Tag Archives: Bridgewater Bridge

Recapping the walk along the Derwent River

 

I lived the walk along the Derwent with a vital obsession but, after so many months intensely engaged on other projects, now some of the details are vague. To re-immerse myself into the experience, I am writing this post.

In addition, I suspect it will be a great help to people who have become followers of my blog during the past 6 months.  Despite my inactivity, it surprises me how many visitors and views the blog gets daily, how many different posts are read, and how many different countries around the world are represented.

In August 2014, from an impulsive unplanned idea, I took a bus to a spot near the mouth of the Derwent River on the eastern shore, walked to the sea then retraced my steps and began the walk towards the source of this great river approximately 214kms inland.  On day trips, and around other life commitments, I walked in stages along the eastern shore until I reached the Bridgewater Bridge which crosses the Derwent approximately 43 kms upstream.

Instead of continuing inland, I crossed the bridge and headed back on the western shore towards the southernmost  mouth of the River.  Most of the walks along the eastern and western shores between the sea and the Bridgewater Bridge were along designated pathways, although some informal track walking, road walking and beach walking was required during my trips.

Then I returned to the Bridgewater Bridge and began the journey inland expecting only to walk on the side of the river that made passage easiest.  I had no intention to walk both sides from this point onwards in anticipation the landscape would be inaccessible for a number of reasons or particularly wild with dense and difficult forests. I walked to New Norfolk on the western/southern side of the Derwent but from then on, I switched from side to side. Using maps I determined where I must take up each new stage of a walk while switching from side to side, so that I could say I had traipsed the entire length of the Derwent River.

The farthest inland stages of my walk are easily defined.  I walked from near the township of Tarraleah besides Canal 1 (along which is transported Derwent River water) above the actual River bed, past Clark Dam, and around majestic Lake King William to the township of Derwent Bridge.  From there I followed the river to its source at St Clair Lagoon dam.  In case some people believe the source of the Derwent is further inland, I walked onwards to the weir where the Derwent Basin empties into the St Clair Lagoon via passing the southern end of Lake St Clair.

Between New Norfolk and the area near  Tarraleah, my walk beside the River was in country near  townships (some of which were located at a great distance from the River) such as Bushy Park, Gretna, Hamilton, Ouse, and Wayatinah.  This necessitated additional travel to or from the highway and roads, on which these towns exist, to reach the river or to return home from a walk along the river.

Inland, the water of the Derwent River is controlled by dams constructed to create hydro-electricity for Tasmania: I walked past them all. From the end of the river closest to the mouth, these are the Meadowbank, Cluny, Repulse, Catagunya, Wayatinah, Clark and St Clair Lagoon dams.  Each of these has a bank of water behind them:  Meadowbank Lake, Cluny Lagoon, Lake Repulse, Lake Catagunya, Wayatinah Lagoon, Lake King William and St Clair Lagoon.  Most of these dams and bodies of water has a power station: Meadowbank Power Station, Cluny Power Station, Repulse Power Station, Catagunya Power Station, Wayatinah Power Station and Butlers Gorge Power Station.  I was privileged to be shown around one of these power stations during one walk.

Water from the Derwent passes through two other power stations:  Nieterana mini hydro and the Liapootah Power Station.  I did not follow the trail of these Derwent River managed flows.  The water from other locations inland passes through the Lake Echo Power station and Tungatinah Power Station then flows into the Derwent after power generation, thereby increasing the volume of water flowing downstream.  I did not walk along these feeder rivers.

The few stages of the walks which have not been recorded in this blog, are in all the zone between Gretna and the area near Tarraleah – a stretch of perhaps  120 km.  I have written up and posted most of the walks in this zone, and now it’s time to add the missing sections.

The railway bridge

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When I sighted the railway bridge crossing onto the southern/western side of the Derwent River, I was excited because my maps indicated I had every chance of getting off the main road and beginning to walk in paddocks closer to the river.

I loved the rush of the water close by.

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Then access became a challenge.

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Fortunately, a tiny track existed at the water’s edge and I took advantage of this gap. The sullen grey clouds attempted to dampen my spirits, but the sound of the rushing water reinvigorated me as I walked towards, and then under, the railway bridge.

