The interpretative panels with photos were of most interest to me. For example, despite the fact this shot below of the Pieman River meeting the heads and the Southern/Indian Ocean would have been photographed at some time since 1816 (the first photos were taken in France in the 1820s), it shows a country untouched by European settlement.
Today’s aerial shot is quite different; refer to the view on today’s Google Maps where roads and buildings are in evidence.
Notice the line of rollers crashing onto the beach at the southern entrance to the River in both photos. It was not until hours after I had looked at the historic photo that I travelled to the mouth of the Pieman River and watched the breakers at first hand. Very dramatic.
The next two photos of one of the interpretation boards at Corinna feature a remarkable early pioneer Johnny Ahrberg who hailed originally from Sweden.
When I think that at the end of the 19th century and into the early years of the 20th century he was living alone at the wild Pieman Heads, I shake my head in admiration. That wild desolate country may have been a familiar home to Tasmanian aboriginal tribes for millennia but for a newby, a European settler without knowledge of the local fauna and flora and with seasons occurring at opposite times to those in northern Europe, Ahrberg must have experienced enormous challenges. I am not sure whether it was his endurance or his achievements that were recognised when a large bay south of the Pieman River was named after him; the Ahrberg Bay. A fact which amazed me can be read here: ‘The annual rainfall of Ahrberg Bay is about 1936 mm. The most rain received by Ahrberg Bay in a day was 97 mm.’ The Pieman River heads are situated only about 7 kms north as the ‘crow flies’ so this rainfall information is a reminder of the deluges that fall in that part of the world. Ahrberg is unlikely to have lived in anything more than a basic unlined wooden hut – how did he waterproof it, I wonder. The Advocate newspaper published a detailed story after Arhberg’s death in 1937 (refer to the issue on Monday 2nd August) in which mention is made of his ‘hard life’. Of that I have no doubt. But I wonder what happened to his dog?