Our selection of maps originated from the Federation Square information office. Whilst they give you loads of ideas about WHERE to go, the maps are dreadful. We have several versions of the East of Melbourne and our journey takes longer than necessary because of the several mistakes we make.
Melbourne lies high up in the arms of Port Philip Bay which is almost entirely surrounded by land apart from the turbulent roar of The Bass Strait. We travel right down to the tip of the crab-like claw of Portsea, where there is a National Park and bring a Barbie of spare ribs. These public barbecues are brilliant.
After lunch we made our way to the Quarantine Station.
It’s both moving and fascinating to learn about the precautions taken to prevent disease entering the fragile new colony, Australia in the 1880s.
Tragic to learn of the hardships endured on the migration. The babies born on board; the measles, influenza and dysentery which ripped through the migrant population on board, often before they had even left European waters.
There was a determination to balance the rigour of scourging out these diseases and respecting the newly arrived human beings. Fumigating their luggage, clothes, mail, bathing them and waiting to see if a new disease developed in them. We could have spent longer here but…
We wanted to walk to the end of the peninsular and back before dark.
And I’m so pleased we did. We were rewarded by splendid views which surpassed the WWII fort relics. An Australian Prime Minister, walked into ferocious surf and was never seen again. Not surprising when you saw the currents and the rocks. A whole TV series was based on this Reggie Perrin.
But best if all we saw 10-12 dolphin, leaping through the waves at Bass Strait. We could follow them for a good 15 minutes and were astounded by their speed. At times 90%of their body left the water. At other times you could see groups of 5 or 6 leap in synchronization. Sights like this don’t photograph well without a massive lens, which I do not posses. By they are magnificent and live in your memory for years.