Tag Archives: South Arm

Another Special Anniversary

Implementation Milestone remembered:

22 August 2014 was the date when I made the first walk and commenced my long journey from the mouth of the Derwent River on the northern side, in the South Arm area.

On that first walking stage I recorded the weather as: “The sky was blue and cloudless but I was rugged up and beanied to avoid the early morning chill.” At the start of stage 2 on the 5th September the blog recorded:  “The sun is shining. Air is crisp.”  I recall that on both occasions the day warmed so the walking was very comfortable.

Nature is cheaper than therapy

A Californian fiction writer M.P. Zarrella offered the opinion ‘nature is cheaper than therapy’.  Since then, her point of view has spawned posters, cushion covers, and T shirts such as:

Nature cheaper than therapy  and tshirt nature its cheaper than therapy

The use of this comment spread until people couldn’t help themselves …

facebook cheaper than therapy and Beer is cheaper than therapy

Thinking about whether nature is cheaper (with the inference of ‘better’ than therapy), I have been inspired to trawl through my walking-the-derwent photos.

Here are a few favourite natural scenes clicked during Stages 1-6 of my walks along the eastern shore of the Derwent River.  Most of these images spent time as my computer screen background where they lifted my spirits daily.

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Iron Pot off the southern end of South Arm peninsula

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Driftwood beach shack on Pot Bay Beach, South Arm peninsula

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Mount Wellington across the Derwent River from South Arm Beach

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Looking northwards into the gigantic Derwent Harbour from Gellibrand Point at the northern end of the South Arm peninsula.

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Looking uphill from Trywork Point

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Lichen on rocks at Tranmere Point

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Little Howrah Beach

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Looking southwards along Bellerive Beach

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The suburb of Sandy Bay across the Derwent River through the casuarina trees from Rosny Point

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Tranquil Geilston Bay looking toward Mount Wellington

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Bedlam Walls Point

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Shag Bay

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Native flowers in the East Risdon State Reserve

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Tommys Bight

Whenever the weather is deteriorating outside my window, by looking at these photographs from the first 6 of 14 walking stages, I ‘revisit’ the various locations and feel most uplifted. No therapy needed here.

A tribute to the Australian men and women who fought in overseas wars hoping for a safer Australia

Today is a powerfully important day in Australia’s psyche. It is ANZAC Day; a day of remembrance and commemoration. In particular, this year’s ANZAC day represents 100 years since our defence forces arrived on the beaches at Gallipoli, Turkey near the beginning of World War 1. In 1914, an officer created the acronym ANZAC to register the coming together of two sets of national troops: the AUSTRALIAN and NEW ZEALAND ARMY CORPS. From then on and because of the actions of those men and women during the first World War, ANZAC has come to mean mateship and extraordinary personal and team efforts in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. We talk about the ANZAC spirit.

From dawn services, to town and city parades, to commemoration services at cenotaphs, today Australians will watch, march, place floral wreaths or otherwise be involved. We will remember those who have lost their lives, been injured or otherwise involved not only in World War 1 but also in all other arenas of war where Australians have travelled to help out another country.

From the beginning of last century, most towns built cenotaphs or other memorials in prominent places. This blog, during the walk along the Derwent River, has shown photos of structures built for such commemoration purposes. It seems appropriate to reshow a selection.

On Stage 1 when walking near the mouth of the river on the eastern shore, I found the Lone Pine memorial standing proudly.  Today, ex-servicemen will gather there to remember the sacrifices of those who stormed the beaches at Gallipoli and went on to battle it out at Lone Pine. ‘Lest we forget’.

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The South Arm cenotaph.

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The Memorial Reserve at Bridgewater

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The Australian Tracker and War Dogs Memorial at Lowestoft Bay

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The Hobart City cenotaph on the Domain

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One war memorial, which I am yet to see, is located at Gretna a small rural town located inland from New Norfolk. The Gretna war memorial was built after World War I and sits on a hill overlooking the Derwent River. The spectacular photo below is by Lex Prebski and was taken from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-22/11-unsung-war-memorials-to-see-in-tasmania-this-anzac-weekend/6401618

Lex Prebski photo of Gretna war memorial

It is interesting that the two most special days on the Australian calender have an element of doing wrong to others: Australia Day on the 26 January celebrates settlement of Australia by foreigners and the displacement of the local indigenous peoples; and Anzac Day on 25 April commemorates the death and activity of thousands of Australian men and women fighting other nationals in wars outside Australia not of our making. The positive sides of these two days are equally clear to me: Australia Day is the chance for everyone who lives in  Australia to enjoy the fact we have a safe and friendly country; Anzac Day offers the chance to value people who had in the past or have currently, a belief and act on it hoping to make the world a safer place for everyone.

