The Last Bridge in Australia

The last bridge in Australia. There is a road.
It begins in the tropics at Cape York, the northern tip of Australia, the pointy bit that directs our attention to the equator just over the horizon. The road wanders south for 5,400 kilometres through open woodlands, jungles, cane farms, towns and cities, cattle properties and four State Capitals (five if you count Townsville the ‘capital’ of North Queensland) .

After crossing Bass Strait, it ends just beyond Cockle Creek, over the last bridge in Australia, in the sub-temperate wilds of southern Tasmania, as a sandy track, to a beach belonging to the Great Southern Ocean, which surrounds Antarctica.

I want to walk over that bridge.

the road

Having already decided that Hobart is really just a friendly neighbourhood masquerading as a capital city, we took a morning drive to the eastern side of ‘The River Derwent’ where hundreds, maybe thousands of regular homes have water views to rival those of the old money / nouveau riche in Point Piper and Vaucluse (rich Sydney suburbs).

It reinforces the observations we made not long after our arrival. We had just spent five weeks in the beautiful village of Derby and Tassie really is a place we could live. Around every bend on this clear sunny morning, we ‘discovered’ the modest suburbs of Lindisfarne and Rose Bay, Rosny and Bellerive, facing the estuary, boasting intimate parks between yachts and small enterprises, mixed into the village feel while yummy mummies pushed their prams and their children played.

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A Day To Live

Do you have a memory that stirs when someone mentions ‘going for a drive’?

It wasn’t a perfectly sunny day most of the time, it wasn’t the warmest weather and it was not taken in an incredible supercar, it was just… well, beautiful… and it ended back in Kingston, where we began.

Our house-sitting hosts John and Julie had kindly allowed us the use of their second car to not only to take the dish licking Winnie for a gambol on the beach in the morning but to make a few day trips too, something that was really appreciated as our humble aged camper van is not designed for nipping along the winding roads of Tasmania.

van trailer brown

Sandy Bay, our home for a month or so, is an upmarket area just four kilometres south of the city centre and overlooking the beach, the full expanse of the Derwent estuary and the soaring Tasman bridge. There is an endless procession of ships, fishing vessels and yachts silently going about their business to keep the day dreamers, myself included, occupied as long as hunger and other interruptions allow.

Immediately south, another eight kilometres or so, sits the seaside town of Kingston which is close enough to be considered part of the Hobart metropolitan area and home to a fair percentage of city workers, but it has suffered a great misfortune.

It was first settled by a bloke called Tom Lucas who set up camp with his family there about 150 years ago. Unfortunately for him, the area had already been paid a visit a few years earlier by a famous botanist, Robert Brown and the area and the river were named after Mr Brown and not the settlers.

Of course the town of Kingston should be called Lucas but worse was to follow …shock horror… the river which had been known quite correctly as Brown’s River had some heartless soul steal its apostrophe and has since been known by the emasculated term, Browns River.

Twelve thousand residents live with this abomination of misspelling of their beautiful little river, which I can only attribute to their fortitude, apathy or undernourished education. The reason it’s called Kingston is an amazing story in its own right, I’m sure and if you ever find out what it is, please let Wikipedia know so they can update their records.

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