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