Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Denison Canal

My parents house in Tasmania is located on the Denison Canal which was built in the early 1900's to provide a shorter shipping route from Hobart to the east coast of Tasmania. It isn't quite on the scale of the Panama or Suez canals - it's only about 500 metres long and cost the grand sum of 15,000 pounds to build (and as far as I know, nobody died in the process). But it is Australia's only man made shipping canal.

Now it's primarily used by recreational shipping. Since the house is located directly across from the bridge it makes for a good show, especially in a small seaside town of a few hundred people where not much else happens.

The bridge opens by rotating as you can see in this photo. The building in the background is the local hotel built in 1868.

The operator (Tony) collects the toll using a high tech device - a bucket on a stick.

It's also customary to add a can of beer to the bucket as a tip (you can't quite see it but I guarantee it's there!)

And when the tide goes out, you can collect some lovely tender mussels from the rocks under the bridge. Not at all like the chewy ones you get so often in restaurants. The hardest part is cleaning them. Cooking them is easy - put them in a pot with some white wine and boil them just until they open which usually takes about 30 seconds. Yum!

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