We had a fantastic weekend last weekend. Absolutely lurvely. We popped down to Hobart, a last chance to catch up with the Grumpies (aka grandparents) before they return to Europe. We also lined up a dinner date with some very old and special friends! But what I found most interesting, was all the amazing architecture and history. I grew up in Hobart, and as a teenager very much took these things for granted. In fact I couldn't wait to get out of the place! Having lived in such a variety of places since then, I can now appreciate how lovely Hobart really is.
We still had some time to burn before we could check into our accommodation. As we were parked on the top side of St David's Park, we thought we would give the kids a chance to run around and explore. St David's Park itself, also has a rich history. The park was originally the main burial ground in Hobart, and the 1st burial took place way back in 1804. Over the years I went to many a Carol's by Candlelight at St D's. I don't think I ever took the time to stop and look at any of the tomb stone and head stones which are dotted through out the park. If you take the time, some of these monuments paint the picture as to what life was like in early Hobart Town.
This one commemorates a 21 year old whaler, who died from the flick of a whale's tale in 1841. Many people don't realise that Hobart was a major whaling port for the best part of 100 years. In the mid 1800's Hobart had 34 whaling vessels. Many people made a lot of money (it was Captain Jame's Kelly who built Kelly's steps) out of whaling, and many were considered very respectable members of society, while others went on to hold positions of government.
Only a few metres away stands this monument. As you can see from the inscription it remembers Lt David Collins, the first governor of Tasmania. David Collins selected the site for, and named Hobart Town. Collins had a hard time of it in the 6 years he was here. He wrote many letters both to London and Sydney, asking for help for his colony. On several occasions Collin's had to ration supplies, and the colony faced starvation. It seems ironic, that now 103 years since his death, that the Tasmanian economy is still in such bad shape, and that resources are stretched - just like they were in the early days.
Many of the head stones have been set in this wall. Reading the head stones puts a human face on the struggles of colonial life. I couldn't help but notice the large number of graves for infants and children. As I watched my own kids playing in the park I felt very very grateful. All 4 of our children have had their struggles, be it asthma or food intolerance's and tummy troubles as babies. These are considered minor ailments in our society, and are easily treated. However, had we lived in Hobart Town 150 years ago, not one of my children would have reached early childhood. How lucky we are.
We were also lucky enough to have had a fantastic evening with family and old friends that night. I don't have any pictures from the evening, as we catered for 10 people. Once dinner was on the table, we settled in for the night and told stories and remembered fond times. Photo's were the last thing on my mind! There's that old cliche of being able to pick up where one left off with good friends. That was so true that night.
The next morning we met the Grumpies at the Hobart Farmers Markets. If you ever go there make sure you go to the paella stall. It. Was. The. Best. I've been craving paella for the whole week now. Yummola. After a teary goodbye to the Grumpies from the children we went home. The long way, in typical fashion!
Do you live in the town you grew up in? Have you been back recently? Have things changed, or have you changed?