay and they’ll be visible over vast distances, all around the lovely shoreline. The relaxing high and sense of connection that Nature gifts us will give way to further despair.  The scenic vistas will be destroyed.

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Hello Solastalgia

We have already lost grand views and the sense of desolation many of us feel when we try to navigate through multiple leases or view bays and waterways taken up by ugliness reflects the all consuming loss felt by the people we replaced when their hunting grounds and sacred sites became no go areas and disappeared under pasture and houses. This time, buried in that same greed and disdain lies self mutilation.

Navigating Storm Bay, especially in gales, will become more dangerous. The plastic pollution, the exceeded nitrogen caps and the damage to reefs that the companies have caused in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and Macquarie Harbour will happen here too. These companies are bringing along that same disdain for the commons, those same bad habits. For example, so often they’ve been advised that when towing pens they need markers on their lines because the distance can be such that other vessels could accidentally cross between with dire consequences. This week, in the Channel, we again noticed a tow underway without markers. It’s disrespectful, it’s frustratiang and it’s downright dangerous.

The weight of the farms on top of visible climate change impacts worries a lot of us down this part of the world. After all, we are a climate change hot spot.

It’s beyond disappointing that the companies said they were heading offshore then chose to plonk themselves down in this significant coastal bay – to plonk themselves down in the magnificent entrance to the Derwent. And rather than deep ocean – just take a lead from this, guys – they’re heading for the coastal zones of our offshore islands, those last bastions of the birds. There, amongst sparsely habited islands they can get away with environmental savagery. But on King Island some are beginning to cry foul.

In the future, Petuna’s leases just south of Betsey Island are going to marr the Goats Bluff view. Tassal’s will probably be visible too. You’ll see pens from Bruny and that’s why the locals are concerned there too. Friends of North Bruny, the Bruny Island Community Association and the Bruny Island Environment Network have joined forces to call for a moratorium on this alarming expansion of fish farms into Storm Bay.

Almost everyone wants these companies to really be clean and green and to excel at that, as opposed to dirtying the waterways they’ve encroached into. But that means upping their standards and appreciating the limits to growth, respecting the public and their customers.  Unfortunately, it still doesn’t seem to be something they’re in any rush to do.

We only have one planet. Let’s stop hampering its efforts to nourish us.

For more information:

Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. [2016] Salmon Farming Proposals in Storm Bay

DPIPWE. 2017. Sustainable industry growth plan for the salmon industry. Hobart.  The Dept.

Guarnieri, G et al. 2016. The Challenge of Planning Conservation Strategies in Threatened Seascapes: Understanding the Role of Fine Scale Assessments of Community Response to Cumulative Human Pressures. PLOS. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0149253

South Arm Peninsula: Goat Bluff, a fundamental question and a couple of secrets

Goats Bluff and Betsey from Calverts (1 of 1).jpg
Goats Bluff and Betsey Island from Calverts Beach

… what is beauty? This is one of the most fundamental questions, it is not superficial, so don’t brush it aside. To understand what beauty is, to have that sense of goodness which comes when the mind and heart are in communion with something lovely without any hindrance so that one feels completely at ease – surely, this has great significance in life; and until we know this response to beauty our lives will be very shallow. One may be surrounded by great beauty, by mountains and fields and rivers, but unless one is alive to it all one might just as well be dead.

~ J. Krishnamurti

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A Google Earth image of  Goats Bluff to the north of Betsey Island. Calverts Lagoon behind Calverts Beach (right) was largely dry when this image was taken.

On Being a Goat

It may seem strange that I’ve included Krishnamurti’s quote at this point in my blog, because the bluff is unassuming, easy to hurtle by without noticing, and yet it has a certain sense of poise gifted by its location in the landscape between two capes so that, had Krishnamurti, a great nature writer, found his way here, I’m sure he would have taken his seat and looked out at ‘all the marvellous earth’, the hills and the valleys interleaving themselves, and perhaps, while contemplating this magnificent coastline he might also have reflected on human nature – how we are so often goats, with at times, a certain poise, when we make the effort.

Those who appreciate beauty come here at night to star gaze and to wonder at the auroras.  In daylight hours, as the sky’s moods play out over the landscape, colours shift transferring the mood of the sky.  At this  junction of ocean, land and lagoons the biota is rich, the birds are various, the native coastal vegetation still reasonably intact. Surfers carve the breakers; below the cliff to the east is a break called Rebounds. Goats and Wedge are breaks to the west.  And from these 30 m high sandstone cliffs you can walk west along Hope Beach (aka Roaring Beach) to Cape Direction or you can go east down Goat Bluff’s flank to Calverts Beach for the walk to Cape Contrairety, or angle slightly inland to circumambulate Calverts Lagoon, binoculars around your neck, field guides in your rucksack.

