During the planning phase for this walk on Nyrstar property, I anticipated that after passing the wetlands treatment area my walk would be finished because, from then on, site buildings and operations sit next to most of the shore. I imagined access to these areas would be impossible for a visitor.
Three times a week, on average, large ships berth nearby ready to load up with the processed Zinc. However it was my lucky day and the wharf was clear. My host volunteered to take me further if I wished. Yes please. It seems that at every turn, on my walk from the mouth to the source of the Derwent River, people have helped and ways have been found to give me access to more of the River than I ever thought possible. I am so immensely grateful.
Back on a main road we headed towards the wharf, all the while with the river glistening in the strong sunlight and with the shadow of the East Risdon State Reserve ever apparent on the eastern shore.
As we headed west towards the wharf area, Mount Direction on the eastern shore loomed large.
Before reaching the wharf, we passed a repetitive pattern – one which has nothing to do with the Derwent but which attracted my attention. Bags. Large bags. Heavy bags. Very well organised. Very tidy.
Nyrstar is an operation which works hard to recycle by-products of the zinc smelting process and to minimise wastage. In association with other Nyrstar operations elsewhere in Australia, the Hobart site uses these bags in the ongoing process. I was impressed with the commitment of this company to repair the degradation of the environment which occurred in the early years of the ‘zinc works’ albeit under the control of other companies and how every effort is made now to ensure that no further harm is caused (and no – I am not being paid or encouraged to be so positive. Early blog readers will remember my posting about the independence with which I have made my walk. You can read I pay my own way as I walk along the Derwent Riverhere.
This seems an appropriate time to add in the stories of my walk along the water edge of one of Greater Hobart Area’s iconic industrial estates in its 100th year of operation. This series of postings records the morning when I was privileged to be given permission to walk on some of Nyrstar’s property. But first – a reminder of what the site looks like from a distance; from other vantage points during my walk along the Derwent.
Colloquially known as ‘the zinc works’ or the ‘Risdon works’, Nyrstar’s operation centres around converting raw materials into zinc metal. More can be read here.
Special permission was required to walk on this land and I needed to agree to particular conditions before I could proceed. The extensive site holds many dangers of physical, chemical, electrical, mechanical and liquid kinds and legislation and internal procedures regulate entry and access. This is not a public access walk. After arrival at the Reception office on-site, I submitted to a health and safety induction process, donned a high-vis vest and other safety gear (including designated boots), and accepted that I must be accompanied by a staff member at all times. My host and guide was a senior manager whose understanding, knowledge and passion for the environment had to be second to none. I could not have been more fortunate. And he also loved the Derwent River and told me how he jumped into his kayak to explore the river whenever he could find a moment (no – not while he is at work!).
The day of our walk was gloriously sunny with hardly a puff of white marking the sky; exceptional walking weather where every detail is clear.
A considerable portion of the Nyrstar industrial buildings edge the Derwent River as shown in the Google map excerpt below.
Nyrstar’s property extends into New Town Bay. I expected only to walk on and next to the rocky shore along the lines I marked on the Google map below. Future postings will reveal whether I actually walked further.
I am so very grateful for the support and interest and assistance which Nyrstar provided to ensure that my walk along the Derwent River was complete. Staff all over the site could not have been more pleasant.