Tag Archives: Howrah

Mount Nelson Signal Station

Overlooking the centre of the city of Hobart and with a view sweeping across to the eastern shore of the Derwent River, Mount Nelson is host to a significant historical site, the Mount Nelson Signal Station.

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Wikipedia provides the information that originally this rise in the landscape was named ‘Nelson’s Hill’ after botanist David Nelson, who sailed on the ship ‘Bounty’ which visited Van Diemens Land on its way to Tahiti (the ship that was involved in the infamous Mutiny on the Bounty). In geological form, Mount Nelson amounts to not much more than a low foothill, however its name gives an indication that something grand awaits you if you venture to the top.

And such a visit is easy in a vehicle, or if you want to take an uphill walk from Hobart’s suburb of Sandy Bay.  In addition, the Mount Nelson via Dynnyrne and Tolmans Hill Metro bus service can deliver you to your destination.  If you like walking, you might choose to catch a bus to the top and then follow any one of a number of clearly marked tracks downhill. Yesterday I made a visit thanks to blog follower Je’s transport, accompanied by another follower Be who is visiting from Cairns.

From different vantage points, the spectacle of the Derwent River spread out below, made us breathless with delight. When I am walking at ground level along the Derwent River, the grand panoramas extending into the distance are denied me.  But yesterday it was exciting to see the bays and hills further afield.

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The photo above looks toward the mouth of the Derwent River on the eastern shore. South Arm peninsula can be seen extending along the water.  As  I stood on Mount Nelson I could clearly identify the Iron Pot, Fort Direction Hill, South Arm Beach, Opossum Bay and its beach, and  Gellibrand Point all of which I walked on during Stage 1 and 2 of my walk along the Derwent River.

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The photo above shows the eastern shore of the Derwent River with Gellibrand Point to the right on the northern tip of the South Arm peninsula. Then the great gaping space of Ralph’s Bay appeared straight ahead. To the left of the image, Trywork Point is in view; this was the starting point for Stage 3 of my walk (after I had walked there from the suburb of Tranmere).

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The photo above shows Ralphs Bay to the right, Trywork Point and then the suburb of Tranmere to the left – on the eastern shore of the Derwent River.

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The photo above shows the eastern shore from Tranmere on the right, through the suburbs of Howrah to Bellerive on the left – the River edges which I walked during Stages 4 and 5.

Across the parkland at the Mount Nelson Signal Station, native Wrens flitted around feeling safe as they hunted for insect meals on the ground.

I enjoyed looking at information panels on the site and learning more about how the place operated.  In addition, one panel showed the location of walking tracks.

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So … what is the history? Not long after Hobart was settled in the early 1800s, locals needed speedy and efficient communication between the convict settlement at Port Arthur and Hobart.  In addition, Hobart residents wanted foreknowledge of sailing ships approaching from the ocean through Storm Bay and on their way to the Derwent River in case any provided a threat to trade or security. To gather this information, in 1811 the Mount Nelson Signal Station was established and designed to use semaphore.  The method of communication was flags waving across the hills.  Details about the semaphore flag signalling system can be read at http://www.anbg.gov.au/flags/semaphore.html.  The site http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semaphore_line provides further information. At the Mount Nelson Signal Station, flags were run up a pole – this seems a very cumbersome process compared to a person waving flags. I hope that someday the signal station will offer a demonstration to the public so I can understand the process.  Give me a re-enactment please.

This semaphore communication service continued in use until a more reliable system was available (what happened at the Signal Station on windy days, in wet weather and when clouds obscured the view?).   It was not until 1880 that a telephone line connected Hobart and Mount Nelson.

Walking around the area is free of charge.  Some pathways are provided. The site has various public amenities including picnic tables, public toilets, carpark, barbecues and a restaurant.

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For further information about eating in the heritage building pictured above, go to http://www.signalstation.com.au.  I recommend that you phone in advance if you are depending on eating there. Yesterday, despite permanent signs indicating the Brasserie was open, another sign on the building indicated it was closed.

During my visit, clouds loomed powerfully over the city and river. The day light was so bright and strong that when I turned northwards and photographed the land and riverscapes, the sky glowed white.  So I clicked a few images pointed at the sky and this silhouetted the landscape.  Using my simple mobile phone as camera, I was never able to control the light of the images.

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Although these looked like rain clouds, it did not rain.  These large puffs were just passing through.

From Sandy Bay to Lower Sandy Bay on Stage 11 of my walk along the Derwent River

After Maning Ave Reserve I continued walking along Sandy Bay Road and used every opportunity to glimpse the Derwent River down the driveways of large houses with expensive River frontage.

