Tag Archives: Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

A traveller – at the Salamanca Market set up by the Derwent River

Since April I have been waiting for the weather to warm up so I can continue my walk to the source of the Derwent River more comfortably. Between then and now my posts have connected with the Derwent River by various degrees. This posting is no different. Months ago I walked past historic Salamanca in Hobart as I walked the edge of the Derwent River and last Saturday, I headed back again to the area for the renowned Salamanca Market.

The big find was an Englishman who has relocated to live in Tasmania and had set up a stall to sell his book.  A few years ago his Tasmanian wife lured him here for a holiday and when she flew back to England, he decided to return by hitching his way half way around the world.  After starting from Hobart by accepting a lift on a Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race yacht returning to Sydney, his trek took 6 months via the countries north of the Himalayas.  Apparently it only took 800 rides, through 19 countries! Out of the adventure and experiences Jamie Maslin wrote his story: ‘The Long Hitch Home’.

The Long Hitch Home Jamie Maslin book cover

In more recent times, Jamie has relocated to Hobart for permanent residence.

Past posts have indicated my awe and amazement about the achievements of people who take on, what seem to me to be, herculean tasks – These always excite me to make yet another step.  Inspiring others to make the first step in their own backyard is one of the goals of this ongoing blog.

Where will I find authentic and reliable information about Tasmania’s aborigines prior to 1803?

This question has been asked because I am not concerned with researching European settlement or its impact on Tasmania’s indigenous population.

It seems that three categories of information sources might be used for my study:

  1. the written/printed word,
  2. material anthropology, and
  3. oral histories. Such histories might exist in association with the continuance of authentic movements such as dance and sound making.

As stated in an earlier post, the original settlers in Van Diemen’s Land, the descendants of non-indigenous peoples, and other non-indigenous people have left historical written/printed documentation. In addition, exploring visitors to this island before European settlement made written records. Each of these writers will have their own perspective, and so my challenge will be to remember what they write is not necessarily a fact. This means I will need supporting and corroborating evidence of other kinds; material artefacts and/or oral histories.  I do not expect to find any early 19th century documentation written by Tasmanian aborigines – but I would be very excited to read such records if I should find them.

James Joyce, in his essay “Fantasy Island” (Manne, 2003, Whitewash Black Inc. Agenda, Melbourne) refuted the evidence of Keith Windshuttle’s book (2002, Fabrication of Aboriginal History: Volume One, Van Diemen’s Land 1803-1847 Macleay Press, Sydney) when he declared ‘Windshuttle can impose his contemporary conclusions on Van Diemen’s Land history only by limiting the selection of sources …’.  Joyce’s position reminds me to stay focused and to explore broadly.

At the moment, I have started working through a mountain of freely available reference material seeking clues as to what I might need to follow up with careful research.  As yet, I have found very little that pertains to the Derwent River. These are early days during which I will come to an understanding of the limitations and challenges of my project.

Before my walk along the Derwent River last Tuesday

As my bus from home into Hobart city passed over the Tasman Bridge before 7am, I looked down onto a dozen or so rowing boats slipping along the Derwent River. The wedges that their passing craft made were the only patterns on the still surface of the River.

The morning was suffused with golden light forewarning the rise of the sun over the hills.  The few wisps of cloud in an otherwise blue sky were coloured silvery pink.  The temperature was a brisk 8 degrees, but I felt clean and alive prompted by such a vital looking day.

Once in the city, I walked to Franklin Square ready to wait for the next bus to Blackmans Bay, my starting point for Stage 13. While waiting, I walked through the park and admired the grand symmetrical fountain splashes around a large bronze sculpture of the eminent 19th century Rear Admiral Sir John Franklin.  Overhead, I watched a squawk of Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos, with their wings lit by the first rays of sunshine, flying as a family.  Street cleaners were clearing rubbish bins and pathway surfaces.  Very few other people were out and about in the centre of the city (people were being active in the suburbs before commuting to work in the city a while later).

The large public chess set had been set out and was ready for play.

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As the sun struck the Treasury buildings at one end of Franklin Square park, clusters of fat seagulls (Silver Gulls) were nipping at early rising insects across the grass lawns.

Metro bus number 84 departed at 7.17am. By 7.33am we had climbed up and travelled along the Southern Outlet and were passing through Kingston. This gave me a clear cut side view of majestic Mount Wellington.  Every rock was hard edge and clear. The air was so clean.

At 7.41am I stepped off the bus at Wells Parade in Blackmans Bay, the location where I had finished Stage 12 of my walk.  The final walk to the mouth of the Derwent River was about to begin.

Blinking Billy Point, Lower Sandy Bay next to the Derwent River

Continuing Stage 11 of my walk along the Derwent River, I walked the foreshore from Long Beach towards Blinking Billy Point. Looking northwards, the crescent of Long Beach stretched before me.

