Tag Archives: Nystar

Either side of Bowen bridge – posting 5 of 9

Once under the Bowen Bridge I could see a track continued in the easterly direction, and skirted around the bottom of Technopark.

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100 metres along this track I spotted the only sign of bureaucracy.

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I imagined I might surprise a fisherman at the end of the track or detect one who had made his or her way from the track to the water’s edge and was partially hidden by the bush. But I never did. I never saw anyone.

As I continued walking I spotted the township of Risdon across the river.

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And then the large industrial plant of Nystar came into view.

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Most prominently, the gaping ‘mouths’ of the  boat building company INCAT stood across the inlet of the Derwent River (Prince of Wales Bay) from Dowsing Point.

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Fossil Cove Road T junction with the Tinderbox Road

Close to 9.30am I reached the left hand turn of Fossil Cove Road.

My final decision to proceed to Pearsons Point was made at that juncture.  My reason for wanting to walk to Fossil Cove is that it is on the Derwent River and I would be able to appreciate another part of the River’s western shoreline.  By my reckoning, and never having been down the road to check the situation, I believed the return walk would cover 3-4 kilometres and include steep hills. I thought that if my feet were holding up after I reached Pearsons Point and had returned back to this road then I could finish off the day’s Stage with a walk to see the fossils.  Alas … my feet were not ready for this on the return trip (I still had the walk from there back to a Blackmans Bay bus stop to consider) so I will visit another day to make this deviation from Tinderbox Road.

Including this future walk, I count three additional walks I have promised to do, in order to cover a little more of the Derwent River shoreline. I will return to the area between GASP (Glenorchy Arts and Sculpture Park) and Goodwood on the other side of the Bowen Bridge.  I will find out if I can make special arrangements to visit the industrial property of Nystar which sits against a significant length of the Derwent River.  And finally I will return to walk to the fossils at the end of a track at the end of a road off Tinderbox Road.  Most likely these walks will be undertaken on good weather days in winter when walking inland towards Lake St Clair is impossible because of extreme weather conditions.

Goodwood. Not sure about the ‘good’.

After walking across Goodwood Road (on Stage 10 of my walk along the Derwent River) which extends from the Bowen Bridge at one end to Glenorchy suburbs at the other, I was puzzled by a sign on one corner indicating behind it was a Model Park.  There were no trees. What sort of park was this? It seems this is a place for big boys to play with their model cars etc.  Special tracks were clustered in different parts of the ‘park’.

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Not much further along the road to the left (Innovation Drive –someone gave this name a lot of thought and presumably smirked in satisfaction) was signed as the entry to Tasmania’s hopes for technological innovation, Tasmanian Technopark.

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The Technopark was the brainchild of a government minister and his public service department around 2000. A small amount of information can be read at http://www.stategrowth.tas.gov.au/home/about_us/tasmanian_technopark. A federal government website has a whisper of additional information at http://www.australiangovernmentgrants.org/TASMANIAN-TECHNOPARK.php. I am surprised that there is no easily googled publicity about the achievements of this program. Can Tasmania ever equal the cut and thrust of innovation coming out of other small or remote places like Singapore, Finland, Iceland, etc?  What are we doing right and what could be done better to achieve successes?  Who knows? I couldn’t find any such information on the internet.

In the absence of any clear way to walk around the Derwent River edge of Dowsing Point, on which the Technopark is located, I thought it best to leave that exploration for another day and to continue along Howard Road.

Goodwood, in my experience, turned out to be the dog poo suburb of the Greater Hobart Area.  Excrement was everywhere in perfect form or squashed on the pavements, or the various colours dotted grassy verges.  I didn’t waste time on photography for which I am sure you are thankful – the choices were too great!

