Tag Archives: New Norfolk

Fields of Dreams

Under the subheading of Horns of Plenty in a local newspaper article, I read about the farmer of the Highland Cattle which I photographed during my walk from New Norfolk to Bushy Park.  By reading the article, I learnt how enterprising Bev Lynd has been, and how useful these cattle are to control the inroads of overwhelming vegetation.  I thought you might be interested in this information.

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My original post can be read at Woolly Long Horned Cattle.

Dunrobin Bridge over Meadowbank Lake

 

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Meadowbank Lake, a large spread of dammed water through which the Derwent River runs,  is located west of New Norfolk: an expanse of water which measures at least 15 kms in length.  Like many other dams and lakes on the Derwent, Meadowbank has been designed for electricity generation purposes.  The Meadowbank Power Station was commissioned in 1967. In a document The Power of Nature, Hydro Tasmania provides information about Meadowbank and the other electricity-generating lakes and stations across Tasmania.

The Dunrobin Bridge carries Dawson Road; a road which extends from the Lyell Highway, crosses Meadowbank Lake then continues on the western shore until it reaches Lake Repulse Dam.

The first Dunrobin Bridge over the Derwent River was built in the early 1850s. The National Library of Australia’s Trove repository of historic documents provides information from a 1910 copy of The Mercury newspaper: ‘Dunrobin Bridge was built over the Derwent, between the Ouse and Hamilton during the regime of Governor Denison. Governor Denison’s rule in Tasmania lasted from 1847 to 1855. It is a fine stone structure, and the cost is stated in the Legislative Council Journals of 1856 to have been £13,875. Its construction seems to have occupied six years, from 1850 to 1856. Dawson’s Road, which was named after the man who superintended its construction, went from Dunrobin Bridge…’ westwards.

In 1900, according to the blog Tasmanian Gothic , the bridge looked like:

Dunrobin Bridge

Dunrobin Bridge

The bridge was damaged during flooding in 1952 according to Linc Tasmania.

Dunrobin 1952

This site shows the remains of the bridge in 1963.

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Once the Meadowbank Dam was built, the gorge behind gradually filled with water. The remnants of the old Dunrobin Bridge apparently remain beneath the current Meadowbank Lake.  I cannot find when the new Dunrobin Bridge was built.  Anybody know the date?

The photos of Chantale, Michelle and I show the current bridge across the northern section of Meadowbank Lake.

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At ground level, the Dunrobin Bridge curves across the Lake in a stunning simple arc.

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As I walked in the vicinity, time and again I was almost overwhelmed by the beauty of the landscape.

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Brilliant bird’s eye view

Thankyou blog follower Ju.  Recently Ju connected me with a woman with a husband who has a Private Pilot’s Licence.  Once I made contact, Michelle and Dave were delighted to fly me in their four seater plane, a Cirrus SR20 which Michelle referred to as the BMW of the skies.

Today we flew.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Clean blue sky. Hardly a breeze.  The landscape rich and varied.  The Derwent River sparkled from start to finish.

The experience was stunningly magnificent.  I love words but I find it difficult to express my excitement, my pleasure, and the sheer joy of the flight in the depth which I felt.  There below me was the river I have come to love and know a little more. There below me were the tracks, paths, roads and landscape over which I have walked – and I laughed occasionally remembering certain experiences during my walks. There below me were logging tracks, dam roads, and fading vehicular pathways.  And then we were flying over impenetrable sections which may not be walkable.

We left Hobart airport and flew to Storm Bay by rounding the Iron Pot, then we followed the river upstream to the source. Dave flew on until we reached the northern most point of Lake St Clair. The return journey was equally as beautiful and engaging. The light had changed presenting us with a ‘new’ landscape.

Of the hundreds of photos taken by Michelle, friend Chantale and myself, I include a tiny selection here.

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The photo above taken by Michelle caught me totally preoccupied by the view.

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MIchelle’s photo above shows the Derwent River snaking around the Claremont Golf course with Cadbury’s Chocolate Manufacturing buildings in white to the left.

