Tag Archives: Mt Wellington

Either side of Bowen bridge – posting 1 of 9

Stage 8 of my walk from the mouth the source of the Derwent River took me under the Bowen Bridge on the eastern shore, and during Stage 10 I walked past the Bridge at Dowsing Point on the western shore after deciding to walk to the mouth on both sides of the river. However, when on the western shore I could not easily see a way to stick by the river edge at Dowsing Point, and since that day promised to be a long one I took the easy option and followed the streets which cut across the Point. I always felt that I hadn’t been quite honest in taking this approach and that I needed to return and be serious about walking the Derwent edge to the extent it was possible.

So return I did, and this series of postings records that visit.

As usual within the Greater Hobart Area, I took a Metro bus which dropped me off one morning within the Technopark precinct at Dowsing Point on the Hobart side of the Bowen Bridge. Technopark is a state government initiative started over 15 years ago with the aim of providing support and encouragement for small businesses and creative individuals with technological related ideas that could be developed into significant money earners for Tasmania’s productive growth. It’s brief has expanded since its inception.

By leaving the bus at the turning circle within Technopark I hoped there might be ways to walk to the river edge and then continue around Dowsing Point.  Until I looked around that day, I had not realised this precinct is seriously fenced, including the installation of electric fencing, and there is no exit except through the main fortified entrance gates.  In the photo below you can see three layers of fencing, with barbed wire strung up at the top of the closer two fence lines- and the Bowen Bridge across the Derwent River in the distance.

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I walked to corners and along the fence lines without finding a gap, a gate or any chance of passing through.  I could see the Derwent River and the Bowen Bridge with Mt Direction overlooking both – but I could not reach them from the Technopark site.

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So I had no choice except to leave the Technopark and try other options to reach the River.  The day displayed a stunning blue sky overhead and a moderate breeze which rattled the long grasses.  Mount Wellington was ever present as I walked away from the river.

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Before long I passed through the gates and headed away from Technopark with the aim to walk to the Bowen Bridge.

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Has the river of blogs dried up? Is my write up of the walks along the Derwent River over?

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 This wonderful image of ‘Hobart from Mt Wellington’ is the work of Tourism Tasmania and Garry Moore. This free photo has unrestricted copyright.

Has the river of blogs dried up?  Is my write up of the walks along the Derwent River over? The answer to both questions is no.

For a long time, blog followers have received a daily post covering my experiences after I have walked sections of the terrain from the mouth to the source of Tasmania’s Derwent River, plus my additional writings about various aspects of the social and natural history of the Derwent River.  Yesterday and this morning were a rude shock for some Australians – no blog post to absorb over the breakfast cuppas– and for my overseas followers spread across many countries, their regular daily dose arrived at many different times depending on the time zone in which they live.

Have I run out of stories to tell, descriptions to give and photos to show? The answer is a resounding no. I have much more to expose. Please be assured that you have not seen the sights of all the kilometres of the Derwent River, nor heard about all its challenges, in my blog yet.  So why the absence of new posts?

I have committed to another major project which cannot wait any longer for my sustained action. I like huge projects.

Last year I discovered that the first Tyzack in my line (3 different lines came to Australia from England in the 19th century) arrived at Port Melbourne 150 years ago this coming December.  Impulsively I decided (without research or planning just as I conceived the idea to walk the length of the Derwent River) to organise a family gathering later this year for all my great great grandfather’s descendants spread across Australia. Two family members agreed to support me –thankfully one has prepared a family tree. The Tyzack 150th anniversary organisation is now my priority, because there is a book to be put together and published, field trip guides to be developed, and much more – I still haven’t received responses to my introductory letters from most of the over 100 living descendants (almost all whom I have never heard of leave alone know) so I have a big job ahead tracking them down and getting them onside and involved.

This family event is scheduled early in October – so, if not before then, from mid-October onwards I expect to continue writing up the Derwent River walking blog stories.  Probably I won’t be able to restrain myself so that, from time to time, a post may appear.

The photo below taken by Michelle shows the eastern shore mouth of the Derwent River, Cape Direction (on the right) and the Iron Pot islet sits out within Storm Bay.