Firstly I turned left into Negara Crescent which was a street combining mean, low level, paint-flaking, unmown lawns, weed infested residential properties (okay – well not all were, but many were) with light industry such as Linen Services Tasmania, boat works, Anchor Wet Suits, Towbar and Crash bar repairs, fishing supplies, and a large unnamed workshop building emitting unpleasant chemical smells. Those houses which had Derwent River frontage sometimes had escaped overgrown blackberry infestations blocking river access in their back yards. There wasn’t a sense of wanting to live caringly or beautifully here. Accessing the River is impossible without entering private land around this locality. The built-in nature of some parts can be seen on the sign for a block of land that has been sold.

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By 9.45am I was joining back onto Howard Road. I walked on past bus stop 34, and the nearby Take Away Food shop and reached the Giblin Reserve around 9.50am. Photos of the surrounds are as follows:

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I sat for a while in the Reserve, watching a man in his car eating his take away meal, and taking in the surroundings.  This was a part of Prince of Wales Bay.

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In the distance I watched the steam/smoke pouring from the zinc works of Nystar, a large industry owning considerable property along the Derwent River a little south from where I sat for a while and soaked in the atmosphere.

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Once I continued walking southwards around the Bay, I passed a kid’s playground, BBQ area, public toilets and ducks quacking.  When stymied by lack of water access around 10.05am, I walked up onto Gepp Parade and walked past a tree laden with not yet ripe nectarines, and later a row of junky looking boathouses. I wondered who wouldn’t be interested in removing their half sunk boat.

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Eventually, through the bitumen path, weeds began to multiply then suddenly this ‘formal’ path stopped and an occasionally trodden pathway through the weeds was all I had to continue on.

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I couldn’t help thinking that wherever a local government area is almost at the end of one and near the start of another area, there is more rubbish not collected and the general appearance of places is rather shabby. This has been the case on earlier stages of my walk, and now as I was at the extremity of the City of Glenorchy and coming closer to the City of Hobart boundary, the amount of visible rubbish and untidiness was escalating.

However, looking out over the water of the Bay (and if I tried not to study the weedy edges with their coloured flotsam and jetsam) to Mt Direction on the other side of the Derwent River, presented me with an attractive view.

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When I could get back down onto a weedy area, I followed man-made tracks and continued almost to the Sewage Treatment Farm (which I could see had wired fencing into the water that barred my continuous shore access) then headed up through the trees and onto a disused railway line. I crossed this, climbed a weedy rise spattered with rubbish, clambered over a metal guard rail and stood on Derwent Park Road which is the main road to Nystar and other industry located by the River. It was 10.25am when I reached this point. I had been plodding along for almost three hours.

Trekking around Windermere Bay

After leaving the Cadbury’s factory I wandered down the hill with brolly up mostly choosing the pathways left of Cadbury Road that were closest to the River. Occasionally there were single file tracks that descended to the River but I preferred to continue in the direction of the open and exposed Windermere Park. As I descended onto the flatter lowlands I had my first resight, since walking on the eastern shore, of the Bowen Bridge further south. In the distance I could see the tops of buildings that are part of the Nystar industry on the western shore opposite Risdon. Soon after arrival on the low parkland around 1.45pm, I walked past a fenced area designated as Windermere’s Passive Stormwater Treatment Wetland – this was attractively landscaped and so I thought it was a shame the fence was so ordinary by comparison. Black swans paraded across the blown waters of Windermere Bay. A new war memorial was in the process of construction.

Further across the lowlands, duckboard paths meandered over the water logged mud and water grasses. Finally I reached the impassable Faulkners Rivulet, a tiny stream with water from the mountains. Clearly others had rock hopped across the Rivulet but the rocks were slippery with green mosses and I was not prepared to slip, get wet and maybe sprain a body part. Instead, I walked up to the Main Road and was able to cross a 19th century simple but handsome sandstone bridge.

Sandstone Bridge Windermere Bay

I looked back across Windermere Bay to the white edifice of Cadbury on the slight rise in the distance.