Mount Nelson Signal Station

Overlooking the centre of the city of Hobart and with a view sweeping across to the eastern shore of the Derwent River, Mount Nelson is host to a significant historical site, the Mount Nelson Signal Station.

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Wikipedia provides the information that originally this rise in the landscape was named ‘Nelson’s Hill’ after botanist David Nelson, who sailed on the ship ‘Bounty’ which visited Van Diemens Land on its way to Tahiti (the ship that was involved in the infamous Mutiny on the Bounty). In geological form, Mount Nelson amounts to not much more than a low foothill, however its name gives an indication that something grand awaits you if you venture to the top.

And such a visit is easy in a vehicle, or if you want to take an uphill walk from Hobart’s suburb of Sandy Bay.  In addition, the Mount Nelson via Dynnyrne and Tolmans Hill Metro bus service can deliver you to your destination.  If you like walking, you might choose to catch a bus to the top and then follow any one of a number of clearly marked tracks downhill. Yesterday I made a visit thanks to blog follower Je’s transport, accompanied by another follower Be who is visiting from Cairns.

From different vantage points, the spectacle of the Derwent River spread out below, made us breathless with delight. When I am walking at ground level along the Derwent River, the grand panoramas extending into the distance are denied me.  But yesterday it was exciting to see the bays and hills further afield.

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The photo above looks toward the mouth of the Derwent River on the eastern shore. South Arm peninsula can be seen extending along the water.  As  I stood on Mount Nelson I could clearly identify the Iron Pot, Fort Direction Hill, South Arm Beach, Opossum Bay and its beach, and  Gellibrand Point all of which I walked on during Stage 1 and 2 of my walk along the Derwent River.

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The photo above shows the eastern shore of the Derwent River with Gellibrand Point to the right on the northern tip of the South Arm peninsula. Then the great gaping space of Ralph’s Bay appeared straight ahead. To the left of the image, Trywork Point is in view; this was the starting point for Stage 3 of my walk (after I had walked there from the suburb of Tranmere).

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The photo above shows Ralphs Bay to the right, Trywork Point and then the suburb of Tranmere to the left – on the eastern shore of the Derwent River.

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The photo above shows the eastern shore from Tranmere on the right, through the suburbs of Howrah to Bellerive on the left – the River edges which I walked during Stages 4 and 5.

Across the parkland at the Mount Nelson Signal Station, native Wrens flitted around feeling safe as they hunted for insect meals on the ground.

I enjoyed looking at information panels on the site and learning more about how the place operated.  In addition, one panel showed the location of walking tracks.

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So … what is the history? Not long after Hobart was settled in the early 1800s, locals needed speedy and efficient communication between the convict settlement at Port Arthur and Hobart.  In addition, Hobart residents wanted foreknowledge of sailing ships approaching from the ocean through Storm Bay and on their way to the Derwent River in case any provided a threat to trade or security. To gather this information, in 1811 the Mount Nelson Signal Station was established and designed to use semaphore.  The method of communication was flags waving across the hills.  Details about the semaphore flag signalling system can be read at http://www.anbg.gov.au/flags/semaphore.html.  The site http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semaphore_line provides further information. At the Mount Nelson Signal Station, flags were run up a pole – this seems a very cumbersome process compared to a person waving flags. I hope that someday the signal station will offer a demonstration to the public so I can understand the process.  Give me a re-enactment please.

This semaphore communication service continued in use until a more reliable system was available (what happened at the Signal Station on windy days, in wet weather and when clouds obscured the view?).   It was not until 1880 that a telephone line connected Hobart and Mount Nelson.

Walking around the area is free of charge.  Some pathways are provided. The site has various public amenities including picnic tables, public toilets, carpark, barbecues and a restaurant.

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For further information about eating in the heritage building pictured above, go to http://www.signalstation.com.au.  I recommend that you phone in advance if you are depending on eating there. Yesterday, despite permanent signs indicating the Brasserie was open, another sign on the building indicated it was closed.

