I cast my pebble onto the shore of eternity,
To be washed by the Ocean of Time.
It has shape form and substance.
It is me.
One day I will be no more,
But my pebble will remain here
One the shore of Eternity
Mute witness for the aeons.
That I came today and stood,
At the edge of the world.
Deep huh? I wonder what it means? Each of us is akin to a pebble in the ocean of life? Time washes over us, and though we come and go the effects of what we do and who we were carries on?
You will find this little poetic jewel on a plaque at the so-called ‘edge of the world’, a bunch of wind swept and wild, ocean and rocks at Arthur River on the northwest coast of Tasmania. I guess it could have seemed like the edge of the world in times gone by. We all took the opportunity to cast our own pebbles onto the shore of eternity. Mine went the furthest. Just saying.
I was excited about visiting the very northwest. But to be honest, we were all a little underwhelmed. Marrewah, just north of Arthur River promised huge ocean swells, blown in by the roaring forties across an uninterrupted ocean all the way from Argentina. It didn’t happen. There was just a beach, nice enough, but just a beach.
Stanley on the other hand is a very fine little town and well worth the trip. It is nestled at the base of ‘the Nut’ or ‘the big arsed rock’ as one of the comments on our wikicamps app says. The walk up and around ‘the Nut’ is one of the 60 Great Short Walks, so of course it had to be done.
Oliver, however, preferred to take the literal meaning of a walk up the Nut, and placed an almond under his foot before insisting I take a photo. Which of course I did. His walk complete, he moaned most of the rest of the way around the 2 km circuit.
Following countless years of indigenous occupation, Stanley was first settled by the Van Dieman’s Land Company. An enterprising lot that set out to produce wool and beef for export back to England. It is clear however they weren’t all that thrilled about it all. To quote Edward Curr, big boss man of the Company,
‘Nothing could be more unsightly than the generality of the trees’
The interpretation signage goes on to say, ‘The Gum tree was dismissed as ugly by many of the early settlers and the forests were dubbed gloomy, monotonous and melancholy’ – I suspect that why they chopped so much of it down! In any case their investment of 600,000 pounds returned just 34,000 pounds and they ended up going broke. On the way out they did build a magnificent house and settlement, one I personally would be well pleased to occupy even today, with views out over Bass Straight and of the ‘big arsed rock’. It comprised many buildings, including a school in the attic of the church, where I took the opportunity to drill Amy and Oliver in the 2 times tables. They were thrilled.
Stanley had other gems as well. A beautiful streetscape, Joseph Lyons (Tasmania’s first Aussie PM) birthplace, a shop that sold giant sassafras clothes pegs (they were cool and I wanted one) and curious little sayings everywhere you went, like the one below.
‘Eat more pancakes. Save the Whales. Drink more coffee’
Now? In that order? Are the instructions related or random? Will eating pancakes and drinking coffee help save the whales or is it simply the wisdom of the ages setting out the secret to living a happy and fulfilled life? I had a few coffees and no whales washed up, so…
The secret to life however is surely more likely found in the following, just a few shop windows further on.
Always be yourself.
Unless you can be a pirate.
Then always be a pirate.
I unfortunately find myself in a position where I am unable to be a pirate, what with a family and a responsible job and all that jazz. This leads me to suspect I will never be as happy as if I had thrown caution to the wind and flaunted the rules laid down by the system – I’ll never know the joy of being a pirate. Sigh.