Tag Archives: Risdon

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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Shag Bay industrial history

 

In earlier posts I directed your attention to the online magazine Tasmanian Geographic .  The latest issue contains a well-researched and lengthy article, ‘Early Recycling at Shag Bay’, on the early industrial history of late 19th and early 20th century of Shag Bay.  Thanks to authors, John and Maria Grist, I now understand more about what I saw as I walked past the detritus scattered around this Bay. I strongly recommend accessing their article for its historical photographs and the fascinating content. Thanks John and Maria – much appreciated.

My long term blog followers may recall the name of Shag Bay but unless you know this part of the Derwent River, its location will remain a puzzle.  Shag Bay is a small inlet on the eastern shore between Geilston Bay and Risdon, and is mostly easily accessible on a dirt track from the Geilston suburb end. My posts from walking around Shag Bay include:  From Geilston Bay to Risdon on Stage 6 of my walk along the Derwent River yesterday ; Reaching Shag Bay as I walked along the Derwent RiverThe Shag Bay and Bedlam Walls area covers much loved and used aboriginal land of the Moomairremener people ; and Along the northern side of Shag Bay and onwards along the Derwent River.

To help you to remember Shag Bay, here are a few photos I took way back very early in my trek from the mouth the source of the Derwent River.

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Wild West with Ray Mears

Blog reader, Be, alerted me to the third in a BBC program series, ‘Wild West with Ray Mears’. This episode focused on mountains and followed Mears travelling through the Appalachians, the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada to evaluate the landscape and its effect on the early European settlers as they moved west in North America.  Be indicated there was river edge walking and this reminded her of my quest to walk along the Derwent River in Tasmania – so I was eager to watch the documentary.

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I found that Ray Mears did access various rivers and streams to emphasize parts of his story, but direct connections to my walking project were slight. However, I found his story to be important because it has prompted me to ask new questions about the Derwent River and its most recent European settler history.  Hopefully others have already conducted research and can supply me with some answers – any leads will be welcome.

  • After initial settlement in Van Diemen’s Land at Risdon on the Derwent River in 1803, what was the nature of the westward push along the Derwent River by European settlers? Do we have names of the people and families of those who moved west? What are the dates associated with these movements?  What are their stories?
  • Why did they move along the River? Did they stop and set up camp, house or agricultural property? Do those buildings or farming properties still exist?  Is the land now in private or organisational hands or is it Crown Land? Or were people only passing through?  If so, what was their intended destination? Did people moving inland along the Derwent find some parts of the wilderness edging the River made their further progress impossible so that they moved away from the River? What are the movement stories?
  • To what extent was the River used for transport between Lake St Clair and New Norfolk? Where and when? What was transported on the River? Can anyone name ships/boats that were used? Were there recognised ferries across the River above New Norfolk?  I know the Derwent River has a series of rapids further towards the source.  Did these inhibit river travel?
  • In the rivers of the United States’ Rockies mountains, the ‘mountain men’ trapped beavers for their fur. Their fur was used to create a strong felt which could be used for those increasingly tall hats that were fashionable in the 18th century. What was the nature of any trade in possum skins and those of other animals that might have persuaded hunters to walk the Derwent River?  What are their stories?
  • Massive removal and usage of natural resources supported the westward movement of European settlers across America. When did forestry operations and logging commence west of Hobart in the Derwent Valley and how was the Derwent River used to support those operations? What mining expeditions and investigations were made along the Derwent River? When and by whom?  What were the outcomes of these searches and trials and finds?

Ray Mears met with a muleteer who explained why he loved being in the wilderness: ‘I leave no trace as I pass and just move through like a shadow’.  I hope that is how I walk.

On the long and winding road through the Tinderbox area.

The morning had hardly begun when, a little after 9am, I started walking southwards along the Tinderbox Road, knowing that most of the way would not be and could not be directly next to the Derwent River.

