Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Great Spot for a Prison

I had to make a decision recently as to where I should live. It was not a hard decision but there was always an option to move to the mainland: The Great Southern Continent to the north. I decided to rough it out where I was, or rather nearby. Funny how decisions so often turn out to have quite unexpected consequences. 

Take the problem faced by Great Britain several centuries ago with its criminal underclass persisting in stealing handkerchiefs and pocket watches from gentlefolk. What to do with them. .... er... the crims, not the handkerchiefs.

The Amercian colonies had provided a solution for some time but had taken their (actually Britain's) bat and ball, gone to tea and closed the doors, refusing to take any more of the King's riff-raff. Too late, some say. They had 50,000 already and the gene pool was forever established.
View from my window.
But a French chap, Rear Admiral Bruni d'Entrecasteaux  provided some welcome news of a discovery at the ends of the World. Bruni got in just before Matt Flinders and James Cook, the intrepid English sailors, but he failed to hoist his tricolour for Napoleon and France.  Well, he had an excuse. He and his officers were 'Royalists' of the old school but the crew was 'Revolutionary'! Times were changing.

He descibed a place he'd found as..... 
'the most beautiful harbour in the world, where all the ships of all the fleets can anchor in safety'.

So...the Lords in Great Britain decided to build a prison there.

Hah ! 

It was a bit of a blow for Bruni. He'd been sent to the deep south to search for a missing expedition. On 4 January 1793, Admiral d'Entrecasteaux was forced to leave the coast at a position near Bruni d'Entrecasteaux Reef (he did quite a bit of 'naming of remote parts') and sail direct to Van Diemen's Land. Yep, even before the French and the British, the Dutch had been sniffing around and had named what is now called Tasmania. They had even named Oz as New Holland ! 

In this decision the French explorer was unfortunate, for if he had continued his examination of the southern coast of New Holland, he would have made all the geographical discoveries that fell to the lot of Bass and Flinders a few years later. Then, indeed, a French "Terre Napoléon" might well have become a fact.

Many places down this way have French names still.

The ships anchored in Recherche Bay on 22 January, and a period of five weeks was spent in that area, watering the ships, refreshing the crews, and carrying out explorations into both natural history and geography. Beautemps-Beaupré, in company with other officers, surveyed the northern extensions to Storm Bay – the western extension was found to be a mouth of a river and received the name Rivière du Nord – it was renamed the Derwent River a few months later by the next visitor to this area, Captain John Hayes in the Duke of Clarence and the Duchess.

Both Bruni and his second Captain, Huon de Kermadec were to die from illnesses within six months.

But time flows like the Derwent and a Prison is what the Lords in Britain wanted and that is what they built.

I can see the courtrooms now.... " so, you hanky-thieving little git, its hanging or transportation to ten years in a beachside villa (build it yourself, of course) at the end of the world. What do you choose?".

Those thousands of prisoners did not know their luck.

Well, build they did. Few returned home. Would you? OK, they all died, but heck making it to forty in London or British West Hartlepools was rare and one might as well die on a beach by blue waters as anywhere.  And it was a long time ago.

So, I too, stay. and look out of my window.

Looking up the Riviere du Nord, under the Tasman Bridge.
Not that I sit at home all day. I have a Tavern to run.

But I do get to go down to the beach nearby. It is superb.

My windows face North and East so I get a sunrise (which admittedly I sleep through mostly, unlike my hermit-nun friend nearby who sees it from the beach each morning).
Mid-morning sees a diamond-strewn waterscape.

Now, a word, if I may..... Please do not tell anyone about this place. There are only half a million folk in Tasmania and at least half never bother to come down here. They have their own beaches.

But should you decide to come here yourself, you will be very welcome in the Tavern.

Decisions, decisions. I am quite looking forward to the consequences.



  1. How dare you live in a place like that!

  2. I would quite happily set up residence in a place with views like that :-)

    I love your photo of the sparkling water :-)

    1. You would make a fine neighbour too. The moon on the waters looks magical but my camera is not able to quite capture it.

  3. Great looking place!
    Looks like a great place to retire. :)


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..