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I passed a new set of public toilets around 10am and ten minutes later I was walking around Blinking Billy Point.

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This was an area to which Charles Darwin (http://www.biography.com/people/charles-darwin-9266433) walked from Sullivans Cove (my starting point for this Stage of the walk) in February 1836. The area’s local government has remembered the occasion with an information plaque.

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Out in the water is a marker for water craft: the John Garrow Light (established in 1953).  I have known this was a marker used in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race but I had never known where it was located.  Now I know: almost east of the Blinking Billy old lighthouse.  According to http://www.maritimetas.org/sites/all/files/maritime/nautical_news_winter_2002.pdf, John Garrow was a Sandy Bay pastry-cook, who lived in Bath St. Battery Point and died 1924. This begs the question – how did a nautical navigation tool come to be named after someone that seemingly had no connection with the Derwent?

I noticed that the Point has old defence structures embedded in the cliff. I learned that these were an adjunct to the huge hill behind with the remnants of the 19th century Alexandra Battery.

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Looking down the Derwent River through the glitter of the distance to the eastern shore, I could pick out Trywork Point (the southernmost tip of land before Ralphs Bay begins) and Gellibrand Point (the northern most point of the South Arm peninsula) both providing the ‘gateposts’ to Ralphs Bay. Previously, I explored these distant Points on Stage 2 and 3 of my walk.

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Then I looked back to Long Beach from Blinking Billy Point with Mount Wellington in the distance. How peaceful the world seemed.

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Despite the promises of a short beach in Geography Bay after the Blinking Billy Point, I knew better than to have expectations that continuing my walk on the foreshore was possible. The Sandy Bay Foreshore Track finishes at Blinking Billy Point.

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Some years ago a friend and I tried to walk the rocky shore southwards from Blinking Billy Point but, as the tide came in, there came a moment when we couldn’t move forward or backwards.  I remembered we scrambled up through someone’s property; the people were not at home and we let ourselves out onto the street hoping no alarm systems would be alerted. We were lucky that day.

Based on that memory, I knew it was not worth proceeding any further and retraced my steps around Blinking Billy Point until I could walk up to Sandy Bay Road.

From Sandy Bay to Lower Sandy Bay on Stage 11 of my walk along the Derwent River

After Maning Ave Reserve I continued walking along Sandy Bay Road and used every opportunity to glimpse the Derwent River down the driveways of large houses with expensive River frontage.

By 9.10am I reached the Red Chapel Reserve. Red Chapel Ave is one of Hobart’s well-known streets extending up the hill and connecting to other main streets but I had never known, until this walk, where the name came from. I wonder how many Hobartians know the source. Of course the source turned out to be so obvious once I knew and used my eyes. It was named after the red coloured chapel of the 20thcentury St Stephens Anglican church that was built on the River side of the Road next to the Reserve and opposite the uphill Avenue.  What can be said about the impoverishment of imagination? Refer to https://stainedglassaustralia.wordpress.com/2014/08/02/1914-st-stephens-anglican-church-lower-sandy-bay-tasmania/ for some glorious images. The photo below is courtesy ofhttp://www.anglicantas.org.au/parishes/?item=37

St Stephens Church

A minute or so further down the road and on the right was the highly esteemed Lipscombe Larder on the corner of … Lipscombe Ave.  Where else would it be?

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In addition to all its tasty delicatessen products and wines, this food paradise also sells exquisite cakes: refer to http://lipscombelarder.com.au/  for images.

At some stage during my walk in this suburb, I realised that no one was walking a mongrel dog. At the end of leads were expensive pedigreed dogs.  Certainly their owners seemed happy.

Before long, a set of steep stairs attracted my attention on the left. These were for public access to Nutgrove Beach. As I approached the Beach I was staggered by the size of an old pear tree on the dune edge, and loved the pigface plant which carpeted the area either side of the pathway. I was on the beach at 9.20am and turned right to walk southwards.

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Behind low sand dunes on my right, the roofs and second storeys of beach front houses were visible. At 9.23am, I passed public toilets almost hidden under a large pine tree, and by 9.30 I reached a corner of the beach with the Sandy Bay Sailing Club located up in the dunes.

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Moments later I turned the corner and was no longer able to look back at Wrest Point and Battery Point in the distance.

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I continued on a pathway over the shore and over the dunes some of which would be impassable at high tide without getting wet feet. Some of the rocks were unstable underfoot presenting the risk of a turned ankle or knee. Nutgrove Beach had been a simple delight, and before long I was on an easy, vegetated, and shaded walking track to Long Beach at Lower Sandy Bay. Then I arrived.

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Back out into the open by 9.35am, I could see public toilets nearby, and by looking across the Derwent River to the eastern shore, the yellow strips of Bellerive and Howrah Beaches (on which I walked in an early stage of my walk) were visible.