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The crustacean that walks – and only in Tasmania

My last post introduced a giraffe who took a long walk. Since giraffes typically walk as part of their locomotion, the surprise of that story cannot be as great as the fact of the shrimp (prawn if you like) which walks around the high creeks and streams which flow down into the Derwent River in Tasmania.

Anaspides tasmaniae from Parks&Wildlife Service

(Photo courtesy of Parks & Wildlife Service Tasmania – http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/indeX.aspX?base=11244)

Geoffrey Smith, in his book A Naturalist in Tasmania (Oxford, 1909), describes the Anaspides tasmaniae. “A number of streams rise in the plateau of Mount Wellington, some of them attaining a considerable size before joining the estuary of the Derwent, and all of them characterised by the beautiful clearness of their water, owing to their beds being formed entirely of hard greenstone boulders.

In the pools of the upper reaches of these streams near the top of the mountain, a very peculiar shrimp-like animal is found.  It is now recognised as one of those survivals of a bygone age of which the Australian continent has furnished so many and such interesting examples. The nearest allies of this animal appear to be some marine shrimps which come down to us as fairly common fossils in the sand deposited round the Permian and Carboniferous seas of Europe and North America: subsequent to this very remote period they do not seem to have existed in the seas, at any rate in the northern hemisphere, so that an enormous passage of the earth’s history has occurred between their peopling the northern seas and their survival on the mountain tops of Tasmania.

The Tasmanian Mountain Shrimp (Anaspides tasmaniae) is sometimes as much as two inches in length, of a brown colour, and walks about on the stones and among the weeds at the bottom of the pools, browsing on the mosses and liver-worts and any small creatures it can catch; it very rarely swims, but when frightened it darts forward by flicking its tail and takes cover under a stone.

In other parts of the world no trace of the animal’s survival has been discovered.

Goethe somewhere remarks that the most insignificant natural object is, as it were, a window through which we can look into infinity. And certainly when I first saw the Mountain Shrimp walking quietly about its crystal-clear habitation, as if nothing of any great consequence had happened since its ancestors walked in a sea peopled with great reptiles … time for me was annihilated and the imposing kingdom of man shrunk indeed to a little measure.”

The website http://www.anaspides.net/other/website_name_why.html believes “Anaspides tasmaniae has remained unchanged for 250 million years (Triassic Period): it is a living fossil. The first published record of Anaspides tasmaniae was made in 1893 from alpine pools on Mt. Wellington behind Hobart.”  More details about this discovery, and about the later involvement of the author of the book excerpt above, Geoffrey Smith, can be read at http://www.tasfieldnats.org.au/TasNaturalist/Articles/1967/TasNat_1967_No8_Feb_pp1-2_Hewer_AnaspidesTasmaniae.pdf

Alas

Regretfully I sit here at my computer at the time I had planned to leave home for Stage 7 of my walk along the Derwent River.  As promised the sky is mostly cloudy and, while I would have preferred a clear blue sky, clouds in themselves are not the problem.  The clouds are trying to be ordinary cumulus stacks but there is too much a sense of snow cloud around their edges, so I do not trust the day. The mountain (Mt Wellington) still has a covering of snow from yesterday’s storms and today’s winds blowing from there are icy.  Since quite a bit of today’s walk was over exposed roads, the thought of being blasted by the wind all day isn’t attractive. So … I expect Friday’s weather to be suitable and will try again then.  It’s such a shame. My lunch was made and bag packed. Nature wins!

 

Yearning to walk the next stage

For the past almost two weeks I have yearned to be out walking and discovering another length of the Derwent River. Unfortunately, when snow storms powdered the mountain (Mt Wellington) last week it was simply too cold and then some of the days when I was free to walk were overcast. I find that I continue to make my own rules about what should happen as and when I walk the Derwent River. The latest ‘rule’ is that I will not walk unless the sun is shining.  The reason is that I only want to take photographs to show you the land and the river in full sparkle. I only want to see it that way myself as I walk.

