Devonport to Stanley

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The drive from Devonport to Stanley followed the northern coastline of Tasmania and we stopped at Cape Table to take in the view over the Bass Strait. Then we continued on to Stanley and its striking geological feature, The Nut.

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The town of Stanley perches beneath the Nut, and being a fishing port, has some excellent fish and chip shops, with lobster is the prime attraction here.

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On our first evening, we wandered down to the beach to watch some tiny penguins come ashore, but photography was forbidden to reduce anxiety levels among this small community of birds. They waddled inshore to settle down for the night by the cemetery, just nearby our accommodation. All through the night we could hear the birds talking to each other.


We took the cablecar up the Nut, and despite the cloudy weather enjoyed a lovely walk around the top. It was so quite up there that I could hear the flapping wings of a rook as it flew overhead.

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At the top we met up with a German couple from the Guest House who were watching a mother and baby whale out at sea. Ralf Busch very generously let me put his 100-400 mm lens onto my camera so I might get a photo of these whales who were way way out in the distance. You can just about make out their tails in the photo below. I would not have been able to see these animals with my 24 mm lens, so very grateful to Ralf for giving me this opportunity.

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Highfield House looks out towards the Nut, and was built in 1832 for Edward Curr, the Colonial Chief Agent of the Van Diemen’s Land Company. Photos inside the house show its delapidated state before being bought by the Tasmanian Government in 1982 and beautifully restored. There is plenty to read on information panels inside and they provide a glimpse of the difficulties early officials faced when challenged by company officials back home to turn a profit. The architect of Highfield, and principal surveyor for the Van Diemen’s Land company was Henry Hellyer. He committed suicide and is buried in the cemetery in Stanley, the town which he designed.

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This site still has many of the original farm buildings and strict instructions to close the doors of the house to stop the chickens getting in!

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The original plan for colonists was to turn this site into land suitable for Merino sheep, but very few of the original 5500 sheep survived.

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© Helen Gray 2020