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No longer was the roar of traffic disturbing my thoughts.  Only the sound of the river, the breezes in the trees, and birdsong caught my ears. I was immensely relieved to be away from the madding crowd.

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.

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

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

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

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My enjoyment of any family’s black sheep.

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Heading into Old Beach and gradually leaving Mount Wellington behind.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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Arriving at the Bridgewater Bridge.

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

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

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

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Reaching Cadbury’s chocolate manufacturing factory in Claremont.

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The hand-hewn rustic style seat near Connewarre Bay.

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

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The mosaics along the foreshore.

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

Hoon tyre marks

Road mark making in Lutana.

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Cornelian Bay’s oil tanks up close.

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The Tasman Bridge.

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The circus had come to town.

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

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

Arriving in Granton for Stage 14 of the walk along the Derwent River

Since walking along the Derwent River in the northern suburbs on the western shore earlier this year, I have revisited MONA at Berriedale on a number of occasions but I have not been further north. So it was a great delight when my X1 Metro bus, which departed from Hobart city at 7.17am, used the old main road after the Glenorchy bus mall to travel through Berriedale, Claremont and Austins Ferry before reaching Granton.  I was able to see the acres of majestic gold and red leafed vines of Moorilla Wines, to observe Cadbury’s chocolate factory puffing plumes of white steam into the crisp blue sky morning, to identify a range of native birds that were using Goulds Lagoon as a safe resting place, and to recognise various bays and other features that I had passed previously.  Everything seemed edged with the early sunlight which glowed strongly through rain washed, impeccably clean air.

I was off the bus at stop 49 on the last of the Brooker Highway at 7.50am.  Looking northwards, the sign made it clear the direction to take was straight ahead. An earlier post introduced the history of the old Granton watch house (search Historic Granton, Tasmania) – that’s the low yellow building on the left in the first photo below, and then the second photo shows the sun-struck front of the building.

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I was aware New Norfolk, over last weekend, had been celebrating the glories of its autumn foliage as indicated by the sign below. The sign served to increase my anticipation of those colourful delights.

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The unmemorable architecture of the Granton Memorial Hall solidly facing the morning sun, seemed very out of place in this beautiful area.

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Equally solid and immediately serviceable was the public toilet block at the edge of the carpark used by many city bus commuters.

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In front of the carpark a sign reminded me of the importance of grape growing in Tasmania – not the least because the wine from our vineyards is very drinkable (as agreed by wine judges from around the world).

Vineyards ahead

My eyes swung across to the roundabout for vehicles travelling north on the Midlands Highway to Launceston via many rural towns. In the distance, the vertical towers of the Bridgewater Bridge marked the Derwent River crossing.  The calmness of the day, and the quality of the light was sublime.

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I hadn’t walked far along the Lyell Highway when I saw the sign below which indicated that 16 kilometres further along the highway I would reach New Norfolk.  But could I trust the sign? Two or so kilometres further back, when I was still bussing on the Brooker Highway, I had seen a sign indicating the distance was 16 kilometres.

Leaving Granton

Not far away another roadside sign alerted motorists (and the occasional pedestrian): Welcome to The Rivers Run Touring Route.

The Rivers Run

Walking on the right hand side of the road facing oncoming traffic and with the Derwent River on my right, I continued into the icy breeze heading towards New Norfolk.  It wasn’t much after 8am when I left the (comparatively) built up area of Granton on the first leg of Stage 14.

Between the bridges: Stage 14 of my walk along the Derwent River

The achievement yesterday was to walk from the Bridgewater Bridge to the New Norfolk bridge on the western shore of the Derwent River.

I set off from home before the sun was up and I found Hobart was quiet when I arrived at the city bus mall.

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Then I bussed to Granton and alighted from the bus at the intersection with the Bridgewater Bridge causeway.

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From Granton I walked north-west then west towards the inland town of New Norfolk walking mostly along the Lyell Highway and then on a walking track for the last 5 or so kilometres. The morning was freezing and the afternoon warm.  But the sun was out; its hard autumn light made the world seem alive and sparkling. The Derwent River was splendid, often still and reflecting the trees and hills on its surface, under a bright blue sky with the sun shining gloriously.