Again yesterday snow storms on the mountain brought the temperature low and the forecast is for rain to continue off and on until this Saturday, when not only will the day be dry but the sun will shine.   Come on Saturday!

Another thing I must consider is the availability of public transport because, as you know, my walks must be able to be reached and finished in touch with our local public transport system, the Hobart Metro buses. If you have a car to duplicate my walks then you are lucky. Not everyone has access to their own transport.  Weekend bus times are not nearly as frequent as during the weekdays.  For example, the Camelot Park bus that I need for travel on Stage 3 of the walk is around in that suburb every half an hour during the week but only once an hour at the weekends. Research and vigilance is always the key.

 

Stage 2 on 4/9/2014 Opossum Bay Email 3 of 14

The bus trip from the city to the starting point for today’s walk takes approximately 1 hour 10 minutes.

Stage 1 of my walk finished at the Opossum Bay shop so Stage 2 needed to start from there.

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By the way, it makes sense to alert the bus driver that you do not know the area you are travelling to, that you want to get off at the Opossum Bay shop, and that you would like him or her to stop and let you off when you reach your destination.  Our Metro drivers are very happy to provide this simple customer service.

When I alight from the bus at 9.10 am, what I see ahead is excitement. I watch the bus disappearing along the road and know that this is the direction I must take, however on different paths. From the Taroona TasMAP, I know the bus will not travel nearly as far as I will walk, so that once I have reached my destination of Gellibrand Point, I will need to retrace my steps to a bus stop.

I am unsure if I might find trails, and whether I might need to exert some pioneering spirit and discover a way. I don’t know who I will meet or where. I wonder what I will smell and what I will hear.  This promises to be a terrific adventure which will use all my senses. Stepping off into an unknown world.  And so I take the first step along the road (no footpaths) from the Opossum Bay shop.

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The sun is shining. Air is crisp. Nobody is out and about and walking around. Opossum Bay is peaceful and quiet except for the soft sounds of water lapping onto a beach in the distance.

100 metres along the roadway a sign points to public toilets which, after an hour on the bus, are a good place to visit. At the bottom of the attached carpark, a large placard indicates a tiny walkway down onto Opossum Bay foreshore.

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I was filled with awe when I stepped onto the pristine white sandy foreshore, and looked along at relaxed houses and shacks overlooking the edge of the beach. Not a soul to be seen.

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Mt Wellington and the western shore of Hobart across the Derwent River looked particularly special.

10 to 15 minutes later I had walked north along the length of the beach until confronted by a rocky headland that needed to be rounded before I could continue the walk.

Instead, I chose to climb the concrete stairs near the end of the beach that returned me up to the road.  I noted that the rocks were reasonably smooth and could easily be accessed, but as usual and not knowing which future obstacles might present themselves I decided on the more obvious route; all the time I remembering my return bus departed at 2.02 pm and that I needed to make sure I caught it (because the later one did not depart until 5.55 pm).

Shades of grey – how many?

Travelling to and from work, I routinely cross the Tasman Bridge, one of a number of bridges which span Hobart’s Derwent River. This morning, on the first day of Spring in the southern hemisphere, the air was clean and bright and eventually the temperature rose to a mild 18 degrees. In that peak rush hour on the roads, the Derwent featured a police boat speeding up the river, but otherwise all was quiet on that glittering watery surface. However, this afternoon the clouds moved over Mt Wellington and the world of the Derwent took on different colours.

 Yes it was raining as my city bus left the city for the eastern shore after work, however nothing unpleasant can be said about the glorious effect the lightly falling rain had on the landscape and the river.  The vista was outstandingly beautiful.

 As the rain melted onto the river, it patched the surface with the softest pale colours of grey-green jade. Delicate. So refined. The South Arm peninsula at the mouth of the river, blurred grey with a loose mesh of fine rain, barely remained visible as my bus crossed the Bridge. The sky was coloured with a combination of a softening yellowish charcoal grey and a light blowsy light beige grey. Collectively, the multi shades of grey were colourful. They embraced the river and the lands beyond.  Simply stunning. And I am lucky enough to live here!