ON THE WING

Mercury (Hobart) - Magazine - - GROW YOUR OWN - WITH DON KNOWLER

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.

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