Tag Archives: Western Australia

Australian stamping grounds

Blog reader, Ju, surprised me with an unexpected gift; a freshly minted set of postal stamps.  Recently Australia Post released the set noting 4 Great Australian Walks: The National Pass in New South Wales, the Cape to Cape Track in Western Australia, the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory, and the Overland Track in Tasmania.


On each of the four gloriously coloured stamps, a photograph of an iconic landscape represents each Walk. On the edge of each stamp, a white featureless body with a pack-on-the-back shape represents one or more people walking. Mentally you can pop yourself into the body and become that walker.


The image for Tasmania’s Overland Track is Cradle Mountain. This marks the commencement in northern Tasmania for the 60km walk which winds southwards and ends at Lake St Clair (regular blog readers know the southern end of that Lake is where the Derwent River commences its life).  I walked the Overland Track in 2006 and strongly recommend it to others; leisurely – over 6 days with walks off the main path and plenty of time to soak in the atmosphere.  I remember that when I saw some of the mountains on the west coast of Tasmania way in the distance, I realised Tasmania was not so large. I thought it would be possible to walk across this state from the east to the west but I have not pursued that idea. Yet.


Looking across to Cradle Mountain and beyond, and at its reflection in the pristine Dove Lake at its feet, I can see a light powdering of snow.  Currently, snow is very topical.

Over the past few days, Hobart and the rest of Tasmania have received loads of snow the likes of which hasn’t been seen here for 30 years.  News and social media are brimming with sensational photos many showing the thrill of this unusual flurry: for example, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-03/snow-across-tasmania-forces-many-key-road-closures/6666838 and http://www.news.com.au/national/tasmania/cold-brings-warnings-and-snow-wonder/story-fnn32rbc-1227467164313.

Most appropriate for this blog about Walking the Derwent, is the photo I found of The Hungry Wombat Café at Derwent Bridge (the township at the southern end of Lake St Clair to which I will walk sooner or later). When you look at the photo below (taken from the website above), you will understand why I am not walking inland at the moment.

Snow at The Hungry Wombat Cafe Derwent Bridge 030815

The Perentie Lizard

The Perth Zoo in Western Australia looks after a Perentie Lizard (mentioned in the last posting) (http://perthzoo.wa.gov.au/animals-plants/australia/reptile-encounter/perentie/).

Perentie lizard at Perth Zoo

The Perentie is a Central Australian monitor (also known as a goanna) which is designated a ‘controlled animal’ under the Tasmanian Nature Conservation Act 2002. There is a low likelihood that this species could establish in Tasmania, with potential for minor impacts. The most significant impact is likely to be predation because Perenties have a broad diet and could potentially prey on a variety of native animals. These impacts are likely to be low because the Tasmanian climate is not suitable. This risk assessment categorises Perenties as a moderate threat to Tasmania and proposes that imports be restricted to those licence holders approved for keeping moderate threat species.

I have seen a few lizards during my walks along the Derwent River. Tasmania has fifteen different types of Skinks plus the Blue Tongue Lizard (some live in the rocks in my garden) and the Mountain Dragon. Delicate Skinks are a small, plain species, often found in suburban gardens in northern and eastern Tasmania.  Often I see a tiny Skink darting out of my way., but I do not know which type or types: more research is needed.  The photo below shows a Delicate Skink.


The navy comes to town

From my home overlooking the Derwent River, on this grey overcast wintry Thursday around Hobart, I have just watched a small grey green naval ship charging up the Harbour accompanied by two tugs.  According to TasPORTS, the HMS Arunta was due to arrive at midday and it is now midday as it is edges along MAC4 wharf ready to moor. This perfect timing gives me great confidence in our Royal Australian Navy. Apparently HMS Arunta will depart on Monday at 10am.

HMAS Arunta (II)

When I checked the Royal Australian Navy website (http://www.navy.gov.au/), it referred to the historic ship, the HMAS Arunta (1) and provided information about the HMAS Arunta (II) (the ship which I have watched this morning). Apparently the HMAS Arunta (1) had a long history including action in World War II, was decommissioned in 1956 before sinking off the coast of NSW in 1969 having been sold for scrap.

The HMS Arunta (11) is a Frigate Helicopter (FHH) ship known as part of the Anzac class. Anzacs are long-range escorts with roles including air defence, anti-submarine warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction.The ships are capable of countering simultaneous threats from the air, surface and sub-surface. Each Anzac frigate is fitted with an advanced package of air surveillance radars, omni-directional hull mounted sonar and electronic support systems which interface with a state-of-the-art combat data system.

The name “Arunta” comes from the Arrernte Aboriginal people (also spelt “Arunda” or “Aranda”) located in central Australia. Selection of the Arunta name and original motto ‘Conquer or Die’ recognises the ship’s proud history and the ongoing and special relationship with the ARRERNTE Aboriginal people. To maintain the warm and special bond between HMAS Arunta and the Arrernte people the Arrernte Council presented HMAS Arunta with a flag displaying a Perrente lizard. The lizard is an animal from the dreamtime for the Arrernte people. HMAS Arunta also sponsors a Perrente Lizard, the ships mascot, at Perth Zoo, Western Australia.