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I finished my walk at the bridge crossing the Derwent River in New Norfolk.

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During the walk, I covered about 15½km of the length of the Derwent River.  By my reckoning, the total distance of the Derwent River on the western shore from the mouth of the River to New Norfolk is 54¼ km.

My walking distance was approximately 20¼kms.  I have now walked approximately 191¼ kms not counting getting to and from buses, as part of this project to walk along the Derwent River.

The highlights of the walk to New Norfolk were finding the remnants of two clearly visible heritage lime kilns, seeing a family of 6 pelicans, finding the track along the river leading to New Norfolk, and being mesmerised by the spectacular autumn foliage along the walk and especially in New Norfolk.

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I started walking from Granton around 8am and, despite wearing a thick woollen beanie plus a thermal top under my windproof jacket, I was frozen for the first two and a half hours.  It was 8 degrees Celsius at Bellerive when I left home, 6 degrees at Glenorchy and I suspect much less with a wind chill factor along the first part of the walk.  On this basis, I will not be walking further inland until sometime in Spring, and the timing of starting again towards Lake St Clair will depend on the air temperature.

Over the coming week I plan to enjoy writing up the journey and the discoveries of Stage 14’s walk in a series of different postings.

The Lyell Highway between Bridgewater Bridge and New Norfolk

History

In the first couple of decades of the 19th century, when increasingly the small Van Diemens Land colony demanded more roads and better river crossings, the first road from Hobart Town to New Norfolk was built by McCarty under contract to the government. By 1840, the road to New Norfolk had extended to Ouse and Marlborough (Nive River) to serve remote settlers. During the next forty years the road was further extended for tourist purposes to Lake St Clair (Refer http://www.utas.edu.au/library/companion_to_tasmanian_history/R/Roads.htm).

Wikipedia offers the information that the highway did not reach Queenstown until the 1930s and was not properly surfaced for some time after that. In post cards of the 1940s and 1950s it is called the West Coast Road. When Tasmania’s hydro-electric system was expanding and their works were under construction at Tarraleah in the mid-1940s, the highway was re-aligned to follow the Derwent River until it passed Tarraleah to provide better access to the area for construction vehicles.

Lyell Highway on map

2008 details

A 2008 government report (http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/ctee/Joint/Reports/Lyell%20Hway.pdf), which recommended major changes be made to the road between Bridgewater Bridge and New Norfolk in order to create a safer highway, provided lots of information which added to my knowledge about this strip of road and its environment.  I will be looking to see if the recommendations were acted upon when I walk (the temperature plummeted today, and wintry weather yet again made the walking of Stage 14 impossible).

The report explained The Lyell Highway between Granton and New Norfolk is a two lane road with a sealed pavement width that varies in the range of 6.5m to 7.2m wide with unsealed shoulders. The highway follows the southern bank of the Derwent River. The highway is often located at the base of the hillside adjacent to the river flats and as a result has tight curves and sharp crests. The high, steep terrain on the southern side of the highway and deep soft silts on the northern side pose significant design challenges due to cost management and the environmental impact of the proposed works. The abutting land use is rural, dominated by rural residential with some horticulture (vineyards, tomatoes, cherries) and one private recreational facility, the Motor Yacht Club of Tasmania (MYCT). The Derwent River is a conservation area. On the southern side of the highway most of the land is hilly, mainly cleared with some trees along the roadside and a few scattered in the paddocks. There are some properties which remain untouched and vegetated by woodland. There are also rows of trees along the side of the road which form windbreaks and/or landscape features.’

Vegetation

According to the same report, the following three vegetation communities of conservation significance occur in the area:

  • Phragmites australis grassland (generally referred to as a common reed): considered vulnerable and inadequately reserved at the state level.
  • Acacia verticillata dry scrub (commonly known as Prickly Moses): of bioregional significance.
  • Leptospermum lanigerum scrub (sometimes named the Woolly Tea Tree): of bioregional significance.

