April 12 Highfield (Day 198)

We started the day going into Smithton to shop, get water and dump and we noticed the Tarkine Oyster shop across the Duck River inlet! Of course we had to have some lunch!

Our first tray of 6 ‘au naturelle’ and 6 raw with a variety of toppings. We decided to do another dozen, half with the mignonette and half with the salmon and creme fraise! The mural outside the building was quite striking!

After our wonderful raw lunch we headed up to the 3rd ‘cape’ on the north coast, to the small town of Stanley that is at the base of “The Nut”, a flat topped volcanic butte similar to the Table Cape we visited on April 9. It was a raw, cool windy day so we headed to the historic site of Highfield to do some indoor exploring.

The estate as it is today after extensive renovation, and the estate as it was in 1990 when it was acquired by the Parks and Wildlife Service.

Highfield was the headquarters of the Van Diemans Land Company and was constructed in 1826 mostly by convict (slave) labor! It is a wonderful example of early colonial architecture and a testament to the horrible practice of transportation to “the ends of the earth” for minor crimes and subsequent slave labor practices.

The Gallery, where visitors were greeted. Now it serves to introduce visitors to the main characters of the colonial period here.

The Parks Service does not sugarcoat the history here. The Van Diemans Land Company began their holdings here in 1826 and by 1834 the last remaining 134 Aboriginal people were banished to Flinders Island and nearly all were dead by 1850. The main architects of this program were the leaders of the Van Diemans Land Company.

The most important room in (actually outside!) the house! And some very interesting history of “the ‘loo”!

Among several outbuildings is the chapel/schoolhouse, with a cross built into the chimney. The side view of the estate house shows the simple, elegant Regency style, early for it’s time.

The estate is rather large and I spent lots of time reading all the history. When we finally left we found a camping site back at Midway where we had spent April 9th. We had a relaxing evening and saw the sliver of moon over the calm waters of Bass Strait.

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