Tag Archives: Mount Wellington

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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Walking on an industrial site – posting 2 of 5

Once decked out in our safety gear, Nyrstar’s Todd and I strode off down the road towards the entrance to the industrial estate all the while admiring the day and the view of the Derwent River whenever it appeared around buildings and between parts of the landscape.

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Once through a gate in a high protective fence, we came to a junction. Should we walk forward directly to the river or turn right on a track around a hill shaped by metallic discards decades ago?


The choice was easy. We turned right and continued as the track took us above but on the edge of the Derwent River in New Town Bay.  20170227_103354.jpg


I could look inland to Mount Wellington and across the Bay to Self’s Point.  An early record of my walk along the Derwent at Self’s Point can be read here and here.




As usual, I loved the brilliant colours that a clear day produces on the river and the landscape.  I hope you find the photos as stunning as I do – long term blog followers know I never set out to create heart-stopping reproduction photos only to record in a casual way what I see. During my walk on Nyrstar property, the world and the Derwent River in particular, seemed spectacular.



As we walked around the hill, the eastern shore came into view – some of it built up with private houses and other parts remaining as uncleared bushland. My host and I mused on how the first European explorers and settlers would have seen both sides of the Derwent River completely forested. By  being able to see such forests today helped me to have some appreciation of their world at the end of the 18th century.  If those travellers arrived on a day like we were having then the landscape would have looked wonderful, although somewhat impenetrable.




Soaring eagle

I was privileged to watch not one but three endangered Tasmanian Wedge Tailed Eagles during one walk along the Derwent River. The third eagle was being chased by a black Crow and I was fortunate to be able to photograph it.  A Crow is not a small bird but, in comparison to the expansive eagle, it appears tiny.




Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service provides more information about this majestic eagle here.

The DPIWE government site provides information including:

“Ever since Europeans settled in Australia, wedge-tailed eagles have been accused of attacking and killing almost anything from horses to honey-eaters. In some States bounties were paid for their destruction and a total of about 20 000 were slaughtered per year in the mid 1960’s. 
Today, despite legal protection and changing attitudes, the wedge-tailed eagle remains vulnerable to extinction. Some landowners believe that wedge-tailed eagles pose a threat to lambs and kids. However, studies have shown these fears to be unwarranted. In 1970, for example, the CSIRO published an analysis of the cause of death of over 12 000 lambs in several States. Although up to 34% of dead lambs had been at least partly eaten, only 2% of lambs born had been actually killed by predators such as eagles. More importantly, only 2.7% of dead lambs would have survived if a predator had not attacked. Exposure to bad weather and miss-mothering were the most important causes of death.
Studies in Tasmania show that in sheep grazing areas, rabbits, hares, brushtail possums and wallabies are the most important prey, although a great variety of animals are eaten dead or alive, from cormorants and echidnas to snakes. With rare exceptions, eagles simply do not create an economic problem.”

It is rare to see these eagles.  The last time I saw one was years ago when I had walked to the bottom of the ‘organ pipes’ on Mount Wellington and sat in the sun on a smooth rock looking down on the city of Hobart with the ribbon of the Derwent River splitting it apart.  My peripheral vision recognised movement.  Just then, an eagle used an updraft and soared in front of me, then over the edge of the mountain out of sight.  Another never to be forgotten experience.


Where have I been?

Answer: Mostly looking through my windows and watching the seasons pass across snippets of Derwent River and Mount Wellington.

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For the past six months, the almost daily posts of earlier times on this Walking the Derwent blogsite stopped. While my thoughts have never been far from the Derwent River, since March I have posted only two or three stories. Avid followers of my walk along the Derwent River from the mouth to the source,  will realise that stories of particular sections of the walk have not been recorded.   Over the next month or two that gap will be filled.

When I halted writing this blog, I focused on compiling and publishing the book William Baker Tyzack and descendants in Australia  and running a blog associated with the anniversary of my great great grandfather’s arrival in Australia 150 years ago. Then I authored and published a book of an artist friend’s letters that had been sent to me over a quarter of a century.  During the processes of putting both books together, an opportunity to author and publish a third book came to my attention. Recently I published a book about my goddaughter. All non-fiction. All personal. I have been enthralled by the wonderful ease of self-publishing resources, and the professional look of the final publications.

Now I am inspired to turn my Walking the Derwent blog into a user-friendly book, which can be purchased both in book shops and on the internet.  But first, I need to finish writing the posts which record the remainder of my walk. I aim to complete the posts within the next two months then, early next year, begin the massive task to condense over 200,000 words and thousands of photos into a comparatively tiny tome.

