Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Bob's Grasstree Hill 2014

It was a dark and stormy day. Actually, it wasn't. I just wanted to write something different than today was another pleasant day, if a little cold - gloves were worn. We were being led by Bob.

Looking across the Derwent, Bridgewater Jerry was in evidence. On the wain, he usually stretches from Bridgewater to Hobart.
Bridgewater Jerry - usually more impressive

We arrived at Risdon Brook Dam to find the car park was nearly full and a number of people standing around in bush gear. I remembered then that I had seen the the Hobart Walking Club was having a walk there today, also going to Grasstree Hill.

Avoiding a turf war, we passed some good words between the groups and set off leaving them still getting organized. There's a track around the dam but we soon set off cross country and headed towards Grasstree Hill.

Just a note, we never saw the other club so they obviously took another route.

Meeting of the clubs

It's very open, dry bush as you can see from the photos, with lots of dead gums because of past fires and consequently many limbs on the ground. The track was firm and dry through out the whole walk.

Rock strewn dry bush

There are old tracks every where on these hills, most are not marked on any map. We also passed remnants of times past as in this old loading ramp for livestock using a convenient gum for one support. Didn't do the tree a lot of good.

Old loading ramp

Moving on
We didn't see much wildlife, I did spot a wallaby hopping off into the bush and later a flock of sulphur crested cockatoos in the distance. However, we did see much evidence of activity, including these excavations which were fairly numerous and wide spread along the walk. I've never seen this before and we can only make guesses as to the cause. One was perhaps bettongs, who root for roots & tubers.
Well placed boot for scale.
We continued along this track, coming to a major junction before walking up a gully and then through a rocky section.

Track junctions. Decisions, decisions.

Decision made, we walk up a gully, actually I think it's Catchpole Gully

Small caves with evidence in many cases of furry inhabitants.

Open bush, young gums, stony ground.
We're now looking for a site to stop for the all important Morning Tea.

Another track

That rock would make a nice table

Going off track now for the perfect place.

Make your own way

Finally, the perfect place and we divide into two groups as per usual. I haven't figured out the rules, yet.
Morning Tea

After our drinks, we continue on and come upon the only grasstrees we see.

Xanthorrhoea or grasstree

Was commonly known as blackboy as its flower spike was said to resemble an Aboriginal boy holding an upright spear. This is considered not acceptable now, and grasstree is more commonly used.

Walker of the Day Bob & Peggy adding scale to the plant behind.


From here, we continued on passing a rocky cliff with numerous small caves, before coming to the little hill Bob promised. Some of us had been there before.

Interesting rock faces

Heading for a little climb

A large tree boule distracted my attention from the climb.

Looking down, doesn't look like much

Looking up is better. You can judge the slope by how silent we are.

At the top, this little hill has no name, but we're calling it Bob's Grasstree Hill

Across the gully to the real Grasstree Hill

Not sure of the function of this little construction
Not being sure of the route up Grasstree Hill, we decided to save it for another day. I do know it looks like a scree slope ahead of us from the photo above. However our ever intrepid Bob took off  down to the gully just below us, and found a possible route he's going to explore, and is confident we can add another walk to our schedule.

While Bob was exploring, the rest found a lunch site out of the cool wind, the temperature up here was definitely cooler then down below.


I saw very little evidence of fungi as it's out of season and very dry here. The ones I did see didn't meet my standards. Actually, I couldn't be bothered to get down to their level.

I did take some photos of another very basic kind of sign. It seems like wombats use this entire hill for their 'doings'. It's every where! So people with a delicate nature should look away now.

Wombat poo. It's cube shaped which explains their somewhat pained expression.

After lunch we continued on various old tracks back to our start. Nothing of importance on the way except for a very long, steep downhill section which really tested your knees.

On the way back, there was some discussion about Risdon Brook Dam and when it was constructed. I volunteered to look into it, as I couldn't remember either.

It was completed in 1968, much later then some people thought. I found an obituary of a gentleman called Alan G. Strom, an engineer who conceived and oversaw the construction of the first concrete-faced, rolled rock-fill dam in Australia at Risdon Brook.

You might think it's kept filled by the water from the brook, but you'd be wrong. Risdon Brook is too saline and is diverted around the dam in a small channel beside the perimeter road. The water stored is collected from the Derwent River, treated to remove impurities and piped to the reservoir for storage and distribution to homes on the Eastern shore.

We had 11 walkers and covered 10.5km in just over 4 hours.

Click here to download GPX file

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jack, In case you are interested the route I used to Grasstree Hill a couple of years ago is here - Cheers, Denis