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Not far along the Main Road from the bridge, I turned left at Windermere Beach Road at 2.07pm. Walking down this suburban street I was constantly amused by the free roaming ducks that were making a temporary home in various front yards, or simply taking a walk along the street. (I remember a house in which I lived in Darwin had ducks on the property, and their disturbing inclination to do their green business on the front door step. I wondered if these ducks had similar bad habits.) I smiled when one street was signposted Teal Street. Ducks were everywhere.

Something new. At the T junction of this road with Curlew Parade, the green shapes on the street corners between slabs of concrete pathway, out of which grew trees, was noticeably even and weed free. Artificial grass turf. I wondered if the City of Glenorchy Council had installed it or whether a frustrated local resident had paid for it. Looking around, straggling weeds and grasses was the norm for the public areas along these streets. I found the fake lawn to be highly attractive.

By 2.15pm I reached the Knights Point Reserve with sombre heavy clouds indicating major rain was on its way. The drops on my umbrella were the start of something stronger to come.

The track continued along behind Windermere Beach before trailing around a headland southwards.

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From Risdon Cove walking towards Otago Bay along the Derwent River- part of the 7th stage of my walk

For safety’s sake I continued walking along on the Derwent River side rather than on the road side of the guard rail, although there were moments when the edge fell away and so I was forced temporarily back onto the road. This stage certainly would not be one that someone using crutches or a wheel chair could follow. There were no official paths and so I made do with whatever I could in terms of a suitable walking path.

I enjoyed this part of the walk observing more black swans in pairs and families of ducklings out for a paddle.  At the end of the bay of Risdon Cove, I exchanged friendly greetings with a couple of woman who were selling bunches of colourful flowers from the boot of their car on a set back on the other side of the road.

I continued up an incline still on the ‘safe’ side of the railing amidst blown and thrown rubbish, tall weeds, and native grasses.  Whispering casuarina trees separated me from the River. Clearly people have walked here before but it is a rough ‘non-path’.

At 9.54am I reached the turn off signposted to Bridgewater, began the left hand walk downhill, and passed the furry remains of dead possums (unfortunately ex- road-kill).  To my right, on the other side of the road, the 19th century heritage listed Cleburne Homestead and its scatter of old sandstone buildings popped occasionally into view through large trees and bushes.  The Homestead operates as a luxury bed and breakfast art hotel style establishment (http://www.visitcleburne.com.au/).

The photo below shows the Cleburne Spit which inserts itself into the Derwent River, with the Bowen Bridge crossing the River in the distance.

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At 10am I arrived at the junction road leading left to the Cleburne Spit. The Spit looked very much like a man made raised wall approximately one or two car widths wide that extends out in a straight line into the Derwent River.  Perhaps it was a series of rocks that once could be walked upon and then someone dropped filling rocks to create a breakwater to fish from or some other activity. I wonder what the real story is. My guess is that the Spit was named after 19th century settler Richard Cleburne.  He was an interesting character who had a property in the area and was suspected of smuggling. Did the Spit figure in such illegal activities I wonder? More information about Richard can be read at http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/cleburne-richard-1903.

My view across the Derwent took in the noisy Nystar works previously seen and heard on Stage 6 of the walk.  Immediately next to Nystar and further north, I could see another major industrial site: Incat, a manufacturer of very large catamarans.  In the photo below, a massive white structure has two dark ends. Inside each of these spaces, a new catamaran is being built – usually for an overseas market.

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The East Derwent Highway curved in a sweeping right-hand bend from its junction with the road to Cleburne Spit. I walked straight ahead to the River and then curved around to the right keeping parallel with the Highway.  Amidst discarded rubbish, straggling weeds and under the casuarina trees I discovered two plaques: one commemorating the beginning of the building of the nearby Bowen Bridge and the second marking the official opening ceremony of the Bridge. On both occasions an Australian Prime Minister was given the honoured task. Two very strong and formidable men: Malcolm Fraser began the bridge and Bob Hawke opened the bridge.

