Tag Archives: Curringa Farm

Growing up as a Hydro boy

Thanks to blog follower Mary, I have discovered a series of online stories about past Hydro workers some of whom helped build the Tarraleah Canal No 1 and others who lived near other electricity generating power stations along the Derwent River. These short stories make interesting reading and include photographs of the people and places.

I recommend you look at Hydro Tasmania’s site where the son of Jack Warren records his history.  The photo below from that site shows Jack at Canal No 1 in 1935.

Jack Warren 1935 from Mary

Simon Stansbie’s record of growing up at Wayatinah can be read on the Hydro Tasmania’s website. Ian Berry tells us what it was like to grow up at Butlers Gorge (where the Clark Dam was built to hold back the waters of Lake King William).  You can read this and see photos at Hydro Tasmania’s site.

Collectively these stories give a little insight into the human reality of living and working in remote central Tasmania to create the extraordinary electricity generating infrastructure last century which used the waters of the Derwent River.

Heather Felton published a book, which tells these and other stories of the people of ‘The Hydro’.  Read more about the book: The Ticklebelly Tales.

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Information about the book launch can be read in issues of the Cultural Heritage Program Newsletter ; and at a second site.

I am not sure what the word ‘Tickleberry’ refers to.  Do I have any blog followers with this knowledge?  According to Wikipedia part of Tarraleah, the area for the married quarters of the original community, was known as Tickleberry Flat. In addition, during my walks I know that I have passed an area mapped as Tickleberry Flat which is south east of Curringa Farm, and almost south of the town of Hamilton mid-way along Meadowbank Lake – a long way from Tarraleah.  In New Norfolk Tickleberry Farm grows raspberries.  The name Tickleberry comes up in many internet searches.  The Brighton, Central Highlands, Derwent Valley and Southern Midlands Councils Joint Land Use Planning Initiative – Stage 2 Heritage Management Plan tells us “Hydro-electric power schemes which commenced in the early 1910s saw the development of construction villages across the highlands at Waddamana (from 1911), Shannon (1925), Tarraleah (1934), Tickleberry Flats (1935), Butlers Gorge (1938), Bronte Park (1948) and Wayatinah (1952). As these small communities grew, schools, shops, community halls, medical facilities and offices were established.”

After all of this, I still wonder what the original meaning of Tickleberry is: maybe someone’s name or a common name for a plant.

Out on the Farm

On the last day of October 2015, I walked along the river edge (part of Meadowbank Lake) and mostly on the property of Curringa Farm.  I am most appreciative for Tim and Jane Parsons allowing me to walk there.

Their Farm is home to thousands of sheep.

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While I walked along approximately 4km of the river’s edge towards where the Clyde River entering the Lake, my friend Alex waited. As she sat in the car reading newspapers and drinking tea from her thermos, the wonderful view down to the ‘river’ as shown below was hers to savour.  In fact this waterway is one part of the very long Meadowbank Lake through which the Derwent River flows. One of Alex’s photos is shown below.

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While I walked, the Lake was busy with jet boats and water skiers. Watch this video.

As usual, the water and the river’s edge landscape enthralled me.

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When I walk alone I hear and see things which are not usually available if I walk with another. That is, the talking or the crashing through the bush disturbs birds and animals and they disappear.  During this walk, when a Rufus wallaby was suddenly standing before me a few metres away, we were both surprised. The bush was so quiet and I must have been making foot noises which sounded like normal bush rustlings so that s/he wasn’t immediately aware of my presence.  Eventually s/he hopped off to watch me from some bushes in the distance. I hadn’t moved a muscle since we first eyeballed each other.  But after its bounce away, my eyes swivelled to focus on a movement on the hill above. Down hopped a small wallaby and on the crest his/her mother appeared.  The following video shows them almost camouflaged in the environment. I feel sure you will not find the smaller baby wallaby until it moves again.

Watch this video.

Through the undergrowth, many well ‘walked’ tiny tracks were visible but on closer inspection they seemed to be wallaby highways.

20151031_114746.jpg Clever animals – they had been able to gradually force up fences in order to continue moving through paddocks. If you study the photograph below, on the lower right hand side you can see the wire mesh fence has been raised by rounding it up from the ground.

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Substantial sandstone/mudstone rocks intruded at the water’s edge and as cliffs formed hillsides and cave-type overhangs.  I wonder if the original inhabitants of the land rested in some of these places.

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The next selection of photos shows a couple of examples of the profusion of bush flowers seen during this walk: I cannot identify the first but the second is a tiny native orchid.

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Generally the bush was extremely dry, so much so that the lichen growing on rocks was shrivelled and seemingly dead.

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Parts of the Derwent Valley have received so little rain over winter that there is insufficient vegetation coverage for the cattle and sheep to eat in the coming months.  Apparently many farmers will be selling their sheep soon before the animals lose their good condition.  It is so challenging to work on the land.  It will be so challenging for city dwellers wanting to eat lamb in a few months’ time – a few gold ingots might be needed to make a purchase.

Nevertheless, it is a beautiful part of the world.

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