Tasmania 2016, Day 2

We covered less distance today than yesterday, barely getting out of Hobart as compared to flying thousands of kilometres, but there was a lot more personal effort than sitting in an aircraft. My Fitbit registered 18000 steps.

St Joseph's Catholic Church, Hobart

St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Hobart

An early night worked well enough that nobody had any difficulty rising about 6:00 am. We ate a simple breakfast of muesli, toast and coffee and were out the door by 7:15 am. We went to mass at St Joseph’s, less than a kilometre away. We’d selected it for proximity and an early mass but as a bonus it is the oldest Catholic church in Hobart, celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, and is staffed by Passionists, who are responsible for the family groups that brought us all together. After mass, Majella wanted a copy of the special calendar with photographs of the church. The man who was selling them offered to show us some of the features of the church so we had a private tour for the group.

A few in the group had not had breakfast before coming out so we headed back to St Ives and agreed to meet again at 10:00 am to head for Mt Wellington. The intervening time would serve for breakfast, a walk around the local area, or relaxation. Majella and I headed out with Russell and Norma for a walk around Battery Point and a cup of coffee if we could find one. We walked a few blocks and then found the Jam Jar Lounge in the local village area where we enjoyed excellent coffee before sprinting back to join the group at 10:00.

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Mount Wellington

The road to Mt Wellington was shrouded in heavy cloud and Michael did well to keep the van on the narrow road while negotiating tight corners on the way up the mountain. When we arrived at the top of the mountain we could see very little but the thick cloud. We wandered along the track to the sheltered observation point where the windows had markings to show what we would have been able to see on a clear day. Just as we were about to give up and head back down the mountain the cloud began to clear in places and we were able to see glimpses of Hobart through the mist.

We were on a tight schedule which called for us to eat lunch at Cascade Brewery before a tour of the Female Factory at 1:00 pm. By 11:20 we were headed back down the mountain. We were at the Brewery shortly before 12:00 and enjoyed our lunch in the restaurant there with time for a quick stroll in the gardens afterward. Majella had not been able to fit a brewery tour into the schedule. Nobody minded that – we had toured the brewery at Milton some years ago and those with any interest in beer were more interested in consuming the product than watching it made.

The Female Factory was less than 10 minutes away but the route involved a couple of tricky manoeuvres to extract our van from the parking lot and negotiate a tight turn off the main road. When we arrived the man on the counter had no record of the group booking that Majella had arranged but she was able to produce the email exchange on her phone and we were able to join our tour. Our guide, Anna, started us outside the gates with the history of the site from its origins as a failed rum distillery business, through its converted use, to its later expansion along the street in multiple sections. Conditions were oppressively crowded throughout its sad history and it is just one of many dark episodes in our history. We finished in the Matron’s cottage, the only remaining complete building among the remnant walls and markings that make up the rest of the site. It had a display of some of the bonnets being made in a national project to commemorate the more than 25000 women transported as convicts by making a bonnet for each of them.

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Australia’s oldest hotel

Next stop was the tourist information centre in the city where we were to join our walking tour of historic buildings at 3:00 pm. Parking required a couple of turns around the block but Michael spotted a space at the end of a row along a curb and was able to ease in. Most of the group were hanging out for coffee by then so we sent them off to find it while Majella and I sorted out the tour. Fortunately we started on that at 2:30 pm because again there was no record of our booking and Jemma at the information centre had to call the tour operators who then had to call their person who had confirmed the booking. Apparently the date had been recorded incorrectly but they were able to get one of their guides to come in at short notice. Barry did a great job of guiding us around the city for 2 hours, starting with some history of the failed first effort at settlement and then taking us along the path from Hunter Island where the successful settlement began to the area where the Governor resided and on to Salamanca Place.

After that we wandered back to Mures to sample the ice cream we had not had room for last night before heading home for the night. Majella had salted caramel and I had cinnamon and chai. There were plenty of other unusual flavours to select from. On the way we had a brief driving excursion around Battery Point for the benefit of those who had not walked much of it in the morning and picked up roast chicken and salad for dinner. We have a convenient bottle shop on site so that side of the catering was easy.

For most it was early to bed after a long and active day. We have a slow start tomorrow.

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