Tag Archives: Risdon Cover

Kingston Beach, Tasmania

I found a tiny laneway, squeezed between residential properties, which extended from Roslyn Avenue near where I was staying in Kingston, down to Kingston Beach.  The downward stroll took 6 minutes and, later, the return trundle uphill took 10 minutes.  The easy accessibility to the beautiful foreshore is an asset for locals.  I loved the closeness of the lush vegetation along the pathway and then the openness of the Beach extending before me once I reached the Esplanade.

The morning was overcast with a moderate breeze, but the weather did not deter families, groups of children or a kayaker from enjoying the beach and water.

In the photo below the lone kayaker sets off to enjoy a paddle. The land which can be seen across the Derwent River is the South Arm peninsula. Standing on Kingston Beach, I could identify key points along that piece of land which I had walked during Stage 1 and 2: Gellibrand Point, Opossum Bay, South Arm, and Fort Direction Hill.

Kayaker

I followed a path along the foreshore northwards to Browns River and then I retraced my steps. Looking towards the mouth of Browns River as it enters the Derwent River.

Pathway along Derwent at KB

At Browns River, one side of Mount Wellington looms in the distance.

end of Kingston beach road

Kingston Beach and Browns River are located within the municipality of Kingborough as part of the Greater Hobart Area. In the photo below the waters of Browns River can be seen meeting the Derwent River.

Sign

Nearby I discovered a plaque (photo below) and its message surprised me. Browns River was named in 1804 (you can read more about Robert Brown at https://www.forestrytas.com.au/assets/0000/0185/tasfor_12_10.pdf).  From the reports of my earlier walks in this blog, you might recall that Risdon Cove was established as the first white/non indigenous settlement (on the eastern shore, and quite a few kilometres upstream from the mouth of the Derwent River) in September 1803. I find it quite extraordinary that within months of the first white settlement (in fact Brown named the River in April 1804), despite the difficulties of making a new home in this foreign land, new arrivals were off and about checking and naming other edges of the Derwent River. It wasn’t until July 1804 that the area around Sullivans Cove (the site for the central part of the current city of Hobart) was set up for permanent residency. Sullivans Cove is much much closer to Browns River than Risdon Cove, so Brown had a long way to paddle.

Browns River plaque

The photo below looks back towards the centre of Kingston Beach from the Browns River northern end.

kb 2

I loved the trees and was especially impressed by one of the flowering gum trees next to the foreshore walkway.

gum blossom

The stroll from the one end of Kingston Beach to the other takes about 15-20 minutes and represents approximately 1 kilometre of the Derwent River’s length.  Immensely pleasant.  If you haven’t enjoyed this part of the Greater Hobart Area, or it’s a while since you have travelled here, then I strongly recommend you make a visit.

Fish and chip shops, cafes, a sad looking motel and Duncan’s Beachfront Motel Hotel are located across from the beach.  Some readers might know Slim Dusty’s song ‘I’d like to have a drink with Duncan’ (refer to http://www.lyrics007.com/Slim%20Dusty%20Lyrics/Duncan%20Lyrics.html for more information). Jo will recall the hilarious fiasco at a fashion parade in Darwin when this music coincided with a bridal dress being shown on the cat walk.  I wonder who Kingston’s pub is named after? Anyone know?

shops and cyclists  Motel  Duncans pub

Along the street travelling away from the beach towards Hobart, you will pass an assortment of outlets including hair salons, service stations, a community hall and, very surprisingly, the Wafu Works which is a shop selling vintage authentic Japanese fabrics.

Japanese Wafu Works  Japanese fabric shop

Simple street art in the form of inset mosaic panels have been incorporated in the pavements.

Mosaic in pavement  Street mosaic in pavement

This part of Greater Hobart is very attractive, and I am vowing to visit more often.

Weather – please be kind tomorrow

People who live in Hobart know the persistently wet and windy spring weather we have felt and seen for the past few days.  This afternoon my windows were pelted with white stones of ice; yes hail. I haven’t seen hail for a long while. But I shouldn’t be surprised.  After a major storm over the mountain (Mt Wellington) this morning, the top half was white with snow. Then strong fronts passed over Tasmania bringing the ferocious inclement weather with it. Stories about the wild weather have been covered in http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/hobarts-hadleys-hotel-damaged-in-storm-squall-with-thousands-of-homes-without-power/story-fnj4f7k1-1227104947517.

But the Bureau of Meteorology indicates a minimal chance of rain tomorrow around Hobart, and cloudy but with a high of 19 degrees.  This seems perfect for walking, and I am desperate to get back out there in the fresh air walking along the Derwent. I will be travelling on an early Metro bus 694 ready to get off at Risdon Cove near the intersection of the East Derwent Highway with  Saundersons Road, the entry to the suburb or Risdon. I will be walking northwards through two suburbs; Otago Bay and then Old Beach before jumping on a bus to return home in the afternoon.

