RDP: River

The Wild River

We have a lot of rivers in Tasmania, so many that much of our power comes from hydro-electric power plants.

Tungatinah Power Station

It was the proposed damming of a river, the Franklin, in the southwest of the state that led to the blockade of the river in the summer of 1982-83. It is quite an involved story starting further back when the Hydro-Electric Commission (HEC)  built a dam which caused the flooding of  Lake Pedder, a renowned beauty spot, in 1972.

When the state government of the day proposed to dam the Franklin River the newly formed Tasmanian Wilderness Society began their campaign to save it. It’s a long story that has more to do with politics than with rivers but it is interesting reading so I’ll include a link to an article by Professor Clive Hamilton who tells the story much better than I can.

Below is Peter Dombrovskis famous photo taken on the Franklin and used by the Tasmanian Wilderness Society to publicise the issue.

Rock island bend.jpg
By National Library of Australia nla.pic-an6631500-v, Fair use, Link

image canoe
Peter Dombrovskis’ Canoe-TMAG, Hobart

I do remember the blockade. We were still living in South Australia and every night the news would have stories sent from this tiny place, Strahan, that we had never heard of before then. Many celebrities, Australian and international including Sir Yehudi Menuhin, ­Barry Humphries, Eartha Kitt, Dick Smith, and ­David Bellamy took part in the blockade beside ordinary people from every state in Australia. David and I watched the news and cheered for the blockaders many of whom were arrested and when they refused to keep away from the river as part of their bail conditions were removed to jail in Hobart.

In the end, a Federal Labor government was elected in early 1983 and one of their first acts was to stop the dam from being built.

An old HEC logo in the visitor centre in Strahan

When we first visited Strahan many years later I learned at the visitor centre how the whole issue had divided families. To this day there are still people who believe that dam should have been built but the Franklin is still a wild river. I’ve never seen it but I’m happy knowing it is there. I have cruised on the Gordon River which flows into it. The point where the two rivers join was one of the proposed sites for the dam.

Gordon River, Tasmania

Further Reading:

https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/science-environment/2014/06/reflecting-on-the-conservation-of-the-franklin-river/

 

 

 

 

A Photo A Week Challenge: The Great Outdoors

The Great Tasmanian Outdoors

Here I’m sharing a few photos taken in different parts of Tasmania over the past ten years or so.

Moss
Moss on a tree. Near Strahan , Tasmania

 

Strahan
Early morning view of Strahan taken from our hotel in the Strahan Village.
image vineyards by the river
Vineyards near Rosevears on the Tamar. Cool climate wines are growing in popularity.
Rainbow over the Huon River
Rainbow over the Huon River
Table Cape, north west Tasmania
Topiary, Lake Dulverton, Oatlands Tasmania

The Taste of Tasmania

As I had some time before my bus went after photographing the yachts I decided to visit The Taste of Tasmania. The Taste as we usually call it is held in and around one of the old wharf sheds every year at this time. As the name implies it is a food festival. Admittance is free, they did toy with an entrance fee a few years back but it was very unpopular. 

When I first visited the Taste in the early 2000’s it was contained in the old No. 1 shed and the adjacent waterfront area. Over the years it has grown so much that it has spread on to the adjacent Salamanca and Parliament lawns. 

I was pleased to see that there was lots of seating in the shade in these areas as in fine weather they are a great alternative to the big shed. I don’t go to The Taste every year. I’m not what you would call a foodie and I don’t like queueing for food when it is busy although I like to support the local producers. The shed can be humid and noisy and the seating is at long communal tables. I really dislike eating with strangers. However, all the new seating options meant that it was not as crowded and I was even able to grab one of the coveted waterside tables and have it more or less to myself.

Eating area at the Taste of Tasmania
In the Atrium.

I was also pleased to see that the venue had plenty of recycling bins and that most of the plates and cutlery were the recyclable type. There was also free drinking water available so people could fill their water bottles.

The food, well there was a huge variety, locally made smallgoods, seafood Ethiopian, Korean, Indonesian, you name it and it was probably there.  There were also locally made ice creams, individual Pavlovas, cakes, and of course beer, cider, wines etc.  It was rather expensive for me though. I certainly can’t afford to stay all day trying different things when hardly anything was under $10 a serve. In the end, because I was hungry I had a Korean pork belly bun which was nice and a Raspberry Delight, local raspberries with locally made Valhalla ice cream and whipped cream on top. I love these ice creams with fresh fruit and usually treat myself to one in the summer.

