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Wayside Sketches in Tasmania

S. H. Wintle

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
Notwithstanding that Tasmania is noted for the salubrity of its climate, and the magnificence of its scenery from one end of the island to the other, still there are localities which may claim the preference, perhaps, in the eyes of the visitor who is in search of health and the picturesque. There is no part of the beautiful island that offers the same attractions as the North East Coast in the neighborhood of George’s Bay, for here there is a combination of majestic grandeur with Arcadian beauty. To reach this favored locality, the traveller exchanges a seat in the railway car for one in a four wheeled conveyance at the Corners. It is very questionable if such another dreary, monotonous spot exists on the face of the earth as the Corners. Wherever the eye may wander, it meets with nothing but a dismal stretch of a sheep run, dotted with a few stunted, distorted trees, and the solitary, and still more dreary looking hotel rising out of the midst, while its proprietor, and those about him, have become hopelessly infected with the prevailing gruesome air of the detested spot. But this unromantic place is calculated to enhance the beauty of the scenes which await the visitor, and as he bowls along on a hematite gravelled road, as level as a billiard table, with good genial George Avery, the Jehu, he feels a sense of satisfaction as he sees the Corners fading away in the distance and the grand hills rising up before him. On either side of the road for some distance, he will see vestiges of the early days of the colony in the primitive fences of brushwood, and “dogleg.” In eight miles, Stoney Steps is reached where there is a hostelry kept by Herr Shmidt. Here the traveller for the first time since leaving the city, makes acquaintance with that most beautiful river, the picturesque South Esk. While the horses are being changed, he will have an opportunity of watching the falls at the rear of the Inn where the pellucid stream tumbles over a rugged barrier of basalt; and a little lower down observe how it spreads out into a dreamy, apparently motionless reach, reflecting the acacias, casuarina, and gums that thickly clothe its banks. Be the visitor an enthusiast in the icthyial pastime, not the least attractive feature of this stream in his eyes would be the fine brown trout with which it abounds. Fifteen miles further, through country consecrated to sheepdom, Avoca is reached. It is a small village or hamlet with one inn, two stores, and about a dozen cottages, but it is exceedingly picturesque, with the river St. Paul, meandering through it, and it is well calculated to awaken memories of what Ireland’s lyric bard wrote about the “Meeting of the Waters.”