The trees of Potential Cultural Significance along that stretch of the Lyell highway include

  • A stand of white gums between the roadside rest area and the Derwent River at Chain 7760 – 7860.
  • Two weeping willows on the northern side of the highway at Chain 8215 – 8220.
  • A row of old radiata pines on the southern side of the highway at Chain 10250 – 10350.

The following two significant flora species, listed on the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995, occur in the area:

  • Austrostipa scabra (rough spear grass): southern side of the highway Chain 3300 – 3400, 6430 and 6610 – 6640; northern side of the highway at Chain 6940 – 7010.
  • Vittadinia gracilis (woolly new holland daisy): southern side of the highway at Chain 3300 – 3400.

Social history

There are a number of additional features in the immediate area that are considered to have some cultural heritage significance. Project 3 Lime kiln, Chain 3250 – 3540, is located on the northern side of highway. This is currently listed on the Tasmanian Heritage Register (THR) (R701)(http://www.heritage.tas.gov.au/thr.html) and hence is subject to the provisions of the Historic Cultural Heritage Act 1995. There are a number of additional features in the immediate area that are considered to have some cultural heritage significance, such as the Marsh Farm and a redundant section of the old main road.

The Derwent River and its Highways

The south of Tasmania is crossed by trunk roads, regional freight roads and regional access roads, including six of the highways for walking on when walking from the mouth of the Derwent River to the source.

  1. The South Arm Highway which extends from Opossum Bay to where the suburb of Mornington reaches the Tasman Highway. I bussed and/or walked on the South Arm highway during Stages 1-3.

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2.   On the eastern shore of the Derwent from Geilston Bay to Bridgewater Bridge it was the East Derwent Highway which felt the plod of my feet occasionally during stages 5 -8 of my walk.

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3.    Once I reached Bridgewater on Stage 9, the highway crossing the Bridge was the Midland or Midlands Highway (sometimes referred to as the Heritage Highway).

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4.     Some of Stage 12 of my walk on the western shore towards the mouth of the Derwent River, included a couple of kilometres on the Channel Highway.

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5.   At the start of Stage 14 I will walk on the last few metres of the Brooker Highway, the main highway which extends from the centre of Hobart city to the Bridgewater Bridge at Granton. For the first time, at the Bridgewater Bridge, this Highway edges the Derwent River.

6.    Immediately after the highway intersection with the Bridge, the Lyell Highway commences. From Granton until I reach the source, the Derwent River winds closest to the Lyell Highway, the highway which extends west to the town of Queenstown (which is overshadowed by the copper bearing Mount Lyell). This highway will be my life line in terms of accessing public buses.

The question has been asked: when will I walk the New Norfolk leg?

The answer is that I don’t know because this year’s style of autumn weather is making decisions difficult.

Last year it was mid-May before I removed the summer cotton sheets from my bed and changed to the fleecy flannelette sheets for winter warmth. Until that time I wasn’t wearing thermal tops. But this year before the end of March, I am rugging up and friends are lighting warming fires.

With this drop in temperature, we have continued to have light or heavy rain, not for all the day but off and on unpredictably. The idea of walking with a raincoat on and off or an umbrella up and down all day does not thrill me.  I want an uninterrupted view of everything around me.  I want to be able to hear the sounds of the Derwent River and the birds without the distortion of pattering raindrops.

For my walks from the mouth to the mouth of the Derwent River via the Bridgewater Bridge, routinely I consulted the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) for their forecasts. Then, typically, I adjusted these predictions according to what I could see happening in the air over Mount Wellington.  Unfortunately, the leg from Bridgewater Bridge to New Norfolk is out of sight of the mountain and so I need to trust the BOM.  At this stage both next Monday and Tuesday look promising weather-wise in the New Norfolk area. Hopefully I will have fresh new stories of lived experience to post mid next week.

Winemaking along the Derwent River

Very soon, when the weather is right, I will be off walking the next stage along the Derwent River.  On that day I will pass by vineyards (without stopping for a sample) on route to New Norfolk. Wine Tasmania (http://winetasmania.com.au) promotes touring routes to the dozens of vineyards established across the State.

