The morning involved packing up ready to move on, and at 10am the caravan was hitched and ready to go. I helped get down the string that we used as a washing line, and Lucy removed the pegs from the line. We navigated out of Golden Beach down through Seaspray to Yarram.
In Yarram, Dad bought a ventolin and solosite for his sunburnt back. Mum did the washing at a laundromat. We went to Woolworths to do a shop and stock up, though we were shocked that the cost was far more than we expected.
Port Albert was not much further. The free campsite was on the foreshore. It was next to a playground, with toilets, BBQ and water. Port Albert was Victoria’s eldest port established in the 1840s but saw its demise in the early 1890s as roads to Melbourne improved from Lakes Entrance. It’s a pretty, sleep village, with many boats, but a strong current and dirty looking water so the kids can’t swim it in.
Susan and I explained to Lucy and Dad how to differentiate adult and juvenille seagulls. I have been tracking our journey on the map, so I knew that the land opposite is Snake Island and Little Snake Island.
The second day we older kids slept in, so when we woke up Mum, Lucy and Edmund were out at the playground. Mum said they’d been for a walk along the wharf so we could sleep. After breakfast we walked across to the Maritihme Museum opposite the playground.
We were all surprized and fascinated at how interesting it was. Old safety equipment from maritime travels of yesteryear, stories of shipwrecks, Aboriginal myths from the dreamtime, old coins, navigational devices and shell collections were all housed in the old State Bank of Victoria building erected in 1852. Mum, susan and I took turns reading aloud the history of the oldest port in Gippsland, that serviced the region in the gold rush era. Apparently it reached heights to rival Melbourne as a port, before the port at Lakes Entrance increased in popularity and the improving road and rail network to Gippsland saw the demise of Port Albert.
In the afternoon, we went for a walk on the wharf and foreshore. The wind was gale-force and irritated us all. We then went for a drive and found a coastal park at low tide. There was a narrow line of shells, then an espance of mud that was home to thousands of mud crabs and shells, and shrubs that Mum thought might have been tea trees.
After we had walked along the mudflats we drove to Mann Creek, supposedly passing through Tarraville though none of us spotted it. On the way back, we stopped to drive around a few streets we suppoesd may be Tarraville. We all expressed our disgust at the run down dump labelled School – Public Hall – Museum and a few derelict buildings. A historical marker described the Catholic Church that had stood there and had at one stage been the centre of the Catholic dioceses of Gippsland. All of a sudden, our interested was sparked when we saw another board saying “Tarraville 1844 – 2001” describing the history of the former township. It had been a bustling township with around 100 mainly brick buildings that included a police station, jail, three pubs, four churches, a school, and residences. People landing at Port Albert stopped at Tarraville for provisions and the fresh water sourced from the Tarra River there. We were intrigued by the history of the former towns, and the few boarded up, derilect buildings. One house was so run down and had just a flywire front door that we tried to peer through from the safety of the car.
We think we may stop at Tarra Bulga State Park tomorrow a while before sourcing more toilet chemicals in Traralgon and finding somewhere to stop for the night.