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Walking the Rivulet

Today is Sunday, and other than computer work setting up and preparing for interviews, I decided to head out on a long walk to learn about a water source that is very important to Hobart history. Known at the "rivulet", the creek originates out of kunanyi/Mount Wellington to the west. The freshwater was a drinking water source for the native aboriginal people, and later a key reason Hobart was built in this location by Europeans (1804 according to wikipedia). The rivulet flows in the Derwent River watershed, and eventually reaches the Derwent River and estuary in Hobart, that flows into the ocean. Historically the waterway was used for industry- timber mills, tanneries, and the Cascade Brewery (oldest in Australia, and still in operation). It was even used as a sewer for a period of time in the city, but after a few typhoid outbreaks it was eventually cleaned up. The rivulet has a walking path or park next to it all the way from the base of the mountain into the city center. At that point the rivulet is diverted into underground pipes until it reaches the Derwent. Floods are frequent apparently. A particularly damaging one occurred in 1960. The Cascade Brewery has many tales- a convict founder, a devastating bush fire in 1967, and several corporate takeovers in the 1980s (it is currently owned by Fosters). They still grow their own hops and grains and make everything on site, they also have orchards for cider. I tried one that was local Tas apples fermented with yeast used in white wine making. It was tasty. The site couldn't be more picturesque, with the grand, stone building (the exterior survived the fire) and the mountain in the background. The rivulet runs through the industrial site. The rest of the trail ranged from park-like settings and natural-looking creek banks, to more industrial or residential areas. Or remnants of industry. The old tannery is being demolished and condos are being built in its place. The air is the most clean and wonderful smelling (until you get up by some funky tanks at the brewery), and the birds call almost nonstop. There are these white Tasmanian cockatoos with yellow crests that make the craziest sound. The walk also takes you past a UNESCO heritage site- the ruins of a women's convict prison, which is now a museum and located right next to the rivulet. I think my favorite thing I heard today was from the woman in the tasting room at Cascade that there has been multiple sitings of a "resident" platypus in the rivulet. My eyes were glued to the water the entire walk back.


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