Tag Archives: Kingston Beach

Finally I reached the mouth of the Derwent River on the western shore at Pearsons Point

The goal of walking along the western shore of the Derwent River was to reach the mouth and during Stage 13 I reached this destination marked by Pearsons Point.

Before then at 10.44am I walked past a turn off: Mt Louis Road. There was a lump up in the sky on my right.  Maybe another time it might be pleasant to see what is up there and to look at the view – which is probably a spectacular 360 degree outlook along the Derwent River, the D’entrecasteaux Channel and Bruny Island.

As I panted up the final hill, I heard the thwack of balls and realised the fencing I could see in the distance amounted to a tennis court.  A tennis court!  Ye gods! Out here in the bush and miles from anywhere?  Yes it was.  Two women were slamming the balls up and down the court.  Their two cars were the only vehicles in sight.

10.52am: I reached the Pearsons Point Reserve and was feeling rather chuffed.

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I wandered around the site which included a disused gun emplacement and a couple of large historic cannons.  Guess Pearsons Point would have been the first line of defence against any Russian threat (which seemed to be the main thought through the 19th century).

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Note: the bump behind the gun emplacement and tennis court is Mt Louis. A large white edifice on the end of the Point (on the other side of the cannon) appeared to be a marine navigation beacon.

In front of me to the right hand side of the Point, the D’entrecasteaux Channel separated the mainland of Tasmania from Bruny Island (famous for its fresh produce such as cheeses, smoked fish and meats, berries, premium wines, and local oysters).

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I was very surprised how close Bruny Island (Dennes Point) was to this part of Tasmania’s mainland.  So close.  So accessible.  And its green hills and the white sandy Jetty Beach were most attractive.

On the other side of Pearsons Point to my left, the Derwent River flowed out to Storm Bay and then onto the ocean. I could see the Iron Pot and Cape Direction at the southern tip of the South Arm peninsula on the eastern shore of the River.

I found a pleasant picnic table and at 11am ate half my lunch under a small cluster of gum trees hoping no branches would be shed on my head.  Feeling on top of the world. The sun was out and the tiniest of breezes moved through the area.  Past the trees I could see motoring boats leaving white streams behind them as they sliced through the River. I looked back northwards to the Alum Cliffs between Taroona and Kingston.

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With a little sadness I left Pearsons Point at 11.25am.

By 12.40pm I was passing the Hidden Cove turnoff, at 1.05pm I reached the Fossil Cove Drive junction, at 1.25pm I walked across the intersection with Treatment Plant Road, and at 1.30 I stopped for a moment at Suncoast Drive.  I looked at the one bus stop (there wasn’t a pair one either side of the road) and it did not have a timetable attached to the post, so I continued walking to Wells Parade.  I had been told this was a long road, and now I know it is.

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I stopped and waited for a bus which didn’t come (the first in my entire travels) and left and walked up and down and up and downhill until eventually I was back parallel to the Blackmans Bay Beach.  I sat for a while at the beach soaking in the atmosphere, smelling the salt, and relishing the fact my feet were having a rest.  When the time came (according to my bus timetable), I walked to the bus stop where I had alighted hours earlier in the morning, and before long Metro bus number 85 arrived.  After passing via the Suncoast Drive bus stop that I had looked at earlier in the afternoon on arrival back in Blackmans Bay, Maranoa Heights, other suburbs, and Kingston, I was back in Hobart city by 4pm feeling elated.  Stage 13 was over.

An extra historical morsel regarding Browns River which runs out into the Derwent River

Browns River separates Tyndall Beach (below the Alum Cliffs) from Kingston Beach. On the Kingston side, a plaque remembers Robert Brown.

According to http://www.rampantscotland.com/placenames/placename_hobart.htm  the township of “Browns River was named after the noted Scottish botanist Robert Brown who explored the area a week after Hobart was founded. “  Apparently Hobart (Sullivans Cove) was established on 21 February 1804 (I shall remember the date because it is my birthday – well not the 1804 bit) and therefore before the end of February this ‘township’ of Browns River was in its infancy. A week – ye gods!  How quickly these pioneering settlers got around.  Nothing could happen so fast these days.  But, is the timing true or simply a legend? I don’t know.

