Tag Archives: John Garrow Light

Last weekend Hobart focused on the Derwent River

Last week I posted information in advance of the Royal Hobart Regatta and the Australian Wooden Boat Festival both of which celebrated Hobart’s water-based history on and in relation to the Derwent River.

On Friday afternoon, the Parade of Sails offered a flotilla of yachts and sailing ships which manoeuvred to the starting point of John Garrow Light and then headed upriver to Sullivans Cove at the wharf in Hobart. Followers may recall that, on an earlier stage of my walk along the Derwent River, I passed the John Garrow navigation light in Lower Sandy Bay when I reached Blinking Billy Point.

Last Friday I thought that a raised vantage point would give me a great view of the Parade of Sails, so I joined with neighbours from their balcony to watch.  I saw hundreds of marine craft sailing up the river on a heavenly blue sky day. The wind pushed them quickly upriver to Sandy Bay and then they seemed to stall. The sails congregated en masse close to shore between Wrest Point Hotel Casino and the suburb of Battery Point.

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This was so far away and unless you enlarge my photos you will believe there were few vessels on the Derwent River that day.  When not much forward movement happened, I realised that the finishing time for the Parade of Sails was 1.30pm but it wasn’t yet 1pm. Therefore, I presumed the ships decided to wait so the grand entrance/arrival into the Hobart docks could be on time.

On Monday I watched a swooping display from 4 synchronised planes, the Roulettes. They flew in complex formations around the city, across Mount Wellington and along the Derwent River, spewing steam behind to mark their athletic twists and turns.

It was a packed weekend and the media provided spectacular views of all the activities.  Have a look and consider being around when these events are held next time.

The Royal Hobart Regatta site is at: http://www.royalhobartregatta.com/

The Australian Wooden Boat Festival site is at: http://www.australianwoodenboatfestival.com.au/home

Colourful media coverage of this year’s events include:

Blinking Billy Point, Lower Sandy Bay next to the Derwent River

Continuing Stage 11 of my walk along the Derwent River, I walked the foreshore from Long Beach towards Blinking Billy Point. Looking northwards, the crescent of Long Beach stretched before me.

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I passed a new set of public toilets around 10am and ten minutes later I was walking around Blinking Billy Point.

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This was an area to which Charles Darwin (http://www.biography.com/people/charles-darwin-9266433) walked from Sullivans Cove (my starting point for this Stage of the walk) in February 1836. The area’s local government has remembered the occasion with an information plaque.

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Out in the water is a marker for water craft: the John Garrow Light (established in 1953).  I have known this was a marker used in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race but I had never known where it was located.  Now I know: almost east of the Blinking Billy old lighthouse.  According to http://www.maritimetas.org/sites/all/files/maritime/nautical_news_winter_2002.pdf, John Garrow was a Sandy Bay pastry-cook, who lived in Bath St. Battery Point and died 1924. This begs the question – how did a nautical navigation tool come to be named after someone that seemingly had no connection with the Derwent?

I noticed that the Point has old defence structures embedded in the cliff. I learned that these were an adjunct to the huge hill behind with the remnants of the 19th century Alexandra Battery.

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Looking down the Derwent River through the glitter of the distance to the eastern shore, I could pick out Trywork Point (the southernmost tip of land before Ralphs Bay begins) and Gellibrand Point (the northern most point of the South Arm peninsula) both providing the ‘gateposts’ to Ralphs Bay. Previously, I explored these distant Points on Stage 2 and 3 of my walk.

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Then I looked back to Long Beach from Blinking Billy Point with Mount Wellington in the distance. How peaceful the world seemed.

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Despite the promises of a short beach in Geography Bay after the Blinking Billy Point, I knew better than to have expectations that continuing my walk on the foreshore was possible. The Sandy Bay Foreshore Track finishes at Blinking Billy Point.

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Some years ago a friend and I tried to walk the rocky shore southwards from Blinking Billy Point but, as the tide came in, there came a moment when we couldn’t move forward or backwards.  I remembered we scrambled up through someone’s property; the people were not at home and we let ourselves out onto the street hoping no alarm systems would be alerted. We were lucky that day.

Based on that memory, I knew it was not worth proceeding any further and retraced my steps around Blinking Billy Point until I could walk up to Sandy Bay Road.