Tag Archives: Pearson’s Point

Help is on its way

Tasmania is fortunate to have excellent emergency services so that when you need help, ambulances, fire trucks, police, and special emergency services (SES) come to your aid.  Sometimes this involves boats and sometimes this involves helicopters. In a local newspaper article earlier this week, the Westpac Rescue helicopter collected people from five locations. Two of these are connected with the Derwent River.

One person fell down a cliff at Pearsons Point, the location which,in my estimation represents the western mouth of the Derwent.  Long term readers of this blog may recall my photographs from this location – high up and looking out and across to Bruny Island. When I walked there, I remember making the decision not to try and clamber down the cliff.  Reading this news story now makes me glad that I resisted the opportunity to get closer to the water.

The article reported another person was rescued from somewhere near Lake St Clair, and the source of the Derwent River is that Lake.

It does not matter where you are, if you can signal for help (don’t forget your Personal Locator Beacon) then Tasmania’s rescue services will reach you.

The sheen on Shene

No.  The historic Shene property is not reflected in the Derwent River. Nevertheless it shines bright in my memory for the number of stunningly well restored and conserved 19th century sandstone buildings.

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The Shene Estate, located just north of Pontville, covers many acres only a few kilometres inland from Bridgewater which sits on the Derwent River.  A few months ago a brilliant photographer, one of my blog followers, presented a set of images that stopped me in my tracks (pun not intended) – have a look.

When I visited last Friday, one of the owners, Anne Kernke enthralled me with the history of the property. Long term blog readers know that I get excited by many things and where possible I try and make a connection with the Derwent River, simply because I want to write a record.  I was on high alert the moment Anne mentioned the Derwent.  When she said that one of the key family members died near Pearson’s Point which is the location where I suggest the mouth of the river is located on the western shore, I knew I had reason to create a post.

Edward Paine/Payne emigrated to Van Diemens Land in 1820 and his eldest daughter married Gamaliel Butler who established the Shene estate. Unfortunately Edward drowned when travelling in a small boat with others because a boatman went “to the mast-head, which a small boat would not bear”. The boat capsized and it seems Edward could not swim. Anne Kernke has provided the following information: “an ill-fated boat trip to North West Bay, where Paine was looking for land to purchase.[1] The Hobart Town Gazette gave a very detailed account of the day’s tragic events:

It falls to our painful lot to record one of the most distressing and melancholy accidents which has ever occurred in this Settlement. On Saturday afternoon last, Mr. Edward Payne (who arrived recently in the ‘Deveron’), Mr Wickham Whitchurch, Mr James Kay, and Mr George Read, Superintendent of Government carpenters, left the port in a boat with three men to go to North-west Bay. On their way, they put into Tinder-box Bay, about 10 o’clock at night; but not finding the landing good, they determined to go on to the Government huts at North West Bay. When the boat had got about 300 yards, from the shore, the halyards being jammed in the mast-head, one of the boatmen went up to clear them, and in an instant the boat overset. With difficulty, and by the assistance of a Government boat which was in the bay, all were saved but Mr. Payne and Mr. Read. There was scarcely any wind or swell at the time; and this unhappy accident was caused solely by the man going to the mast-head, which a small boat would not bear. Mr. Whitchurch is an expert swimmer, and knowing that Mr. Kay could not swim, laid hold of him, and conveyed him within 50 yards of the shore, but from extreme weakness, was compelled to leave him for his own preservation. Mr Kay, although he never swam before, struggled through a thick bed of sea-kelp in deep water, and made the shore. Mr W. in the meantime floated on his back to recover his strength, until the Government boat came to their help.

Late on Sunday evening, accounts of the melancholy event reached Hobart Town; and upon its general circulation on Monday morning, it occasioned a sensation of feeling and regret proportioned to the estimation in which the unfortunate sufferers were held, and the loss inflicted by their sudden and premature fate. The body of Mr. Payne was found on Sunday, near the place where the boat overset. A Coroner’s Inquest on Tuesday gave a verdict of Drowned by Accident.’[2]

1]Journal of Peter Harrison, 1822, Royal Society of Tasmania, p.40 (typed copy)

[2] Hobart Town Gazette, 13 July 1822, p.2

On the following day, the distraught Mrs Paine was visited by the Reverend Robert Knopwood, who spent the evening trying to console her for her loss. Several days later, Knopwood conducted Paine’s burial service at the Hobart Town Cemetery (now St. David’s Park) on the 6th July 1822. The headstone was removed when the old cemetery was converted to the present day park.”  St David’s Park is in the Salamanca precinct which sits by the Derwent River at the edge of Hobart’s CBD.