The name was changed to Kingston in 1851 by the Governor of Van Diemens Land, Sir William Thomas Denison.  The website http://tasmaniaforeveryone.com/tasmanias-names-the-suburbs-of-hobart suggests “The name Kingston was advocated by the then Police Magistrate, Mr Lucas. Although his exact reason for deciding on the name of Kingston is unknown, there are many theories. His parents, Thomas and Anne Lucas, the district’s first settlers, lived at Norfolk Island before coming to Van Diemen’s Land and the capital of Norfolk Island was Kingston. Another possible reason is that Thomas was born in Surrey, England in a village close to New Kingston. It had been settled in 1808 by Thomas Lucas and his family, who were evacuated from Norfolk Island. He named his property ‘Kingston’, after the settlement on Norfolk Island. “

More information about Boronia Beach and its surrounds

From http://www.greaterhobarttrails.com.au/track/boronia-beach-track I understand that “Descending through the bushland past the cypress pines, to the clear blue secluded waters of Boronia Beach feels like you’ve stumbled into the Mediterranean. The historic private residence behind the beach is ‘Boronia’, which was once the Boronia Hotel (circa 1900). It was popular in the days when the old ferry docked at the jetty at Kingston Beach bringing day-trippers from Hobart. Folk would visit the hotel for a cup of tea and wander through its terraced rhododendron gardens down to Boronia Beach. The sheltered waters are great for snorkelling, with sea dragons commonly seen.

Obviously I will need to return and have a closer look. On my recent walk I never saw the old house ‘Boronia’ (probably looking down to be careful placing my feet and not fall over) and I would have loved to look around the water for the sea dragons if I had known they might be swimming there. Oh well. Another time. This too will go onto my list of places I need to return to and discover more.

These findings have prompted one more memory. Last year in north eastern Tasmania authors and book readers travelled from all over Australia to attend the inaugural Golden Words Literary Festival.  I stayed in the township of Beauty Point and one afternoon wandered along the road until I found Seahorse World (http://www.seahorse-australia.com.au/). I never stepped inside the building but I learned that in Tasmania we have native seahorses and seadragons swimming in our oceans.  I was born in Tasmania.  How could I not have known that we had something so special out there in the briny seas. My experience at Beauty Point led me to draft a short story about the S bends of a very special cormorant and a feisty seahorse; the former trying to swallow the latter. I watched the flexible throat of a Pied Cormorant repeatedly trying to swallow a seahorse, however the curves of the marine animal never seemed to fit the curves of the Cormorant’s throat. Up and down and up and down the gullet the seahorse went. I watched this remarkable performance when I stood on the end of the Seahorse World jetty and was amazed that the seahorse survived to live another day.  Staff on the premises were amazed and had never witnessed such a feat. It was obviously a case of my being in the right place at the right time.  So … if I can return to Boronia Beach, I wonder what I might see.

Onto the ‘proper’ Alum Cliffs track near Taroona Tasmania

After walking across the Shot Tower carpark I had one last look back to where I had been. The sky was amazing.

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In the trees then and often further again along the track, Kookaburra birds laughed at me many times. Ha Ha Ha Ha!  Ha Ha Ha! Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha.  Their feathers camouflaged perfectly with the shadows from leaves and the colours of tree trunks and branches.  They were impossible to photograph. Ha Ha Ha Ha!  Ha Ha Ha!

A sign seen at 10.08am indicated the start of the Alum Cliffs track.

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Then I began the careful descent on a steep 100 metres or so length of a four wheel drive wide smooth gravel track. Partly eroded. Basic stairs were irregularly constructed on one side of this incline.  Bush either side.  A small wallaby surprised me bouncing through the undergrowth.

At 10.15 am I reached the creek crossing below. Peaceful.  Looking up, an even longer climb on the other side was rather dispiriting. On the trek uphill I stopped and sat for a while to take in the view of dense gum tree foliage. There were smooth gum trunks as far as the eye could see.  No wind. Trickling creek below. Peaceful.   As I walked higher, the Shot Tower came into view bit by bit over the trees.

