Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Pipeline Track - 8 Jan 2008 - Christmas Bushes and a Wishing Well

Wishing Well, Pipeline Track, Mt Wellington - 8 Jan 2008Had a very pleasant, short, easy, after-work walk along the Pipeline Track on the way home. Nice and cool under the trees. The Wishing Well, a little way along the track, was built in the 1880s, and is still part of the water system for Ferntree and Kingborough. I quote from the sign nearby:

"The original Mountain water supply scheme ended here at Fork Creek. In 1862 John Gillon (who also built sluice houses at Browns River and Halls Saddle), supervised construction of a stone dam across Fork Creek, from which water was carried by wooden troughing to another dam at Browns River (the Bower). The troughing was replaced by pipes in 1868, when the water supply scheme was extended to Long Creek, a few kilometres to the south.

In 1881 there was a major addition to the Hobart water supply with the construction of a line from St Crispins Well to the south, and this called for construction of the "Wishing Well", in which water from Fork Creek joined the bigger flow from Plains Rivulet. The 1868 pipes to the Bower were then replaced by a 16 inch (40 cm) main. The well was fitted with a "bell-mouthed pipe, wire gauze screen, shut-off sluice and scour", according to a newspaper report of the works.

The original well had no safety precautions, although no human casualties are recorded. Before intake screens were installed, platypus, which occur in Mt Wellington streams, were known to drown in the well. The eminently practical reasons for building this structure did not stop people from ascribing to it the power to make wishes come true. For this to happen, according to local folklore, you must walk around the well three times after making your wish.

Look after our water! Throughout the history of the Pipeline Track, successive authorities have been concerned to protect catchments to ensure sustainability of the public drinking water source. Water from this pipeline is the only source of supply for Fern Tree and is a significant source for the Kingborough community. Your cooperation and care in helping to protect this supply are appreciated."

The sign credits Lindy Scripps with the research, and was erected by the Hobart City Council at the initiative of the Fren Tree Community Association. There are quite a number of similar signs along these tracks which give a good overview of the history of the Pipeline Track, its structures and the history of Hobart's water supply.

Christmas Bushes, Prostanthera lasianthos, Pipeline Track, Mt Wellington - 8 Jan 2008The Christmas Bushes, Prostanthera lasianthos, are quite appropriately in flower. The leaves have serrated edges and a minty scent when you crush them. The flowers are quite distinctive, being an attractive white and purple.

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