Saturday, January 4

Border crossing

Garry and I crossed several state borders today while making our way back to Sydney. The first crossing occurred somewhere in the middle of Bass Strait, about 2am this morning. We slept through the entire event on board the Spirit of Tasmania.  Our second crossing occurred about 4:30pm this afternoon as we entered our home state of New South Wales.

Our sea crossing was a rather rolling affair, with more than one shuddering crash jolting me awake in the night. The captain clearly took his time as we finally arrived in Melbourne an hour later scheduled. However Garry and I were happy to have extra sleeping time. Two week earlier, the 4:45am wake up on our voyage south was a rather unpleasant shock to the system.

Today's late arrival also made it much easier to find a decent cafe in St Kilda. Nothing decent is ever open before 7:00am. By the time we'd parked the car, Rococo, a local institution, was open.  We stopped for a hearty breakfast before hitting the road.  I enjoyed a smashed avocado and poached egg combination, seasoned with basil and pomodoro tomatoes.  After numerous cafe supplied hot breakfasts I was keen to try anything but more bacon and eggs.  This avocado combination was a refreshing change.

This evening we're relaxing at the historical Seahorse Inn nestled on the shores of Twofold Bay, 9km south of Eden. The hotel is the last surviving structure of a former township called Boydtown, which once supported 200 inhabitants.

The hotel and fledging community began construction in 1843. The venture was financed by Scottish entrepreneur, Benjamin Boyd. He purchased a large property on the foreshore as a base for his Steamship Company which operated paddle-steamers between Sydney, Twofold Bay and Hobart.

The first building erected in Boydtown was the "Seahorse Inn", named after one of Boyd's steam-boats. The foundations were constructed of sandstone imported from Sydney and the rest of the building from locally made bricks and hardwood and with cedar and oak fixtures imported from England. The hotel was built with convict labour but never fully finished.

Boyd ultimately went bankrupt and disappeared soon after in the Solomon Islands. The hotel fell into ruin but was subsequently restored by a local builder in the 1950s. A second renovation was completed in 2007. It's somewhat ironic that the final day of our Tasmanian road trip should find us staying in another hotel with links to the island state and its convict heydays.

• Posted from my iPhone

No comments: