Sunday, April 18, 2010

Robe – SA (7 – 13 April, 2010)

Wed: 7th April  - We arrived in Robe ("as in Robe isn't famous for Robes"), on the 7th April and guess what? Yes, that's right, it rained for 3 out of the 6 days we were there. It actually started to sprinkle as we drove into the town! Ha, ha. Just as well we didn't mind, at least is gave us time to slow down! The trip to Robe (from Mt Gambier)was only 2hrs, and even though we went the coast road, we could not see anything because of the high shrubs and trees. As I never sleep well the night before we go on the road, at least I was able to nod off. Robe is a lovely wee town, heritage buildings mixed with, old beach houses and the more expensive and upmarket, HUGE, glass and timber decked houses. The town has a 'REAL' Butcher who sells fantastic meat; so one night Bucko cooked us a Lamb Roast, with all the trimmings for dinner - Yummy.
Thur: 8th AprilIMG_4990As it was a reasonably clear day, so decided to take off to visit Kingston S.E (the reason for the S.E.? There is another Kingston in South Australia.  Kingston is (according to those who live in Kingston), the Lobster capital of SA, so of course, the town has a BIG Lobster - Larry The Lobster!   Larry is about 30yrs old, according to a man I met while taking the photo, he first saw Larry 30yrs ago.  I am pleased to report Larry appears to be very well looked after, and his colour is true to life.

Old Cape Jaffa Lighthouse - While we were in Kingston we discovered the old Cape Jaffa Lighthouse was open to the public.  As I am rather taken with lighthouses, we decided to climb the steep stairs, and go inside.  Bucko was as happy as me to be able to actually see inside a Lighthouse; even though it is no longer in use, and it is on land.  The lighthouse was built between the years of 1868 – 1872, and used to sit out on a platform on the Margaret Brock Reef, (the reef was named after a sailing ship), 15kms out to sea and was relocated to land during 1975-76.  The following italic component of this posting, is an excerpt from Lighthouses of Australia  website:  “This type of lighthouse is known as "Wells Screw Pile" and was selected for this location because the narrow wrought iron piles offered the most resistance to the heavy seas that break across the reef.  All the parts for this lighthouse were manufactured and pre-assembled, in England then dismantled and shipped to Australia.  Extreme difficulties were encountered during its construction which took 3 years instead of the proposed 1 year.  Apparently when the site was first chosen the sea and weather was unusually calm. When it came time to construct the lighthouse seas were wild and the weather rough. Early construction was washed away and sometimes the contractors could not go out for days.”  The website has photos of the Lighthouse when it was in situ as well as the Gannet Rookery.  All the photographs listed in the album were taken by myself. 
The lighthouse is now a property of The National Trust of Australia.  The Keeper would have to manually wind the light so it would turn, (the light operates on similar mechanism as a Grand-father clock); so up and down the stairs he would climb each hour during the night to keep the light shining. Initially the Lighthouse Keeper and his family lived out in the lighthouse, and would return to land when his term of duty was up; they would then be replaced by another Keeper and his family. At one stage, due to a severe storm, there were two families living in the lighthouse.  For about a month, a total of 11 people were living in the very small rooms until the bad weather was over!  I can only start to imagine the horror of it all.  Storms raging outside and in with various personalities, and children, how did they all cope?  The women had it very tough. Cooking was done on a small kerosene stove and oven. The washing was scrubbed on a scrubbing board, then put through a mangle to remove the bulk of the water, and finally strung outside to dry on a very small line, attached to one of the walkways around the lighthouse. I bet they lost a few items of clothing, by the washing being blown away.  To go to the toilet, one had to climb down the main outside stairs, walk along a narrow steel walkway, (all the time making sure one was holding onto the rail), then as was one nearly reached the loo, the rail was no longer there - eek! Someone in their wisdom, set the toilet about 1 metre away from the railing!  How scary. Eventually, three houses were built for the three Lighthouse Keepers and their families, so the women and children no longer had to go out to the reef. Imagine trying to bring up children in such a confined and frightening environment, it would be tad difficult to tell the kids to go outside and play! I am sure the house on land came as a very welcome relief for the mothers, and peace of mind would possibly have reigned at last. IMG_4928

The Cape Jaffa Lighthouse platform now has an automatic beacon sitting where the lighthouse used to be and is also a wonderful home to a colony of Gannets; all the side rails and ladders have been removed so that folk are not tempted to climb onto the platform.

The town of Robe is now home to a new and boring contemporary lighthouse, with a feeling no where near as romantic as the old Cape Jaffa Lighthouse.

Craft Work - Now, for the Crafty women in my life.and I mean that in the nicest possible way. I found a Patchwork Shop, and yes, I did buy some material and batting!  When I was in New Zealand last, I bought a piece of material to make myself a small quilt, to keep me occupied during our travels.  I am taking the easy way out, and using the whole piece of material, I will add the batting and backing, and will then quilt in between the faux patches.  The pattern on the material is representative of the many types of weaving found in Maori Meeting Houses.  Bucko has a good eye for colours, and chose the backing and border material.  
Click on View Full Album to see all the photos. – enjoy.


Sonia said...

Love that quilt....glad your getting creative...just off to type up that recipe now.

Scrapping Down a Lane said...

Loving the quilt also and great to hear all is well with you out in the out back. Stay happy and safe travels. xx

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