Goats Bluff cliffs (1 of 1).jpg
The bluff’s ramparts with Betsey in the distance

The bluff also provides access to the north. Just cross the road and go west along the isthmus – but think seriously about this – the birds love this thin strip of beach beside the bitumen so it’s unkind to intrude.  Perhaps rather choose the meandering track (far more rewarding) along its eastern shore.

Or simply play it like Krishnamurti and  make your mind like the sky by lingering on the bluff with its sense of poise drawn mostly from the fact that it is the divide between the Arm End beaches and the sweep of coastline to the east.

In other words, don’t think for one moment that Goat (also known as Goats) is an isolated bluff simply there as a carpark, or a dislocated remnant scrap of reserved native vegetation. The road behind assumes more importance than is warranted. Instead, imagine that you are Nuenonne, that slash of bitumen not there yet and see instead Colin Springs Hill descending gracefully down to the bluff’s sandstone rampart, uninterrupted.  Before you there’s a valley, drowned by the ocean that extends down from that rampart and out to Betsey Island, with a dune trapped lake to your right behind Hope Beach, the drowned valley that is Ralphs Bay behind you to the north, a pooling of water in Calverts Lagoon and Pipe Clay Lagoon at Cremorne behind you to your left.

Goats Bluff.  A small band of Nuenonne.  Shearwaters wheeling on the night sky, and then the aurora.

Goat’s Secret, Hope’s Secret and Betsey’s Secret

Goat Bluff has two secrets.  

The first is a beach (T412 (Short, 2006)).

Short describes it as ‘a 60 m long pocket of rocks and sand set in a gap in the centre of the bluffs and immediately below the lookout. The beach consists of high tide cobbles and boulders against the base of the cliffs, then a sandy 100 m wide bar with rock outcrops that fill the gap. Waves are lowered to 1 m at the bluff owing to sheltering by the island and rocks and break across the bar with a weak rip usually flowing out against the western rocks.’

He says there is no safe access to this beach. To try would be dangerous.  So please don’t.

I was surprised to discover another secret on the On the Convict Trail blog: ‘Nearby [to Piersons Point] Goat Bluff was also the location of further underground tunnel systems [associated with the Derwent’s system of battery defence].  But Goat Bluff isn’t near Piersons Point, which is on the western side of the Derwent’s mouth (although distance is relative, I guess) and so I was sceptical until I saw this fact repeated on the South Arm History site.  The Fort Direction page by Maurice Potter states ‘at Goat Bluff there are still the remains of underground trenches that were built at that time’ [WWII] and I also discovered on this page that ‘as many will remember, most of the beaches and the hillsides of South Arm were covered with barbwire entanglement and this remained so for some years after the end of war.’ (Potter, n.d.)

Betsey’s Secret

Sitting on the bluff contemplating the landscape you might naturally suppose that Betsey Island is made off the same stuff as the bluff, but you would be wrong.  Black Jack Reef and Goat Bluff are sandstone / siltstone but Betsey declares its difference by being Jurassic dolerite (Leaman, 1999).  It shares another secret with Hope.

Hope has even more compelling secrets

And as Goat Bluff overlooks Hope here they are.

The first is the precise whereabouts of the wrecked ship, the Hope, that gives the beach its name (Leaman, 1999).

The next secret really belongs to the general vicinity near Hope because between Betsey and the Derwent Light mysterious compass deviations first noted by Mathew Flinders are now assumed to be caused by volcanic necks on the sea floor – and according to Leaman (1999) may possibly have caused the Hope to wreck in the first place.

But here’s the best secret.  Eons ago the complicated Derwent entered Storm Bay through the South Arm isthmus, which now blocks it.  The best part of this secret is that it seems to have done so through ‘a gorge [now] filled with more than 200 metres of clay, sandy clay, sand and gravel [that] lies hidden from our view…’ (Leaman, 1999).

Hope Beach from Goat's Bluff.jpg

 

A mountain.  A river. A bluff.  They may seem so enduring, but I think all nouns are simply verbs in disguise and everything a process.