Soon after passing the Bridgewater Bridge and close to the Derwent River at Granton, a couple of well-established vineyards with cellar doors can be accessed easily by the public.  More about the Derwent Estate Wines can be read at http://www.derwentestate.com.au/home/ .  I like the sound of the approach taken by their viticulturist– ‘We do not use any Insecticides or nasty Pesticides at all. We prefer a softer Integrated Pest Management approach to disease control.’

The Stephano Lubiana Wines estate (http://www.slw.com.au/slw/index.html) offers a food menu to complement their wines, which uses fresh produce from their bio dynamically run vegetable garden. At the end of March, a Festa di Pomodori will focus on the tomato. Sounds like the place to be for healthy food and a great drop of wine.  Any local blog followers interested to join me at this festival? The winery has organised a return bus from Hobart; great thinking I am thinking!

Historic Granton, Tasmania

The northern suburb of Granton on the western shore of the Derwent River adjacent to and extending from the Bridgewater Bridge has significant history in relation to transport and communications across Van Diemens Land/Tasmania. Two heritage buildings, which still stand, are introduced below.

The Black Snake Inn

On stage 8 of my walk along the Derwent River, after I had crossed the Bridgewater Bridge from the eastern shore, I continued south into the start of the suburb of Granton. On that route I soon passed the house in the photo below.

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Located at 650 Main Road, what I was seeing was the building that started life as the Black Snake Inn, apparently Australia’s earliest ferry inn, which was built by the convicts who constructed the Bridgewater Causeway. The Google maps street view of this remarkable building can be seen at https://www.google.com.au/maps/place/650+Main+Rd,+Granton+TAS+7030/@-42.751047,147.229129,3a,52.5y,209h,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sTcT1xn5QTiR_rSA4AsFFbg!2e0!4m7!1m4!3m3!1s0xaa6e12713b1bfcbb:0x1a0841b5479abad1!2s650+Main+Rd,+Granton+TAS+7030!3b1!3m1!1s0xaa6e12713b1bfcbb:0x1a0841b5479abad1!6m1!1e1?hl=en

According to http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Person:George_Robinson_%2838%29, Rhode Island born George Robinson erected a new Black Snake Inn on an earlier ferry Inn in 1833 and continued his business at the Black Snake until 1837.  Robinson showed his enterprising ability in a newspaper notice: “MR. G. W. Robinson has this day started a Van with two splendid horses for the immediate accommodation of persons travelling up and down from the Ferries. The Van will leave the Black Snake at half past nine every morning, and leave Hobart Town at 2 o’clock every afternoon…

Charles F Tomkins

Artist Charles F Tomkins (1798-1844) produced a hand coloured lithograph titled The Black Snake Inn and this was published in London by Smith & Elder in 1833 (Reference: http://catalogue.statelibrary.tas.gov.au/item/?id=98999)

According to the http://www.heritage.gov.au/cgi-bin/ahpi/record.pl?RNE10944 record (of March 2015), The Black Snake Inn ‘is significant for its association with Derwent River ferry and road crossings. Until 1836, when the Bridgewater Causeway was completed and before a bridge completed the crossing in 1849, ferry transport was the only means of crossing the Derwent River. It is significant for its initial function as a ferry inn accommodating passengers using the commercial ferry services run by the Inn’s operator. In addition, the Inn is significant for providing accommodation for travellers on the Main Road between Hobart Town and New Norfolk, and those using the Bridgewater Causeway. Between 1819 and 1825 the diary of Reverend “Bobby” Knopwood noted frequent visits to the Black Snake Inn which was often referred to as the “half way” house. Governor Arthur’s Land Commissioners visited the Black Snake Inn in 1826, remarking that its licensee, Presnell, was in the “true Style of a selfish Settler” giving all who passed “all the trouble in his power”. By 1833, the Inn was acquired by George Robinson. By August he had built a “new house’ at Black Snake and advertised the lease for the old inn premises as a possible store. His new Inn was drawn by Louisa Meredith, probably in the mid-1840s and the structure depicted is almost certainly the building known as the Black Snake Inn today, showing the same form. It is possible that a new facade was erected some decades later because the Victorian Rustic Gothic style became more common after the 1840s.’ This website provides extensive additional historical, architectural and social information.

