Public art works along the Derwent River – Taroona’s Chiton

From a background in the visual arts industry I have a passing interest in the different kinds of public art that adorns reserves, parks and other edges of the Derwent River.

There have not been many sites with public art works and less with any of merit or real interest visually (in my unhumble opinions). Some of these might be claimed to be community craft works suggesting a second tier of relevance and importance.  During the Stages of my walk along the Derwent River I have not been seeking such art works but when they have appeared before me, I have taken some note.  This is my way of saying that I might be missing some works of art and that the ‘expose’ which I expect to write up over coming weeks may be incomplete.

The latest siting was at Taroona Park and it struck me as most unusual. At the motor vehicle carpark/entrance was a large concrete sign with sculptured limpet-like shell structures (man-made) stuck on. While these constructions showed some similarity with limpets, they were not quite limpets. So with recent Googling, I have attempted to turn up more information. The Variegated Limpet Cellana tramoserica which is common in Tasmanian waters looks like:


Photo courtesy of:

This does not look like the limpets on Taroona Park’s entrance structure seen below.


These attachments were surprisingly large; perhaps 30cm or more in length. The strong grey uniform like colour smacked of an armoured uniform and made me wonder about aliens and science fiction possibilities. I had trouble making connections with reality.  The website at lists all the molluscs at Taroona Beach, however the Propilidium tasmanicum (Tasmanian limpet) and all the other shells seem to have no physical similarity with the constructions that I saw.  Strange. Very strange.  Artist’s licence at work maybe?

But Google lifts up amazing results. Through further researching I located the answer at “It is said that the word Taroona is the local Aboriginal word for the chiton, a marine mollusc found on rocks in the inter-tidal and shallow sub-tidal regions of our beaches.”  So my idea that the sculptured relief referred to limpets was way off the mark.  At the website listed immediately above, the image provided of the chiton is comparable to those on the Park’s entrance block, even though the colour wasn’t accurate.  Regardless, it certainly commands attention.

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