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Sources:

Leaman, David. 1999. Walk into history in Southern Tasmania. Lehman Geophysics, Hobart

Short, A.D. 2006. Beaches of the Tasmanian coast and islands. Sydney University Press, Sydney.

South Arm: Betsey Island: mountain in the water with many names

Betsey Island viewed from Mount Nelson.jpg
‘The Mountain in the Water’ viewed from Mount Nelson

Who are you really, Betsey Island?

Betsey is a hump of island, the largest of the three in the Betsey Island Group and although it is visible from a number of Hobart suburbs, because of the hilly landscape and the peninsulas that surround the city, it often disguises itself as just another bump in the landscape.  Like Tinderbox Peninsula, its reefs were shaped by volcanic activity and on three sides cliffs rise steeply.  It has a small pebbled beach, Black Jack Reef lies between Betsey and Hope Beach and if Tinpot Island, also a member of the Betsey Group, is the sentinel for the Derwent River, then Betsey Island in Storm Bay is a sentinel as you sail towards Frederick Henry Bay.

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Betsey Island and Little Betsey Island viewed from the Hope Beach reef

Sailing Betsey

I was pretty excited the first time I took part in one of the 29 nm races from its start at Castray Esplanade in the Derwent River, out around Betsey Island and back to start on a Trad 30.  It remained a favourite race because it left the confines of the river and took in  a stretch of coastline I walked but rarely sailed.

It was on race that I discovered that Betsey Island had a tiny companion, Little Betsey Island, tucked under its southern shoulder and that this little island trails a reef too.  On the lovely Birngana, we came in tantalisingly close beneath Betsey’s eastern cliffs on one race (seabirds swirling above), seemed just behind Hope’s breaking waves on another and, each time I’ve done this race, it’s proved long enough to glide to a halt  on a mirrored surface in the river, to enjoy a reach exhilaratingly heeled, to watch the sea state change time over time with the arrival of catspaws or wild gusts.  Spinnakers up, or reefs in, maybe romping back up the river or stuck at the back of the fleet, the sailing on Birngana was always convivial, the rounding of the two Betseys full of curiosity and wonder, and the fun of the race always continued through drinks and snacks back in the berth.

Confused Identity

Names come and go and play a role shaping  identify.   For the longest time Betsey Island is understood to have been called Teemiteletta or Lore.by.larner.wa.  There is a record of both names, presumably given by different tribes – the latter name seems linked to the Moomairremener, who had a myth about a group of girls who went across to Lore.by.larner.wa to enjoy themselves, but were chased by some men.  To escape them they leapt into the sea and a spirit, Rageoropper, who judged in favour of the girls, turned the men into rock, while the girls swam back to rejoin their tribe. (Go girls! #metoo.)

 Those name givers that made their way over the water to the island as wild swimmers or in their bark canoes left memories of their journeys by way of scatters of shell and stone.  They’d have been seeking mutton birds, shellfish and penguin eggs.  Bruni D’Entrecasteaux, the French explorer, called the mountain in the sea Willaumez Island after Jean Baptiste Willaumez, who was on board the  Recherche with him.

In the 1800s the British came with a heavier footstep and in short succession the island gained a string of new names – Lady Franklin Island, Franklin Island and these days Betsey Island.  It’s possible it may have been named after Betsey, the daughter of Sergeant MaCauley and his wife Maria, who farmed in the Clarence area and were friends with the Reverend Knopwood.

The island was still being used by the Moomairremener in the first years though, because in 1804 an aboriginal man was taken from the island into Hobart and the governor ordered him to be dressed in European clothes.  Luckily he was able to escape that night (Nicholls, cited by Clarence City Council).

In 1814 another group of aborigines were found sitting around a fire on the island and encouraged to visit Hobart.  Again they were inspected by the Governor and given clothes.  After being offended by a local it is unclear whether they were taken to Bruny Island or drowned as they tried to reach it.

Betsey’s Many Uses

In the early days of the colony two convicts were placed there to signal when a ship was sighted, either by firing a gun by day or lighting a fire by night. It was used  as a lookout by whalers.

It also became the home of the offspring of  five rabbits who were on the First Fleet to Australia.  In the 1820s, when the island was bought by a Mr James King, he built himself a stone house, took his water from a couple of fresh water springs and set about  breeding rabbits for the Chinese fur trade, a profound shock to the island’s ecosystem.  His endeavours were quite successful but he sold the island on for 470 pounds to Captain John Bell and Mr Crombie, who continued this business … and while the men sold rabbit pelts to China, the rabbits nibbled steadily through Teemiteletta’s pelt.

