Sometime around Dec 4 1642, the Dutch explorer Abel Janzoon Tasman – then sailing up the east coast of what was subsequently named Van Diemen’s Land (& then renamed Tasmania) - passed to the east of an island, which he named after the wife of his superior (Anthony Van Diemen, Governor-General of Batavia). So that's how Maria Island got its name. No Europeans visited the island for the following 150 years. An Englishman - John Henry Cox - in the vessel “Mercury” was the first white person to set foot on Maria Island, probably in 1790 or so. Nicholas Baudin – a French explorer – charted the island in 1802. Whalers & seal plunderers followed. Baudin described the aboriginals on the island. They were a group of about 50 people, who were part of the Oyster Bay tribe, travelling to Maria Island with bark canoes made by strapping stringy bark together. Their middens are evident on Maria Island today. The English established a penal colony at Risdon Cove in 1803, & claimed all of Van Diemens Land as British. In 1825, a penal settlement was established on the west coast of the northern part of Maria Island, with about 150 convicts. Many of the buildings erected then are still present. The penal settlement was abandoned in 1832, to be re-opened in 1842 as a convict station. So why is Maria Island appearing on this website? It’s all about the colourful Triassic sandstone cliffs on the NW coast – also know as the Painted Cliffs (search the internet - Painted Cliffs, Maria Island. You’ll find lots of images). Many people visit the island specially to see these cliffs. They literally are quite ‘jaw dropping’ natural works of art. The ‘painting’ has been done through the agency of the precipitation of iron oxides percolating through the white sandstone & staining them in fantastic brown bands & other forms. In other areas, the salt water spray from the surf has over time eroded the rock to form a multitude of tiny hollows. It is a photographer’s delight – as can be seen on the internet. It appeared to me that many photographers were overwhelmed by what they saw – and hence failed to capture the true nature of the fine art on display. I was delighted by the delicateness of some of the ‘painting’. Some of the images which drew my attention particularly were of white sandstone which was delineated by fringes of very pale iron oxide stains – these themselves seemingly “combed”. Most unusual. Additionally, I generated some cliff panoramas with very big file sizes, which permits their reproduction to a size equal to the physical dimensions of the cliff faces themselves.
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site 2 pano 2 - version 2-1
Howells Point - pano 2 version 2.1
painted cliffs 3-1
painted cliffs 2-1
Howells Point - 180mm - colour, etc-1
painted cliffs 4-1
painted cliffs 1-1
Painted Cliffs - pano 1- cropped, etc-1

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