Derby to Launceston

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Today we started by driving up to the north coast of Tasmania to the town of Bridport. We had a lovely walk along an almost deserted beach.

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Perched at the entrance to the Tamar River, George Town is the third oldest settlement after Sydney and Hobart. It was replaced in dominance as a major port town by Launceston further down river, but still maintains many of the original 19th century buildings typical of this new British colony. 

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We started our visit in the Watch House (prison) shown above which had a scale model of the original town and a very informative guide, then walked around the town. We headed for the Bass & Flinders Centre to learn about the maritime history of the region. This building was once a cinema but has now found a new role.

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George Bass and Matthew Flinders were Englishmen who sailed to New Holland (Sydney) in 1797 and were great explorers of the region. This museum houses a replica of the ship The Norfolk in which they were dispatched to Van Diemen’s Land to determine if it was an island or not.

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What is notable is the small size of this ship, Lawrence could barely get down the stairs. This ship had a crew of just eight, and Flinder’s cat ‘Trim’. Upstairs in the museum we watched a fascinating documentary about Flinders, a film which can only be watched here.

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Along the esplanade is an imposing monument, Paterson’s Monument, commemorating the first landing in Northern Van Diemen’s Land in 1804 by Colonel Paterson and the crew of the Buffalo. And nearby, a tree sculpture of ancient fishermen by Eddie Freeman, clearly loved by the local seagulls. 

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We then drove even further north to Low Head and its Pilot Station. We were too late to visit the museum (close at 4 pm) so walked around the site looking at the restored buildings, many of which are now available as holiday homes.

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We did not have time to explore Launceston, other than have a pleasant walk through the park to The Black Cow restaurant for a scrumptious dinner.

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© Helen Gray 2021