By the 1840s the dishevelled island had been bought by Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin for 910 pounds and one of her many creative notions was to establish a botanical garden or game reserve there.  The plan never came together and the island was left to itself, although it was visited occasionally by fishermen and was the temporary hang out of  a handful of deserters, feasting on rabbits and birds, no doubt, while they patiently waited for their ship, the Cicero (American) to leave Hobart.

Then, in The Mercury of 24 May 1876 there’s this intriguing report:

Land Slip at Franklin Island.

A letter received by Mr. J. W. Graves from’James Alexander, better known as ” Old Alick,” who has for some years resided on Franklin Island, recorded an interesting occurrence that occurred there on the 18th inst. Alick states that himself and the boy who resides with him were at the back of the island about four o’clock in the afternoon, when they had a narrow escape of being buried alive.
They had just crossed the flat ground at the back end of the long hill, when the land began to move steadily, ” the same as a ship being launched.” In a few moments an immense mass of earth,’ the best piece of land on the island, fell into the water, leaving, as the writer describes it, “a great gulf.”
Alick seemed very much concerned about it, probably from an idea that at any moment the whole island may disappear in a similar manner.’ He says it does not look like the same island, and wants Mr. Graves to go down and see it. Franklin Island, as is well known, was named after that noble lady who passed away last year;  but the native name of it was Teemiteletta, or, mountain in the water. It was given by Lady Franklin to the people of the colony, and has always been looked upon with great interest. It would be a thousand pities if it was swallowed up in the Derwent.

The Real Owners

Forget the affairs and acquisitiveness of men.  These two islands and the Betsey Reef are now part of a 176 ha nature reserve which somewhat protects its natural owners.  On its rocky dolerite cliffs, with outcrops of sandstone, on its scree slopes, sedgeland and saltmarsh life exists.  White’s skink and the she-oak skink live here.  Birds add colour and music to the open eucalypt woodlands and burrow into the sandier soils but there is only one mammal – the silver-haired rabbit  – that erodes Teemiteletta still – well, at least up until 2002 – but let’s hope the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service has rectified this by now.

In  1985 and 1999, when Nigel Brothers and David Pemberton surveyed the island there were over 15,000 little penguins living there, joined in summer by approximately 150,000 shearwaters.  The penguins, arriving and departing the island risked their lives because both professional and recreational fishers set nets just offshore. It is  outrageous that nets were not been banned decades ago.

232 black-faced cormorant couples also lived on Betsey then.  Kelp gulls were outsiders – only 3 pairs and 11 individuals set up home here.

They saw a white-faced heron.  A pair of sea-eagles had a nest in the eucalyptus forest but wedge tailed eagles also had a presence.  Other raptors included swamp harriers and the brown goshawk and in the Eucalyptus globulus woodland there were spotted pardalote, noisy miners, various honeyeaters, the grey butcherbird, the forest raven, the nankeen kestrel and silvereyes.

The thunder of the human footprint also exists in the weeds that limit Teemiteletta’s life giving generosity.  Boxthorn and Cape Leeuwin wattle restrict the natural habitat available to the amazing diversity of species this small 175.13 ha island supports.

Beautiful Graveyard

I didn’t know when we sailed by Betsey that beneath us lay wooden and metallic corpses, now bejewelled with marine flora.  Old ships need graveyards and since 1916 they’ve been dragged out to Little Betsey Island to create vibrant underwater gardens frequented by divers.    Two of the ships are flattened 1930s freighters now lying off Little Betsey Island reef and a number of harbour vessels lie out to the west.  There’s even a section of Hobart’s old pontoon bridge there.

(For more about the scuttled ships see these links:  Shipwrecks of Tasmania , Tasmanian Scuba Diving Club and the Marine Life Network

Black Jack Snaffles a Ferry

Black Jack Rocks, closely associated with Betsey Island snared a nautical prize in 1994.  Incat, Hobart’s ferry making success story, had been contracted to build Condor 11, a 78 m vessel, but on its trial in Storm Bay on 8 October 1994, there was a navigational slip up  and in the darkness of the night the ferry rushed a full boat length on to the semi-submerged reef – and stayed there for a good two months, its stern and portside hull clear of the water, while repeated rescues were attempted until finally it was freed.

