The first European, who saw this 143 meter high mountain in 1798 were Flinders and Bass. They also named it Circular Head. Weather, wind and erosion have worn in the course of time an old volcano to its basalt-stump. So this Mountain became a impressive landmark of Tasmania's north shore. The first settlement of the company was called Black River, a small community with harbour for the farm products. In the year 1847 Circular Head was founded, a village at the foot of the rock with 233 habitants. Later it was renamed in Stanley in honour of the then-colonial-secretary. For the name "The Nut" there are three theories:
1.) As the mountain once again resisted a blasting with a load of 5000 pounds of dynamite, the shot firer shall have said: “This mountain is a hard nut to crack!“
2.) A ship passenger shouted spontaneously “Like a nut!”. So the slogan “The Nut” became vocabulary rut of the sailors.
3.) The renaming could also be a result of the slang. Over the years the cacoepy made “Nut” of “Head”.
The surname “Little Kapstadt” needn’t really an explanation.
Needless to say, the history of Stanley is actual also the history of Highfield, the headquarters of the Van Diemens Land Company.
In the year 1826 at a nearby landing stage arrived horses, livestock, all sorts of equipment, but also craftsmen, other workers and of course convicts from England by order of the company.
So Stanley arose to a lively city, which began very early to make a name for oneself. Where else in Tasmania you could see oil lamps and candles for street lighting? Horse-drawn carriage drove in the street. The rail ended here and the harbour was proper for passengers and the big wood shipment. Two baker's shops, three butcher's shops, three blacksmith's shops and three hotels. Besides two tennis courts and an own orchestra. They used the ballast stones, called “Bluestones” for building the Company Store and other buildings. St. James Church, which was built in 1853 was prefabricated in England, shipped and assembles on location. They could afford it! All-Around you can see buildings from 1870 or 1889. I also took to the old wooden cathedral. One house of the Church Street (Lyons Cottage) was in 1878, as it is written the birthplace of Joseph Lyons, an Australian prime minister from 1932 to 1939. In Church Street is also “Stanley Discovery Museum”, an oasis to gather information about city history and the environment. Maybe I should also mention restored Plough Inn, which was built in 1842 and lost it’s license already in 1876. But I must mention the cemetery. Not only the pioneers of the English colonial period but also the graves of the architect Archer and the surveyor Henry Heller, who are closely connected to the company are worth a visit. Our first attempt was successful and we had a overnight stay at BIG 4 Holiday Park near Tatlow’s Beach, which is a Caravan Park at the foot of The Nut. In a great bungalow we had also a wonderful view onto the lake and the mountain.
Needless to say, we climbed on the mountain the first day. The footpath on the map over the serpentines doesn’t exist anymore. So we went back to Stanley to use the path beside the cableway and became acquainted with the especial flair of this town. The cableway was opened in 1987 and carries more then 60 thousands passengers per annum. The 300 meters of upsurge were very hard and reminded me of my favourite English saying: “There where is life there is hope!” This slogan accompanied me in many ticklish situations, blistering heat and unexpected breakdown on my Australian trips. We reached the top very exhausted, but the view surprised. The two kilometres long circuit at a altitude of 143 or 153 meters (I have no accurate number) you have to walk. First you see the north of the peninsula called North Point. Below ourselves Perkins Bay with bathing children. And in the south over Sawyers Bay we could see the glinting grounds of Jetty Of Port Latta with a length of 1600 meters. This distance was necessary that the bulldozer, which load the ore from Savage River on board could work undisturbed. Via a 95 kilometres long pipeline the ore comes to Port Latte for further manufacture. This harbour always rocked the boat. 90 ships sank because of the waves of Bass Strait. The best-known accident was in 1889 as “Southern Cross” capsized and the victims had to paddle 17 kilometres to Stanley. So they tried to built breakwater of the rock of The Nut. But all detonations failed or the effects were more than years ago visible. In one case 20 thousands tons of stone rushed into the water even 12 years later! The basalt of The Nut is incalculable! In the middle of it, there is a deep cave, probable the rest of the caldera.
The Nut is also a sought-after nesting site for Muttonbirds. The birds feed up their chicks till a weight of one kilogram and then fly back to Antarctic in march. The chicks, which survive this dangerous time, follow one month later. Its amazing how multi-faceted the vegetation is on Wave Rock an its basalt cliff. Even a small forest is located on the plateau. So we walked from viewpoint to viewpoint till we returned at the chair lift.
One other interesting destination, which you can also see from the mountain is the former Cable Station today restaurant at Perkins Bay. Already in 1859 Circular Head was endued with the first submarine telegraph cable and in 1935 the first telephone cable under the sea to Victoria and so to the rest of the world. In 1995 followed the fibre optic cable. Today all telecommunication is managed by TELSTAR, the biggest Australian telecommunication company.
The picture at the beginning shows why the inhabitants are so proud to have everywhere sea view. “Stanley at the edge of the world” is a often used slogan and we could agree, if we didn’t know that the Australian continent stands 350 kilometres northwards.
At Fisherman’s Dock is “Stanley Sea Aquarium”, which provides a summery of the life under the sea!
Many Tasmanians hold that Stanley is the most pictorial city of the island and the “Australian Traveller” magazine approves this statement. Stanley is on sixth place of the most lovely places in Australia. Amazing on the contrary are the affordable land prices. Only 245 thousands Dollar are demanded for a really nice house with according property. But who wants to live in a city with two months of sun per annum and a water temperature of 18° Celsius.
With a bottle Chardonnay Queen Adelaide in front of our bungalow we left a wonderful day behind. The sunset is an event that you are not allowed to miss, slowly the mountain gets red, then brown and at last grey. In the west the sky is still blue interspersed with white clouds. But soon it is also surrounded with light-red, then dark-red till light-yellow-green colour samples. Now the sunset is complete, but there are still actinism in the dark sky. A natural phenomenon for shooting!