Category Archives: Mount Wellington

Fires above the Derwent River

On too many nights last week the sky was dense with a rosy fire haze across my suburb.  The smoke slipped through crevices in my house so that, through each evening, I felt like I inhaled a camp fire.  Back then I checked the Tas Fire Alert website and learned the closest fire was in Quarry Road less than half a kilometre away. Today I went off to see what the burn looked like.

I chose to walk through the bushland of Waverley Flora Park first and then descend down Quarry Road.

2015-11-09 09.37.10

From the top of one of the Park’s walking tracks, I looked through stands of gum trees towards the mouth of the Derwent River.

2015-11-09 09.22.36 2015-11-09 09.22.51

In the other direction Mount Wellington loomed large over the Hobart CBD and the Derwent Harbour.

2015-11-09 09.24.47

I followed in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, ‘father’ of the theory of evolution, who walked around Hobart in 1836. At some time during that visit he crossed to the eastern shore and wandered around the Bellerive suburb and beyond.

2015-11-09 09.22.59 2015-11-09 09.20.23 2015-11-09 09.20.15

I saw unfamiliar medium-sized birds collecting nesting material and insect food morsels (who flitted away far too fast for me to take a photograph): one was dressed in silvery greys with a long strand floating after its tail, and another with a rich olive green coat. None of my bird books help me to identify either of these birds – any locals with bird knowledge?

A profusion of native spring flowers carpeted parts of the Park, or stood as single colourful spikes amidst the dull dry green grasses.

2015-11-09 09.32.36 2015-11-09 09.25.26

It soon became clear that lots of burned vegetation and scorched earth passages were scattered next to the walking track and beyond.

2015-11-09 09.29.05 2015-11-09 09.28.19

Later when I walked down Quarry Road with not a burn mark in sight, I realised that for bureaucratic purposes the Tas Fire Alert site had to indicate the best road for fire trucks to follow.  It had been parts of the Waverley Flora Park that suffered fire damage.

As I continued downhill, I heard the siren sounds of a fire truck and watched it whip past the intersection below.  When I turned the corner, the truck was parked askew with hefty yellow clad guys preparing their gear.  The screams of other sirens were closing in. I watched wisps of smoke escaping from all manner of slits and slots and dirty brown smoke puffing from the front door of the house below.  I saw an approaching ambulance and guessed this wasn’t someone’s best day.

The Derwent River at night

Tasmania’s bush, its coast and urban areas offer a photographer’s paradise at all times of day and night across the four seasons.

This Amazing Planet  is one of many blogs that show spectacular photographs of Tasmania’s flora, fauna and landscape. Go to Nightscape-Hobart for a stunning visual treat. Enjoy looking at part of the glorious Greater Hobart Area, at night, photographed from on top of Mount Wellington. Between the two sides of the city, the rich blue Derwent River passes on its way to Stormy Bay and then the sea. The brightly lit Tasman Bridge can be seen to join the two shore lines.

Special Anniversary

Establishment Milestone remembered:

On 15 August 2014 I conceived the idea to walk the length of our Derwent River from the mouth to the source, and began this blog.  That was when I found the glorious photo of the Derwent River taken from the top of Mount Wellington and set it as my heading for permanent sharing with you.

The crustacean that walks – and only in Tasmania

My last post introduced a giraffe who took a long walk. Since giraffes typically walk as part of their locomotion, the surprise of that story cannot be as great as the fact of the shrimp (prawn if you like) which walks around the high creeks and streams which flow down into the Derwent River in Tasmania.

Anaspides tasmaniae from Parks&Wildlife Service

(Photo courtesy of Parks & Wildlife Service Tasmania – http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/indeX.aspX?base=11244)

Geoffrey Smith, in his book A Naturalist in Tasmania (Oxford, 1909), describes the Anaspides tasmaniae. “A number of streams rise in the plateau of Mount Wellington, some of them attaining a considerable size before joining the estuary of the Derwent, and all of them characterised by the beautiful clearness of their water, owing to their beds being formed entirely of hard greenstone boulders.

In the pools of the upper reaches of these streams near the top of the mountain, a very peculiar shrimp-like animal is found.  It is now recognised as one of those survivals of a bygone age of which the Australian continent has furnished so many and such interesting examples. The nearest allies of this animal appear to be some marine shrimps which come down to us as fairly common fossils in the sand deposited round the Permian and Carboniferous seas of Europe and North America: subsequent to this very remote period they do not seem to have existed in the seas, at any rate in the northern hemisphere, so that an enormous passage of the earth’s history has occurred between their peopling the northern seas and their survival on the mountain tops of Tasmania.

The Tasmanian Mountain Shrimp (Anaspides tasmaniae) is sometimes as much as two inches in length, of a brown colour, and walks about on the stones and among the weeds at the bottom of the pools, browsing on the mosses and liver-worts and any small creatures it can catch; it very rarely swims, but when frightened it darts forward by flicking its tail and takes cover under a stone.

In other parts of the world no trace of the animal’s survival has been discovered.

Goethe somewhere remarks that the most insignificant natural object is, as it were, a window through which we can look into infinity. And certainly when I first saw the Mountain Shrimp walking quietly about its crystal-clear habitation, as if nothing of any great consequence had happened since its ancestors walked in a sea peopled with great reptiles … time for me was annihilated and the imposing kingdom of man shrunk indeed to a little measure.”

