Tag Archives: Green Point

Green Island – do you know it?

How many islands are green with vegetation? How many blots of land are named Green Island? Probably many thousand.  Tasmania has a few ‘green’ geographical features spread around the state – followers may recall in an earlier walking stage I rounded Green Point on the eastern shore of the River. My walk along the Derwent River last week passed by a green Green Island.

While walking the length of Murphys Flat toward the northern end, across the water of the Derwent River I caught glimpses of a small length of low lying land in the flow of the Derwent River. Green Island was almost invisible from the western shore because the grasses in the Murphy’s Flat wetlands have grown tall.

This small piece of land provides a safe haven in which fish hang about the edges. New Norfolk Anglers Club members and others have enjoyed catching tagged salmon here.

Green Island is looked over by Mount Faulkner on the south western side of the river, and by Mt Terra and Mt Dromedary on the north eastern side.  On the map below, my arrow points to the slim Green Island near one bank of the Derwent River. The Lyell Highway is the yellow line curving through the lower part of the landscape. Murphys Flat is the fat area between the Highway and the River.

Green Island map

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.

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.

Around Bridgewater on the 8th stage of my walk along the Derwent River

After Green Point and looking southwards, I could see Mount Direction in the distance (overlooking the Bowen Bridge – which I could not see). In the photo below, the swell of land on the right of the Derwent River is the foothills of Mount Wellington.

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Early, on this leg of the walk, I stopped and looked northwards along the Derwent River. In the distance Mount Dromedary peered over the landscape.

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The early highlight of this part of the walk was seeing a collective of about 3 dozen plovers together. I don’t think I have ever seen such a group. The plovers were mostly standing around although some were walking around on an open mowed park area near a cluster of gum trees.  Perhaps some were older ‘young’ plovers because from a distance they all looked the same size, give or take a bit.  This seemed so unusual because I am only familiar with the two parents hanging about and guarding their one or two baby birds.  In some paddocks, in the past, I have seen a number of pairs of parents but the pairs don’t hang out together and keep their own territory quite some distance from each other.

How pleasant this walk was.  Consider the sublime calmness represented in the photo below.

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Around 12.45pm I stopped and sat on a bench seat with a view and watched what amounted to a natural cygnet farm. Dozens of cygnets about the size of a small duck were on the water close to shore.  Only one adult black swan seemed to be on supervision duty. I wondered if the swan bureaucracy had been suffering major cutbacks of ‘staff’ like our Australian and State public agencies where services are meant to continue with less staff.

Opposite where I sat the Mount Faulkner Conservation Area was the main feature on the western shore of the Derwent River.

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At 12.56pm I reached Woods Point, sat under a shelter structure and consulted my maps. Five minutes later I left this Point and began walking north along Gunn St all the while having a good look at Mount Dromedary rising on the eastern shore but away in the distance north of Bridgewater.

I was walking through suburban streets when a letterbox, under the shade of a tree, captured my attention.

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A poor sad concrete koala (maybe commiserating with the live koalas in Brisbane given to G20 leaders for a cuddle)!  The postman would push his letters into a slit in the koala’s stomach.

I also had a larger view of part of two uprights of the Bridgewater Bridge.

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I seemed so close.  My day’s goal to nearly reach the Bridge had to be superseded. I was compelled to reach the Bridge and kept on walking, even passing bus stops.  When I could see the golden arches of McDonalds at the end of the right hand road I veered left and headed for the Bridge nearby.

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I stopped to photograph the semi-ornate gates of Memorial Reserve commemorating locals who died in various overseas wars (after all, this walk was occurring on the 11th November, Australia’s official Remembrance Day).

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Then I was at the Bridgewater Bridge. Now it wasn’t enough for me to reach the Bridge: I felt compelled to walk across it rather than waiting to do so in the next stage of the walk.

