On the 19th of February we caught the 0930 ferry from Bruny Island to Kettering and then drove to MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art on the northern outskirts of Hobart. We spent more than two hours at the Museum giving us a rushed opportunity to experience the place. It is a stylish building carved into the sandstone banks of the Derwent River and after walking through the building and looking at some of the exhibits and trying to make sense of them I thought of Dante Alighieri’s, The Divine Comedy. Dante describes his descent into hell with the ghost or ‘shade’ of Virgil, then the ascent to Purgatory and finally Heaven. This structure, with Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, with Hell at the bottom could have inspired the architect/s or owners! It is sufficient to say here that the Museum was busy as were the restaurants, car parks and associated attractions: apparently a great winner for Hobart!
Our next destination was the Tasman Peninsula, the Tasman National Park and another visit to the Port Arthur penal settlement. I have been to the Port Arthur Penal settlement previously and it was an interesting tourist experience. This time I took a more critical perspective. I wondered about the making of money from the misery of the convicts with the souvenirs on sale, some of which I consider were in poor taste. I thought of the families separated by the transportation of some of their members to a place on the other side of the world. The long and dangerous sea voyages required, the loss of life, the tenuous hold and fragility of the new settlements and the differing opinions about transportation in Great Britain at the time. I thought of Jeremy Bentham who argued strongly against transportation, the loss, in 1776, of the 13 original colonies in the US, the British foreign policy objectives and the empire and of growing up in Tasmania and the sanitised history taught in schools. I thought of the barbarity of transportation and the expression of concern for the Aboriginal peoples of Australia by the British, but the failure of British and Colonial administrations to adequately govern at the frontiers. We were fortunate to be able to wander around the settlement minus the crowds and I learned some new things. For example, I noticed that there was a facility for aged and infirm prisoners with special reference to senility. This is now a contemporary issue in modern Australian criminal justice. Enough of this as in the morning an activation of Tasman National Park is planned and then we move to Triabunna.
This morning as we looked around the Tasman Peninsula there was a chance for a brief activation from Fortescue Bay. A fairly rough gravel road from the highway travels through about 16 kilometres of thick forest before entering into a small clearing for day use only. For the first six kilometres it is shared with very large trucks carrying gravel.
I set up my QRP station and tuned to 7.073 hoping to catch the end of the net. I could hear VK5ZK, Garry (21:49) at about 5 and 8, but he could only give me a 4 and 1. I could also hear VK5KGP, Graham, but he could not hear me. At 21.54 I tuned to 20 metres on 14.140. I called and did not get a response. I checked the band at 14.130 and to my surprise I heard VK5ZK, Garry, who was engaged in a regular net with a Canadian amateur. His signal was 5 and 9 and I called in an received 5 and 3 from Garry. I was pleased to work Garry on two bands.
I then called on 14.140 at 22:22 and was answered by VK4ABJ, Jeff from Rockhampton. He was 5 and 9 and he gave me 5 and 7. We had a great contact to 22:31. It was then time to go.