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I followed a short bitumen pathway and stood underneath the Bowen Bridge a few minutes after 10am. Eventually I walked beside the guard rail and, depending on the safety of the ‘non-path’, I walked on one side or the other.  Sometimes there was a sandy rough drop to the water below, and sometimes I was walking next to the River at ‘sea level’.

By 10.07am I reached the sign indicating I had moved from the Risdon area into the Otago Bay suburb.  At 10.11am another sign gave me advance warning that Otago Bay Road was up ahead.

In a pull-off-the-road siding, a middle aged man wearing clean moleskin trousers and a sporting peaked cap advertised new season South Arm Pink Eye potatoes. The back of his truck was open and he sold his vegetables to people who, once their cars had skidded to a halt on the gravelly surface, climbed out of their vehicles for a stretch and then a leisurely meander over to check the goods. There was something slightly furtive about the way he wouldn’t meet my eyes which left me wondering why.

The photo below looks southward towards the Bowen Bridge. One of the vehicles in the distance on the right is the truck selling the potatoes.

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At 10.18am I turned left off the East Derwent Highway onto Otago Bay Road.  The sound of traffic in the distance as it poured along the Highway, and the way the wind boxed my ears, meant it was difficult to hear cars coming behind me. Constantly I was watching my back as I walked along non-existent road verges.  I did not discover a safer path for this part of the walk.

Earlier, near the Cleburne Spit, I had exchanged brief friendly words with a woman walking southwards with her dog.  When she caught up with me on her northward return journey, we found we had a great deal in common and spent some time walking together towards Otago Bay.

On through the East Risdon State Reserve along the Derwent River

Mostly I noticed the absence of birds (except for a pair of huge glossy Black Currawongs) in the motionless dry sclerophyll forests – was it the buzz of the electricity from the pylons, was it the relative lack of shelter or was it the heating day which might have sent the birds to the shady valleys? The only sound was the relentlessly growling and metallic-sawing industrial sound piercing the air from Nystar over the River. A constant.

At 11.45am, although I saw a tiny track heading towards the River, I continued uphill on the main trail with a Kookaburra laughing at me somewhere in the distance, and tiny moths flitting around my feet camouflaged to the ochre-brown-grey earth but noticeable for their motion. A tiny black jumping spider looked like a small glossy beetle when it landed and stayed still.

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I pondered whether I should have made my own way along closer to the shore by ‘bush bashing’.  The vegetation was sufficiently open to have made this easy enough, however it would still have slowed me down, and since I didn’t know the end game (the time it would take to get to the bus stop), I chose to stay on the main track.  Even when the path split (at 11.50 am)with a red ribbon hanging on a tree to indicate this was a reliable alternative, I chose to stay on the main right hand path. With hindsight the left path may have given me a shorter route to Risdon – but I don’t know.

At midday the road split again.  This time, as a Black Currawong flew overhead with its wonderful tail edging of white (made me think of the black and white dress Audrey Hepburn wore to Ascot in the movie My Fair Lady), I chose the left hand route.  Small clusters of pink native flowers, with fragile connections to nurturing soil, presented posies left and right. Perfection.

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This track dipped downhill to the left soon after, as I could see large water tanks on the hill to my right.  Almost no undergrowth. Evidence of past bush fires through part of the forest.

In the valley, lots of different wild flowers bloomed offering me a visual gift.

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At 12.10 and through the trees, I caught a glimpse of Risdon suburban houses but it was still a long while before I reached the suburb – obviously I missed tracks which could have taken me down more quickly, and instead I took the longer route, Shady. More bird song. Clean fresh smells. A vine entangling other plants with a delicate lilac-blue flower. Scenic it was and I have no regrets.

At 12.23 I took the left of a new split in the road and continued downhill. Lines of cobwebs occasionally floated across my arms and face indicating no-one else had walked here since the spider had swung across the path.

