Powerboat racing on the Derwent River

I discovered the northern end of the Murphys Flat wetlands area came abruptly to a stop at the competition grounds for the Motor Yacht Club of Tasmania’s (MYCT) powerboat racing events (more information further below).

The area has a bland, functional entrance and I guess all the action and beauty happens on the Derwent River.

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The site is shared with another aspect of local community history.

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A metal arch over nothing and through which you don’t seem to be directed to walk, features the words HC MILLINGTON MEMORIAL AQUATIC with the letters MYCT over the top of the arch.  Millington’s Funeral Directors are well known in Hobart and it seems that the archway refers to Mr Harold Charles Millington who started out as a sometime professional cyclist and a wood craftsman before entering the funeral industry when, during the 1930s depression, people couldn’t afford new furniture but they died and were in need of burial coffins.  He died in 1969 so I am guessing the archway was built in the 1960s. I found Australian Powerboat Racing Association records for 2012 indicating the HC Millington perpetual trophy was no longer in use or destroyed. Was the dramatic archway and the trophy philanthropy, pure sponsorship or the result of lots of business arising from the area?  Why such an arch in an area where there are no houses and people would seldom visit?  Does anyone know the answer?

The area has been well cleared for vehicles and their boat trailers to be parked. This provided a dramatic contrast after the density of vegetation along Murphys Flat.

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Even though the MYCT is based in Lindisfarne (I passed its club house during an  earlier walking stage), it runs powerboat racing competitions in conjunction with the Tasmanian Council of the Australian Power Boats Association, around Tasmania including at this Derwent River side facility between Granton and New Norfolk. Interested? Want to know more? Go to http://tasapba.com/about_us.html and at least one or two photos look like they were taken on the Derwent River.

As I researched information about the site, seeking the quirky and unexpected, I found that a Dianas on the Derwent race meeting is scheduled annually. No idea what that really means but I have taken a fancy to the title. In Roman mythology Diana was a virgin goddess of the hunt, the moon and childbirth with the power to talk with and control wild animals.  Perhaps the Dianas on the Derwent is a very young women’s racing event, where they hunt a winner’s trophy by racing at night, and their boats are their wild animals that require taming.  But childbirth?  Where does that fit?  Then I discovered a couple of You Tube videos and a related Facebook page. For example, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs15dNuhMcw. In the video note the hands look male – so my theory about living goddesses driving speedboats seems to have flown. So what is this Diana thing about? Anyone know?

A 10 am I was back walking on the Lyell Highway having discovered that access to the road northwards along the Derwent River shoreline was impossible with barbed wires fences blocking the way.

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