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The photo above shows a straight section of the Derwent River before the township of New Norfolk on the upper left.

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The photo above shows the Derwent River circling part of Reid’s cherry orchards.

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Chantale’s photo of the Pumphouse Point accommodation projecting into Lake St Clair, also shows the dam across the Derwent Basin where the water enters St Clair Lagoon.  The source of the Derwent River starts to the right of the photo.

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Michelle’s photo above shows part of sprawling Hobart set against the Derwent Harbour.

Those photos taken while flying over the river westwards of Gretna will be incorporated into the stories of my walks from Gretna onwards, in future posts.  From now on, you can expect both ground-based and aerial photos to enrich the stories.
I feel like the luckiest person in the world for the opportunity to travel in a smooth flying small plane, to see the Derwent River winding through the landscape in glorious blueness, and to be reminded Tasmania is a superb place. A truly wonderful and memorable day. Thankyou to all concerned.

Possible locations where the Derwent River can be ‘touched’

I have compiled a list of those locations where I believe, with a vehicle, it will be possible to ‘touch’ the Derwent River occasionally along its length between Gretna and Lake St Clair.  Please let me know if any section listed below takes your fancy and if you would be interested to try it out.

Almost all sections include driving on bitumen highway, gravel roads and poor tracks. Some of these may be forestry roads.  If you wish to volunteer to take me to one of these sections (let me know on walkingthederwent@gmail.com), please feel comfortable that your car can handle the different conditions.  Of course, common sense will prevail and we will never push on if a road is too rough for your vehicle and your peace of mind.

If you are happy to help me reach my goal, albeit differently than originally expected, I would like to fill up your tank with petrol as some compensation.  You know my ‘walking the Derwent’ is a non-commercial project, but since I do not own a car nor drive, I need transport – and therefore, I am happy to cover the cost.