By 12.30 I reached a fenced enclosure for a water storage tank, the East Risdon Reservoir. I chose the road curving downhill on the left amidst a fresh burnt smell from the blackened bush on my right.  At the time I thought it smelt like a cup of tea freshly made – but perhaps that was wishful thinking. Three minutes later I reached a locked bar gate preventing road traffic entry but with an easy walk around. Now I passed houses on my right as I walked the length of Risdon Street down to the Derwent River.

In Risdon at the T junction with Saundersons Road which edges the River, I stood and watched a fisherman in his lunch break, felt overwhelmed by the extent of Nystar opposite, noticed INCAT’s shipyard on Prince of Wales Bay a little further north on the western side, listened to the pervasive roar from industry on the other side of the River, and wondered if I my feet would take me further.

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In the distance southwards I could see the Tasman Bridge.

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Along the northern side of Shag Bay and onwards along the Derwent River

I used the mini bridge to cross the tiny creek feeding into Shag Bay and began immediately to take the walking track uphill on the northern side.  From here on I was not particularly confident about the clarity of tracks or, in fact, whether there would be tracks. I was pleased to discover that many tracks existed and as I long as I kept the Derwent River on my left, I couldn’t get lost – even if I did not know at what part of the suburb of Risdon I would arrive (‘all roads lead to Rome’ even if entry is by a different gate).

On the way up the first hill I had stopped for a view and a swig of water. During that time I surprised a dog that came around the corner behind me with her mistress. They both stopped in their tracks.  She told me that in all the dozens of times she has walked this track, she has never seen anyone on it.  Peace and solitude. Yet only a dozen or so kilometres from the heart of a city.  A capital city.

The photo below through a wooded landscape extends a view southwards to the Derwent River with the MONA ferry coming my way.  At this point, I was as high as the uppermost part of the Tasman Bridge located closer to the mouth of the River.

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Around me eucalyptus gum nut shells lay on the ground exuding a clean fresh perfume (think of May Gibbs’ hats on the gumnut babies Snugglepot and Cuddlepie – Tales of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie: their adventures wonderful was first published in 1918.).  Not long afterwards, the track passed through a copse of self-seeding wattle trees: I know some varieties are considered to be weeds in certain parts of Australia and I suspect this collection of specimens may be ‘weeds’.  The problem is that it grows quickly and blocks out the opportunity for other trees to survive. Monocultures are death to the natural landscape.

At the top and moving along parallel to the Derwent River, I was on top of the Bedlam Walls.  Various unofficial tracks disappeared over the cliff but I stayed on the main path. My reasoning was that I had an infrequent bus service to connect with at Risdon Cove and I was not sure how long it would take to reach there.  The downside was that I missed experiencing the actual walls and their walkways and caves. I would have liked to have seen the following (https://www.flickr.com/photos/bleeter/7266025800/), but I must return for a closer inspection.

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Along the top I was afforded detailed views of the western shore and especially of the smelting works, Nystar as shown below.

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It is now obvious to me that when I walk south along the western shore of the Derwent I will not be able to be close to the river edge when I pass this massive Nystar industry covering many acres of land. I reached a major electricity pylon around 11.20am and watched its wires swing across the river to the power hungry industry (these wires are just visible in the photo above). Looking southwards and across the River from the top of Bedlam Walls, I could see Mount Wellington overshadowing Cornelian Bay and the Newtown suburb of Hobart.

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My track moved inland and parallel to the electricity pylons. After 5 minutes the track split and I turned left. It came to an end with a rough worker’s seating area in view of the Bowen Bridge crossing the Derwent River further north.  The cliff seemed to drop away and I judged that a slippery slide down might not be a good idea with no one else around if something should go wrong.  Later in the day when I was much further north, I was able to look back to the pylon and see I really should have braved it down the hill and kept closer to the water. But then again it might be safer to walk south and climb that hill rather than slip down it heading northwards. By 11.35am I had walked back to the divide with the original clear but rough 4WD track and chose the other arm along the pylons.