We sat on our balcony and watched the sunrise as the ship sailed up the River Derwent to the port at Hobart, Tasmania. We had spent two days crossing the Tasman Sea. The sea crossing was rough with high winds and strong ocean cross currents. Since it had been to cold to lay around on the deck we spent our time attending lectures and watching movies. Crystal looked forward to line dancing each day.
One of the lectures covered how Australia came to be populated as a convict colony. It was a shock to learn that almost all of the convicts who were sent there were convicted of petty crimes such as stealing a loaf of bread or being accused of speaking out against the governing officials. For years the punishment in England had been condemnation to death by hanging for these offenses. It was a matter of economics to kill the prisoners, as poverty was rampant in England, and they considered it to costly to house and feed them.
After a period of time some of the judges began to feel guilty to sentence people to death for such petty crimes. Even children were treated the same as adults and hanged for these petty offenses. Thus, they began to give the prisoners a choice--death by hanging or deportation to Australia to a prison camp. They had also learned that it was cheaper to send them away. Thus Australia became known as a prison colony.
The picture above is the Richman Bridge. It is the oldest bridge in Australia, built by convict labor between 1823 and 1825 for movement of military, police and convicts between Hobart and Port Arthur.
In the photo above we are standing on an overlook at Mr. Wellington, on our way to visit a game refuge, with a view of the harbor in the distance. While the views of the countryside were interesting we found the visit at the Serendip Sanctuary to be our highlight of the day. It is located on the edge of the Brisbane Ranges National Park.
We found the different types of birds to be interesting. Unfortunately, we didn't learn what the various names of the bird were.
The birds roamed freely within the compound and it was difficult to catch them in a good pose. This is where the digital camera showed off its strong and weak points. The weak point is that there is a delay from the time one clicks on the shutter. It takes a couple of seconds for the camera to auto focus and finally take the picture.
The strong point is that one can take a number of pictures and get rid of the bad ones later by deleting them off of the memory stick.
A feature of Lynn's camera that he really liked was the ability to rotate the LCD up or down to get a different perspective. For example, the green necked bird shown above was taken by holding the camera low to the ground and sticking the lens through a crack in a "people barrier." Lynn was able to zoom in and capture the image even though the bird thought it was hiding. He wouldn't have been able to get the shot if he had to use the viewfinder.
Koalas are among the laziest animals. They eat, almost exclusively, eucalyptus leaves. Their schedule is to eat for a couple of hours and then hang out in a tree resting for the rest of the day. The only time they will leave the tree is to walk to another tree.
We expected all koalas to be of the same color. Just like people, and teddy bears, they vary in color.
This little Wombat was a favorite and enjoyed being petted by the visitors.
The kangaroo's and Wallaby's also ran freely. Along the walkways there are located barrels with food in them for the animals. Visitor's are free to reach in, grab a handful, and feed the them. They don't take much coaxing.
Crystal was feeding the kangaroo in the right hand picture. She started to pull her hand away to feed a different one. The kangaroo grabbed her hand and held it until it had eaten all she had to offer.
This old guy was just too tired to eat anymore. One of the critters we weren't allowed to feed was the Tasmanian Devil shown below.
These critters are just plain mean when raised in the wild. They are a nocturnal marsupial found only in Tasmania and resemble a dog in appearance. When grown they are about the same size as an American skunk but the hair is shorter. Its mouth can be opened to nearly right angles to help it feed easily on carcasses. Its biting strength is about 20 times that of a pit bull. They sleep by day in well hidden dens and are efficient night scavengers and hunters.
Although they have a fierce disposition in the wild they can become docile when treated with kindness. Mating time is autumn with 2 to 4 young appearing in the mothers pouch.
This little fella (left photo) was only two days old when its mother was killed by a car on the road. The park rangers took care of it and fed it like we would a newborn puppy. As the ranger said, "It doesn't know it is supposed to be mean."
It is kept separate from the others at the park. The pens where the Devils live are lined with solid metal about 4 feet high. The purpose is so that people can't reach them. The ranger told us that if someone would try to feed them they would likely just bite their finger or part of their hand off.
This is a photo copy of a postcard we found showing the animals of Australia. Shown from top left to right moving clockwise: Possum, Bennett's Wallaby, Tasmanian Bluegum (under the Wallaby), Platypus (in the logo), Tasmanian Devil, Eastern Quoll (below the Devil), Echidna and Wombat.
After the tour we walked around the city a bit. The photo (above left) is a Hobart automobile. Hobart is an automobile manufacturer in Australia.
When we got aboard we went to a chef's cooking demo being held in the show lounge. That was all we needed -- more food.
Next stop: Melbourne, Australia
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