Port Arthur - New Years Eve - December 31, 2011

Today up early and away from Bicheno just before ten.  We drove straight to Port Arthur, listening to David Jones talk on Joshua 1 on the way.  Abraham stayed awake for this one and we had a couple of good family discussions about about church planting, God's promise, God's word and God's presence.  


Port Arthur is now a significant tourist destination.  When Cathie came here last time in the days after we were engaged in early 1993 the broad arrow cafe was there, but it wasn't the key attraction it is now.


We went on a tour - which was supposed to last 40 minutes and actually went for an hour - and was about twenty minutes too long.  Then coffee, then a harbour cruise - which was excellent.  Our guide was a descendant of convicts and part aboriginal as well.  He told us to google 'black wars Tasmania' to learn about the massacre of Australia's first inhabitants at the start of the nineteenth century.  His presentation was fascinating - although I wondered whether he presented Port Arthur a little too positivelly.


We enjoyed looking through the museum facilities and the 'separate prison,' an early experiment in solitary confinement.


On thing that did disappoint me was the memorial to the victims of Martin Bryant's massacre in April 2006.  The victims were well remembered but the story wasn't told at all.  All our kids were born after the massacre, none of them knew about it at all.  


It was a sharp contrast to Beaconsfield yesterday where there was a historical presentation stretching back on mining over two centuries but a special focus on the mine emergency of a few years ago.  


Today, I felt disappointed that there wasn't a room in the display to tell the story of what happened in 2006 and how people responded - as part of educating a new generation about that terrible page in Australian history.  



We drove to Hobart and registered at Barilla Caravan Park where we will spend the next 48 hours.  As I write this it's just before midnight on New Years Eve.  As a family we have just watched Harry Potter Seven Part Two.  The caravan park is delightfully quite (in fact we were the noisy ones - someone came and asked us to turn the speakers on the movie down).  This is such a delightful contrast to Currarong Caravan Park the last five+ years where we have faced consistent drunken unpleasantness on New Years Eve - and the kids a sitting around now debating whether or not to stay up to midnight or not.  

We decided to stay up.  So Sol is serving everyone an extra plate of ice cream!