In Tasmania Day 12 Hobart
Always familiar, a rest day involves slow catching up with messages, requests, etc. still trying to maintain that hard-fought distance from bureaucratic triviality. Wandered to the Retro Cafe for a flat white and to update (this) blog. It’s Australia Day, so the locals have a long weekend. Many are back where I was yesterday—Cockle Creek campground— with their tents, boats, generators, and beer. Here the sidewalks are a little busier than last time I was in town. The most exciting part was a march and demonstration in front of the government building. Australia Day brings yearly protests from the indigenous population and their supporters requesting the government to “change the date.” They see the moment of English arrival as Invasion Day, a time that implemented harsh policies, displacement, and genocide. The request is not to get rid of a National day of celebration, just to change the date so all the inhabitants can come together. The speeches were stirring, most digging deep into environmental history, linking colonialism to environmental despoliation.
After the rally, I did a resupply run, getting a new sea-to-summit fast pack (to replace the one the Pademelons ruined—it was on its last legs anyway) some fuel and a new spork. I doctored my feet then made my way to the harbor-side for an evening pint to work on an essay and watch some of the drunken celebrants. Still adjusting to the climate. In the bright sun, it gets very hot, but a breeze and shade brings on a chill. On my wander back I stopped at the Lark Distillery for a 1/2 nip of their product. A low ceilinged brick building with over-stuffed chairs and calm people (not the harbor celebrants) quietly sipping whiskey (which is a touch raw) with David Bowie playing in the background. I wonder if they use any of the West Coast tannin peat water.
T. Hugh Crawford