By 9.10am I reached the Red Chapel Reserve. Red Chapel Ave is one of Hobart’s well-known streets extending up the hill and connecting to other main streets but I had never known, until this walk, where the name came from. I wonder how many Hobartians know the source. Of course the source turned out to be so obvious once I knew and used my eyes. It was named after the red coloured chapel of the 20thcentury St Stephens Anglican church that was built on the River side of the Road next to the Reserve and opposite the uphill Avenue.  What can be said about the impoverishment of imagination? Refer to https://stainedglassaustralia.wordpress.com/2014/08/02/1914-st-stephens-anglican-church-lower-sandy-bay-tasmania/ for some glorious images. The photo below is courtesy ofhttp://www.anglicantas.org.au/parishes/?item=37

St Stephens Church

A minute or so further down the road and on the right was the highly esteemed Lipscombe Larder on the corner of … Lipscombe Ave.  Where else would it be?

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In addition to all its tasty delicatessen products and wines, this food paradise also sells exquisite cakes: refer to http://lipscombelarder.com.au/  for images.

At some stage during my walk in this suburb, I realised that no one was walking a mongrel dog. At the end of leads were expensive pedigreed dogs.  Certainly their owners seemed happy.

Before long, a set of steep stairs attracted my attention on the left. These were for public access to Nutgrove Beach. As I approached the Beach I was staggered by the size of an old pear tree on the dune edge, and loved the pigface plant which carpeted the area either side of the pathway. I was on the beach at 9.20am and turned right to walk southwards.

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Behind low sand dunes on my right, the roofs and second storeys of beach front houses were visible. At 9.23am, I passed public toilets almost hidden under a large pine tree, and by 9.30 I reached a corner of the beach with the Sandy Bay Sailing Club located up in the dunes.

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Moments later I turned the corner and was no longer able to look back at Wrest Point and Battery Point in the distance.

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I continued on a pathway over the shore and over the dunes some of which would be impassable at high tide without getting wet feet. Some of the rocks were unstable underfoot presenting the risk of a turned ankle or knee. Nutgrove Beach had been a simple delight, and before long I was on an easy, vegetated, and shaded walking track to Long Beach at Lower Sandy Bay. Then I arrived.

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Back out into the open by 9.35am, I could see public toilets nearby, and by looking across the Derwent River to the eastern shore, the yellow strips of Bellerive and Howrah Beaches (on which I walked in an early stage of my walk) were visible.

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I had been walking for over two hours so sat for a while in the gorgeous sun, watched the tiny waves rippling fluidly and regularly, stared at two fishing boats motoring out of the Derwent Harbour, listened to kids’ riotous laughter in a kids’ playground nearby, and then stood up and got going again at 9.50am.

I was delighted to discover Stephen Walker’s huge many part bronze sculpture, Tidal Pools, with its inbuilt water feature at Long Beach in Lower Sandy Bay.

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The remarkable 86 year old Tasmanian artist died only about 7 months ago leaving a great many large scale works around Tasmania and other parts of Australia, such as his Tank Stream Fountain (1981), near Circular Quay in Sydney. In the 1950s, Stephen Walker studied under the celebrated sculptor Englishman Henry Moore. Apparently Walker continued his bronze casting work well into his 70s using his foundry underneath the house.

Five minutes of walking the developed walkways of Long Beach brought me to a cul-de-sac with its carpark full of vehicles.  Further along that loop off Beach Road were bakeries, cafes, restaurants, etc.

Walking Howrah and Bellerive Beaches on Stage 4 of my walk along the Derwent River

On arrival on Howrah Beach, I chose not to deviate to the Shoreline Shopping Centre, having no desire for shopping and because the fresh air and walking experience was such a joy. The long Howrah Beach was almost deserted, however occasionally happy dogs and mostly happy owners were enjoying themselves; I am never sure who is taking who for a walk.  I was fascinated by the man who declared he was deaf and then told me his dog was deaf, yet they both seemed to communicate well and understand each other.

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The photo above shows the stretch ahead of me as I started along Howrah Beach. The photo below shows the Beach when I had walked half its length.

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The sky gathered clouds, and the onshore breeze cooled the air as I walked. Before long I reached Second Bluff at the end of the Howrah Beach, and walked up and along the gravel pathway around this headland. At both the southern and northern ends of Second Bluff it is easily possible to walk off towards roads and, in the distance, to reach the main connecting route, Clarence Street, along which buses run regularly.

While walking around this Bluff, I passed some large Australian native Leptospermum trees in full flower; their snow-white petals presented a spectacular display.  Off and on I noticed bright bursts of fleshy native pigface acting as ground cover, with its purple-pink flowers made brilliant by the sunlight. I was afforded spectacular views back to Howrah, Tranmere, Droughty Hill, across the opening of Ralph’s Bay, and of Gellibrand Point and Fort Hill on the South Arm peninsula.