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It was 10.33am when I reached a picnic table and lookout at the top of the Alum Cliffs.

Passing white crowned toadstools with sharp white gills when open, I walked along a shady path which was quiet except for the occasional birdsong, rustling water in the creek below, or the soft voices of other walkers. I learnt from one of the walkers that the Alum Cliffs track used to follow the edge and in order to cross creek gullies, ropes were installed up and down the cliff to steady yourself during the climbs.  Part of those walks included rock hopping along the shoreline as well.

At 10.45am I reached the turn-off to Taronga Road – I did not want to exit the Cliff walk so I continued on. At 10.53am I reached the junction with the Brickfields Track – another time I will return to this area and walk that track to look at the remains of any social history along the way.

A few minutes afterwards, I felt I was identifying exposed alum rock.  I decided it was the rock which had partly oxidised into a greenish colour in places. Whether or not it is the real deal I cannot say.

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Despite tree roots and rocks intruding on this track, the well-trodden dirt with a slight leaf covering made for very easy walking.  Off to the side of the track walking would not have been quick and easy.

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I loved the colours on gum tree trunks as bark peeled away naturally.

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I loved seeing the signs of insects which once burrowed their way under the tree bark.

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At 11.07am I reached a seat with a viewing platform from where I watched an oil tanker motoring up the Derwent, having passed Gellibrand Point on the eastern shore.

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It was a long way down to the River over the Cliffs.

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Then I walked some way with another walker until I needed to stop and start with notetaking and the clicking of photographs.  I continued down across another creek and stopped when I noticed the clay at the bottom.  My earlier research/posting had indicated a connection between the alum rock and clay.

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The track passed through a tiny wet forest area with green pronged tree ferns.  Back up onto a drier track I reached a picnic table at 11.26am. Nearby, a teepee of tree branches and leaves had been built casually.  Would it be better than no shelter in a rainy storm?  Not too sure how long the ‘tent’ would survive much wind.

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Walking past native flowers; pink heath, lots of yellow tiny daisy like flowers, and a delicate 5 petal lavender blue coloured solitary flower.

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I passed smaller tracks off to the left which ended by hovering over the edge of the Cliff, and some to the right which I imagine found their way back into suburbia or onto the Channel Highway.

A glossy scarlet red spider, black legs with a blue iridescent tail crossed my path.  I have never seen one before and knew nothing until I researched once back home; this was Nicodamidae –Red and Black Spider.  Apparently, ‘toxicity unknown, treat with caution’.  Trust me – I didn’t touch it.  The size was that of a woman’s finger nail.

Not long after chatting with a man and his dog, at 11.40am through the trees I could see bits and pieces of Kingston Beach.  My trek across the Alum Cliffs was almost over.

Geological and Social History of our Alum Cliffs

Patricia Roberts-Thompson (http://taroona.tas.au/assets/document/1354363720-a_walk_along_alum_cliffs.pdf) indicates that the first recorded reference to the Alum Cliffs was in 1847.  She explains that these rocks, Permian mudstone (250 million years old, contain iron pyrites and, as the rock weathers, the pyrite oxidises and produces sulphuric acid which reacts with the limey clay to produce alum. Roberts-Thompson could find no evidence that the alum has been extracted from our cliffs for commercial purposes.

Simon Stephen’s research (http://taroona.tas.au/assets/document/1352547986-geology_reduced.pdf) is in sync with that of Patricia Roberts-Thompson  when he says the mudstone on the Alum Cliffs contains much sulphur so that when struck a strong smell is emitted. “Much of the sulphur manifests itself as a white encrustation on thee sheltered areas of the cliffs. It has a distinct bitter taste…”  (Trust me – I won’t be taking a bite or licking it). Stephen’s article is exceptionally interesting not the least because it pin points a geological fault line which is near Crayfish Point (where I have already walked) and which extends out through the end of Hinsby Beach and then under the water along the Alum Cliffs.  I don’t know if any seismological activity has occurred in my life time there nor whether any is expected. I’d rather nothing happened during my forthcoming Stage 12 walk along the Alum Cliffs.

