Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Friday, April 07, 2006

Heaven and Hell - Montague Island

Life on Montague Island (6 Kms off the coast from Narooma, NSW) must have been hell for the Lighthouse Keeper his 2 assistants, and more especially for the women and children who shared their bleak island abode.

Today, with a powerful, modern boat to get us to the island in about 25 minutes, and in mild, warm autumn weather, the place looked picuresque, almost idyllic. Certainly, it is worth a vist, as a tourist.

But, I had feeling not unlike that which I experienced a few years ago, when visiting Port Arthur, in Tasmania. This place could have been hell on earth.

In part this feeling is confirmed by the small graveyard on the island. But it is more confirmed by the plaque which described the "attributes" required of a Light House Keeper, according to the regulations of the day. "Lightkeepers should be sober, industrious and non-enquiring (sic)".

I love that last part. Clearly it means, they must be totally subservient to authority. As an attribute for an Assistant Lighthouse Keeper, it must have meant that the boss had virtual power of life or death over the junior (and his family too).

A precurser of things to come under the modern Industrial Relations policy?


And now for some light relief. Here is photo of a lizard with the best view in the world! He lives in a crevice in a huge granite boulder. His "room with a view" faces west, to catch the afternoon sun, which is perfect for a creature with his metabolism. His view faces directly across to Mt Dromedary, on the mainland.

That mountain is the main original volcano in the area, and apparently, Montague Island was formed from a smaller "vent", off the side of the main volcano.

Both the mountain and the island are formed with similar rock, a granite with large crystals visible in the rock, which apparently indicates it was formed deep under the surface of the earth, and so, consequently, the rock cooled very slowly, allowing the formation of these crystals.

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