Tag Archives: Dowsing Point

Walking on an industrial site – posting 5 of 5

Eventually we walked onto the Nyrstar wharf, after sometimes successfully dodging water sprays to keep the dust down. Here I was able to look upstream and enjoy the expanse of the Derwent River, and to recognise the Bowen Bridge and Mount Direction in the distance.  20170227_111100.jpg

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We passed equipment such as the dust measurer shown below.

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At the western end I was able to look past the big sheds of the INCAT boat building industry over Prince of Wales Bay and see Technopark perched on top of Dowsing Point.

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A view looking across the Derwent River to the inlet where the first European settlers set up camp in 1803 is shown below: 20170227_114246.jpg

Looking back downstream the river and landscape appeared as follows:       20170227_111525.jpg

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I also enjoyed walking through parts of the large industrial site for the geometric shapes of the structures and for the various vintages of buildings. Most of all, similarly to my feelings about the Hydro Tasmania structures in the upper Derwent Valley and beyond, I admired the pioneering and massive engineering works that created the manmade parts of the site. 20170227_112925.jpg

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20170227_113459.jpgI was surprised at the extent of chemical hazards which need good management; associated with the zinc smelting process are dangerous chemicals such as mercury, cadmium and lead. During the walk I learnt a great deal about the attitude of the business towards instituting and maintaining good environmental practices. In addition, I was shown revegetated expanses and different buildings which prioritise care for the environment and make it a reality. Seeing and experiencing all of this was much more than I expected, and I remain immensely grateful for the time and interest given by my excellent host Todd.

In a special showcase at Nyrstar’s Reception, plaques and various awards are clustered together. One example, a National River Prize, was presented by the International River Foundation in 2010 to the Derwent Estuary Program,  of which Nyrstar is a founding member.  A list of the Australian winners that year can be read here and if you refer to page eight, more information about Nyrstar and the Derwent estuary is available. My photo below includes that framed paper award with another sculptural award sitting in front.

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Overall, I was delighted to be able to fill a gap in my walk along the Derwent River, on this private property.  I am indebted to friend Clinton for his connections with Nyrstar that helped to make the walk a reality. Especial thanks to my thoughtful host Todd, and to Nyrstar.

Walking on an industrial site – posting 1 of 5

 

This seems an appropriate time to add in the stories of my walk along the water edge of one of Greater Hobart Area’s iconic industrial estates in its 100th year of operation.  This series of postings records the morning when I was privileged to be given permission to walk on some of Nyrstar’s property.  But first – a reminder of what the site looks like from a distance; from other vantage points during my walk along the Derwent.

For example, my blog posting Either side of Bowen bridge – posting 5 of 9 included a photo looking at Nyrstar from Dowsing Point and across Prince of Wales Bay.  Refer also to my postings On through the East Risdon State Reserve along the Derwent River and Along the northern side of Shag Bay and onwards along the Derwent River for additional photos of Nyrstar. These latter two postings were made after my walk through the East Risdon State Reserve on the eastern shore across the Derwent River from Nyrstar on the western shore.

Colloquially known as ‘the zinc works’ or the ‘Risdon works’, Nyrstar’s operation centres around converting raw materials into zinc metal.  More can be read here.

Special permission was required to walk on this land and I needed to agree to particular conditions before I could proceed. The extensive site holds many dangers of physical, chemical, electrical, mechanical and liquid kinds and legislation and internal procedures regulate entry and access. This is not a public access walk.  After arrival at the Reception  office on-site,  I submitted to a health and safety induction process, donned a high-vis vest and other safety gear (including designated boots), and accepted that I must be accompanied by a staff member at all times. My host and guide was a senior manager whose understanding, knowledge and passion  for the environment had to be second to none.  I could not have been more fortunate. And he also loved the Derwent River and told me how he jumped into his kayak to explore the river whenever he could find a moment (no – not while he is at work!).

The day of our walk was gloriously sunny with hardly a puff of white marking the sky; exceptional walking weather where every detail is clear.

