ON THE WING
The Friends of the Sandy Bay Rivulet are keeping their hopes alive of one day being able to walk the watercourse on a new trail linking city and mountain. Amid all the talk of development in Hobart, from highrise buildings to cable cars, the organisation has been advancing the case for the Sandy Bay Rivulet Linear Park hoping it has not slipped from the Hobart council’s radar.
At the Friends’ recent annual general meeting, members were assured the plan was still on the council agenda. The council had been acquiring land for the project on the banks of the rivulet adjacent to Waterworks Rd in Dynnyrne and in another sign of progress, information panels had been installed at two locations describing the native fish in the watercourse. These can be seen at the Parliament St Reserve and along Quayle St in Battery Point.
The Friends of the Sandy Bay Rivulet was established 14 years ago to draw attention to a long forgotten and secret part of Hobart’s natural environment. The rivulet may be encased in concrete on its final stretch through Sandy Bay and Battery Point to the Derwent at Marieville Esplanade but above Parliament St it follows a course framed by riverine vegetation. It is wild and untamed in the section between Waterworks Rd and Romilly St, but there is no access to this area for members of the public.
I’m lucky enough to live on this section, with the rivulet forming a boundary of my property, and I have been an active member of the Friends from the time the group was established. Like other members, I’m far from being a Nimby (not in my backyard) and I am keen to see the water course open up as a public walkway, even if this trail will cut across the bottom of my garden.
The rivulet and its prolific birdlife have formed the basis of many of the On the Wing columns I have written over the past 18 years so I can hardly justify regarding this precious piece of Hobart greenery as my own. The rivulet and its riparian vegetation are home to 11 of the 12 Tasmanian bird species found nowhere else on earth.
Under the council’s plans, the linear park will be built in three phases. The first would follow a natural area of open space between Parliament St and Lynton Ave. The next would follow the rivulet along Waterworks Rd to Romilly St, from where steps would be built to link the trail to the Pipeline Track leading to the Waterworks Reserve and Fern Tree.
The track would be of immense value to the wider community, from a wildlife and historical view. The rivulet forms a wildlife corridor providing homes for endemic birds such as the yellow-throated honeyeater, and follows in part the route Charles Darwin took to climb kunanyi/Mt Wellington on his visit to Hobart in 1836.