It’s time to rejoin The Vagabond on his tour of Picturesque Victoria. Last time we caught up with him, he was touring the town of Portland. In this instalment, he ventures out to the countryside surrounding the town and he was not disappointed. I would have to agree with him that the landscape around the town “is the most picturesque and varied scenery” seen along the Victorian coastline.
With an old Portland citizen, the Vagabond headed toward Narrawong and Heywood. Looking out to sea he caught a view of Julia Percy Island and Lawrence Rocks.
The Vagabond reflected on the early settlement of the district and likened the countryside around him to an English country lane.
Out of Portland , the Vagabond and the “Ancient Citizen” met the colony’s first road, built by the Hentys. Although the colony was only within the first 50 years of settlement, change was upon it. The railways had been costly to the hotels along the roadways as noted by The Vagabond as he passed two empty hotels.
After a stop in Portland, The Vagabond set off again for the rugged coastline of Nelson Bay. The secretary of the Portland Jubilee committee accompanied him, one of many gentleman offering endless hospitality to the acclaimed writer, hopeful for a good word about their town.
As they left Portland, heading West, the travelling party passed “Burswood” the former home of Edward Henty and they admired the unique flora along the roadside.
Before long they had reached Nelson Bay and the wrath of the seas below came a little closer than was comfortable. “Below the waves circle one after another – placid and quiet in the outer rings, increasing in speed and fury until they dash in a foaming surf on the rocks and sands at the base of the cliff”
Ahead The Vagabond could see his destination, the Cape Nelson lighthouse.
After climbing the 115 steps to the balcony near the top of the lighthouse, The Vagabond looked out to sea at the passing vessels, while the lighthouse keeper, Mr Fisher,told him lighthouse tales.
From the lighthouse, the horse’s heads turned toward Cape Bridgewater. The Vagabond quipped that the Banks of Portland would not be offering customers overdrafts on that day because all the managers were travelling with him.
The Vagabond stopped to marvel at the Bat’s Ridge cave. He advised visitors to the caves to take their own candles, magnesium wire and string.
A little further on and the group arrived at serene Bridgewater Bay and its small settlement.
Continuing westward they came to Cape Bridgewater and the Blowholes.
Join The Vagabond on his next instalment of Picturesque Victoria, continuing along the south-west coastline. What did he see that he described as “fearfully sublime” and “grandly weird”? Find out next time.