Tag Archives: Hobart

Hobart and the Derwent River from above

Recently, as I delved into the National Library of Australia’s online digitalised newspapers for family research purposes, I stumbled across the following image.

The newspaper was the now defunct The Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil produced in Melbourne Victoria between 1873 and 1889.  The image below was published in the Saturday issue of 17 April 1875.

Taken from the vantage point of Mount Wellington we are looking down onto the dots of a growing Hobart city, across the Derwent River to the eastern shore which is as yet unsettled in any dense sort of way.  As usual, the River is the star!

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Fossil Cove posting 4 of 4

I relaxed with the sounds of the wash of the water onto the shore.

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After one last look around this deserted Cove and across the glorious Derwent Harbour, I turned toward the path and walked back uphill. Slowly.  Very slowly.  I swear the incline on that hill had steepened. I found each blade of grass and each leaf on the path infinitely interesting and worthy of stopping for closer inspection. Often.

For blog readers who live in Hobart, give yourself a treat, take a picnic with you and enjoy a visit to this wonderful Cove.

‘What’s in a name? A fair bit , actually’ says Rex Gardner

On page 14 of The Mercury newspaper on 5th February Rex Gardner asked ‘What’s in a name?  A fair bit , actually’ about a part of my favourite Tasmanian river.

He talked about the area near the Hobart docks and further out into the harbour and remarked that it ‘really doesn’t have a proper name’.

Rex commented: ‘We call it the River Derwent, or Derwent River. But that name aptly describes the Derwent around New Norfolk, and upriver from there, because a river is a naturally flowing fresh watercourse, flowing towards the sea.  Heading downstream towards Bridgewater, the Derwent becomes an estuary, defined as brackish water fed by streams and rivers, and flowing to the sea.’

When Rex added ‘What flows through the city of Hobart is not a river’, I gasped.  Over time, my blog has addressed the challenges of defining where the Derwent River starts and stops.

To help you to visualise the location, below is an excerpt from Google maps.

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Rex Gardner explained, ‘It could be loosely called an estuary, and more properly a harbour, which is a body of water surrounded by land.  The Derwent is 1.4km wide at the Tasman Bridge. From the Hobart docks to Howrah Point is 6km.  From Sandy Bay to Tranmere is 5km.  The Mississippi and the Amazon rivers don’t boast distances like that, except at their mouths or when they flow through lakes.’  Finally he remarked: ‘You have to wonder how the Derwent has suffered the indignity of being called a river for so long.  Just like Mount Wellington got a name change, so too should our Hobart Harbour.’  An alternative fact: our mountain has two official names – Mount Wellington and Kunanyi.

Rex Gardner’s approach adds a new dilemma. To understand some of the legal issues associated with defining a ‘river’ read here, here and here.

The Derwent Estuary Program describes the section of the Derwent between the Iron Pot (at the inner edge of Storm Bay near the eastern shore river mouth) and New Norfolk as the Derwent Estuary rather than the Derwent River and explains it is “a unique environment; a partially enclosed body of water where tidal seawater and fresh river water mix”.

What constitutes our Derwent River – where does it start and stop?  What is the location of its mouth? I have become so used to thinking of the Derwent River starting in the Lake St Clair area and ending around the Iron Pot that these ideas have shaken me up; they are making me question my position.  Does it matter to you? I wonder what others think.

Walking on an industrial site – posting 4 of 5

During the planning phase for this walk on Nyrstar property,  I anticipated that after passing the wetlands treatment area my walk would be finished because, from then on, site buildings and operations sit next to most of the shore. I imagined access to these areas would be impossible for a visitor.

Three times a week, on average, large ships berth nearby ready to load up with the processed Zinc. However it was my lucky day and the wharf was clear.  My host volunteered to take me further if I wished.  Yes please.  It seems that at every turn, on my walk from the mouth to the source of the Derwent River, people have helped and ways have been found to give me access to more of the River than I ever thought possible.  I am so immensely grateful.

Back on a main road we headed towards the wharf, all the while with the river glistening in the strong sunlight and with the shadow of the East Risdon State Reserve ever apparent on the eastern shore.

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20170227_105542.jpgAs we headed west towards the wharf area, Mount Direction on the eastern shore loomed large.

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Before reaching the wharf, we passed a repetitive pattern – one which has nothing to do with the Derwent but which attracted my attention.  Bags. Large bags. Heavy bags. Very well organised. Very tidy.

