Kettering, Tasmania is a coastal town on the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. Kettering (37 km south of Hobart) and Woodbridge nestle into the coast on the D’Entrecasteaux Channel opposite Bruny Island – two tiny settlements gazing across the narrow channel at the island’s low lying hills.
It is hard to imagine that they were once violent outposts where the local Aborigines were persecuted and maltreated by sealers and whalers.
The area was first explored by Bruni D’Entrecasteaux in 1792 and was settled in the early 1800s by timber cutters, whalers and sealers. Life was hard and the people who lived in the area rarely settled for long preferring the life in Hobart Town to the whaling stations and logging camps.
It was just north of Kettering in Oyster Cove that the last Tasmanian Aboriginal settlement was established in 1847. Aborigines from all over Van Diemen’s Land had been rounded up some years earlier and isolated on Flinders Island. In 1847 the remnants, now only 44 people, were taken to a reserve at Oyster Cove. By 1855 there were only 16 people left and by 1869 only Truganini remained. She died in 1876 but it was not until 1976 that her ashes were thrown to the winds on the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.
Today the area is noted for its orchards (apples, cherries, pears) and Kettering has become an important service centre for the local farmers. Like so much of the area south of Hobart, both towns have become centres for commuters and alternative lifestyle dwellers who find the peacefulness suits them – although, from a mainland perspective, Hobart is hardly a centre of urban decay and hysteria.
These tiny settlements are now the focus of marine activities.