Monday 4 November. I was in Hobart so I got the Walking West Hobart map out again and wandered up to Knocklofty Reserve.
Well, wandered isn’t exactly the right word.
There’s a footpath between Salvator Road and Poets Road and the map says this about it: ‘steep with handrail’.
The map is correct.
The reason I was there was because I wanted to walk around Knocklofty Park, and Poets Road is one of the entrances to the park. And the reason I went that way rather than any of the other entrances to the park was that there is a milestone on the corner of Poets Road and Knocklofty Terrace, which (according to the map) marks the western end of Hobart Town. So I wanted to see that. Yes, I lived in West Hobart for four years and I never knew this stone existed. (Probably because I never went there because the hill was so steep . . . )
When you enter Knocklofty Park from Poets Road, there is some information about the painter John Glover, who arrived in Hobart in 1831 and lived in West Hobart for a while. The track that starts at this point is called the Glover Track, and along the way are some information boards that talk about the changes to the park and the landscape since Glover was there.
At one point you can see through the trees down to the river, and this is the scene of one of Glover’s paintings of the River Derwent and Hobart Town. The painting is reproduced on an information board at the spot where it is believed to have been painted, and the original is in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
Unfortunately the information board is now covered in graffiti, which makes it harder to read.
(Minor detour. I didn’t remember seeing the painting at TMAG, so a few days later I had some free time and decided to go in again and have a look for the painting. It was quite clearly the same spot, even though much has changed since it was painted.
I looked a bit closer and saw these people, the dog and a little cottage, which I hadn’t noticed when I was standing back further.)
After I left Glover’s spot, I wandered around a bit more and came across the Frog Dam, which has been established by the Friends of Knocklofty group. This group has done a lot of work in rehabilitating the park. You wouldn’t know it today, but in the past the area was heavily felled for timber, used as a sandstone quarry and housed a brickworks. Even though it was purchased by Hobart Council and reserved for the people of Hobart in 1945, it had been neglected for many years until a management plan was developed in the 1980s. The Friends of Knocklofty group has played a major role in making the park thrive and in maintaining it.
The Frog Dam has been one of their major projects, to encourage frogs into the area. At present there are six species of frog known to inhabit the area, although people who don’t like to stop and look (or listen) for very long don’t get to find them.
(The next picture is not of the Frog Dam; it’s the Reflection Pool.)
I finally made my way out of the park at the other end of Knocklofty Terrace and had a great walk back through some of the back streets on my way into the city to start my next adventure.
One thing I found fascinating on this walk was the different architectural styles throughout the suburb, from the very simple cottages built before the 1850s (the map describes them as having hip roofs and central doorways – I had to Google ‘hip roof’ and this is exactly what these cottages have) to the ultra modern bush retreat styles.
I don’t have much of an idea about different architectural styles, but the other day I was reading the book In Search of Hobart by Peter Timms and he describes it like this, which is a much more poetic way of describing the area I was walking through than I could ever do:
“The suburbs of Sandy Bay, Mount Nelson, and parts of West and North Hobart and the Glebe gaze down towards the cove, jostling for a view like spectators in a giant amphitheatre. Each generation builds larger than the last, turning suburbs like West Hobart into architectural layer cakes, with Georgian and Victorian on the lower slopes, Federation higher up, followed by post-war budget-moderne and finally, clinging to the topmost slopes, a smattering of showy new steel-and-glass vista-catchers.”
So very evocative and a perfect description of the area.