Hobart. We likes.

Okay. Here's the house we're staying in here in Hobart:

And here's a very puzzling banner we saw:

When we went inside, we saw the Buddha of Hobart (which surely needs no commentary from me):

Here's Battery Point, including the Jackson Jackman & McRoss bakery and place to eat and drink nice things (I wish they had their own web site I could link to):

In the park at Battery Point, we saw what may very well be the best-written interpretive sign ever (and I'm somewhat of a connoisseuse of historical interpretive signs). It read, in part:
The British troops garrisoned in Tasmania were all infantry. Despite official enthusiasm for batteries there were never any artillerymen to fire them. Occasionally a few soldiers, and even the police, were given sufficient instruction by retired artillerymen to fire a salute.

The Crimean War in 1845 once again alerted the authorities to Hobart's defencelessness. With its customary speed the Government acted. It passed legislation in 1858, under which the Hobart Town Volunteer Artillery Company was formed in 1859.

They used the Albert Battery for shot and shell practice. Before firing, a non-commissioned officer would visit all the houses behind the battery and warn the occupants to open all their windows. Those who did not had their windows broken, which was the only damage the Volunteers and the batteries ever inflicted.

After an initial rush of enthusiasm for the dashing uniforms, marching, and the opportunity to fire the guns, members dwindled from 126 in 1860 to 53 in 1864.* A Select Committee in 1865 concluded that while some of the men were clearly capable of becoming good soldiers, 'as a means of Defence against foreign aggressors [the Volunteers] would be next to useless'. In addition, the money spent on uniforms, pay and prizes was far more than was ever spent on maintenance of the batteries. The last parade was held in 1870.

The other thing I'm finding interesting is that we're on a media diet: our house has no Internet, no television reception, and no radio (and for once I neglected to pack my own radio when travelling). We also have no car here. It takes effort to connect to the outside world. And I'm finding that quite nice.

*I've seen this phenonemon in the SES; luckily, volunteers who can handle the thought of slow, steady, careful work rather than adrenaline-fuelled death-or-glory charges are always the best ones anyway.


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