Saturday, February 6, 2010

Port Arthur & Isle of the Dead

We have Chris's brother Brandon and his partner Terry here with us at the moment. They are visiting us from Chicago and it's been super fun. Today we went out to Port Arthur, Tasmania's famous convict ruins. There are too many experts out there who know so much more than me about this place so I won't attempt to give you my rudimentary interpretations. You can read about Port Arthur here.

It always strikes me that a place with such a grim history has become a major tourist attraction. It seems strange to see kids tearing about and people drinking champagne on the same spot where there once was great sadness, horrid living conditions and much suffering. At the same time, it is truly fascinating to hear the stories of the convicts and those who held jobs there. One of the best things we did today was take a boat ride to the Isle of the Dead, a tiny island just off the coast where over 1100 people are buried. Convicts (mostly in unmarked graves) and free folk (with headstones) alike.

Chris and I bought a book to take home with us - a complete translation of all the headstones on the island. Once we sailed back to the coast, we all split up and did our own thing. Since Chris and I had seen Port Arthur before, we wanted to revisit the interiors of the buildings. We went into the creepy Asylum and nearly got locked in the Solitary Confinement Cell by a fellow tourist lady who thought we might want "the whole experience". No thanks! I can imagine it just fine!

Then came the room where these particular convicts worshiped. Chris had a bit of cheeky fun on the pulpit. While he was up there the sound of someone reading a stern sermon came on and nearly made us pee our pants. It was fun nonetheless.

Another place we really liked was the Commandant's Cottage. The interiors here were really amazing to look at, particularly in contrast to the prison areas. Very homely and domesticated.

* The lighting was low in most rooms. Click on the photos to make them bigger. The details will be easier to see.

Beautiful wallpaper in the main hall.

Sitting Room.

Sewing machine on the table. Nice.

Little doll in one of the rooms most likely occupied by the Commandant's children.

Preserves in the pantry.

The kitchen. Simple, but how lovely is this room?

The house was built on sloping land and I loved how it was designed as 'stair-step' type levels. As you moved through the house, you continued to travel upwards.

Ornate archway over the driveway entrance to the cottage. It reminded me of Narnia (totally out of context!!).

All in all, we had a super day :D

Here's a picture of us and the kitty for good measure.

@ Bonorong Wildlife Park. Note my cool black and white polka dot bow (complete with skull cameo) from LondonsGate. I LOVE IT.

Kitty cat asleep behind my piles of quilt fabrics. As Lucy Knisley's cat would say, PUZZ ZZ.

1 comment:

  1. the pic of Chris & you with your polka dot sunnies - reminds me of someone else a few years back. The similarity stunning. T.Hevet


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