Favorite thing: Strahan is very small town, situated at the furthest western point of Tasmania. It is the entry point into the vast untouched rugged territories of the many National Parks situated in this corner of Taz. Very quiet place; not much going on.
This natural delight is just off the highway between Hobart and Queenstown, a 20 minute return walk from the carpark situated roadside. The walk in is even wheelchair friendly and features lots of ferns in the undergrowth.
When we were there they were littered with petals from leatherwood flowers, an endemic tree that has to be 280-320 years old before it flowers enough for apiarists.
The falls themselves are a delight and the wooden viewing platform is well located for good shots.
The narrow 120 metre entrance to the huge Macquarie Harbour was discovered in 1815.
Within a year, timber cutters moved in and navigating the narrow entrance and its sandbar was an essential hazard to getting the timber out to Hobart.
A signal station was erected near Cape Sorell in 1822 to indicates conditions entering the harbour. It was manned by convicts from the newly established penal settlement at Sarah Island.
The conditions were so bad at the new Sarah Island that the convicts named the entrance to the harbour Hells Gate. Other records indicate the name was used due to the enormous rush of the tides through the entrance to the harbour which can create very dangerous conditions.
In the 1890's the discovery of silver and lead at Zeehan greatly increased the traffic entering the harbour works were taken to improve the entrance.
In 1891, a light was exhibited from two white six sided wooden towers, one on the western side of Entrance Island, and the other on Bonnet Island (opening pic - it's panoramic). Also a breakwater was constructed at Hells Gate to check the sandbar and in 1899 a light was constructed a Cape Sorell.
Fondest memory: The Strahan Marine Board purchased a dredge in 1909 and continued to improve the entrance so that many large vessels could enter.
The Entrance Light was powered by gas until 1977, when solar panels and batteries took over.
The light was never manned, although an officer of the Strahan Marine Board was stationed at Strahan until 19 May 1970, when the Hobart Marine Board took over.
The weatherboard cladding was renewed in 1989.
To get to the heads you can drive along a road that takes you right there and, if you have a 4WD, you can keep going and drive up Ocean Beach as far as you like.
Fondest memory: I remember passing a lady with her two frivilous children who were having a wonderful time with a blow up canoe and then a couple of fishermen further on who really didn't seem to care too much whether or not they actually caught anything.
If you get the right day, as we did, it's beautiful place just to go for a stroll and watch your cares float away.
The timelessness of the distant range of mountains adds to the allure.
Sarah Island was a penal colony from 1822 to 1833 to where recalcitrant prisoners were sent from other jails when they committed additional crimes. They even had another smaller island right next to Sarah Island called Grummet Island where the worst of the worst were sent. About 1200 prisoners were sent there over the eleven years it operated. They were supervised by military personnel. The island became an industrial village over the years. In the end - there were even ships being built there just like at Port Arthur.
There were still some remains there, although most of the buildings were built of wood and are completely gone. There is still ruins of the last living quarters built, the bread oven, the solitary confinement building, and a couple of other things.
Fondest memory: Surely the most infamous resident was convict Alexander 'The Pieman' Pearce who was responsible for one of the few recorded instances of cannibalism in Australia. In a bizarre footnote to the history of the region Pearce and seven other convicts attempted to cross the island through difficult terrain to Hobart where they optimistically hoped they could catch a merchant ship and escape to some ill-defined freedom.
Not surprisingly they lost their way and in the ensuing weeks all of the escapees disappeared except for Pearce. When he was recaptured unproven accusations of cannibalism were made against him. In fact, the judge didn't believe him and thought the remaining convicts had turned their hand to bushranging.
The following year Pearce escaped again accompanied by another convict, Thomas Cox. Once again Pearce found himself without food and, to solve the problem, he killed and ate Cox. When he was finally recaptured Pearce admitted to eating Cox and confessed to cannibalism during his first escape. He was subsequently executed in Hobart.
The Pieman River north of Macquarie Harbour at a small place called Corinna (now enjoying a tourism boom) was named after Pearce's occupation - he was a pieman in Hobart.