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I had been walking for over two hours so sat for a while in the gorgeous sun, watched the tiny waves rippling fluidly and regularly, stared at two fishing boats motoring out of the Derwent Harbour, listened to kids’ riotous laughter in a kids’ playground nearby, and then stood up and got going again at 9.50am.

I was delighted to discover Stephen Walker’s huge many part bronze sculpture, Tidal Pools, with its inbuilt water feature at Long Beach in Lower Sandy Bay.

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The remarkable 86 year old Tasmanian artist died only about 7 months ago leaving a great many large scale works around Tasmania and other parts of Australia, such as his Tank Stream Fountain (1981), near Circular Quay in Sydney. In the 1950s, Stephen Walker studied under the celebrated sculptor Englishman Henry Moore. Apparently Walker continued his bronze casting work well into his 70s using his foundry underneath the house.

Five minutes of walking the developed walkways of Long Beach brought me to a cul-de-sac with its carpark full of vehicles.  Further along that loop off Beach Road were bakeries, cafes, restaurants, etc.

Walking along the wharves of Sullivans Cove, Hobart

On Stage 11, after walking along Hunter St, I turned right to walk along the Franklin Wharf street, and had the Derwent River on my left and an enclosure for fishing and other vessels to my right. The morning was fresh, the sun was shining and it was all together delightful. Not many people around. The mountain, clearly visible, looked down on the centre of Hobart and over the wharves. Clouds were reflected serenely in the water.

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A family of bronze sculptures, perched life-like on rocks on the River side, is much loved by visitors.

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Passing Mures fish restaurant on my right, I continued on until I could see the row of floating fish shops selling fresh and cooked fish and other seafood.

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A minute later, I was standing on the celebration platform used when the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race boats arrive. I looked across to Elizabeth Pier which contains accommodation, conference facilities and a number of eateries (where sitting outside is such a pleasure).  In the photo below the ‘tall-ship’ replica Lady Nelson sits outside the T42 restaurant.

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Opposite Elizabeth St pier, a number of buildings of different architectural styles and vintages line part of the street. Continuing to the other side of the Elizabeth St pier, a second tall ship, the Windward Bound offers sailing trips.

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On the next pier after the one in the photo above, a couple of the contemporary camouflaged MONA ferries sat either side within the slightly mobile surface of beautiful glassy water.  Taking a trip on these ferries down the Derwent to and from MONA (Museum of New and Old Art) located in the suburb of Berriedale (I walked through that on recent Stages) helps you to see parts of Hobart you would not normally see, and it gives you a perspective on the distances over which the Greater Hobart Area sprawls. It is interesting to reflect on the two extremes of water vessel technology, when you look at the 19th century sailing ship close by a state-of-the-art catamaran.

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These starting sections of my Stage 11 were colourful and tranquil. It’s a free, easy, stroll along the waterfront and there is much to see looking out onto the side of the Derwent River. The next posting on this blog will look at landmarks on the non-River side of the streets.

The end of the Rolex Sydney to Hobart 2014 yacht race

This afternoon I needed to walk to Bellerive’s Village for basic shopping. Once there (20 minute walk) it seemed a waste to be so close to the Derwent River and not to walk around Kangaroo Bay to Bellerive Bluff and see if any more yachts were sailing up to the finish line.

Today has been exceptionally blustery and Mount Wellington keeps disappearing from view as rain squalls and clouds move across in waves.

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It was clear to me that a major storm was passing and could reasonably be expected to travel across the Derwent River and saturate me. Nevertheless, knowing its only water and that my umbrella could be expected to be blown inside out with the wind, I walked on.  And it was worth it.

The wild water of the River showed peaks and troughs and there in the blurry distance, trying to keep close to protection of the land on the western shore close to Wrest Point Hotel Casino, two of the last yachts were fighting it out to see who would cross the line first.

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At home I have checked and learned that the two were Maluka of Kermandie and Charlie’s Dream.  As I stood on that windswept shore, I could see it was a battle between the two but I was surprised to discover their finish time had only 3 seconds between them. Can you imagine?  After hundreds of miles/kilometres in some very testing weather, three seconds separated these two at the line. Inspirational!  The message for me was that one must never give up; I must keep pushing onwards.

Only two yachts are yet to cross the line. One is charging up the Derwent as I type and has almost reached the finish line (Southern Myth) and the other seems almost to be stalled in Great Oyster Bay slightly south of Freycinet peninsula on Tasmania’s east coast.  I can only imagine that yacht is taking it slow and easy to cope with the weather and arrive in one piece.  Many yachts have withdrawn from the race with expensive rigging, sail, rudder, lost masts, and other boat damage. Perhaps the last yacht, Landfall, is considering making landfall earlier than the Hobart docks.

If you don’t mind thickly padded appearances and wind-blown hair, then today is a wonderful day to be wearing your winter woollies and outside walking and filling the lungs with fresh (and it is fresh) air.