Dunalley is a fishing village built around the man-made Denison Canal, which has a swing bridge over it for road traffic. Dunalley is on the narrow land neck that connects Forestier Peninsula with the rest of Tasmania. Blackman Bay lies to the norh east; Dunalley Bay on Norfolk Bay lies to the south west.
Where Is it?: Dunalley is 57 km east of Hobart, 40 km south of Orford, 26 km south east of Sorell, 22 km north of Port Arthur, on the Arthur Highway.
Denison Canal disects East Bay Neck, a narrow isthmus connecting Forestier Peninsula to the Tasmanian mainland at Dunalley. It joins Blackman Bay to Frederick Henry Bay. Proposals for cutting a canal through East Bay Neck near the present day fishing village of Dunalley appeared as early as 1820 amongst the settlers, but the Denison Canal was not built and opened until 1905. It is 2.4km long, 3m deep at low tide and 17m wide (no locks). The canal shortens the journey from the east coast to Hobart by about 80 km. A swing bridge for road traffic allows vehicle access over the canal. Local legend has it that the toll to the gatekeeper is a bottle of beer.
The first swing bridge was built in the Launceston Railway Workshops. The roller bearing can be seen today mounted outside a nearby hotel. A new concrete bridge working with a hydraulic system replaced this in 1965.
Boomer Island, in Boomer Bay, is a privately owned island connected via an isthmus to the mainland in Boomer Bay, which itself lies within Blackman Bay. It is known for a large castle built upon it by businessman Gunter Jaeger. For approximately 30 years Gunter Jaeger was the owner of the Hope and Anchor Hotel in Hobart. This tavern was built in 1807 and is claimed to be Australia's oldest pub. In January 2013 the idyllic hamlet of Boomer Bay, which comprised of little more than 20 houses, was turned into a charred ghost town when a bushfire went through the area. Only eight homes are left standing.
It was at Tasman Bay on the Forestier Peninsula on 3rd December 1642 that Dutch navigator Abel Tasman sent his carpenter, Peter Jacobsen, ashore to name the territory Van Diemen's Land after the Governor of Batavia. Neither Tasman nor his hapless carpenter who swam ashore and planted a pole carrying Prince Frederick Hendrick's flag atop had any idea that they were claiming just an island and not the Great Southland. A monument marking the event stands beyond the mouth of Blackman Bay, close to where the landing took place. It is virtually inaccessible by anything other than boat. Another monument is more conveniently located in the Dunalley township. Tasman was the first known European explorer to reach the islands of Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) and New Zealand, and to sight the Fiji islands. His navigator Francois Visscher and his merchant Isaack Gilsemans mapped substantial portions of Australia, New Zealand, and some Pacific Islands.