Nick and Arthur (Day 173)
We do keep meeting Artists on our Grown Up Travels, which is lovely and very inspiring. And of course, always good to tick off yet another Lonely Planet top 500 site in the world.
Last week, as we arrived in Tasmania, I received a Facebook message from Nick. He mentioned that he had heard from Charlotte that we were coming to Hobart and would we like to meet up. It turns out that Nick knows Charlotte’s Mother-in-law, and Charlotte is our brother-in-law Martin’s daughter. How random is that! We popped over to Nick’s this morning and what a fabulous time we had.
Nick is a prolific artist as well as an author of two books Growing Sideways and The Paradise Stain. He mainly paints large abstract works and approaches these intuitively. We walked into his art studio, large paintings with strong colours and horizontal or vertical lines greeted us. Nick explained that these represent lines of the landscape and the structure and flow of music. We walked around the beautiful garden, Nick’s other passion. Surprisingly in the garden was a bath with working hot and cold taps. This overlooks the estuary of River Derwent where the Yachts sail through during the Sydney to Hobart race at the end of December each year. How idyllic. We sat and chatted about a whole multitude of subjects, travelling, relationships, psychology and the impact of going to a boarding school. Our time together flowed by quickly, we could have stayed all day, however, Nick had a meeting with a gallery and we planned to visit Port Arthur.
A nice drive over the Hobart Bridge, past Orielton Lagoon, over Eaglehawk Neck, onto Port Arthur Historical site. (Yes – the third Lonely Planet’s top 500 in the world in Tasmania – tick!). Port Arthur is now one of Australia’s most important heritage places. In 1830 it became a penal settlement, where the convicts had to cut huge gum trees, some 4m thick, and carry these down on their shoulders. Shipbuilding was then introduced – amazing that none of the convicts managed to stow away on them as they sailed out the harbour.
Life was hard; the criminals slept in tiny cells and many were in solitary confinement. The punishment was cat and 9 tails floggings which were carried out in public – those who didn’t flinch would be clapped by the crowd and often became heroes. The Commandant realised that corporal punishment wasn’t working for the hardened criminals so introduced psychological punishment. A much-feared Separate Prison was built where they were put into solitary confinement for many months in silence, and if they still misbehaved, then in pitch black tiny cells. Many of the prisoners became deranged, consequently, a mental asylum was then built. So two buildings were constructed because the punishment wasn’t working... and this also wasn’t a great success either!
Transportations ceased in 1853 so gradually the penal settlement was dismantled. Almost immediately the area was renamed Carnarvon and tourists started to arrive by the bucket load and remove artefacts as souvenirs.
Gradually the History Society managed to get the area conserved so that this historic site is preserved for future generations.
What we have found in Australia is that because the history of the European settlers is so short, just 200 years old, we have got to understand it in a more detailed way. However, in Britain, because our history is so long, it’s diluted – there’s too much to take in if that makes sense.
Back home and another wonderful evening with Anna our host with many great discussions and much laughter. She is such a dynamic lady, full of brilliant ideas. She shared with us her latest business concept and it is fantastic to hear all the people she is networking with, building strategic alliances and collaborations. We are sure she will be a great success.