04 September 2011

Power, Flowers and Rocks

Yesterday I drove down to Naracoopa, where, in 1802,  Lt Robbins explained to Nicholas Baudin in no uncertain terms that the Island was British, and where several ships have been wrecked. I think it is more remarkable to find a stretch of King Island coastline where there hasn’t been a shipwreck. The west side of the island, in the path of the Roaring Forties, is rocky and rugged; sand washes away there, but it is deposited on the eastern side. I asked whether this means the island is gradually creeping east, but the rocks aren’t moving. Perhaps the sand sneaks overland back to the west when nobody is looking?  Anyway, even the eastern side has lots of nice, sharp rocks.
I found some interesting things to look at along the way.

This is the Grassy power station in 1947, or thereabouts. It provided power for the King Island Scheelite mine, and for the township. Most people elsewhere on the island were still relying on kerosene lanterns and fuel stoves, although some had small electricity generators.  Towards the end of the 1940s Dad, with help from Bob Jordan, installed a 12v lighting system for the Church of England in Currie.

This is Hydro Tasmania’s Currie Power Station today. It has 9 turbines generating 8.55 megawatts. Four are Diesel, five wind, and there is a solar array.  Nearly half the island’s electricity is provided by the Huxley Hill Wind Farm.  The solar panels are self-tracking. So are the sheep.
There aren’t many sheep on the island; dairy and beef cattle are more usual. I have eaten a lot of cheese and yoghurt in the last couple of days; and more to come. Haven’t even visited the cheese factory yet!
Other wonders are these paperbark melaleucas which grow so amazingly tall and straight; on the coast they are short and twisted, the shape I expect. But away from the coast they are pretending to be gum trees, replacing the huge eucalypt forests destroyed by the sealers and the early settlers. Just as surprising are the forget-me-nots in the grass by the roadside. Everything is so lush here!
The locals refer to Naracoopa as their Riviera. It is on Sea Elephant Bay, on the sheltered east side of the island, with a long, beautiful beach. It even sports a bit of super-kitsch:

I was trying to locate the spot where Dad photographed a picnic party, but the area has changed, and I’m not certain whether I was in quite the right spot. The King Island Harbour Authority has replaced the old sheds in the old photographs with new sheds which have become old and subsequently suffered an Art Attack. I do like the way the broken window becomes a dolphin.

Which building do YOU think is more interesting? 
Ref: http://www.hydro.com.au/energy/our-power-stations/bass-strait-islands/currie-power-station
Ref: http://www.dier.tas.gov.au/energy/renewable_energy

1 comment:

  1. Is the long jetty still in Narracoopa it was off limits when i was there back in early 1990's