There are stages set around the area where live entertainment is presented and there are things set up for kids to do so it is a good day out especially combined with the other activities on the waterfront, harbour cruises, motorcycle rides, horse and carriage rides and the yachts of course.

Christmas in Geeveston

Last Friday evening we had our town Christmas Parade which was put on by the local fire brigade and participated in by local schools, clubs and businesses. We were lucky with the weather, the skies were black but it didn’t rain.

I was in town quite a while before the parade began so I took some photos of the Christmas windows in Church Street and a couple of vehicles being prepared.

Nicholas Butcher’s shop
Outside Makers On Church Street.
Geeveston Post Office
The local water carrier’s truck being prepared.
This float was being prepared next to the local bank so I think that it must have been the Bendigo Bank float.

The crowds seemed to be down a bit this year although it often seems like half the town is in the parade anyway. I chose a different spot from previous years where I could photograph the floats as they entered the main street.

The Parade begins

Our Op Shop had a float again this year and we were very pleased to be named the best motorised float. I didn’t ride on it because I wanted to go into the town to take photos.

Here comes the Op Shop float.
The Op Shop gang on parade.

Here are some more photos of the parade.

 

RDP: Bridge

The Tasman Bridge Disaster

image Tasman Bridge, Hobart
crossing the bridge

Hobart’s eastern and western shores are spanned by the Tasman Bridge which was completed in 1964. This bridge replaced an earlier floating bridge that had been built in 1943.

I was not living in Tasmania in 1975 when the bridge collapsed but of course, I saw it on the news. It was only much later when I moved here that I began to understand how it affected people’s lives.

The disaster occurred on the night of the 5th of January 1975. Lake Illawarra, a bulk ore carrier was making its way up the Derwent, as it was a Sunday night there was no pilot on board.  The reports of the accident say that human error and tidal currents in the river were the main factors that caused the ship to smash into one of the bridge pylons. A section of the bridge came down sinking the ship and carrying with it four cars that had been unable to stop in time. The five occupants and seven crew members from the Lake Illawarra died that night. Two other cars were left teetering over the edge of the bridge but miraculously those people survived.

The Tasman Bridge from below.

What I was unaware of until I moved to Tasmania was the social impact the loss of the bridge would have on Hobart. At that time there was only one other river crossing and it was several kilometres away at Bridgewater so getting to and from the CBD became a major problem for people on both sides of the river.  Initially, ferries were brought in to deal with the commuters but later a temporary “Bailey Bridge” was constructed to replace the Tasman Bridge while repairs took place. It was nearly three years before the bridge was re-opened.

The Tasman Bridge, Hobart.

Apart from the delays that this caused for people trying to get to work or appointments it changed people’s lives in other ways. I spoke with workmates who were old enough to remember the disaster and one who was just a teenager at the time told me that she had to move because her job was on the opposite side of the river to her home. Her parents thought it was easier to set her and a friend up in a flat than for them to commute to their jobs. I am sure that she was not the only one who made the move because of work.

The Tasman Bridge, Hobart Tasmania

Probably as a result of the disaster services on the eastern shore were developed faster than they might have been otherwise. The population had been growing for some years but most people worked and shopped in the Hobart CBD. Eastlands shopping centre was enlarged and new shops, offices, medical facilities and entertainment venues started to appear.

Of course what I can never know is how people felt when they heard the news. In a small place like Tasmania. when something bad happens it’s personal because it’s very likely that someone you know has been affected in some way. When people saw the first pictures of the bridge it must have felt as if nothing would ever be the same.

