Category Archives: Derwent River

From Catagunya to Wayatinah – post 1 of 4

Well over a year ago, one morning I walked through smoky air westwards into the Catagunya Power Station.  After a night camping, entwined by the thick atmosphere of a far distant bush fire and desperate for water, I was relieved to be received hospitably at the Station.  At that time I was thrilled by a guided tour of the building and its operation, however I never proceeded to walk the extra few hundred metres to look at the Dam wall holding back the large Lake Catagunya.  I was most grateful when many months ago, my walking proxy Andrew climbed the hills from Wayatinah Power Station to arrive at and photograph the Catagunya Dam.  A blog search using “Catagunya” as the term, will help you to locate those past stories plus a swag of descriptive photographs.

Recently, I was privileged to make the journey between the Catagunya and Wayatinah Power Stations and to experience that stimulating environment. Thanks to the generous assistance of GL from TasNetworks,  I was able to enter the locked Catagunya Road off the Lyell Highway, and travel the 8 or so kilometres to the Catagunya Dam.

The wall of the Dam curved magnificently and  the landscape-green Lake Catagunya spread impassively to the west. 20170424_104221.jpg

20170424_104055.jpg

Below I could see the old Derwent River bed as a rocky almost water free pathway.

20170424_104042.jpg

Bypassing the river bed, a massive Canal drained water from the Lake into the Power Station. It appeared as a giant marker on the landscape that seemed much wider and more substantial than the Tarraleah Canals that run from Lake King William and the Butlers Gorge Power Station further inland.    20170424_104148

20170424_104228.jpg

20170424_104330.jpg

20170424_104504.jpg

The apparently still Canal water was deceptive. Only on closer inspection could I see the dramatic gush of water moving underneath the left hand entrance at the end of the race.  Obviously electrical power was being generated in the Catagunya Power Station that day.

From vantage points near the Dam and the Canal I could see the Power Station building way below. Oh how tiny it seemed by comparison with the larger constructions. Yet when I had first approached and walked around it, the building seemed cavernous.

20170424_104537 with PSarrowed.jpg

20160210_092533.jpg

More than anything I was as excited as a three year old having a birthday party with lots of surprises.  Recent rain had cleared the air of dust, the day was overcast and the fairy weight of moisture from low clouds kept the air moist. I kept breathing deeply, absorbing the cleanness of the air. Loving the damp air. Feeling cleansed. So profoundly happy to be back in the bush and walking besides my beloved Derwent River.

The Max Angus 1990 exhibition

A few weeks ago I added a couple of posts to this blog about an art exhibition by the late renowned Tasmanian artist Max Angus titled Aspects of the Derwent from the source to the sea.

I did not have a copy of the exhibition catalogue and encouraged any reader who had a copy to let me know.  I imagined the publication would contain only a list of the names of each work of art and the price and not contain photographs, nevertheless I did believe reading it would be instructive. I hoped to learn the locations which Max Angus painted along the Derwent River.  Unfortunately a copy of the catalogue has not surfaced.

Since then I have been working through microfiche at the State Library of Tasmania looking at The Mercury newspaper hoping to find a review of the exhibition.  From Googling I knew the exhibition’s title and the year – 1990.  Thankfully that information limited the search.  In addition, the watercolour painting, purchased from the exhibition by my friend’s mother, was dated October 1990. Yesterday I found the gallery list in The Mercury on the 6th October 1990 providing the information that the Aspects of the Derwent from the source to the sea exhibition was already open at the Freeman Gallery and would continue until October 22nd. Since the exhibitions at that venue typically lasted 14 – 21 days, probably the show opened around the 5th October.

With continued research I was fortunate to find the exhibition review in the Saturday Weekend Arts of The Mercury newspaper for the 13 October 1990. I was particularly interested to read a few of journalist Susan Leggett’s comments:

“This very large exhibition – 64 works in all – is a powerful, careful and stunning collection.”

“Angus has read and evoked the nature of the turbulent, dynamic entity …” when referring to the Derwent River.