The site http://www.watersideaccommodation.com/downloads/HistoricalSummarytheClaremontAustinsFerryArea04May07.pdf contains an alternative photograph of the building.

I am grateful to Tasmanian collector and historian George Burrows for his reminder to create a posting about the Black Snake Inn.  In addition, he told me… “I am probably one of the few people who have canoed the river from source to Hobart BEFORE the dams were built.”  How remarkable is that!  Very impressive.

The Old Granton Watchhouse

The building, located at the junction of the Brooker Highway, Lyell Highway and the Bridgewater Causeway, was built by convicts in 1838. Extensive information and photographs can be seen at http://ontheconvicttrail.blogspot.com.au/2014/10/old-watch-house-granton.html

The starting point for Stage 14 of my walk along the Derwent River will be near this Watchhouse.

Kunanyi

Mount Wellington was a prominent feature in the lives of the Moomairremener people for thousands of years before white settlement of Van Diemens Land, later to be renamed Tasmania.  The indigenous names include Kunanyi, Unghbanyahletta and Poorawetter. I understand that the Palawa (which seems to be a collective term for all Tasmanian aborigines – perhaps a blog reader might be able to supply further information?) who are the surviving descendants of the original indigenous Tasmanians, tend to prefer the former name – Kunanyi.

A couple of years ago, the Tasmanian government introduced a dual naming approach to a number of geographical features around Tasmania, and these included the mountain which towers over the Greater Hobart Area and the Derwent River. The then Premier Lara Giddings remarked ‘Dual naming is about recognising the Aboriginal community’s rightful status as the first inhabitants of this land and celebrating their living culture, traditions and language’.

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Photo taken from Bellerive Bluff on Stage 4 of my walk along the Derwent River.

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Photo taken between Rose Bay and Lindisfarne on Stage 5 of my walk.

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Photo taken from Old Beach on Stage 7 of my walk.

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Photo taken from Green Point on Stage 8 of my walk.

I am including a posting specifically about ‘the mountain’ as locals refer to it, because it has been a significant marker on my trek from the mouth to the mouth of the Derwent River via the Bridgewater Bridge, and I am about to lose sight of it.  From Granton, as I walk west along the River and then northwards, the mountain will no longer be in view.

Current official information about walking tracks, facilities, weather related precautions and other details associated with the mountain can be read at http://www.wellingtonpark.org.au/  Note that you can download maps from this site.

A new milestone marking the 13th stage of my walk along the Derwent River: I reached the mouth on the western shore. Whoppee Doo!!

Yesterday, I completed the first part of my walk along the Derwent River: an exciting achievement.

Last August I started walking from the mouth of the River at Cape Direction on the tip of the South Arm peninsula and now, at the end of February, I have completed the distance from that mouth to the Bridgewater Bridge and back on the western shore to Pearson’s Point near the settlement of Tinderbox.

On the 8th stage mid-November, I had the first major milestone when I finished the walk from Cape Direction to the Bridgewater Bridge. This 13th stage was the culmination of walks from the Bridge back to the mouth on the western side of the River.

During yesterday’s walk, I covered about 5km of the length of the Derwent River.  By my reckoning, the total distance of the Derwent River on the western shore from the Bridgewater Bridge to the mouth is 38 3/4 km.

For Stage 13 yesterday, I needed to walk to Pearson’s Point from the bus stop where I finished on Stage 12 and then, on reaching my goal, I needed to retrace my steps back to Blackmans Bay to connect with a bus that could return me to Hobart.  This distance was approximately 17 kms. I have now walked at least 171km not counting getting to and from buses.  But when the walks are staggered over time, this number does not mean much.

The highlights of the walk to Pearson’s Point were mostly small and natural: rosehips, green rosellas, hum of bees, resting sheep, and the taste of delicious ripe blackberries along the way.

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I was surprised how close the northern part of Bruny Island was to the mainland of Tasmania (almost felt like I could swim across the D’entrecasteaux Channel) and I felt overwhelmed by the staggeringly expansive and grand views across and up and down the Derwent River.