The Kingborough Council distributes a brochure with the following information: “The route followed by today’s Alum Cliffs Track has long been a coastal path used by local people. In 1988 it was formally developed as part of Australia’s Bicentennial celebrations. In more recent years, Council has upgraded the southern section of the track, which climbs from Tyndall Beach through coastal blue gum forest with tall silver banksias. The track then winds up through silver peppermint bushland, dips into a glorious fern filled gully, before rising again onto headlands for commanding views over Storm Bay and the Derwent Estuary. A new start to the track without steps has now been constructed above Tyndall Beach to make the track accessible to more users. The Alum Cliffs are so named because alum – a compound used in dyeing, tanning and medicinal products – is found in the cliffs.”

It is a shame that all instructions to reach and walk the Alum Cliffs use Kingston Beach in the south as the base to walk north and then return. Websites provide information about multiple entrances along the route at Tyndall Rd, Harpers Rd, Taronga Rd.  Apparently a Metro bus stop is located 100m south of the intersection of Taronga Rd and Channel Highway. I wonder how many people have walked the Alum Cliffs Track from the northern end and, if not, like me would like to read advice about how to tackle the cliffs departing from Hinsby Beach.

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It may be that, on Stage 12, I will start out at the end of the Hinsby Beach and then be forced to retrace my steps, return to the Channel Highway and walk up the winding fairly narrow Highway with no pedestrian walkway until I reach the Brickfields Track. From http://www.greaterhobarttrails.com.au/track/brickfields-track I understand that “the Brickfields Track links between Taronga Rd (adjacent to the Channel Highway) in Bonnet Hill and links to the Alum Cliffs Track. The route of the Brickfields Track takes you through the historic remains of the brick-making area; part of the nearby and short lived 1840’s convict probation station. The track is a mix of narrow bush track and timber boardwalk with some steps along the route.”

A deviation from the record of my walk along the Derwent Stage 11 – today was Australia Day!

Around the edge of Australia, and across inland towns and communities, celebrations are taking place today remembering the start of European settlement in Australia – not that it is expressed as such, rather as a day to celebrate being Australian (Orstrayan – as our accent seems to be saying these days). The day, quite reasonably, antagonises the descendants of the original land owners, our Australian indigenous community, because the day seems to be about being from other countries and not inclusive of the people who were already living here at the end of the 18th century.  Today celebrates the first ‘white’ settlement but not the start of invasion of the lands of those aboriginal peoples who had lived on this land for thousands of years. So it is a day of division across Australia. However, since people with an aboriginal heritage are in the minority in Australia’s population, non-aboriginals go ahead with their barbecues and other family and social events treating today as a public holiday which is their right.  More cross culture chat is needed.

So with that opinion as background, instead of walking to the Bellerive Boardwalk for the annual community Australia Day breakfast and ceremony for new Australian citizens, I decided to try out the Kingston (Kingborough) Australia Day celebrations which were centred on Kingston Beach.

Thousands of people across streets closed to traffic and the endless beach, playing beach volleyball, creating extraordinary structures in sand, and all sorts of other family and activities made the area a hive of activity.  The day’s temperature was comfortably mild for summer, the water so clear, all manner of water craft glided along, swimmers braved the cold water, and happy dogs led their owners on their leashes.  It was an extremely comfortable place to be.

I didn’t take any photographs (more is the pity because Kingston Beach was such a colourful location today) –  you may have read my blog in the area on an overcast non-people day at https://walkingthederwent.com/?s=kingston

The photos I took at that time included:

Sign and river Kingston Beach

Please try and create an image in your mind of sunshine and colour, and of lots of happy relaxed people of all ages and sizes and backgrounds playing and walking on this beach today.

Whatever out ethnic background, Tasmania’s natural sites are incredibly beautiful – and all the better for being so easily accessible.

Today our national Prime Minister released the names of people who have won prestigious Australia Day Awards in recognition of valuable contributions to Australia’s wellbeing and growth and substantial achievement in one or more specific areas.  Today, many Australians are aghast at our Prime Minister’s approval of the English Prince Phillip as a Knight of Australia. Many of us are perplexed and cannot name his contribution to Australia and achievement for Australians, other than in the most general and cursory terms. We have many amazing people in this country, so this announcement of a foreigner getting a special national honour has stopped many in their tracks.