“He has not only painted images  of a real river travelling along its course, but created a sort of separate reality for it – an extra dimension.”

“It is all well observed and stunningly translated.”

Aspects of the Derwent Anhus article.JPG

The image included with the article is of the painting Yachts on the Harbour. The friend mentioned elsewhere in this post, is an avid sailor on the Derwent Harbour.  I wonder whether she was out there that day when Max Angus painted this picture and her yacht is in the mix.

Last but not least, since the painting belonging to my friend’s mother was painted in October 1990, then the paint was hardly dry before being taken into the Gallery for hanging.

The last post?

Whoopee! My walk from the mouth to the source of the Derwent River is complete, and the complete record of that walk has now been posted to this blog.

Undoubtedly information, ideas and events that relate to the Derwent River may attract my attention and leave me compelled to blog them. I expect to add very few new posts  but please, do not stop ‘following’ the blog just in case I find new aspects of the river from new angles and can show you more wonderful vistas which complement those previously posted.

STOP PRESS – I have been offered a ride along some TasNetworks tracks beside the Derwent upstream, and this trip will take place before Easter – more stories guaranteed.

Less exciting news: this blog will cease to exist in December 2017 despite the fact that I know it contains a wealth of useful information. The reason is simple. I cannot afford to continue it. When I started the blog I was happy to pay the tiny amount for an address that didn’t contain ‘wordpress’ within it but, after adding many hundreds if not thousands of photographs, I exceeded the 3GB limit and for the past two years have paid a larger amount to keep the blog in existence. The fee is due for renewal this December and I will not be paying it. On this basis I am assuming WordPress will prevent visibility and stop access.

Now what?

My next project is to create a small book using the material from the blog; online and in hard copy.  My goal is probably unrealistic. I aim to publish the book by the end of November this year.

But before I get involved on that serious business, I would like your feedback about the nature of the book.

  • Who do you think will be the most frequent type of reader; would it be a bushwalker, a tourist, a local, a historian or some other type of person?
  • What should be the style? A descriptive book, a how-to-do-it explanation for getting around the Greater Hobart Area,  a personalised story,  a humorous account, or should I take some other approach?  If so, what do you suggest?
  • What should be the content? For example, should it be about the mechanics of such a walk,  or about the personal development associated with such a walk, or about the history and use of the River, or about the land use either side of the River, or what?  Are there particular stories or parts of the River that you loved which you believe must be included?
  • Should the book contain photos? If so, should there be lots or a few?  What sort of photos do you think should be included?  Are you able to remember favourite photos that I simply ‘must’ use?
  • Should the book contain maps and diagrams?
  • What size do you prefer books to be?

Your ideas will help me as I compress and select from the 250,000 plus words and thousands of photographs.  With the sheer volume of information (and I have files of unwritten material as well) this book could take form in so many different ways.  At the moment I am torn between a few options so your thoughts will be useful to help me refine mine.

There are different ways you can offer your ideas.  You can add a comment directly onto this blog.  Alternatively you can email me at walkingthederwent@gmail.com.  If you view my blog on Twitter (named as walkingthederwent), Facebook  (named as Walking TheDerwent) or LinkedIn (named as Tasmanian Traveller) then comments or messages can be added on those sites.  I look forward to hearing your ideas.

Piguenit at Lake St Clair

Since my walk from the mouth along the Derwent River culminated at the source, Lake St Clair, writing one of the final blog postings about my favourite Tasmanian artist Piguenit who painted Lake St Clair a number of times, seems appropriate.  Previously in the posting Piguenit- artist extraordinaire in southern Tasmania, I extolled some of his virtues.