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Nyrstar is an operation which works hard to recycle by-products of the zinc smelting process and to minimise wastage. In association with other Nyrstar operations elsewhere in Australia, the Hobart site uses these bags in the ongoing process. I was impressed with the commitment of this company to repair the degradation of the environment which occurred in the early years of the ‘zinc works’ albeit under the control of other companies and how every effort is made now to ensure that no further harm is caused (and no – I am not being paid or encouraged to be so positive.  Early blog readers will remember my posting about the independence with which I have made my walk. You can read I pay my own way as I walk along the Derwent River here.

Glorious photos of Meadowbank Lake

 

Meadowbank Lake is the last expanse of water that has been dammed for hydro power generation purposes, before Hobart.  A good, but narrow bitumen road (Ellendale Road) crosses Meadowbank Lake near its inland western extremity.

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This glorious sight is easily accessible from the Lyell Highway on the northern/eastern side of the Derwent River, or via the tiny towns of Glenora and Ellendale on the southern/western side.

Looking westwards:

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Looking eastwards:

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I have written about Meadowbank Lake before and previously included photos.  The photos in this post were taken one day after completing a walk further inland. I was being driven back to Hobart along the Lyell Highway, and then we deviated by crossing the Lake and proceeding to Ellendale to buy freshly picked raspberries and blueberries.

Only on one occasion have I passed by this Lake under cloud.  Even then, the more sombre colour of the Lake and the less vivid greens, greys and beiges of the landscape were still most attractive.  There are picnic spots either side of the Lake, and public toilets on the Lyell Highway side.  A wonderful location for solo or family visits.

Has the river of blogs dried up? Is my write up of the walks along the Derwent River over?

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 This wonderful image of ‘Hobart from Mt Wellington’ is the work of Tourism Tasmania and Garry Moore. This free photo has unrestricted copyright.

Has the river of blogs dried up?  Is my write up of the walks along the Derwent River over? The answer to both questions is no.

For a long time, blog followers have received a daily post covering my experiences after I have walked sections of the terrain from the mouth to the source of Tasmania’s Derwent River, plus my additional writings about various aspects of the social and natural history of the Derwent River.  Yesterday and this morning were a rude shock for some Australians – no blog post to absorb over the breakfast cuppas– and for my overseas followers spread across many countries, their regular daily dose arrived at many different times depending on the time zone in which they live.

Have I run out of stories to tell, descriptions to give and photos to show? The answer is a resounding no. I have much more to expose. Please be assured that you have not seen the sights of all the kilometres of the Derwent River, nor heard about all its challenges, in my blog yet.  So why the absence of new posts?

I have committed to another major project which cannot wait any longer for my sustained action. I like huge projects.

Last year I discovered that the first Tyzack in my line (3 different lines came to Australia from England in the 19th century) arrived at Port Melbourne 150 years ago this coming December.  Impulsively I decided (without research or planning just as I conceived the idea to walk the length of the Derwent River) to organise a family gathering later this year for all my great great grandfather’s descendants spread across Australia. Two family members agreed to support me –thankfully one has prepared a family tree. The Tyzack 150th anniversary organisation is now my priority, because there is a book to be put together and published, field trip guides to be developed, and much more – I still haven’t received responses to my introductory letters from most of the over 100 living descendants (almost all whom I have never heard of leave alone know) so I have a big job ahead tracking them down and getting them onside and involved.

This family event is scheduled early in October – so, if not before then, from mid-October onwards I expect to continue writing up the Derwent River walking blog stories.  Probably I won’t be able to restrain myself so that, from time to time, a post may appear.

The photo below taken by Michelle shows the eastern shore mouth of the Derwent River, Cape Direction (on the right) and the Iron Pot islet sits out within Storm Bay.

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Meadowbank Dam and Power Station

Meadowbank Dam and Power Station, as part of Hydro Tasmania’s electricity generating facilities, are located the closest of their properties to Hobart.  Access to the Dam is restricted.

East of the Dam, Meadowbank Dam Road makes the connection with the Lyell Highway but this is a locked gate gravel roadway.  Meadowbank Road is a quite different road; this public gravel road exits the Gordon River Road west of the tiny township of Glenora and travels in a north-westerly direction, but mostly not close to the Derwent River – so that it isn’t reasonable to be used as the conduit to ‘walk the river’. Before reaching the Dam, the road passes Meadowbank Vineyard and acres of vines under cultivation. However, access is restricted: there are quite a few lockable gates barring continuation to the Dam.

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The first unit of the Meadowbank Power Station was commissioned in 1967. This was the last such operation to be built in Tasmania.  Photos are on show on Hydro Tasmania’s website and more details are available on their Fact Sheet .  The CSIRO library holds another photo taken from a different vantage point.

I am grateful for Alex driving me as close as we could go by car.