Today a few things have changed. The bridge is repaired but the pylons are in slightly different positions as the Lake Illawarra, now a dive site, still lies on the river bed. There is always a pilot on board any ship that passes under the bridge and when one does the traffic is stopped. A third bridge has been built between Hobart and Bridgewater. The City of Clarence is now one of the fastest growing areas in Tasmania.

image Tasman Bridge
The Tasman Bridge today

Sources:

I have included a few links for those who would like to learn more about what happened. There are some historic pictures as well.

https://roadsaustralia.weebly.com/tasman-bridge.html

https://think-tasmania.com/tasman-bridge/

http://www.utas.edu.au/library/companion_to_tasmanian_history/T/Tas%20bridge%20collapse.htm

https://www.news.com.au/national/tasmania/tasman-bridge-lights-go-out-to-honour-12-who-died-in-disaster/news-story/3e38ff29cf07486a5b747b23d346c6eb

https://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/tasman-bridge-disaster/image-gallery/3ab6314370988d3e65a0978f68dd3e1c

http://www.utas.edu.au/library/companion_to_tasmanian_history/C/Clarence.htm

 

RDP Tuesday: Rain

It’s Raining Again

Whether we have it or we don’t have it rain plays an enormous part in our daily lives.  We can’t live without it but too much of it at one time can cause havoc and not enough of it is devastating.

One of the things that attracted me to the Huon Valley is how green it is. I’d spent most of my life in South Australia, the driest state and the rivers and lakes, green grass and flowers here appealed to me. It does seem to rain more here than some other parts of the state. Naomi says that it always rains when she comes to visit me. She was here Saturday and it was dry until about 5pm and then as she started to think about going home down came the rain.

The view of the Huon River from halfway up Percy St, Port Huon

Not enough rain at the right time of year can be bad for farmers crops but unseasonal rain and hail in summer can ruin the cherry crop and growers lose a lot of money because damaged cherries are no good for export.

At times there are areas that are very prone to flooding. Launceston often suffers from floods in winter but the city has put in levees that they hope will protect the city from the worst of them. We had bad flooding in the north a couple of winters ago when several rivers rose dangerously high.

Huon River in flood at Huonville. photo from ABC news.

The Huon River sometimes floods in winter, usually, it is not too bad in Huonville, just water over the road in a couple of places. Two or three times since I’ve been here I’ve seen water in the main street and a couple of businesses have been affected but a couple of years ago there was a situation created by high tides in the estuary, melting snow and a lot of rain and there was a much worse flood. Homes were evacuated, businesses were flooded and livestock lost.

Tasmania isn’t always wet though, people don’t realise it but Hobart is the driest state capital after Adelaide and we have had serious droughts in Tasmania, especially in the eastern part of the state. The area where Naomi lives in the centre of the state is farming country and she often told me how distressed the local farmers were when they had to destroy sheep or sell them for very little because the land would not support them. Lake Dulverton at Oatlands where she lives dried up completely during a particularly bad drought.

This is the lake at the height of the drought.

image fisherman
Fisherman December 2009

I am fortunate enough that my house is connected to the town water supply but I have friends who rely on rainwater tanks and when the rain doesn’t come they have to buy water.

Mostly I don’t mind when it rains. Of course, it is a nuisance at times, at the Op Shop for example when it is too wet for us to put anything outside the shop and the bad weather keeps customers away. Or when I go to the cricket and the match is rained out.  On the other hand, rain is nice to cool everything down after a hot day and I like the sound of rain on a metal roof. Without rain, there would be no rainbows.

Rainbow in a dark sky.

References:

https://thenewdaily.com.au/weather/2013/11/21/australian-weather-myths-tested-city-fare/

https://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/huon-river-flood/image-gallery/1a34c091785188721f27c875ecc18d85

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Places People Live

Homes of Hobart

I love walking the streets looking at old or interesting houses I love to photograph them too and I hope their owners don’t mind me sharing these pictures. I don’t photograph local houses as much because it seems a bit cheeky. I know I would think it odd if some random person were standing outside my house taking photographs. Although, if they came and asked me if they could photograph my house for their blog I’d probably say yes.

These old houses are in North Hobart. I like the colour and style of them very much.

A street of terrace houses in North Hobart.

Leitrim North Hobart.

 

Terrace Houses

Heading back into Hobart, these apartments at the end of Salamanca Place are in a converted grain silo.

The old grain silos at Salamanca now converted to apartments

If we walk up to Princes park or climb Kelly’s Steps we come to Battery Point.

These houses on Arthur’s Circus in Battery Point are some of the oldest homes in Hobart and are frequently photographed by tourists.

Arthur Circus, some of the oldest houses in Battery Point.

Art Deco apartment building, Sandy Bay

In nearby Sandy Bay, there are many interesting and expensive houses and apartments. This is one that I could not resist photographing because I love this style of building.