Tag Archives: Bridgewater Bridge

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.