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Once I reached the Bellerive Beach stairs, I descended and took my walk towards the northern end of the Beach over a kilometre away.

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From time to time tall white poles with red tops are positioned along the beach to indicate walkways to the Clarence Foreshore Trail behind the dunes and then the roads and suburban houses of Bellerive.

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Bellerive Beach is much frequented by fitness fanatics, walkers, joggers, kids, families, individuals, and dogs on leads with owners.  The clean sand, the tide moving the Derwent up and down the beach, and the startling prominence of Mount Wellington are always welcome.

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Near the far end of the Bellerive Beach, a massive structure looms above a row of tall pine trees. This is Blundstone Arena, once known as the Bellerive Cricket Ground. This sportsground, as a national venue for international and local cricket games in the summer, also hosts major AFL (Australian Rules Football) and state level games during the winter months. Between Blundstone Arena and the beach are public toilets along the edge of the Clarence Foreshore Trail.

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Further on and next to the Trail, an outdoor adult gym inspires beach visitors and picnickers to push and pull and otherwise move their bodies.  From here you can see a blue and white painted building standing prominently.

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This is Bellerive Beach’s Fish Bar where fresh fish and other seafood is battered or crumbed and cooked while patrons wait. Dining in or taking away are the two options; the weather and wind generally controls whether I take a fresh cooked meal and sit on the edge of the beach with friends. I live in Bellerive and so I know very well this Beach and all the delights which it offers.

On this walk as usual, I brought my own packed lunch so I passed the Fish Bar and sat towards the end of the beach, and munched and contemplated the leisurely activity of others. A simple pleasure amidst the flighty flashing of hungry squawking silver gulls, all expecting to be fed.

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Shoreline Shopping and Hotel complex – as a stopover option on a walk along the Derwent River

Situated on Shoreline Drive in Howrah, this smallish shopping centre contains a variety of shops and facilities including a branch of the Commonwealth Bank, Woolworth’s supermarket, an optometrist, a pharmacy, children’s clothing store, a newsagent, a dry cleaner and eating cafes such as Subway and Banjos Bakery Cafe.

Amidst the car park and on the other side of the mini bus mall, the Shoreline Hotel offers a large bistro, bottle shop, a gaming section, 3 bars, a function area and accommodation.

For out of town visitors who want to copy the first four stages of my walk along the Derwent River, the Shoreline would offer a central position: the buses to South Arm and Opossum Bay and to Tranmere all pass through here.

My route for Stage 4 walking along the Derwent River

Yesterday’s route took me from Tranmere to Bellerive on the Derwent River’s eastern shore of the Greater Hobart Area.

  1. I caught the Number 615 bus to Camelot Park and got off at bus stop 31 in Tranmere just before 9am. The bus continued onto it final stop 31, while I crossed the road to look down on the rocky foreshore, before striding out along the concreted Clarence Foreshore Trail (CFT) back towards the city.

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  1. When I reached bus stop 29, public toilets were located next to the Trail. I continued along the Trail to the left on a gravel path separating the rocks and water from the back yards of houses lining the river. Fifty odd minutes after leaving the bus, and after passing Punch’s Reef and Anulka Park, I arrived at a significant curve in the Trail. At that point it seemed to be returning up to the roadway for continuation on a concreted pathway next to Tranmere Road.
  2. Instead I walked on northwards, next to the river on a grassy terrace but was eventually forced down onto the rocks of Howrah Point. Fifty minutes later I arrived at the southern end of Little Howrah Beach where I sat and ate some of my lunch. I would not recommend followers take this route because when the tide is in, some rocks will be impassable. At other times some uncovered rocks will be slippery with moss. In addition, there are overhanging prickly bushes which will scratch if you follow this way. I suspect staying on the Clarence Foreshore Trail would have taken half an hour or more off my walk.

The photo below shows the tranquillity of Little Howrah Beach.

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  1. Half way along the road next to the Little Howrah Beach is bus stop 21. Close by are public toilets.
  2. It took 6 minutes to walk the length of this short beach, a minute to walk over a tiny rocky shoreline, and then 30 minutes to walk the long Howrah Beach. The photo below shows the Howrah Beach. Second Bluff is the treed area at the end of the beach.

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  1. From Howrah Beach, I walked up and around the Second Bluff headland on a well-marked path (the rocks below would be impossible to walk around) and arrived at the start of the Bellerive Beach approximately a quarter of an hour later. The leisurely stroll along Bellerive Beach took about 30 minutes. The photo below was clicked looking back along Bellerive Beach after my walk was completed.

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Near this end of the beach a large football and cricket ground is evident through the trees.  Between this ground and the beach you will find public toilets.