In this area, with the exception of the occasional house surrounded closely by bush (I did imagine most of these households placed their trust against bushfires/wildfires in hope and household insurance), there is no way for easy access to the cliff edges, and there is no track along the top.  I did not think it worth the risk to walk alone in an isolated bush area a long way from a road or houses. I have no doubt it is possible to walk more closely to the Derwent River, but doing so would  not be a smart idea.

No track, pavement or pathway exists beside the two lane Tinderbox Road. Throughout the day I walked on the road when no traffic was in sight or within hearing and I stepped along the verges (where there were any) when traffic was approaching.  Thankfully, there were very few cars and sometimes 10 or 15 minutes would elapse without a vehicle on the road.

The most disturbing vision for the day was a fresh road kill; the glistening innards of a young native animal, a Common Ring Tailed Possum, spread across the road and barely connected to the main body. These possums normally go out for their hunting during the evening and this fellow must have been racing home to bed when struck by a car racing down the road.  The image of a ring tailed possum below was created by Greg Hughes of arrowfire.deviantart.com at http://www.deviantart.com/art/Ringtail-Possum-344619937.

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On the upside, I was delighted to have a close encounter with a group of 6 large native Green Rosella birds. My good fortune to see these grand birds at close quarters occurred because the noise of two vehicles crossing paths from the two different directions made the birds comfortable and they did not hear my scrunching sounds as I walked on the roadside gravel. I stopped mid step as soon as I saw these heavy birds. During my walk from Geilston Bay to Risdon, I had the privilege of seeing a couple of these birds close by (read the posting From Risdon to Tommy’s Bight via Porters Bay and finally to the bus stop).  Anywhere on the web, photographs of Green Rosellas can be found easily, however they all emphasise the lime green yellow throats as the main colour. In my experience, their deep green camouflaging backs defines their character.

So … what were the birds doing as I watched them (one was employed only a metre away)? They were snacking on ripe blackberries and loving every moment of it.  Inadvertently I moved a foot and the grating sound surprised them.  The small pack of large Green Rosellas rose from the bushes and, in a flash of blue edged tails, were gone. What a thrill to see them: such private birds. Later a local dismissed my excitement. ‘They are everywhere here, and they try and get my blackberries before me as I work along the canes picking them’, she said.

From Montrose Park to GASP on the edge of the Derwent River

This was the favourite part of the 10th stage of my walk along the Derwent River and still within the bounds of the City of Glenorchy.

The parkland with its majestic gum trees, the few people around, the silvery Derwent, and the wide expanses were incredibly peaceful and attractive.

By 8.30am I reached the first of the four colourfully striped walkways.  The concept was simple and it is probably the simplicity which is so beguiling.  Vertical posts have been painted black on the edge and then coloured inside. Hundreds and hundreds have been so painted. The first walkway that I reached looked as follows:

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And then I turned and looked across the Derwent River towards Mt Direction in the Risdon area.

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The atmosphere of the environment with its natural and man-made sophistication was very exciting.  The photo below shows the curved roof of the Derwent Entertainment Centre in the distance.

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A few minutes later I came across the GASP (Glenorchy Arts and Sculpture Park) sign which alerts visitors to the different areas.

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Nearby a plaque indicates that The Hon Julia Gillard MP Prime Minister of Australia officially opened these boardwalks of GASP on 3 October 2011.

Not far away a sound installation has been set up within a protective shelter.

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Marvellous mosaic frippery continued to surprise me along the walk.

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Then I had the joy of walking across more coloured walkways and,before long, I had the River on my left and the Derwent Entertainment Centre complex on my right.

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Mt Direction stood prominently over the water on the eastern shore.

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In the far north facing distance, the white buildings of Cadbury’s chocolate factory could be seen vaguely.

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Walking Montrose and GASP parks is an easy and pleasant thing to do. There are opportunities for picnics and barbecues, and kid’s playgrounds.  Water and land birds abound.   And the sense of creativity fills the air.