Another opinion can be read at http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/prince-philip-awarded-knight-of-the-order-of-australia-by-prime-minister-tony-abbott-20150125-12xzk8.html – ‘some people worried that this was an Australia Day hoax’.

Kingston Beach, Tasmania

I found a tiny laneway, squeezed between residential properties, which extended from Roslyn Avenue near where I was staying in Kingston, down to Kingston Beach.  The downward stroll took 6 minutes and, later, the return trundle uphill took 10 minutes.  The easy accessibility to the beautiful foreshore is an asset for locals.  I loved the closeness of the lush vegetation along the pathway and then the openness of the Beach extending before me once I reached the Esplanade.

The morning was overcast with a moderate breeze, but the weather did not deter families, groups of children or a kayaker from enjoying the beach and water.

In the photo below the lone kayaker sets off to enjoy a paddle. The land which can be seen across the Derwent River is the South Arm peninsula. Standing on Kingston Beach, I could identify key points along that piece of land which I had walked during Stage 1 and 2: Gellibrand Point, Opossum Bay, South Arm, and Fort Direction Hill.

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I followed a path along the foreshore northwards to Browns River and then I retraced my steps. Looking towards the mouth of Browns River as it enters the Derwent River.

Pathway along Derwent at KB

At Browns River, one side of Mount Wellington looms in the distance.

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Kingston Beach and Browns River are located within the municipality of Kingborough as part of the Greater Hobart Area. In the photo below the waters of Browns River can be seen meeting the Derwent River.

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Nearby I discovered a plaque (photo below) and its message surprised me. Browns River was named in 1804 (you can read more about Robert Brown at https://www.forestrytas.com.au/assets/0000/0185/tasfor_12_10.pdf).  From the reports of my earlier walks in this blog, you might recall that Risdon Cove was established as the first white/non indigenous settlement (on the eastern shore, and quite a few kilometres upstream from the mouth of the Derwent River) in September 1803. I find it quite extraordinary that within months of the first white settlement (in fact Brown named the River in April 1804), despite the difficulties of making a new home in this foreign land, new arrivals were off and about checking and naming other edges of the Derwent River. It wasn’t until July 1804 that the area around Sullivans Cove (the site for the central part of the current city of Hobart) was set up for permanent residency. Sullivans Cove is much much closer to Browns River than Risdon Cove, so Brown had a long way to paddle.

Browns River plaque

The photo below looks back towards the centre of Kingston Beach from the Browns River northern end.

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I loved the trees and was especially impressed by one of the flowering gum trees next to the foreshore walkway.

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The stroll from the one end of Kingston Beach to the other takes about 15-20 minutes and represents approximately 1 kilometre of the Derwent River’s length.  Immensely pleasant.  If you haven’t enjoyed this part of the Greater Hobart Area, or it’s a while since you have travelled here, then I strongly recommend you make a visit.

Fish and chip shops, cafes, a sad looking motel and Duncan’s Beachfront Motel Hotel are located across from the beach.  Some readers might know Slim Dusty’s song ‘I’d like to have a drink with Duncan’ (refer to http://www.lyrics007.com/Slim%20Dusty%20Lyrics/Duncan%20Lyrics.html for more information). Jo will recall the hilarious fiasco at a fashion parade in Darwin when this music coincided with a bridal dress being shown on the cat walk.  I wonder who Kingston’s pub is named after? Anyone know?

shops and cyclists  Motel  Duncans pub

Along the street travelling away from the beach towards Hobart, you will pass an assortment of outlets including hair salons, service stations, a community hall and, very surprisingly, the Wafu Works which is a shop selling vintage authentic Japanese fabrics.

Japanese Wafu Works  Japanese fabric shop

Simple street art in the form of inset mosaic panels have been incorporated in the pavements.

Mosaic in pavement  Street mosaic in pavement

This part of Greater Hobart is very attractive, and I am vowing to visit more often.