Saturday, 15 February 2014

Hobart Town to the nearby hills

Thursday 23rd January, 1834      

'I began my day with a walk to the nearby hills, but these, due partly to the long drought and partly to the sheep that had been depastured there, were completely denuded of all vegetation. In Hobart Town itself European weeds have replaced everything else, and thistle, plantain and yellow chicory are as rampant here as anywhere in Europe. Only in one damp spot, round a small spring, did I find a few plants that were new to me.'

Von Hügel — New Holland Journal p 103  

Walking down to Sandy Bay.

Friday 14th January, 2014 

180 years later Hobart would, despite its very particular landscape, be largely unrecognisable to Von Hügel — or would it? Today (Friday) I walked from Sandy Bay up the rivulet until I could walk no further. I then joined Waterworks Rd and continued to the two pretty reservoirs, and on still further joining the pipeworks track all the way to Fern Tree. From here I continued up the now steepening Mt Wellington to 'the Springs'. I turned back to Fern Tree knowing that tomorrow I was to accompany Cate and her family from the Springs to the pinnacle.
Von Hügel's journal records the weeds, already colonising early Hobart, but as he ascends further into the hills and later, up Mt Wellington, he describes how he and his companion Captain Neville,

'were both enchanted by the magnificent natural scenery through which we passed.... I shall never forget the lovely green of the ferns as we sat beneath them, or the sunlight stealing through the tall trees and lighting them up.' (p. 112 & 113)

The following pictures are selected from the photographs I took yesterday. Once out of Hobart, most stone buildings and structures were yet to be made when Von Hügel walked, however a feeling in the landscape might remain. Certainly the transition from European plants to Indigenous flora and fauna was striking, and like Von Hügel I felt a sense of calm and peace on arriving in the damp, minty smelling bush.
After six hours of walking, I was very grateful to Lisa and Michael who, in response to my question as to which side of the road to stand to hail the bus to town, offered me a lift down the mountain!

The very start of the Sandy Bay Rivulet. 

Where the Rivulet leaves the road line. A cobblestone channel banked by concrete.

Cumbungi amongst the weeds, although probably the Northern Hemisphere Cumbungi, a weed amongst the weeds.

Delicious, but a weed nevertheless.

For much of the early stretch of this Rivulet it felt like a British hedgerow.

More fruits to forage.

Inner city opportunities.

More Northern Hemisphere Cumbungi with pink geraniums.

Here the original shape of the Rivulet begins to emerge, nasturtiums and the odd native plant.

More bridges and roads to creep beneath.

Parliament Street Reserve - the first revegetation planting and the first Gorse I noticed.

Waterworks Rd - Fennel growing along the verge with the bush as a backdrop.

An old Mulberry Tree in fruit.

Lower Reservoir - Waterworks Reserve.

Upper Reservoir - Waterworks Reserve

Peaceful bush.

The track returning from the Springs.

Tree ferns shrouded in soft drizzly mist.

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