Tasmania’s Derwent River continues to remain a feature of magic for me. I have missed my past regular walks inland discovering its nature and its pathway through the landscape.  Thankfully, here in Hobart, I live with a constant view of the changing appearances of the Derwent and the glorious sky above.

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Sport and the Derwent River

A couple of weeks ago an international Test cricket match between Australia and the West Indies was staged at the Blundstone Arena in Bellerive. Australian cricket tragics (but probably not those from the West Indies) may enjoy these photos. When you stand in the open or sit in the grandstands, fabulous views of the Derwent appear before you and distract.  Cricket Tasmania’s website  shows a glorious aerial shot of the Arena with the Derwent River beyond and mysterious Mount Wellington looming behind the city.

Last Friday night, I was on the Hobart Domain at the Hobart tennis courts. First I watched retired Tasmanian tennis player Richard Fromberg (he reached about number 20 in the world when he was playing on the world circuit) play an up and coming Tasmanian player, Harry Bourchier, who hopes to break into the Australian Open Grand Slam in January.  Fromberg is circled below watching a later match.

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A fun doubles game followed with two 7 year olds (one of which was Cruz Hewitt, Lleyton Hewitt’s son) teaming up with their adult coaches to play a short game.  Those extraordinary 7 year olds stood firmly at the base line and served their balls over the net, despite the net being a great distance off and higher than they were tall. The night finished with ex World number 1 tennis player Lleyton Hewitt playing an exhibition match against Australian Sam Groth who currently has the fastest serve in the world.  In the photo below, Groth wears red at the left of the net and Hewitt wears blacks to the right.

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I was thrilled by the hard and fast hitting.  A good game!

Beforehand I wandered to one end of the main court and looked out through an overcast evening, to the Derwent River.

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On occasions when the sky is clear and blue, the Derwent River sparkles.  Getty Images has one shot I particularly like.  The blue tennis court in the foreground seems separated from the Derwent River by a giant cruise ship at anchor in port.

Fires above the Derwent River

On too many nights last week the sky was dense with a rosy fire haze across my suburb.  The smoke slipped through crevices in my house so that, through each evening, I felt like I inhaled a camp fire.  Back then I checked the Tas Fire Alert website and learned the closest fire was in Quarry Road less than half a kilometre away. Today I went off to see what the burn looked like.

I chose to walk through the bushland of Waverley Flora Park first and then descend down Quarry Road.

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From the top of one of the Park’s walking tracks, I looked through stands of gum trees towards the mouth of the Derwent River.

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In the other direction Mount Wellington loomed large over the Hobart CBD and the Derwent Harbour.

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I followed in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, ‘father’ of the theory of evolution, who walked around Hobart in 1836. At some time during that visit he crossed to the eastern shore and wandered around the Bellerive suburb and beyond.

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I saw unfamiliar medium-sized birds collecting nesting material and insect food morsels (who flitted away far too fast for me to take a photograph): one was dressed in silvery greys with a long strand floating after its tail, and another with a rich olive green coat. None of my bird books help me to identify either of these birds – any locals with bird knowledge?

A profusion of native spring flowers carpeted parts of the Park, or stood as single colourful spikes amidst the dull dry green grasses.

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It soon became clear that lots of burned vegetation and scorched earth passages were scattered next to the walking track and beyond.

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Later when I walked down Quarry Road with not a burn mark in sight, I realised that for bureaucratic purposes the Tas Fire Alert site had to indicate the best road for fire trucks to follow.  It had been parts of the Waverley Flora Park that suffered fire damage.

As I continued downhill, I heard the siren sounds of a fire truck and watched it whip past the intersection below.  When I turned the corner, the truck was parked askew with hefty yellow clad guys preparing their gear.  The screams of other sirens were closing in. I watched wisps of smoke escaping from all manner of slits and slots and dirty brown smoke puffing from the front door of the house below.  I saw an approaching ambulance and guessed this wasn’t someone’s best day.

A trotting track in the middle of nowhere

Once past the Water Treatment Plant, the country views were expansive.  I looked across green paddocks and could see the back of Mount Wellington with a drift of cloud obscuring its peak.


The river views were, as ever, seductive.

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Then suddenly I was surprised to find a property with its own horse racing track.


During the time it took for me to walk past, a trainer with his horse in harness pulled a two wheeled cart and trotted around and around the track. Last Sunday a harness race was held in Launceston in Tasmania’s north, and the next race meeting in Hobart will be on the 27th September so I guess the horse ran a few days ago or will be running soon.

Race track on Glenora Road