Eaglehawk Neck & The Tasman Peninsula

This is the second visit to this spectacular region for Geography Cat’s official stunt double Ike, he came here in September 2019 with Caroline, and this time he’s with Jimena.

Eaglehawk Neck is actually a thin strip of land, called an isthmus, which joins the Tasman Peninsula to the rest of south east Tasmania via the Forestier Peninsula and another isthmus called East Bay Neck. Therefore this location is extremely remote. The penal colony of Port Arthur was established on the peninsula in the 1830s due to its deeper harbour and relative accessibility by sea, compared to Macquarie Harbour on the west coast which was closed in 1833.

The first stop on this trip was to see the Coal Mines Historic Site where the “worst class” of convicts from Port Arthur were punished further with forced labour, which also conveniently helped to boost the local economy as it meant that coal no longer had to be shipped at great expense from New South Wales.

As the poem suggests, the coal mined here was of poor quality. There were many criticisms that the mine was inefficient and badly managed, and consequently the convicts were moved out in 1848 and the mine continued production under private management until 1877.

The next stop on this trip was to Port Arthur, former penal colony:

And then onto the Isle of the Dead, Port Arthur’s island cemetery:

Eaglehawk Neck isthmus itself was guarded by the Dog Line, to prevent escaped convicts from reaching Forestier Peninsula, and potentially the mainland:

Dogs were chained all the way along the isthmus and on rafts in the shark-infested sea.

Remains of an officer’s house from the early settlement at the end of the dog line.
The isthmus from the air. Ike flew over with Caroline last autumn.
The sloping bedding planes of dolerite across the peninsula give raise to the alternating concordant and discordant coastline features. Seen here from the flight that Caroline so kindly took Ike on in September 2019.

A little light relief for Ike and Jimena next, as they visited Port Arthur Lavender Farm:

Look closely to see a little blue sparrow – a superb fairy wren (Malurus cyaneus) half way up the photograph on the left hand side

Then to Waterfall Bay to see the Tasman Arch:

And finally, a boat trip around the peninsula to take in some incredible views of the steep dolerite cliffs, classic headland and bay topography, wave cut platforms, caves, stacks and seals:

Thank you to both Caroline and Jimena for their exceptional photographs of this extraordinary part of the world.

One Reply to “Eaglehawk Neck & The Tasman Peninsula”

  1. I am totally blown away at the stunning landscapes and seascapes. The historical importance of the place is very interesting 🧐. The chained dogs must have been frightening back in the day if the convicts.

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