  1. I took the stairs at the northern end of Bellerive Beach up onto Victoria Esplanade, turned left and followed the road around Kangaroo Bluff to Bellerive Bluff where this fourth stage of my walk along the Derwent finished.

This Bluff marks the point where the small Kangaroo Bay opens off tto the east of the Derwent River. Northwards across the water I could see Rosny Point which will be the starting point for the next leg of this journey.

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On the other side of the river, the city centre featured prominently below Mount Wellington.

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A number 608 bus runs through this part of Bellerive and continues onto Hobart. Alternatively, if you continue walking along the edge of Kangaroo Bay, then through the Bellerive Village onto Cambridge Road, buses can be hailed to stop at Bus Stop 8 for travel into Hobart city.

How much of the Derwent River have I walked?

I strolled very slowly for almost five hours. If followers choose to stay on the Clarence Foreshore Trail and are not as engaged as I was in making notes and taking photographs, I believe this walk will take a comfortable 3 and a half hours including snack breaks. In total, I probably walked about 10 kilometres because of the convoluted nature of the Howrah Point rocks and other non-Clarence Foreshore Trail pathways which I followed from time to time.  In relation to meeting my goal to walk the 249 kilometre length of the Derwent River, I gained another 4 kms; the total distance covered so far is now 19.5 kilometres.

Tranmere, Howrah and Kolkata (or Calcutta if that’s how you remember it)

My last posting determined a connection between Howrah and Kolkata.

This triggered my memory of Saroo Brierley’s real life story published last year by Penguin Books, in ‘A Long Way Home’.  Having survived the streets of India including Kolkata as a lost child, Saroo was adopted by a Tranmere family. The book is an uplifting and enlightening read. Saroo’s story is one of luck, extreme persistence, love, family and self-belief.  He achieved his dream against all odds.  An extraordinary story.

Howrah

My walk today  (my fourth walk) along the Derwent River must pass through Howrah, an eastern shore suburb adjacent to Tranmere in the City of Clarence (part of the Greater Hobart Area).

The Clarence City Council records that Howrah was named after Howrah House (or Howrah Farm, an alternative source suggests), a property established in the 1830s on Clarence Plains by a retired Indian Army officer Captain James Fielder. According to the Asiatic Journal of the times, when Fielder was a branch pilot in Calcutta (which in our recent times has been renamed Kolkata), his wife had a son in Kolkata on 3 March 1830 so travel to Tasmania occurred sometime after that. On 25 March 1835, ‘the lady of Captain James Fielder’ gave birth to a daughter at Clarence Plains. Fielder arrived in Hobart at least a year earlier if the information in http://vdlworldimmigrants.wordpress.com/stories-of-immigrants-pre-1900 is correct.  “A newspaper notice by James Fielder of Howrah Farm, Clarence Plains, dated 17 November 1834 reads: Run Away On Friday the 14th instant, my apprentice boy, named Charles Connor, a native of India, between 16 and 17 years of age. I therefore warn all persons against harbouring him. He has on a narrow blue striped shirt, under a blue baize shirt, duck trowsers, lace shoes, and a tarpaulin hat. A reward of ten shillings will be given by the Undersigned to any constable who may take him up.”

Captain James Fielder took the name Howrah from a place of the same name near Kolkata. Clarence Plains is now known as Rokeby, a suburb I passed through on route to my first two walking stages on the South Arm peninsula. Rokeby is located over the hill from Howrah.

I found another historical connection when I recalled that Lieutenant John Hayes, who named our Derwent River, sailed from Kolkata in 1793.

With a little online research, I found that Howrah is the twin city to Kolkata in the state of Bengal in India, separated only by the Hoogly River. Back when Hayes was in the India, Kolkata was the capital of India during the British Raj so I imagine a bustling, active and expanding city.

On 11 October 1760, the Indian Howrah district came under control of the East India Company (EIC) – a massive trading company with ships travelling the world.  In 1823, when Bishop Reginald Heber described Howrah as the place “chiefly inhabited by shipbuilders”, it confirmed that location as a significant base for the 27 year old Hayes before he took leave of the EIC, acquired a couple of merchant sponsors who built him two ships, and sailed to Tasmania.  In addition to the shipbuilding industry, I have been pleased to learn that the British created a balance in the landscape by establishing the Indian Botanical Gardens in 1786. Perhaps Hayes experienced this maturing garden before he left in 1793. When he sailed into the Derwent River the Rokeby Hills would have been heavily forested (not cleared or edged with suburbs as they are today) and might have seemed similar to a botanical garden – a place with unusual vegetation.

Is there any chance Lieutenant John Hayes looked at our trees and remembered the Indian Botanical Garden?