Fish Farms

Change is coming again to the mountain in the sea.  Conscious of the damage done to the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and Macquarie Harbour, fish farms are moving out into Storm Bay.  The proliferation in this area will have a negative environmental and recreational impact on the bay and the island.

Sources:

Brothers, Nigel; Pemberton, David; Pryor, Helen; & Halley, Vanessa. (2001). Tasmania’s Offshore Islands: seabirds and other natural features. Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery: Hobart.

Clarence City Council.  Aboriginal people and early European activity. n.d.

Clarence City Council.  2002? Early settlers (pdf)

Donnelly, Area.  Bunnies by the billions thanks to one gun-loving Englishman.  The Daily Telegraph January 12, 2016.

HISTORY OF BETSY ISLAND. The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954). Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 14 October 1913. p. 4. Retrieved 5 January 2016.

Tasmania. Parks and Wildlife Service. 2002.  Small South-East Islands Draft Management Plan 2002, Hobart.  

Textual Silence Project. 2014. A brief history of Betsey Island

Wickham, Mark. 2005.  Entrepreneurship and the management of innovation in the global marketplace: the Incat story. The Management Case Study Journal Vol.5 Issue2 Nov 2005: pp83-93

South Arm Beaches: Hope Beach

HOPE BEACH (T413)

Hope Beach from Goat's Bluff
The eastern end of Hope Beach

Hope Beach spreads itself from Cape Direction in the west to Goats Bluff in the east, a distance of about 5 km.  It is backed by dunes that are quite large by Tasmanian standards. The beach forms the southern shoreline of the South Arm isthmus.  Ralphs Bay is contained behind the dunes and this large embayment of the Derwent River provides a sheltered habitat for shorebirds.  

Betsey Island lies offshore and between the island and the beach lies Black Jack Reef, notorious for snaffling the boats of the unwary.

Although we had come to Hope (driving through farmland then walking in along the dune top path)  we weren’t sure we were done with Cape Direction. I stood beneath the cyprus pines that grow on the dunes  in this western corner of the beach and contemplated its shaggy slope. Cathy energetically sought  a path and  although it was  possible a way existed, the dense scrub made it uninviting.  So we  decided to tackle the rocks instead.

The reef at the base of the cape was an equally unlikely route around  to Pot Bay but we gave it a go, timing breakers.  It defeated us within metres but presented us with a great view westwards towards the Iron Pot Reef.

3 Iron Pot from the Cape Direction Rocks
The Iron Pot from the Cape Direction rocks, western end of Hope Beach

As we set off along the sand  a lone surfer stood on the dunes assessing the surf. A pied and sooty oystercatcher were chilling together, and later we spotted six more of the pied variety, along with a dozen hooded plovers – a great sight, given they are endangered.

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Looking back along Hope Beach

It was only when we’d reached the eastern end (where the beach unexpectedly curves and broadens) and had climbed up Goats Bluff  that we saw that those sand dunes, a bulwark against the ocean, were being sand mined.

Dune trapped lake or mining pit
Dune trapped lake behind Hope Beach with Cape Direction in the distance.

We could make out Black Jack  Reef where one of the Incat ferries, Condor 11, ground to a halt on a trial run in 2011.   But it is only the most recent shipwreck in this area.  The best known one gave the beach its name.

The Loss of the Hope

The Hobart Colonial Times May 1827 

We have the painful duty to report the loss of the barque Hope, which vessel was wrecked on Sunday morning last, on the long Sandy Beach, between Betsy and Iron-pot Islands. It appears she was on her way from Sydney hither, with about 100 tons of freight, and the following passengers: Ensign Barcley, 40th Regiment; Mrs. Bisbee and Mr. Bisbee (wife and brother of Mr. Bisbee of Hobart Town who came as passengers in the ship Elizabeth from England to Sydney); also Mrs. Westbrook mother of Dr. Westbrook. Of this place, another passenger per the Elizabeth, and three others, among whom is Mr. Edmund Johnson, nephew of Mr. Joseph Johnson of the Green Ponds.

The Hope made the Heads on Saturday afternoon; and took on board, off Cape Raoul, the pilot, Mr. Mansfield, the same evening, shortly before dusk. The Hope at this time was being towed in by two of the ship’s boats; but the pilot having taken charge of the vessel, told Captain Cunningham, that he could safely bring her up the river, without the assistance of the boats; from which, in consequence, she parted.