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The fun part was singing (including mixing up the words in my excitement) Handel’s Hallelujah chorus (from The Messiah) at the top of my voice when I passed a large sign with the words SING. You can listen to a superb version performed in 2012 by the Royal Choral Society at the Royal Albert Hall in London England at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUZEtVbJT5c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUZEtVbJT5c

Over the next few days I will write up the journey and the discoveries of Stage 13’s walk.  Then I will be looking towards a long main road walk from the Bridgewater Bridge at Granton to New Norfolk which I expect to undertake in the next couple of weeks.  Once I have reached New Norfolk I will be on the way to Lake St Clair, the source of the Derwent River.

From Hinsby Beach to Blackmans Bay accomplished on Stage 12 yesterday

The goal of my walk along the Derwent River for Stage 12 was to start at my last stopping point, Bus Stop 30 on the Channel Highway at Taroona on the western shore of the Derwent River, and continue to Blackmans Bay in the local government area of Kingborough.  I did not get as far as expected, but I was satisfied when I finished 2/3 of the way along the Blackman’s Bay Beach.

Over future posts, I will write up the stories of the walk, what I saw and what I experienced, but for now it’s enough to say that I am continuing with this massive project to walk both sides of the Derwent between the mouth and Bridgewater, and then onwards to Lake St Clair.

Yesterday I covered 5 ¾ kilometres of the length of the Derwent River on the western shore (making 35 3/4 kms in total on the western shore), and walked approximately 11 kilometres (making a total of 154 kms to date) to achieve that distance; there were a lot of steep ascents and descents.

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This distance also takes in the streets and paths on which I walked that led to dead ends so that I needed to retrace my footsteps.

The highlights of the walk include finding a way through some of the early part of the almost untracked Alum Cliffs, the delightful walk along the tracked part of the Alum Cliffs, meeting some friendly people along the way, the unusual snake sign at Tyndall Beach, stopping for a long cup of tea in Kingston with a friend, my discovery of another tucked away beach – Boronia Beach, and the Blackmans Bay Blowhole.

There are many memorable images but my favourite for today is one of my photos of mussels growing on the rocks at Boronia Beach.  I have already made it my desktop background image. When enlarged, the blues glow.

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Fundamentally the Stage 12 walk was about forest and water.

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The day started with my being roughly opposite Gellibrand Point at the northern tip of South Arm and finishing opposite the long South Arm Beach.

I intend my next walk will start from where I left off at Blackmans Bay and then continue into the Tinderbox area to Fossil Cove.  But before then I need to record the details of yesterday’s walk.  So Stage 13 will be a while away.

Crossing the Bridgewater Bridge during the 8th stage of my walk along the Derwent River

This stage of my walk along the Derwent from the mouth of the River on the eastern shore was the most exciting one so far, because I was reaching a significant milestone.  By my reckoning, it marked the end of the easiest part of the walk to the source of the Derwent River at Lake St Clair. Accordingly, and to continue a walk with relative ease for a while, I planned to cross the Bridgewater Bridge and walk south to the mouth of the River on the western shore, then to start tackling the challenging kilometres further north next year.

I was a little surprised how special the day seemed, and so it was an easy decision to cross the Bridge rather than waiting to do so on Stage 9.

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I stepped onto the path on the left of the Bridge at 1.14pm and was off the Bridge and onto the Bridgewater Causeway by 1.20pm. The terrifyingly large fast trucks threatened to suck me off the bridge with their speeding surges next to my shoulder (there was a metal fence separating us but the bridge noise and vehicle speed all combined to make the energy around me vibrate fiercely). I removed my sunhat and held on firmly.

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Except for a small layby, there was no formal walking track beside the Highway on the Causeway, and trying to walk on extremely unsafe and uneven ground beside railings (or none) required extra vigilance.

Looking ahead of the western shore, from the Bridgewater Causeway.

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The persistently noisy and fast traffic (on what must be one of Tasmania’s busiest roads – the Midlands Highway) and the wind pushing across the Causeway from one side of the Derwent River to the other were constants, and I was determined they would not distract me from getting to the western shore. I was not the only one walking across the causeway; two others were following me across.  So, on the sample of three people, I would say 100% of people experience danger walking across the Bridgewater Causeway.  I didn’t take photos of the really dreadful bits – too busy concentrating on where my feet might go.

