Tag Archives: Incat

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.

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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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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From Risdon Cove walking towards Otago Bay along the Derwent River- part of the 7th stage of my walk

For safety’s sake I continued walking along on the Derwent River side rather than on the road side of the guard rail, although there were moments when the edge fell away and so I was forced temporarily back onto the road. This stage certainly would not be one that someone using crutches or a wheel chair could follow. There were no official paths and so I made do with whatever I could in terms of a suitable walking path.

I enjoyed this part of the walk observing more black swans in pairs and families of ducklings out for a paddle.  At the end of the bay of Risdon Cove, I exchanged friendly greetings with a couple of woman who were selling bunches of colourful flowers from the boot of their car on a set back on the other side of the road.

I continued up an incline still on the ‘safe’ side of the railing amidst blown and thrown rubbish, tall weeds, and native grasses.  Whispering casuarina trees separated me from the River. Clearly people have walked here before but it is a rough ‘non-path’.

At 9.54am I reached the turn off signposted to Bridgewater, began the left hand walk downhill, and passed the furry remains of dead possums (unfortunately ex- road-kill).  To my right, on the other side of the road, the 19th century heritage listed Cleburne Homestead and its scatter of old sandstone buildings popped occasionally into view through large trees and bushes.  The Homestead operates as a luxury bed and breakfast art hotel style establishment (http://www.visitcleburne.com.au/).

The photo below shows the Cleburne Spit which inserts itself into the Derwent River, with the Bowen Bridge crossing the River in the distance.

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At 10am I arrived at the junction road leading left to the Cleburne Spit. The Spit looked very much like a man made raised wall approximately one or two car widths wide that extends out in a straight line into the Derwent River.  Perhaps it was a series of rocks that once could be walked upon and then someone dropped filling rocks to create a breakwater to fish from or some other activity. I wonder what the real story is. My guess is that the Spit was named after 19th century settler Richard Cleburne.  He was an interesting character who had a property in the area and was suspected of smuggling. Did the Spit figure in such illegal activities I wonder? More information about Richard can be read at http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/cleburne-richard-1903.

My view across the Derwent took in the noisy Nystar works previously seen and heard on Stage 6 of the walk.  Immediately next to Nystar and further north, I could see another major industrial site: Incat, a manufacturer of very large catamarans.  In the photo below, a massive white structure has two dark ends. Inside each of these spaces, a new catamaran is being built – usually for an overseas market.

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The East Derwent Highway curved in a sweeping right-hand bend from its junction with the road to Cleburne Spit. I walked straight ahead to the River and then curved around to the right keeping parallel with the Highway.  Amidst discarded rubbish, straggling weeds and under the casuarina trees I discovered two plaques: one commemorating the beginning of the building of the nearby Bowen Bridge and the second marking the official opening ceremony of the Bridge. On both occasions an Australian Prime Minister was given the honoured task. Two very strong and formidable men: Malcolm Fraser began the bridge and Bob Hawke opened the bridge.

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I followed a short bitumen pathway and stood underneath the Bowen Bridge a few minutes after 10am. Eventually I walked beside the guard rail and, depending on the safety of the ‘non-path’, I walked on one side or the other.  Sometimes there was a sandy rough drop to the water below, and sometimes I was walking next to the River at ‘sea level’.

By 10.07am I reached the sign indicating I had moved from the Risdon area into the Otago Bay suburb.  At 10.11am another sign gave me advance warning that Otago Bay Road was up ahead.

In a pull-off-the-road siding, a middle aged man wearing clean moleskin trousers and a sporting peaked cap advertised new season South Arm Pink Eye potatoes. The back of his truck was open and he sold his vegetables to people who, once their cars had skidded to a halt on the gravelly surface, climbed out of their vehicles for a stretch and then a leisurely meander over to check the goods. There was something slightly furtive about the way he wouldn’t meet my eyes which left me wondering why.

The photo below looks southward towards the Bowen Bridge. One of the vehicles in the distance on the right is the truck selling the potatoes.

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At 10.18am I turned left off the East Derwent Highway onto Otago Bay Road.  The sound of traffic in the distance as it poured along the Highway, and the way the wind boxed my ears, meant it was difficult to hear cars coming behind me. Constantly I was watching my back as I walked along non-existent road verges.  I did not discover a safer path for this part of the walk.

Earlier, near the Cleburne Spit, I had exchanged brief friendly words with a woman walking southwards with her dog.  When she caught up with me on her northward return journey, we found we had a great deal in common and spent some time walking together towards Otago Bay.

On through the East Risdon State Reserve along the Derwent River

Mostly I noticed the absence of birds (except for a pair of huge glossy Black Currawongs) in the motionless dry sclerophyll forests – was it the buzz of the electricity from the pylons, was it the relative lack of shelter or was it the heating day which might have sent the birds to the shady valleys? The only sound was the relentlessly growling and metallic-sawing industrial sound piercing the air from Nystar over the River. A constant.

At 11.45am, although I saw a tiny track heading towards the River, I continued uphill on the main trail with a Kookaburra laughing at me somewhere in the distance, and tiny moths flitting around my feet camouflaged to the ochre-brown-grey earth but noticeable for their motion. A tiny black jumping spider looked like a small glossy beetle when it landed and stayed still.

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I pondered whether I should have made my own way along closer to the shore by ‘bush bashing’.  The vegetation was sufficiently open to have made this easy enough, however it would still have slowed me down, and since I didn’t know the end game (the time it would take to get to the bus stop), I chose to stay on the main track.  Even when the path split (at 11.50 am)with a red ribbon hanging on a tree to indicate this was a reliable alternative, I chose to stay on the main right hand path. With hindsight the left path may have given me a shorter route to Risdon – but I don’t know.

At midday the road split again.  This time, as a Black Currawong flew overhead with its wonderful tail edging of white (made me think of the black and white dress Audrey Hepburn wore to Ascot in the movie My Fair Lady), I chose the left hand route.  Small clusters of pink native flowers, with fragile connections to nurturing soil, presented posies left and right. Perfection.

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This track dipped downhill to the left soon after, as I could see large water tanks on the hill to my right.  Almost no undergrowth. Evidence of past bush fires through part of the forest.

In the valley, lots of different wild flowers bloomed offering me a visual gift.

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At 12.10 and through the trees, I caught a glimpse of Risdon suburban houses but it was still a long while before I reached the suburb – obviously I missed tracks which could have taken me down more quickly, and instead I took the longer route, Shady. More bird song. Clean fresh smells. A vine entangling other plants with a delicate lilac-blue flower. Scenic it was and I have no regrets.

At 12.23 I took the left of a new split in the road and continued downhill. Lines of cobwebs occasionally floated across my arms and face indicating no-one else had walked here since the spider had swung across the path.

By 12.30 I reached a fenced enclosure for a water storage tank, the East Risdon Reservoir. I chose the road curving downhill on the left amidst a fresh burnt smell from the blackened bush on my right.  At the time I thought it smelt like a cup of tea freshly made – but perhaps that was wishful thinking. Three minutes later I reached a locked bar gate preventing road traffic entry but with an easy walk around. Now I passed houses on my right as I walked the length of Risdon Street down to the Derwent River.

In Risdon at the T junction with Saundersons Road which edges the River, I stood and watched a fisherman in his lunch break, felt overwhelmed by the extent of Nystar opposite, noticed INCAT’s shipyard on Prince of Wales Bay a little further north on the western side, listened to the pervasive roar from industry on the other side of the River, and wondered if I my feet would take me further.

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In the distance southwards I could see the Tasman Bridge.

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