During my visit, clouds loomed powerfully over the city and river. The day light was so bright and strong that when I turned northwards and photographed the land and riverscapes, the sky glowed white.  So I clicked a few images pointed at the sky and this silhouetted the landscape.  Using my simple mobile phone as camera, I was never able to control the light of the images.

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Although these looked like rain clouds, it did not rain.  These large puffs were just passing through.

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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The Suncoast Headlands Walking Track south from Blackmans Bay

A few minutes before 8am on Stage 13, I started walking on the Suncoast Headlands Walking Track.  Initially, the track ran directly next to the Blackmans Bay Beach and then began to rise up onto the headland and continue between fenced private houses and the Derwent River. The early part of the track was directly west and so I had strong sunlight straight into my eyes, temporarily blinding me from looking at the surrounding vegetation as I walked.

Just after 8am the track turned right and I looked down into a rock edged bay.

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At this point the track was fenced on the River side to prevent walkers slipping over the edge of the cliff. Later on the track was fenced intermittently. I walked up and up higher onto the headland.

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Occasionally I passed tracks leading back into suburban streets.

At 8.13 am I caught a view of some curvy hills in the Tinderbox area headlands way in the far distance.

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At 8.21 am I reached a second Suncoast Headlands Walking Track sign which indicated where the path lay.

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However there were no clearly discernible paths across large expanses of mown grass.  I did the best I could and soon found myself at the Sewage Treatment Plant on the edge of the Derwent.  For a short while I followed a track down to the rocky shore, but at a certain point it was clear that if I reached the water level (and the descent didn’t look anything but potentially dangerous), there would be no way up on the other side of the Treatment Plant.  I retraced my steps. Then I tried to walk along the fence line in front of the Plant, but I soon found this way was impassable.  Wily blackberry canes thwarted further progress. The steep drop to the shore was frightening. And more Kookaburras were laughing. Ha. Ha. Ha. H. H. H. H. Ha. Ha.  So, again I retraced my steps and decided to walk inland along and around the Sewage Treatment Plant’s fence line. There was a semblance of a track on my new route, but obviously I had missed the main ‘thoroughfare’.

I was glad to have walked this way because, for a part of it, I enjoyed moist mosses softly cushioning each footstep.  These mosses were bright lime green in colour.  Soon afterwards, I walked across an area where tall grasses had recently been slashed making it easy to continue.  Of course I did not know where I was going track-wise so, with the sun as my guide, I simply made sure I continued southwards. Once I reached a cleared open meadow with barely visible tracks, I had warmed up, my jacket was off, and I was standing opposite the South Arm township on the eastern shore.  I walked onwards and spotted a tiny yellow sign 50 metres away. From there, at 8.40am, I crossed over the bitumen road that leads to the Sewage Treatment Plant, signed as the Blackmans Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Over the road was a delightful short zig zag track down to an unnamed creek, with a small foot bridge to ensure easy access to the other side.

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I walked through a peaceful grove of gum and wattle trees and found, on the other side, a sign indicating I could walk left or right on a bush loop. I turned left towards the River.  When the loop turned inland away from the River I rechecked my maps and could see the track would never be near the River. I made the decision to retrace my steps and began to continue inland with the intention of reaching Tinderbox Road.

I walked on a gravel track next to the creek until I reached a most unexpected site: a very large area fenced in and designated as a Dog Exercise Area. This is set up with tyres for dogs to jump through, and rows of poles that dogs can practice some sort of slalom around. As I walked past, a massive mowing tractor-like piece of equipment rumbled up and down the large paddock shaving the grass.

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Blackberries galore, waiting to be picked for the pies, lined the creek side of the track next to the Dog Exercise Area.

A few minutes before 9am, I turned left onto the bitumen road that went downhill to the Sewage Treatment Plant and uphill to Tinderbox Road. On the uphill trek I walked between the dense bush and flitting bush birds while listening to their bush songs: Tweets, Chirps, Squeaks and Warbles.

The day was perfect for walking so I began to wonder whether I should aim for the mouth of the Derwent River at Pearsons Point, rather than Fossil Cove many kilometres before the final headland.  As I continued up Treatment Plant Road, and past the Blackmans Bay Scouting Camp buildings (for Joeys, Cubs, Scouts and Venturers) the temptation to head to the mouth strengthened. I reasoned that the day was young, the weather wasn’t too hot or cold and it wasn’t raining, and my feet hadn’t failed me.

At Tinderbox Road I turned left a few minutes after 9am, with the resolve to reach Pearsons Point.