Twenty volunteers boarded the Mirambeena ferry for Bruny Island on Thursday, 26 October 2017. Seventeen disembarked, however it took some time before the other three were missed. Bob finally realised there were a few empty seats. Gail, Peter and Una had found the downstairs seating area, introduced themselves and found so much in common that they had travelled to the island and were on their way back to Kettering before being alerted by a chuckling ferryman. Thankfully, the bus returned and the trio belatedly joined the others at the Quarantine Station.
The Barnes Bay site of the Bruny Island Quarantine Station was traditionally owned by the Nuenonne Aboriginal tribe. Free settlers occupied the land from 1856 until 1884. The State quarantined boat passengers there as the site is an isolated, island area suitable for containment. It was first used as a Quarantine Station in 1886 after a typhoid outbreak on the S. S. Diamond. After Federation the Commonwealth Government acquired the area. German nationals were interned from 1914, the outbreak of World War 1. Soldiers returning from World War 1 were quarantined from 1919 due to the outbreak of the Spanish influenza pandemic in 1918. From 1955 until 1971 the site was used for plant quarantine. Seeds and plants were fumigated and checked for two growing seasons. Plants were sent to all parts of Australia.
The site of the Bruny Island Quarantine Station is now a state reserve covering 320 acres of native bushland. Friends of Bruny Island Quarantine Station (FOBIQS), a volunteer Wildcare Inc. group was formed in 2011 to maintain facilities, conserve habitat and encourage public support and education.
The site is open to the public every Sunday, 10 am – 4 pm from early October until the end of April. A full circuit is a leisurely 2 hour walk. More information may be found at www.bica.org.au
Art on the Point
Our second destination at Dennes Point is part of a café and provedore store. 30 artists either local or with local connections contribute high quality work for display. Items included stools made from milk crates and washed up marine rope, bowls made from bull kelp and hand dyed scarves. This gallery is well worth a visit and is open Friday to Monday, 10am – 4 pm.
The Bligh Museum faces the white sandy beach of Adventure Bay, South Bruny. It was built in 1954 as a replica of St Peters Church, Variety Bay (North Bruny). 26,000 convict made bricks were used for construction. The museum was inspired, funded and resourced by local doctor, John Bruce Hamilton. The museum displays maps, books, journals, letters, sketches, paintings and artefacts relating to historical landings at Adventure Bay. Explorers featured are Tasman, Furneaux, Cook, Bligh, D’Entrecasteaux, Flinders and Baudin.
A number of volunteers could be heard saying, ‘I could stay here all day.’ Not me, I would be heading out to the beautiful beach. Watch out though, shark sightings are not uncommon and on two occasions, museum hosts have had to step over snakes to open the museum. Look out for the local and rare white wallaby. The museum is open daily from 10am – 4 pm.
Thankfully, we had booked for the pub at Alonnah. The hotel was buzzing with the chink of glasses, the regular thump of the kitchen door and the odd burp of patrons. The frazzled waitress brought us enormous schnitzels, a special at $12 per serve. The chips and salad accompaniments were very tasty. There was no tummy room for dessert even though the menu stated, ‘Tasmanian whiskey, raspberry and Bruny Island honey mousse with boysenberry ice-cream and toasted oats.’ Local scallops featured on the menu for the day and the plates of other diners looked delicious. Open from 11am – 8 pm. Bookings: (03) 6293 1148 firstname.lastname@example.org
The volunteer-run Bruny Island History Room at Alonnah has been the home of the Historical Society since the bicentennial year of 1988. The weatherboard building was the original Court House. Items of interest are:
- · A wired backbone of a six foot tiger snake (caught on Bruny).
- · A large jelly bean tin.
- · The original Court House bible.
- · Shell jewellery of Trugannini, found in Exeter, UK.
- · A CWA appeal for 150,000 pairs of socks for soldiers of WW1 – ‘Knitters get busy!’
The History Room holds a monthly treasure day for residents and others to bring memorabilia for assessment. Open: 10am – 3pm, 7 days a week.
Inala Jurassic Garden
A pleasant post-prandial hour was spent wandering around a 5 acre garden on Cloudy Bay Rd, South Bruny. The land is gently undulating and the paths wheelchair friendly. Four hundred species, planted in family groups, have been chosen from the Gondwana continent. Fossils, rocks and local crafts are displayed in the Nature Museum.
Bruny Island Cheese Company
…is a delightful bush setting restaurant in Great Bay featuring;
- · Artisan cheeses.
- · Beer made from local ingredients.
- · Pizzas made in a wood fired oven.
- · Locally made condiments.
- · Coffee and cake.
And…back to the ferry ably transported by bus driver, Leigh Higgins (also the local ambulance driver). The networking group stayed above stairs this time. They didn’t want to spend the night on the ferry!