The Captain, however, wished the vessel might be towed in; but the Pilot observed, that his long experience in the river Derwent would enable him to bring her up in safety otherwise. The Captain was perfectly aware of sufficient room being afforded in the Derwent for any vessel to be brought up with almost any wind, and therefore acquiesced with the Pilot’s wishes; and, leaving the charge of the vessel in his hands, retired to rest, where he remained until awakened by the vessel running on shore.

The wind light and variable, and the vessel proceeded up the river but slowly. The night was rather dark and rainy; and about 4 o’clock on the morning of Sunday; about two hours before day break, she, by some means, we can scarcely conceive how, ran ashore, on the long sandy beach, in Shoal Bay, as above stated.

Although the night was rather dark, the wind was not violent, but the surf was running tremendously high. On the lead line being thrown, she was discovered to be in seven feet of water, while her proper draught was fifteen. The moment she struck, the consternation and terror became general; and the scene is described as truly terrific.

The Captain raving at the pilot like a man distracted, the latter standing in mute dismay— females just left their beds— sailors not knowing which way to turn, to relieve the creaking vessel, which was expected to go to pieces every moment, as she already leaked like a sieve— the heavy surf rolling over her, adding horror to the scene— while the dismal half hour guns of distress seemed to signal the death knell of all on board. Daylight at length appeared and discovered to the sufferers their truly perilous situation.

About 10 o’clock of the Sunday morning, two whale-boats, of Mr. Lucus’s fishing party, which had been laying off Bruny Island, came up to the wreck. They had heard the proceeding evening the signal-gun nfor the Pilot, which drew their attention and induced them to bend their steps thitherward.

They immediately lent their aid, with the ship’s jolly boat, in getting out the ship’s bower and kedge anchors; but the attempt proved fruitless, for one of the whaleboats (the property of Mr. Kelly), was stove, having her head absolutely dashed off, and the crew narrowly escaped with their lives. Captain Cunningham then jumped into the jolly boat alone, which parted from the other boat, and nearly fell a sacrifice to his eager promptitude, to save the vessel. Finding every other hope lost, to all the lives they could became their chief object.

The venerable Mrs. Westbrook and Mrs. Bisbee were safely conveyed on shore, after a state of most dreadful suspense for four hours. All this time, the rolling of the vessel almost precluded anyone from keeping their feet, while the state of the two females was most dreadful; overcome with weakness and terror, and fatigue, they could not stand without support, which was kindly afforded by a Mr. John Elliot and some other Gentlemen passengers. With the Ladies, Mr. Clarkson, charterer  of the Hope, came up to Hobart Town  by the whale-boat in the course of Sunday, bringing the fatal news to Town, leaving the other persons on board. Immediately on learning the fate of the Hope, the Agent (Mr. Behune), dispatched the sloop Recovery, a small craft, in order to bring away a portion of her cargo, in which she succeeded, having returned the following evening with as many tons of goods as could be thrown on board from the wreck.

But to return to the ship. On Sunday night, between 11 and 12 o’clock, the rudder gave way, and the upper part of her stern was driven in. At this critical hour of the night, it was every moment feared that the stern post would give way or be driven in also; in which case the vessel must soon afterwards have foundered, and every soul on board perished as the surf was still running mountains high. The other passengers who did not come up on Sunday safely arrived in Town on Tuesday – till which period all hands were employed at the pumps, in imminent peril, every moment in danger of being washed overboard. When some Gentlemen who left the wreck on Tuesday, who had visited it on Monday, the sea was gaining on the vessel every hour, her main mast had been cut away, and all hopes of saving her were given up. Some casks of spirits, which were on board, were ascertained to have been damaged by the salt water; and the tea and sugar, which also formed part of her cargo, must inevitably be destroyed. We understand, that among the persons who had merchandise on board is Mr. James Lord, owner of  the Marquis of Lausdown.—- We are not aware whether the vessel is insured or not.

The government brig Prince Leopold, in coming from Maria Island with the remainder of the wreck of the Apollo, saw the Hope off the Heads on Saturday, and safely arrived in the Harbour the same evening. Monday she discharged her lading, and on Tuesday was immediately sent to the relief of the wrecked Hope.

There were rumours that £30,000 in silver coin had been buried on the beach by two soldiers.  Captain John Laughton purchased the wreck at an auction, but in another nasty twist of fate he drowned while inspecting it (Shipwrecks of Tasmania).

More

Hope Beach walked on Friday 13th May 2016.