I did enjoy watching the dozens and dozens of Black Swans, and looking back at part of the suburb of Bridgewater on the eastern shore.

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And towards the western shore:

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I reached Granton on the western shore at 1.35pm and negotiated myself along the road and across old train lines (this would all be easy if there was no or minimal traffic) all the time beginning to move southwards. Three minutes later I reached the sign indicating a left turn off the Brooker Highway towards Granton South and Austins Ferry.

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As I stepped in this direction I recognised a sign marking the start of the City of Glenorchy.

Occasionally I looked back towards the Bridgwater Bridge, across the railway line that was one a lively link between northern and southern Tasmania.

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I followed a rough non-path on the edge of the road until a new sign at 1.45pm indicated I needed to take another left turn towards Granton South and Austins Ferry.

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As I walked around the corner, on the right in the distance I could see a hotel; the York Hotel.

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I felt myself glow with delight in anticipation of making this my stopping point for the walk, enjoying a cold beer and meeting the locals. However, as I got closer, two locals were walking towards the bus stop Number 47 located opposite the Hotel.  They let me know that a bus was expected in the next few minutes. My feet hurt, it would be quite a while before another bus would pass this way, and so I decided to forego the pleasures of the pub and start my bus trip home. The locals led me to believe the publican ‘has done a really good job’ and ‘this is a good pub now’.  So, perhaps with friends in the future, I will venture back here for the missed cold one.

I was on the bus at 1.57pm, reached the Glenorchy Bus Mall at 2.15, and caught the Metro bus 694 via Risdon Vale to the Eastlands Shopping Centre at Rosny when it left around 2.30pm.  Most of all I was surprised how long it took the bus from the York Hotel to Glenorchy – almost 20 minutes. That represents a great deal of walking time so it is difficult for me to guess where I can reach on the next Stage 9 of my walk along the Derwent River. I am guessing that somewhere in the suburb of Claremont might be achievable, but who knows! Finding out is what gives me something to look forward to next week when I tackle Stage 9 of my walk.

Bridgewater Bridge; getting ready to cross it on 8th stage of walk along Derwent River

The Bridgewater Bridge and the attached Bridgewater Causeway crosses the Derwent River upstream approximately 38.5kms from the sea. I crossed from the eastern shore to the western shore last Tuesday near the end of my 8th walking stage along the River.

According to http://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/bridgewater-tas, “In the early nineteenth century Bridgewater was a vital link on the north-south route from Hobart to Launceston with one of Tasmania’s earliest buildings and the remarkable achievement of the causeway which helped to cross the Derwent River. The settlement was originally known as Green Point until it became known as Bridgewater simply because it was the bridge (actually a causeway) crossing a shallow section of the waters of the Derwent River.

The first ferry service across the Derwent was established in 1816 by James Austin and his cousin James Earl. It remained vital to travellers journeying from Hobart Town to Launceston until the completion of the causeway. By 1820 Austin and Earl were using a punt capable of transporting 30 cattle, 200 sheep or two carts and 16 oxen. In 1829 construction began on a causeway across the Derwent River. It was 1.3 km long and was built by a gang of 200 convicts using nothing but wheelbarrows, shovels and picks. By the time it was completed the convicts had shifted 2 million tonnes of sand, soil, stones and clay. Defined as secondary punishment for serious recidivists, if the convicts were adjudged to have not done a full day’s work they were placed in solitary confinement in a cell which was only 2 m high and 50 cm square. The causeway was completed in 1836. It did not traverse the river and so a ferry plied the deepest section of Derwent River for twenty years from 1829-49.

In 1849 a bridge across the Derwent was opened. Bridgewater, which had been laid out on the southern shore, was moved (down to the last surveying detail) to the northern bank. The present lift bridge was started in 1939, interrupted by the war, and completed in 1946.”

 From further south, as I walked along the eastern shore, I could see the Bridge. As I walked northwards the length and shape of it came into stronger focus.

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All the photos are taken from the eastern shore side of the Bridge.