  1. On eastern shore – From New Norfolk drive along the Lyell Highway and then, not far past Gretna’s Sports ground, take a left turn into Clarendon Road and drive to farmstead buildings about 250 metres from the river on a hill. Perhaps 140km return trip.
  2. On western shore – From New Norfolk drive along Glenora Road, and turn left at Bushy Park then right onto Meadowbank Road over the Tyenna River then next to Derwent, then on over Meadowbank Creek to a hill top with buildings. It may be possible to continue quite a way on this road. Minimum 130 and maybe up to 160kms return trip
  3. On eastern shore – From New Norfolk drive along the Lyell Highway and turn left off the Highway onto Meadowbank Dam Road. Continue to dam and southern end of Meadowbank Lake. At least 170 kms for round trip.
  4. On western shore – Travel from New Norfolk and turn left into Gordon River Road at Bushy Park, then turn right off Gordon River Rd into Ellendale Rd and then right onto Rockmount Road before you reach the township of Ellendale. There seem to be many dirt forestry tracks to Meadowbank Lake. At least 170kms return trip and maybe 200kms return or more depending on roads.
  5. On western shore – Travel from New Norfolk and turn left into Gordon River Road at Bushy Park, then turn right off Gordon River Rd into Ellendale Rd and drive on through the township of Ellendale until you reach Dawson Rd / Dunrobin bridge over Meadowbank Lake. Turn left before bridge and it seems we can drive 2kms further up along the Lake edge. Return to Ellendale Road, cross bridge and connect with the Lyell Highway. At least 170kms return trip and maybe 200kms return or more depending on roads.
  6. On eastern shore – From New Norfolk drive up Lyell Highway and continue past the left turn off to Dunrobin bridge and afterwards and to the left there are a number of dirt tracks seemingly without gates. After a while these tracks/roads only extend to the Ouse River and not the Derwent River so map consultation is crucial. At least 180kms return and maybe over 200kms return depending on how many side roads/tracks can be driven along.
  7. On eastern shore – Drive up Lyell Highway past Ouse then turn left at Lake Repulse Road. Continue to intersection with Cluny Lagoon Road and turn left and go to Cluny Dam. Return to intersection and continue on Lake Repulse Road to the Repulse Dam. Can cross a bridge and continue back south around Cluny Lagoon to a ‘settlement’ named Cluny.  Perhaps could access this road from the Ellendale Rd on the western shore? By driving north from Repulse Dam along Dawson Road/then renamed Thunderbolt Road it seems we can take right hand detours to Lake Repulse. Over 200kms maybe 250kms or more minimum round trip.
  8. On eastern shore – Drive up Lyell Highway past Ouse, over the Dee River until the sign appears for a left turn at Catagunya Road. Drive down to Catagunya Dam. 200kms minimum return trip
  9. On eastern shore – Drive up Lyell Highway past Ouse, over the Dee River, past Black Bobs and turn left at Long Spur Road. This runs around Wayatinah Lagoon. Go past the intersection to Wayatinah Dam, turn left and travel to Wayatinah Power Station on Lake Catagunya. Return to intersection and turn left and travel to Wayatinah Dam. Cross bridge and continue on to Wayatinah township. Access dirt tracks in the vicinity of all. Drive south from the Wayatinah Dam on the western shore along the Florentine Road but don’t bother crossing the Florentine River because the road goes inland away from the river. Minimum of 230kms but most likely  at least 300kms round trip.
  10. On eastern shore – Drive up Lyell Highway and when you reach a canal passing under the road, and where the road turns right to go to Tarraleah, go straight ahead on Butlers Gorge Road. Note there are limited roads off and around going closer to the river near that intersection. Continue along Butlers Gorge Road for 10-15 kms heading for Lake King William. Reach Clark Dam and Power Station. Continue onto Switchback Track along side of Lake King William. This track stops and you have to return the same way – swamp separates you from the track north about 500 metres away. This would be a big day and I suggest take overnight accommodation at Tarraleah before setting out. PERHAPS it is possible to walk across the swamp and then walk about 7 kms to Derwent Bridge. Unknown over 300 kms return trip.
  11. On eastern shore – Drive up Lyell Highway to Derwent Bridge and continue past to left hand turn off on the western side of Lake King William and drive the track to the lake. 360 kms return trip minimum.
  12. On eastern shore – Drive up Lyell Highway to Derwent Bridge. Walk from the bridge over the Derwent River near the township of Derwent Bridge to St Clair Dam at the bottom of Lake St Clair Lagoon where the Derwent River starts. Walk to Pump House Point and St Clair Weir at the southern end of the Derwent Basin. 350kms return trip minimum.

 

Postscript on Stage 15’s walk from New Norfolk to Gretna

Throughout my project to walk from the mouth to the source of the Derwent River, I have been urging readers to walk some or all of the stages I have undertaken just for the pleasure of it. But I cannot do so for Stage 15. I cannot recommend that you follow in my footsteps and take this walk from New Norfolk to Gretna.  I cannot suggest you walk on private property without permission.  I cannot encourage you to walk on the narrow roads with speeding drivers where no pedestrian access has been provided.

I am so sorry to say that, if some of my recent posts inspired you to put on your walking boots and tackle the roads and paths and tracks, you must take them off.  I must only recommend you access a car and drive the road route for Stage 15.  It will mean you will miss out on seeing the black velvet ears of cattle in the moonlight, hearing the river ripping along towards Hobart, meeting those who move cattle or wheelie bins, and enjoying the smell of fresh air.  It will mean you will pass some of my favoured finds so quickly that, in a blink, you miss them altogether.  However, you may not grind your teeth in frustration that access to the Derwent River is denied you so often, you may not get run over, and you may not be shot by a gun toting land owner.

Take care.

Unpredictable water levels

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This sign is located near Rayners Corner beside Glenora Road on route to Bushy Park.

Years ago a friend and I drove up along the Lyell Highway, and then took a track down to the river somewhere between New Norfolk and Gretna.

