Tag Archives: AFL

Magpies singing

I always love hearing the voices of magpies singing in the bush, and it was no different during my Stage 13 walk.

Today, a follower has made a comment about the connection between blackberry pies and magpies, and then went on to make the connection with the Australian Rules League football match being played tonight in northern Tasmania. One of the teams happens to be ‘my team’ (Collingwood known as the magpies) but unfortunately I can’t be in the stadium to cheer them to a win.

Collingwood logo

The website http://www.afltas.com.au/hawthorn-v-collingwood-launceston-2015-nab-challenge-fixture/ reports that The 2015 NAB Challenge will kick off with a match between Hawthorn and Collingwood at Aurora Stadium on Thursday, February 26 … Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said “Hawthorn are back-to-back premiers and this will be their first outing for 2015. On top of that we have another tier-one side in Collingwood, playing their first match at Aurora Stadium and first ever official match in Tasmania. It’s also a fantastic way to kick of the celebrations for the 150th year of football in Tasmania and we would like to acknowledge the role of AFL Tasmania CEO Scott Wade in working with the AFL to bring Collingwood to Tasmania.”

The Collingwood team have the largest paid up membership of any of the AFL teams and  members usually fill the large mainland stadiums when games are played.  In so doing, when the Collingwood team plays, the crowds throng and any match is expected to provide a good revenue stream on the gate.  So, I believe this is the reason the League has never let Collingwood play in Tasmania before, because our island population is so small, our stadiums are smaller by comparison and the entry gate takings are less.  The fact that my magpies are coming to Tassie is a softening of the old approach. Admittedly tonight’s game is not part of the main roster and is part of a warm up series before the main games start later in March.  But the team is here and probably in the early hours of warming up for the big game. ” ‘Carn the ‘pies!”

I have loved the magpie birds all my life.  Perhaps that is why I chose Collingwood to be ‘my team’ when I was a child.  Followers will have seen me mention the song of the magpies on many stages of my walk along the Derwent River.

Walking Howrah and Bellerive Beaches on Stage 4 of my walk along the Derwent River

On arrival on Howrah Beach, I chose not to deviate to the Shoreline Shopping Centre, having no desire for shopping and because the fresh air and walking experience was such a joy. The long Howrah Beach was almost deserted, however occasionally happy dogs and mostly happy owners were enjoying themselves; I am never sure who is taking who for a walk.  I was fascinated by the man who declared he was deaf and then told me his dog was deaf, yet they both seemed to communicate well and understand each other.

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The photo above shows the stretch ahead of me as I started along Howrah Beach. The photo below shows the Beach when I had walked half its length.

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The sky gathered clouds, and the onshore breeze cooled the air as I walked. Before long I reached Second Bluff at the end of the Howrah Beach, and walked up and along the gravel pathway around this headland. At both the southern and northern ends of Second Bluff it is easily possible to walk off towards roads and, in the distance, to reach the main connecting route, Clarence Street, along which buses run regularly.

While walking around this Bluff, I passed some large Australian native Leptospermum trees in full flower; their snow-white petals presented a spectacular display.  Off and on I noticed bright bursts of fleshy native pigface acting as ground cover, with its purple-pink flowers made brilliant by the sunlight. I was afforded spectacular views back to Howrah, Tranmere, Droughty Hill, across the opening of Ralph’s Bay, and of Gellibrand Point and Fort Hill on the South Arm peninsula.

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Once I reached the Bellerive Beach stairs, I descended and took my walk towards the northern end of the Beach over a kilometre away.

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From time to time tall white poles with red tops are positioned along the beach to indicate walkways to the Clarence Foreshore Trail behind the dunes and then the roads and suburban houses of Bellerive.

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Bellerive Beach is much frequented by fitness fanatics, walkers, joggers, kids, families, individuals, and dogs on leads with owners.  The clean sand, the tide moving the Derwent up and down the beach, and the startling prominence of Mount Wellington are always welcome.

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Near the far end of the Bellerive Beach, a massive structure looms above a row of tall pine trees. This is Blundstone Arena, once known as the Bellerive Cricket Ground. This sportsground, as a national venue for international and local cricket games in the summer, also hosts major AFL (Australian Rules Football) and state level games during the winter months. Between Blundstone Arena and the beach are public toilets along the edge of the Clarence Foreshore Trail.

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Further on and next to the Trail, an outdoor adult gym inspires beach visitors and picnickers to push and pull and otherwise move their bodies.  From here you can see a blue and white painted building standing prominently.

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This is Bellerive Beach’s Fish Bar where fresh fish and other seafood is battered or crumbed and cooked while patrons wait. Dining in or taking away are the two options; the weather and wind generally controls whether I take a fresh cooked meal and sit on the edge of the beach with friends. I live in Bellerive and so I know very well this Beach and all the delights which it offers.

On this walk as usual, I brought my own packed lunch so I passed the Fish Bar and sat towards the end of the beach, and munched and contemplated the leisurely activity of others. A simple pleasure amidst the flighty flashing of hungry squawking silver gulls, all expecting to be fed.

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