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Onwards into and around Herdsmans Cove on the 8th stage of my walk along the Derwent Rive

At 9.48 am I was leaving Old Beach and continuing my walk northwards along the East Derwent Highway with its noise of heavy trucks and speeding cars passing me by. To my left were masses of overgrowing blackberry brambles reminding me of the thicket scrambled through on my last walk.  Not long after, the hint of a track on the left took me away from the edge and above the Highway and a little closer to the River.  I continued for a while when it seemed like the track would descend into Gage Cove, but it petered out – I recommend anyone following in my tracks stays on the Highway. Overhead soared a large hawk or kite drifting on the breeze while looking down for a feed.   Below I could see black swans feeling safe on the waters of the reedy Cove. Back towards the road I walked, clambered over a collapsing barbed wire fence, and eventually down onto the unprotected road verge and again sometimes into the ditch (with the thrown cigarette butts and the jetsam of McHappy Meals). At 9.58am I reached the sign for Gage Brook and soon after observed some water ran below towards Gage Cove, amidst a conglomeration of marshy and spiky vegetation.

I continued past a second sign directing traffic to the Baskerville Raceway, and at 10.10am I turned left at a major roundabout (suburb of Gagebrook to the right, Bridgewater straight ahead and Herdsmans Cove to the left). A minute later I turned left at a T-junction then left again at Calvert Court at 10.19am.

I loved hearing the wind in the massive gum trees.  Majestic to look at. Thrilling to listen to. The photo bellows shows a stand of gums in a mowed parkland beside the Bellerive walk. The trees I saw at Herdsmans Cove were much larger.

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At 10.23am I turned left at a short unnamed cul de sac with an empty block leading to a foreshore trail. Two locals, who were mowing lawns, confirmed this was the way to go. On the track, a sign gave directions along this ‘Swan Park Trail’.

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I never discovered if there was an actual Herdsmans Cove as in a bay or body of water, but I suspect it may be the small inlet adjacent and north of the Lamprill Circuit. If I had turned left I could have walked the Lamprill Circuit. However, because I could look down and could see a small shelter structure had been built at a vantage point where the River and mountain views could be appreciated and I realised going down meant coming back up a hill, I did not pursue this direction.

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Instead I turned right and headed northwards. This was the first of the Brighton local government signs and it made me more confident of where I was walking as I came across more.

At 10.30am I was rounding another gate and soon, away in the distance, I could see the tops of the Bridgewater Bridge.

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The walk around the suburb of Herdsmans Cove was uneventful. Lots of bird song beside the path and scattering tiny birds in the long grasses. A brilliant Blue Wren flitting. Mounds of black swans like dark rocks sleeping on the rocky shore. Foreshore Trail signs off and on. Gates to walk around.

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Eventually I was curving back towards the Highway and nearing the bridge over the Jordan River. Initially I was looking across the Jordan River at the suburb of Green Point (part of Bridgewater) –

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Then I was approaching the Bridge.

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A TasWater worker had parked his vehicle and was absorbed in problem solving inside a building alongside the Jordan. Beside him, I took an informal track up and onto the Jordan River Bridge.

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Bridgewater

Tomorrow, on the 8th stage of my walk along the Derwent River, I expect to reach and walk through a second suburb. The suburb of Bridgewater is located within the Brighton Council municipality on the eastern shore of the Derwent River, adjacent to Herdsmans Cove the suburb of which is located slightly to the south. The original settlement was known as Green Point.

Bridgewater has four primary schools, one high school and a Trade Training Centre all linked into the Jordon River Learning Federation.  According to http://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/bridgewater-tas, “in the 1970s the area saw a public housing broad-acre estate which gave it a reputation. By 1997, Bridgewater was considered to have Australia’s lowest level of wellbeing. Whole streets of public housing stood vacant, houses smashed and torched. Housing Tasmania administrators remember people writing on their applications that they wouldn’t live in Bridgewater or Gagebrook – no matter how desperate they were.By 2003 Bridgewater was experiencing a housing boom and property prices, particularly for houses and land overlooking the Derwent River, tripled and quadrupled.”

I suspect Bridgewater has ‘grown up’ since those days and I look forward to seeing what it now offers.

A current profile of the suburb indicates the following: the median house price is $159,000; its population is 4024; its median household weekly income is $680; the median age of its residents is 32; the median housing loan repayment is $1036 monthly; 52% are not married and 14% are in a defacto relationship; 17% are under 14 years of age.  I wonder what this will all mean practically on the ground as I walk the paths along the Derwent River. Probably nothing at all.