We walked across a gravel bed to a rocky scrubby clump edging the water.  For a couple of hours we sat on the river side with our feet swinging above the glossy glassy black racing water of the Derwent River, lulled by the sun. I remember the clear reflections of the dense vegetation on the other side of the river. It was a joy to see fish rising to grab an insect that had been flitting near the water surface. Clouds began to pile up in the distance and around that time I looked down and realised the water was nearly touching my feet. The river’s water level was rising. We clambered back to the other side of this outcrop and discovered, to our horror, a swirling and dramatic pour of water separated us from the river bank. In recent blog postings I have mentioned the speed with which the Derwent River travels towards the sea. That day was my first experience of its dangerous fast moving flows.

The river was rising as we watched. We were stranded on an island and we didn’t know how much water had been released upstream. This meant we didn’t know whether the island would become submerged. Within seconds we knew we had to try our luck and get back to land.

Quickly we cast our eyes around for a couple of suitable branches that could act as walking sticks, as balancing poles, so we could cross the raging torrent.  Each of us started the crossing with a balancing stick. I remember stepping into that cold water and finding how uneven the ground was. It was not a simple gravel bed rather I was trying to walk on irregular sized rocks that rolled when I was pushed onto them by the force of the water. I remember that it was important to tread slowly and to lean my body at an angle towards upstream to counteract the pressure to send me downstream.

When I started the crossing the water level was at the top of my thighs. The distance wasn’t far but the water reached around my waist and splashed higher as I approached the safety of the river bank.  Once out of the water, we felt exhilarated.  But we both knew the danger we had been in.  And similar signs to the one in the photograph above were not around.  Situations like this remind me of the powerful importance of local knowledge.

Linden

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The name Linden is used to name streets, roads and courts in the Derwent Valley and elsewhere across Tasmania perhaps as a marker of someone with that surname who made an impact on the community in the past. But I could not find a Linden family history, or any other historical reason to justify the naming of the property I passed at approximately 5 kilometres west of New Norfolk.

Perhaps the naming was related to Linden trees native to England from where an early property owner may have travelled.  I cannot recognise this tree so I cannot say whether the trees on the property were lindens.

Alternatively, does Elena Gover’s account in Tasmania through Russian eyes (Nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) create another possibility? Was this property named after crew member Lieutenant Vilgelm Andreevich Linden of the Russian corvette Boyerin which arrived in Hobart in 1870 at a time of goodwill in terms of Australia-Russia relations? Linden wrote notes and collected extensive information about many aspects of Tasmania. ‘As well as chapters on geography, he made an analysis of the aftermath of transportation on the economic development of the island. Linden collected interesting information about the government and electoral system of Tasmania, and of the system of land allocation which allowed an influx of free settlers…

I did not walk down the driveway so I did not see existing residences at Linden. Apparently ‘Bryn Estyn’ homestead was built on the property in the 1840s, and named after the family home of new settler Lieutenant Henry Lloyd who had relocated from Wales. The State Library of Tasmania holds a photograph of the building:

Bryn Estyn

You may recall an earlier posting showed the Water Treatment Plant named ‘Bryn Estyn’. I can only assume the original land grants for Lloyd included the acres for the Treatment Plant.

A sandstone quarry on the property was the centre of attention when the building of Tasmania’s High Court in Hobart was being planned. Back in 1982, when A. A. Ashbolt owned the mineral lease, the quarry on the Linden property was surveyed to determine whether sufficient stone of ‘acceptable quality’ existed that would be suitable for cladding the new Court. Previously this stone was used on the Supreme Court of Tasmania. The stone was found to have been laid down in the Triassic period (about 3 million years ago), a time when the early dinosaurs were roaming the earth.

I suspect the property, marked with Linden at the entrance, is now known as Ashbolt Farm. The farm specialises in producing products from elderflower and olive trees and additional information is located here.  I wish I had known about this property prior to walking because I would have made arrangements to visit and enjoy a cup of hot elderberry tea.  When I passed this property last Thursday, there was no sign of life and no welcome sign posted.

Immediately past and in the vicinity of the property ‘Linden’, the racing Derwent River was visible from the road.

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