Discovering the suburb of Old Beach – 7th stage of my walk along the Derwent River

At 12.40pm I reached the town sign for Old Beach at Cassidy’s Bay. The Bay was covered with ducks of every age.  Families of ducklings are always a pleasure to see. Seemed like a safe haven for them.  Tall grasses grew into the water but there was no beach.

I continued walking along the highway, passed the turn off to the Baskerville raceway, and was eventually forced down into a clay sogged ditch almost until I reached the roundabout at 12.50pm.  At the roundabout, with the hilly section of Old Beach up on the right, the choice was to continue on to Bridgewater or turn left into Fouche Avenue. I turned left to the lowlands and walked through a reasonably affluent area. Back on proper footpaths. Just before 1pm I reached the Old Beach Neighbourhood Store claiming to serve hot food 7 days a week.  I didn’t enter to check.

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By 1.03pm, after passing a house outlandishly decorated for Halloween, I came to the end of the road.  It seems like one of those roads which will connect up with a street coming from the other direction at some other time. Everywhere I looked, new houses were being built so that I feel confident roads will connect sooner than later. I walked through the open paddock in the photo below in order to reach the ‘golden’ pathway in the distance which I assumed might lead me onwards next to the Derwent River.

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At 1.06pm I reached the lower path, which was appropriately signposted as the Old Beach Foreshore Trail, and enjoyed seeing more black swans, swooping swallows, flocks of starlings, and the usual screaming plovers. Closer to the water the path divided.  To the left it returned to Cassidy’s Bay (although I saw no signs of a path when I was there), to the right the path would continue to the Jetty at Jetty Road.  The spot where I stood was named the ‘Calm Place’.

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The photo above faces south across the lowlands of Old Beach (which doesn’t seem to have a beach), and provides a view of Mount Direction in the distance.

I headed north by taking the right hand trail. Not long after, on the right hand non River side of the path, I saw a tiny man-made lake, with its quota of swimming ducks and a rusting large sculptural tower on a central island with two Dominican Gulls on top (the expression ‘kings of the castle’ came to mind), amidst a stack of new houses and others being built. The sign on the fence worried me.

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I was concerned that because the land was so low and the lake depended on a levee to contain the water, any River flooding could be of great concern to the new property owners.  I wondered how much of that being built on was reclaimed land. I am surprised the local government allows new buildings here. With global warming increasing the sea level, these houses won’t be around in hundreds of years.

Blue skies opened above Mount Wellington in the distance but heavy clouds sat overhead.  Spits of rain persisted off and on for the rest of my time at Old Beach.  But it was time to have lunch. In the absence of any seats or rocks or other raised area, at 1.20pm I sat on the grass beside the Foreshore Trail, emptied my pack, and started munching as I absorbed the details of my low lying surroundings.  I could see heavy rain clouds that darkened the day travelling across the Derwent from the Mount Faulkner Conservation Area on the western shore.

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At 1.35pm I was on my feet and continuing along the path, passing an alternative walk to Sun Valley Drive, and spotting a pair of native hens pecking ahead on my path.  A private fence made from large pieces of driftwood festooned with creeping bright flowering geraniums, caught my attention.

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At 1.43pm I arrived at the Old Beach jetty

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where I found an interpretative panel explaining some of the early 19th century history associated with the location of the jetty.

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As early as 1821, an Inn was established near the current jetty, and people would ferry across the Derwent from the western side of the River.

This 7th stage of my walk was coming to a quick close.  I knew a bus would be travelling along Jetty Road at 2pm, and that the next service would not be in the vicinity for another couple of hours. I had wanted to finish walking through all of Old Beach before I finished this stage, but the potential for a long wait for a bus inclined me to cut the anticipated walk short.  I walked along Jetty Road and waited at a bus stop.