The story goes – in one of my former lives, in my arts and museum career, I started in the profession working at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery – in three ways: I gave the occasional public lecture in the art gallery section, I volunteered and worked on the art collection in the bowels of the building, and I was employed as a cleaning and security attendant.  Because of my art knowledge and interest I was usually allocated the large gallery at the top of the building for the security detail, the one with the 19th century paintings and sculptures. In those days there was no cover on the roof windows, no insulation and no heating.  This is late 1970s and I recall being frozen for most of my winter shifts standing there.  But the win for me was that all the TMAG’s big Piguenit paintings were hung at one end of the gallery.  Until then I had never seen his work. I was bowled over by their majesty, their drama and with the artist’s skill.  Most especially, for the first time, I saw an artist painting serious pictures in oil but sometimes only using black and white paint and creating an image with greys (some were slightly yellow greys).  I marvelled at this and have adored his work ever since.  When I come across one of his pictures in any Gallery of Australia I simply stand in reverent silence. His work has that effect on me.

Recently I received a card for a milestone birthday from a couple of stalwart walkingthederwent supporters. The image on the cover was Lake St Clair, the Source of the River Derwent, Tasmania 1887.  Piguenit delighted in this lake and its glorious mountainous surrounds.  The image below, courtesy of Artnet, is very similar to that on my birthday card (regrettably I can find no online reproduction of ‘my’ image).

william-charles-piguenit-lake-st-clair-the-source-of-the-river-derwent-tasmania

The original oil on canvas, shown on my card, was presented to the Tasmanian Government  in 1889 and is now housed in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. The differences between ‘mine’ and the Artnet versions include the fact that the latter is a smaller canvas and the foreground rocks and sand are shaped and painted differently. My earlier posting has another image of the same location – one which is held in the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Clearly the birthday card was sent with my recent walkingthederwent project in mind but without knowing my decades long ‘connection’ with Piguenit’s work. That image of Lake St Clair with Mount Olympus spot-lit is a stunner.  Now I wonder if the impetus for my walk along the Derwent began in that freezing Gallery all those years ago.  How could I have known what my future held and where I would end up?

Fossil Cove posting 4 of 4

I relaxed with the sounds of the wash of the water onto the shore.

20160331_113205

20160331_113312.jpg

20160331_113314.jpg

20160331_113300.jpg

20160331_113317.jpg

After one last look around this deserted Cove and across the glorious Derwent Harbour, I turned toward the path and walked back uphill. Slowly.  Very slowly.  I swear the incline on that hill had steepened. I found each blade of grass and each leaf on the path infinitely interesting and worthy of stopping for closer inspection. Often.

For blog readers who live in Hobart, give yourself a treat, take a picnic with you and enjoy a visit to this wonderful Cove.

Fossil Cove posting 3 of 4

 

I delighted in the multitude of fossils everywhere around Fossil Cove.

20160331_112102.jpg

And seeing the blue shells of tiny new mussels clustering in rock crevices, and the deep purple shells of sea urchins cast up on the rocky beach, reminded me of the way water continues to bring life to our shores.

20160331_113359.jpg

20160331_111307.jpg

Most particularly I loved the water views.  The Derwent River presented a stunning vista during my visit.

20160331_112108cropped.JPG

20160331_113049.jpg

20160331_113052.jpg

20160331_113229cropped3.JPG

20160331_113348.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

14/2/17

Fossil Cove posting 2 of 4

I admired the rock formations around Fossil Cove and wished I had walked with a geological expert.

20160331_111128.jpg

20160331_111148.jpg

20160331_113631.jpg

The rock formation in the photos below could variously be described as a ‘hole in the wall’ or an arch.

20160331_111225.jpg

20160331_111447.jpg

20160331_111459.jpg

I just had to explore what was through that ‘hole in the wall’.

20160331_113205.jpg

20160331_113133.jpg

20160331_111455.jpg

20160331_112940.jpg

20160331_112944.jpg

20160331_113150.jpg

Seeing these photos again reminds me that the day of my visit to Fossil Cove was so gloriously sunny, that the sea and the sky were shades of heavenly blue, and that the gentle on shore breeze was so soft and pleasant. So many mainland Australians who have never visited Tasmania have the idea this is a cold miserable place, so I am glad that my experiences walking the Derwent have been able to show this is a wonderfully beautiful place.  And it is a place very much worth a visit (or even a relocation to live here!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13/2/17