A considerable portion of the Nyrstar industrial buildings edge the Derwent River as shown in the Google map excerpt below.

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Nyrstar’s property extends into New Town Bay. I expected only to walk on and next to the rocky shore along the lines I marked on the Google map below.  Future postings will reveal whether I actually walked further.

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I am so very grateful for the support and interest and assistance which Nyrstar provided to ensure that my walk along the Derwent River was complete.  Staff all over the site could not have been more pleasant.

 

Either side of Bowen bridge and Bags on the fence – posting 9 of 9

Because of the isolation of the track and the distance from the residential areas, I find it difficult to believe that people walk here and bring their dogs on a lead.  But what are the tied up plastic bags on the fence if they are not collections of doggy poop.  Any ideas?  They cannot be lunchbags used by Technopark staff because they are on the outside of Technopark’s most outside fence.  Strange. Colourful.  Unnecessary additional reminders of man’s encroachment on natural areas.

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Either side of Bowen bridge – posting 8 of 9

I continued along this rocky edge of Prince of Wales Bay a few metres away from the main run of the Derwent River, until it was clear that full access around the inlet at water level would not be possible.

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Eventually I came up from the shore and walked through the grass with pounding feet hoping the vibration would deter any snakes.

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I noted that a creative soul had walked this track.  Obviously inspired by the movement of the firm strands of tall grass, on two occasions in different places, a person has plaited stalks together to offer markers of mankind in the neighbourhood, or so it seemed to me.

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Either side of Bowen bridge – posting 7 of 9

Quite quickly I reached the point directly opposite INCAT, while walking around Dowsing Point. I loved the  slabs of rock making up the shore edge. In particular I loved the fluorescent lime green moss/sea vegetation where exposed by the low tide.

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The various high tidal marks on a pebble beach left parallel rows of stones and empty oyster shells.

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20170125_110202.jpgUnderwater, and still attached to rocks, were the bottom half of oyster shells minus their tasty flesh.

 

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Did I have company? – posting 6 of 9

On both sides of the Bowen Bridge lots of dry tall yellow grasses and other scrubby undergrowth grew next to the path. I was the only person around and the track appeared to be used rarely. The area was isolated; the closest residential area was over one kilometre away and I suspect that locals would seldom walk here. With the heat of the day and the nearness of the river, I was alert for the slither of snakes heading down for a desperate drink. However, I feel sure they would be deranged if they drank salty water  –  the Derwent is tidal at this point. Nevertheless I  did not want to step on or corner one – all Tasmanian snakes are venomous.

Strangely, not only did I not see a snake but I also did not see a water bird.  Thankfully there were a few chattering birds in the casuarina and eucalypt trees to keep me company.

Earlier in the day when I was walking around the Technopark fence line downhill nearest the Derwent River,  I had watched dozens of brightly blue and red coloured beetles- I haven’t seen these before, and a website for identifying Tasmanian beetles does not include this one.  Anybody any ideas?

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The experience was very pleasant and I would be very happy to wander this way again.

Word of caution for others who might follow in my footsteps: the seedpods of the casuarina were liberally sprinkled along the pathway and in the light dappled by the trees, full concentration was required so that I didn’t roll on them – a sprained ankle or a fall down the slope were just two possible consequences if I did not watch where I was going.

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Either side of Bowen bridge – posting 5 of 9

Once under the Bowen Bridge I could see a track continued in the easterly direction, and skirted around the bottom of Technopark.

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100 metres along this track I spotted the only sign of bureaucracy.

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I imagined I might surprise a fisherman at the end of the track or detect one who had made his or her way from the track to the water’s edge and was partially hidden by the bush. But I never did. I never saw anyone.

As I continued walking I spotted the township of Risdon across the river.

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And then the large industrial plant of Nystar came into view.

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Most prominently, the gaping ‘mouths’ of the  boat building company INCAT stood across the inlet of the Derwent River (Prince of Wales Bay) from Dowsing Point.

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