Metro bus 114, destined for the Glenorchy Bus Mall on the western shore, picked me up.  I did not travel the entire way but if I had, I would have needed to catch a Hobart city bus to reach the CBD, then a bus to take me back to my home suburb of Bellerive on the eastern shore. A long way. A long time. From Old Beach there are no bus services travelling along the eastern shore.  All the buses travel to the northern city of the Greater Hobart Area of Glenorchy via the Bowen Bridge. Since I live in Bellerive on the eastern shore, I resolved to try Plan B. I proposed to catch a bus from Glenorchy to Hobart via the eastern shore and close to the Bellerive area. Once over the Bowen Bridge from Old Beach, I got off the bus at the first stop which was outside the Elwick racecourse at 2.15pm. I crossed the road and waited in a bus shelter for Metro bus 694. As the rain started to pour in earnest at 2.35pm, the bus arrived. Phew!

I loved the return trip. While again on the Bowen Bridge I looked northward and could see where I had walked earlier in the day. Ahead and looming over the land, was Mount Direction. Looking southward I could see the Cleburne Spit was empty of cars and people, the suburb of Risdon looked quiet, and a thick eddy of smoke rose from behind Risdon Cove. Closer to the area with the fire, a sweet wood smoke smell spread through the bus and reminded me of camping fires I have enjoyed in the past. That was a great conclusion. Memories of the immediate day and memories of the past coming together.

Now I am looking forward to preparing for and then walking the 8th stage of my walk along the Derwent River.  This next walk is likely to happen early next week, weather willing. Let the discoveries continue!

Leaving home last Friday towards the start of Stage 7 of my walk along the Derwent

From my house early morning, I could see a mirror sheen across the Derwent River. This promised a great day for walking and so I was eager to get going.  Unfortunately the bus service to the area I was starting from departs only every couple of hours. Eventually I caught the Metro bus 694 when it passed through the Eastlands Shopping Centre bus mall at 9.13am.

The bus passed through upper Lindisfarne as it headed along the East Derwent Highway. When I looked left across the Derwent River, my view of the top of the mountain was cut off by a thick resting white cloud. The roads were calm. People were at work and kids at school. When we passed Geilston Bay I could the water was serenely flat. By this point, I was the only passenger on the bus and felt luxuriously chauffeured.  We detoured for a scenic view through the upper Geilston Bay residential area, then back to the highway.  As we travelled onwards, I noted the start of the trail to Bedlam Walls which I had walked previously, then the electricity pylons and fire trails marking the East Risdon State Reserve. The Willows Tavern loomed on the left and on the right hand side of the highway I glimpsed the starkness of the barb wired fencing of the state Prison.

At the roundabout (where I wanted to go left) the bus turned right to travel through the suburb of Risdon Vale.  Lots of small weatherboard houses and lawns with a few bushes rather than complex luscious gardens. ‘Donut’ burnout tyre marks on the intersections of roads. Rooves needing paint.  Neat and tidy. Streets prettily named after plants: Spinifex, Sycamore, Lindon (although Lindon Park had no Lindon trees), Poplar, Heather, Banksia, Kerria, Hawthorn, Marlock, Gardenia, Lantana and Holly.

Side view of the mountain: I marvelled at the speed with which clouds were being pushed across the top of the mountain southwards.

At 9.39 I was off the bus just before the junction of Saundersons Road, Risdon with the East Derwent Highway.  This is on the southern side of Risdon Cove. Around the corner of the road in the photo below, I could look over the railing in the direction of the Derwent River.

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I walked to that distant railing and realised that walking on the road would be very dangerous with traffic speeding on the narrow lanes.  I legged it over the railing and walked on the River side. The photo below is one of my first views.  Note the pair of black swans.

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No longer did I have Mount Wellington as my standard backdrop across the water. In the photos above, the elevated section on the other side of the Derwent River (above the Bowen Bridge) is the Mount Faulkner Conservation Area.