Category Archives: Walking

From Catagunya to Wayatinah – post 4 of 4

I took a series of forest photos most of which are blurred. I am adding some here to give you an idea of what parts looked like – sorry about the quality.

20170424_113247.jpg

20170424_111909.jpgThen the white shape of the Wayatinah Power Station appeared between the tree trunks.

20170424_114138.jpg

20170424_113538.jpg

The closer I came to the Wayatinah Power Station the steeper the hills seemed. For vehicles travelling down the road, the final gradient requires a low gear in a 4WD. The drizzle on a day like the one on which I went, meant the clay and soil track surface was exceptionally slippery and dangerous for the inexperienced or inept.

Then I was out in the open again. This time looking down to Lake Catagunya past the Wayatinah Power Station.

20170424_114211.jpg

To my right, additional infrastructure punctured the sky.

20170424_114227.jpg

20170424_114340.jpg

Further up the hill and connecting to the huge surge tank, the snaking length of wooden penstocks started.  See my earlier post for more information about wooden penstocks here. Can you remember the wonderful photos which Andrew took in this blog posting?  My photos are less detailed but still show the dramatic line of the penstocks.

20170424_114338.jpg

20170424_114345.jpg

20170424_114515.jpg

I ended the day with a thick coating of mud on my boots and a smile on my face. Yet another day offering me a memorable experience along the Derwent River. I am especially grateful for the extensive information and access provided by GL. Please note that private and corporate owners control access to this section of the Derwent River and the many gates are locked with an assortment of sophisticated processes. General public access is not available.

From Catagunya to Wayatinah – post 3 of 4

 

I followed a road aiming to intersect with the transmission lines ready to follow that towards Wayatinah to the extent it would be possible.  Massive heavily forested gullies made continued close access to Lake Catagunya (full of Derwent River water) impossible.

20170424_110654.jpg

Even the cleared area wasn’t clear enough for anyone to walk through on foot, although it was sufficiently clear to keep the power lines unaffected.

20170424_110907.jpg

When I stood on high, misty wisps reshaped distant hills and threatened to obliterate views of Lake Catagunya. Fortunately I could always see its glistening surface way below.

20170424_111136.jpg

20170424_111350.jpg

On top of the second last hill before reaching Wayatinah Power Station, the western end of Lake Catagunya appeared through the clouds.

20170424_111533.jpg

Before long the metal pipeline streaming water into the Wayatinah Power Station became visible.

pipelinewpscropped.JPG

Often the bush was amazingly quiet. This film  seems to be without sound. Only near the end can the faint crarking of a crow be heard.  This bush silence was an unexpected beauty of my day from Catagunya to Wayatinah.

From Catagunya to Wayatinah – post 2 of 4

Since Andrew had walked this way, much rain had fallen so that any chance of crossing Black Bob’s Rivulet somewhere near where he walked was zero.

20170424_105020.jpg

I continued back to the old Cooma property through more locked gates.

cropped Cooma.JPG

The owners were in the distance checking on some of their animals. Incredibly healthy cattle wandered around the unfenced land. Big curious fellows.  Superb condition. Beautiful black coats. Brown coats. Mixed colours.  As usual I talked to the animals.

20170424_102825 cropped.jpg

20170424_102856.jpg

cropped cows.JPG

Elsewhere, I watched a large family of yellow tailed Black Cockatoos raucously calling from tree to tree.  On another occasion a rush of coloured parrots whipped through the bush with astounding speed.

A large number of gravel roads and tracks meander over the hills between Catagunya and Wayatinah. Many do not appear on maps. Without a compass a walker could spend hours taking useless tracks – apparently people have been known to become so disoriented they find themselves way north of the river and after many kilometres back on the Lyell Highway.  In part, the tracks were created to service plantation forests  grown after original native forests were cleared and burnt.  The other user is TasNetworks, the State company which travels around to access the electrical power transmission towers and to check the levels of vegetation  along the transmission lines.

Since massive bush fires many years ago in one part of the area between Catagunya and Wayatinah, the remnants of hundreds of hectares of pine plantations have created a problem for the forestry industry. The small remaining stands of living trees are awkward to reach and not profitable to harvest.  Much of the land is covered by burnt parts of trees none of which can be used.  The cost to clear seems too high. Lost money. Lost opportunity. And lost original native forests. Nature always attempts to reclaim its place however in practice this means that those plants which breed well and grow quickly can create monocultures no less damaging than the single species plantation forests . In parts along the burnt out section, native plants that act like weeds such as some wattles are already taking over.  Monocultures do not a forest make.

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.

A new blog Touching the Tarkine starts today

Here is information about a new thrill for Walking the Derwent followers who have been sad to see this blog coming to an end …

I know many followers have loved their daily fix of Derwent River walking and related stories and some have said they will feel quite bereft once the postings stop.

For those devotees of the Tasmanian landscape I am delighted to tell you I have started a new blog that takes effect today!  Over time I plan to tell the stories of my experiences in Tasmania’s great Cool Temperate Forests of the Tarkine. Never heard of them?  Well go to my new blog Touching the Tarkine (www.touchingthetarkine.wordpress.com) to find out more.

The menu items underneath the header image are:

  • Home (which will have a new blog posting each day starting tomorrow),
  • About (which explains what the blog intends to do)
  • What is the Tarkine?
  • Where is the Tarkine?
  • How to get to the Tarkine?
  • Why take an interest in the Tarkine?

As with this Walking the Derwent blog, in the side bar on the actual blog screen I have added a few useful favourites:

  • The Follow by email option- add in your email address (and no-one but me sees it) and then automatically every day the latest post pops into your email inbox without you having to remember to check. DO THAT TODAY SO YOU DON’T FORGET!
  • A Search option so you can hunt through the extending blog for particular places or ideas or names etc
  • An Archives option so you can go back to the beginning of the blog or to a particular month later on if you need to, or if you want to show friends
  • A Google Translate option for international followers who do not read English and for Australians who have English as their second or third language
  • A Contact detail with my new email address for this blog: touchingthetarkine@gmail.com

I have fallen in love with the Tarkine for its forests and rivers, and I am super excited to let you see that ‘original’ world.  Expect  to see glorious photos.

Please join me at www.touchingthetarkine.wordpress.com, and feel comfortable to add your comment onto my postings at any time.

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.