Last Sunday was spent with my parents, taking dad out to lunch for Father's Day at the Stanley pub. Before heading out in the car, dad gave me a note from my uncle Paul. Enclosed with it was a copy of a photograph from the garden of a house called "Grey Crags" at Boat Harbour. He thought that as a bit of a history buff, I might find it interesting. He was right. Uncle Paul himself is very much into our family history and has published material about the Fenton ancestors, particularly James Fenton, one of the early pioneers of Forth (now Devonport and its surrounding areas.)
Apparently my great-aunt (Margaret) owned a whole slab of land at Boat Harbour from around 1948, building small shacks and a tennis court. It was called Grey Crags, after the large (funnily enough) grey-coloured rocky outcrop nearby. She sold land to another great-aunt (Flora) who with her husband built "Boat Harbour Beach Resort". In 1950, my grandfather (Ken) bought the "Beach House" guest house and the shop (where the old caravan park used to be.)
Some of the buildings are still around - some have gone. The one that currently has the "Grey Crags" signage, apparently isn't the original Grey Crags. As a teenager, I stayed with a friend for part of a summer in the shack that's now known as Grey Crags - I had no idea at the time of any possible family link (as it turns out, more to the name itself than the actual building.)
I'm keen as mustard to find out more about this part of our family history - particularly Margaret. She didn't have any children and all that land got sold off after she died - we definitely don't own any of it anymore and can't afford to! Prices down there are a little steep now. There was a funny moment fairly recently when it was discovered that due to some kind of legal/paperwork type of error, a teeny-tiny strip of land was labelled as being still in Margaret's name. Neither she, nor any of our family clearly owned it but it did get the heart pumping for a little while. The family joke for a bit there was that maybe, fingers crossed, there could be some other legal error that meant we had a legitimate claim to a Boat Harbour block. In the meantime, I think the only way of making that dream come true is to win the Lottery!
We had a bit of an explore, with dad trying to help piece together some of the stories based on his memories of growing up there. Mum and I took some photos of the blustery western point, all that gusty wind creating a terrifically dramatic landscape. Eventually, we came in from the cold and I made my way home - head full of questions.
I guess what I need to do now is get researching. Wish me luck!
PHOTOGRAPHER . TASMANIA . AUSTRALIA
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