The website http://www.anaspides.net/other/website_name_why.html believes “Anaspides tasmaniae has remained unchanged for 250 million years (Triassic Period): it is a living fossil. The first published record of Anaspides tasmaniae was made in 1893 from alpine pools on Mt. Wellington behind Hobart.”  More details about this discovery, and about the later involvement of the author of the book excerpt above, Geoffrey Smith, can be read at http://www.tasfieldnats.org.au/TasNaturalist/Articles/1967/TasNat_1967_No8_Feb_pp1-2_Hewer_AnaspidesTasmaniae.pdf

Another revision: naturally therapeutic images from stages 7-10

I can’t help myself. Having reviewed my favourite images from the first half a dozen stages of my walk along the Derwent River, I felt compelled to continue looking through my collection from the subsequent walks.  I have chosen photos showing aspects of both the natural and man-made world and I believe all will prompt thinking about the Derwent River, Hobart and its suburbs, and the natural environment. My selection of the images with the most memorable impact for me, from stages 7-10, are given below.

20141031_094126

From the eastern shore looking northwards towards the Bowen Bridge, with a couple of black swans on the river.

20141031_100200

Two plaques ‘opened’ by two great Australian prime ministers near the Bowen Bridge.

20141031_104822

The rusting raw-edged remains of a ship, the Otago, at Otago Bay.

20141031_113132

My enjoyment of any family’s black sheep.

20141031_123000

Heading into Old Beach and gradually leaving Mount Wellington behind.

20141031_132519

The gloominess of the approaching storm when I reached Old Beach.

20141111_092342 20141111_092805

The pleasures of well-made pathways, thanks to local government.

Green Point from new Old Beach

Looking northward across the Jordon River to Greens Point.

20141111_103700 20141111_121906

The glories of native flora. In these instances, it was blooming wattle and a spectacular stand of eucalyptus/gum trees which attracted my attention.

20141111_120752

The remains and the signs of a burnt out car on a back track.

20141111_130523

Knowing that it is still possible to have a laugh when walking.

20141111_131133

Arriving at the Bridgewater Bridge.

20141111_134311

Walking on the western shore of the Derwent River for the first time during this project.

20141125_095438

The house of one of first European settlers, James Austin, at Austins Ferry.

20141125_115047

At Dogshear Point, walking around the Claremont golf course, with the thwacking sound of hit balls crossing the greens.

20141125_110906

Reaching Cadbury’s chocolate manufacturing factory in Claremont.

20141125_143454

The hand-hewn rustic style seat near Connewarre Bay.

20150109_074126
Passing MONA somewhat camouflaged as it nestles into a tiny hill against the Derwent River.

20150109_081644

The mosaics along the foreshore.

20150109_101243

The jumble of boats and boat houses at Prince of Wales Bay.

Hoon tyre marks

Road mark making in Lutana.

20150109_132008

Cornelian Bay’s oil tanks up close.

20150109_153103

The Tasman Bridge.

20150109_155515

The circus had come to town.

20150109_161747

The emptiness of an arena of stands waiting to be filled during wood chopping competitions.

20150109_161339

Reaching the ‘end of the line’ on arrival in Hobart city.

Nature is cheaper than therapy

A Californian fiction writer M.P. Zarrella offered the opinion ‘nature is cheaper than therapy’.  Since then, her point of view has spawned posters, cushion covers, and T shirts such as:

Nature cheaper than therapy  and tshirt nature its cheaper than therapy

The use of this comment spread until people couldn’t help themselves …

facebook cheaper than therapy and Beer is cheaper than therapy

Thinking about whether nature is cheaper (with the inference of ‘better’ than therapy), I have been inspired to trawl through my walking-the-derwent photos.

Here are a few favourite natural scenes clicked during Stages 1-6 of my walks along the eastern shore of the Derwent River.  Most of these images spent time as my computer screen background where they lifted my spirits daily.

20140822_100301

Iron Pot off the southern end of South Arm peninsula

20140822_101716

Driftwood beach shack on Pot Bay Beach, South Arm peninsula

20140822_114606

Mount Wellington across the Derwent River from South Arm Beach

20140904_110312

Looking northwards into the gigantic Derwent Harbour from Gellibrand Point at the northern end of the South Arm peninsula.

20140920_102738

Looking uphill from Trywork Point

20140926_095629

Lichen on rocks at Tranmere Point

20140926_104056

Little Howrah Beach

20140926_115158

Looking southwards along Bellerive Beach

20141010_093842

The suburb of Sandy Bay across the Derwent River through the casuarina trees from Rosny Point

20141010_123003

Tranquil Geilston Bay looking toward Mount Wellington

20141015_101248

Bedlam Walls Point

20141015_104855

Shag Bay

20141015_122048

Native flowers in the East Risdon State Reserve

20141015_133435

Tommys Bight

Whenever the weather is deteriorating outside my window, by looking at these photographs from the first 6 of 14 walking stages, I ‘revisit’ the various locations and feel most uplifted. No therapy needed here.

Mirror smooth waters of Kangaroo Bay, an inlet off the Derwent River

Last weekend, when I walked to Bellerive Village via the Bellerive Yacht Club and Boardwalk, I was stunned by the beauty of the view.  The water in the marina was smooth as glass.  The yachts were clear edged by the crisp air and hard bright morning sun.  Despite puffs of cloud obscuring full vision of Mount Wellington in the distance, the vista was spectacular.

2015-03-28 08.22.12 2015-03-28 08.22.28 2015-03-28 08.22.21