Currently, to help support the expensive and meticulous restoration work across the Shene property, the owners provide guided tours by appointment, keep polo horses and will soon have competitions (the Hobart Polo Club now call Shene home and they use the 1851 stables as their clubhouse), they operate a distillery making a filtered and an unfiltered smooth tasting Gin, and much much more. More information can be read on the Shene website.

Internet records of measurements may be dodgy

Since my last post, some readers found Google has revealed the length of the Derwent River.  It gives the number of 249km without any indication of where that number was found or how it was calculated. Immediately below this information box are two listings both giving alternative conflicting distances.

My measurement of 214kms was from an arbitrary line between Cape Direction and Pearsons Point to mark the mouth of the Derwent River, and I stopped at the point where the river starts from the southern end of the Lake St Clair Lagoon.

I have noticed that one source indicates the measurement ought to be taken from the point where Lake St Clair meets the Lake St Clair Lagoon.  I have found another source which seems to indicate the mouth might be where Storm Bay meets the sea.  Even if the length of the Lagoon and the width of Storm Bay were added to my 214km, the Google number would not be reached.  I have asked Google to identify its sources because I cannot believe their number can be accurate. Unfortunately, I have not received any feedback.

STOP PRESS – JUST DISCOVERED THE AUTHORITATIVE LENGTH IS 215KMS.  Read my new November 2015 post.

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.

The land begins to open, making possible expansive views across the Derwent River.

Every so often, along Tinderbox Road, a cluster of a few properties on 5 acres or so of land each would appear after a kilometre or so of the densely bush environment.

The closer I walked to Pearsons Point the more likely that Tinderbox Road was close to the River or I could see more of the River.  Around 10.20am, while on a long and winding road (on which I considered breaking out into one of the Beatles favourite songs) which undulated so that I was walking uphill then downhill seemingly repeating this process ad nauseum, I was stopped by the beauty of a rose bush in its glorious rose hips stage. I took photographs at that point and in a number of roadside places in the following kilometres.

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In the distance after climbing one hill, I looked back northwards to Lucas Point behind the steep rock edged bay of ‘Fishermans Haul’ (see photo below).

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In the photo above, the far distant hill on the left is the Alum Cliffs between Taroona and Kingston.  It gives you an idea of the distance covered in these walks.  The other land is on the eastern shore of the Derwent River.

A little further along I was looking down on a disused farmhouse at what I believe was Passage Point.  The photo below shows (green plastic protective shelters around new plants) new trees have been planted in the paddock. I saw such revegetation practices on a number of properties throughout the day.

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Another photo looks across the Derwent River to the southern tip of the South Arm peninsula. The glistening white buildings are those of the Fort Direction defence services complex which I passed through on Stage 1 of my walk along the Derwent River.

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Through the trees the Derwent River was ever present on my left then later on my right

The Derwent River flowed on my left when I headed southwards to Pearsons Point, and on my right when I returned northwards to Blackmans Bay.

On occasion I could look down the slippery gravel drop offs:

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From time to time, surprised wallabies crashed away through the bush.  I never knew whether I was more surprised than the wallaby.  I watched wild hens roaming cleared paddocks.  I listened to all manner of froggy sounds emanating from dammed creeks. The occasional cyclist, with tyres whispering along the gravelled bitumen, passed me unexpectedly. These road bikes were always ridden by women and we exchanged brief hellos.

A few vineyards under netting were located on hill sides without afternoon sun – what does that do to the flavour of wine?  Okay – all the sommeliers and expert wine tasters out there.  What sort of wine would you expect to be produced in a cool winter and warm summer climate with the grapes mostly only seeing the morning sun in the summer? Google maps show the ‘street view’ of one vineyard at Bellendena: https://www.google.com.au/maps/place/Bellendena/@-43.037425,147.335291,3a,75y,13.59h,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sGy5X1ubwdRkyt-93Gur9Sw!2e0!4m7!1m4!3m3!1s0xaa6dd119e082ab39:0x68f8df55775fb029!2sTinderbox+Rd+W,+Tinderbox+TAS+7054!3b1!3m1!1s0x0000000000000000:0xce060676af8374e9!6m1!1e1?hl=en I hope you look at this street view and swivel around so you can see the terrain and can appreciate the beautiful country through which I walked.

By ten to ten in the morning I reached “Hidden Cove”, a property which promotes itself as providing a Day Spa and Retreat service: appointments are essential. For a split second I thought I should make a booking for my walk back to Blackmans Bay from Pearsons Point. The idea of a foot massage later in the day was very appealing although I had no idea whether such a service was on offer.  I did take note of the phone number 03 6229 6050 in case I wish to try it out when I return for my walk to Fossil Cove.  Their website makes the business look attractive: http://www.hiddencovedayspa.com.au/

One of the highlights of my walk was seeing casuarina trees ‘weeping’ with the weight of their strands of blooms.  Seemingly so delicate.

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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.