Right now, looking out from my window, the sky is dark grey, the hills are dark grey and the edges of buildings are blurred by the rain. My fingers and toes are crossed for good weather tomorrow.

The Shag Bay and Bedlam Walls area covers much loved and used aboriginal land of the Moomairremener people

Various websites have indicated that the tract of land between Geilston Bay and Risdon Cove contains a great deal of evidence of land and river use by the original land owners.

Previously I acknowledged the traditional owners of the land along the Derwent River that I have been walking across. This land, before European settlement, belonged to the Moomairremener people however the early international settlers failed to understand that the local inhabitants had established government practices and legal systems, and worked with the land and sea to ensure an ongoing food supply. Unfortunately the characteristics which made the indigenous people civilised were different to those characteristics which made the settlers civilised. Because of their major cultural differences, both groups of people couldn’t grasp the positive values of each other. Each failed to learn from the other so that neither came to an understanding that the difference between them did not make one group better or worse.  As the new settlers encroached on aboriginal land and hunting grounds without understanding the value and significance of what they were doing and attacked aboriginal people, inevitably the Moomairremener people attacked in return.

Bedlam Walls Point’s aboriginal cave, middens and quarry were the main features of aboriginal occupation that I expected to access during my walk. Regrettably I did not find the cave or the middens but I did see, at a distance, the quarry.  Another walk is needed to take more time to access these additional sites.

All the above are in easy walking distance of the site (Risdon Cove) at which, according to one story, an Aboriginal band hunting kangaroos was mistaken by whites for attackers and massacred (http://fieldnotestasmania.blogspot.com.au/2009/11/bedlam-walls-walk.html). According to http://www.australianhistorymysteries.info/pdfs/StudiesAHM-1.pdf “On 3 May 1804 there was a violent clash between a group of British settlers and a large party of Aboriginal people at Risdon Cove, near Hobart in Tasmania (then known as Van Diemen’s Land). Different writers and historians have given varying accounts of what happened then.”  In my view, neither option expressed on this website does any credit to the early settlers.

I cannot help thinking about the ongoing contemporary parallels where governments provoke fear by urging our populations to be vigilant against others who dress or look different. I cannot see this is a helpful way to learn to understand the benefits that different people can bring to all our lives.

Stage 6 of my walk along the Derwent River tomorrow – Tuesday

In preparing to walk from Geilston Bay north to Risdon Cove looking at natural and historical features along the way, I expect to make good use of initial research. Apparently I should see considerable evidence of past European and Aboriginal settlements and use of the land. Currently, there are no settlements along this edge of the Derwent River until the tiny suburb of Risdon is reached.

Birds between Geilston and Shag Bay

An obvious bird lover has blogged extensively on Tasmanian birds and, in particular, has walked part of the distance I will cover tomorrow.

More detailed information with glorious photos is available at http://tassiebirds.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/shag-bay-bluewings-more.html however, in summary; I should see a wide range of native birds if fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time and with my eyes open.

Silvereyes, Black-headed Honeyeaters, Yellow-throated Honey eaters, Grey Currawongs, Blue-wing parrots, Yellow Wattlebirds, Brown Quails, Australasian Pipits, Dusky Woodswallows, Pied Cormorants, White-breasted Sea Eagles, Spotted Pardalotes, Dusky Robins, Black-face Cuckoo Shrikes, Grey Butcherbirds, Green Rosellas, New Holland Honeyeaters, Crescent Honeyeaters, and Brown Thornbills.  Phew!  What a collection!  I can identify some of these birds but not all. Therefore, I will be poring through my bird books later today to give me a better chance of seeing more and knowing what I am seeing.

Name of Shag Bay

Now is a good time to consider the name Shag Bay, the first Bay I will reach after Geilston Bay.  I cannot discover who gave the name, when, or why. In the absence of any information I have a theory. The common European bird Phalacrocorax aristotelis known familiarly as a Shag, is a species of cormorant. Cormorant birds are commonly seen fishing along our Derwent River. In fact, Tasmania has 4 species of cormorants with a vagrant fifth flying in from time to time. It seems very reasonable to imagine that the first Europeans, coming into what is now Shag Bay, repeatedly saw many cormorants fishing and so the name was easily applied.

Australia has developed a useful colloquialism: “like a shag on a rock”. This means abandoned and alone.  The Australian National Dictionary Centre explains “Any isolated person can be described as, or feel like, a shag on a rock – for example, a political leader with few supporters, or a person without friends at a party.”