Before the Europeans came to Tasmania in 1803-04, these mountain foothills were visited by Palawa people. They came here hunting game, but never travelled far from natural water sources. These two factors – food and water – determined the seasonal travel patterns of the Palawa.
Settlers were more demanding. As soon as they landed on western Derwent shores they had to think about a water supply for a growing community. An early supply from Hobart Rivulet was limited by the size of the rivulet and by property owners exercising prior rights. In 1860 the Hobart Town Corporation decided to tap the water from Mt Wellington’s southeastern slopes. As you walk the Pipeline Track you can see evidence of changing construction techniques along the Pipeline Track with improving water management technologies. The first stages of construction (1861) used wooden and masonry troughing. Extensions and redevelopment use earthenware pipes (1873), cast iron pipes (1901) and steel and concrete pipes (from 1917).
If you look up at the stone outcrop you can see a channel cut into the natural sandstone, where water from the mountain cascaded down to the Upper Reservoir at Waterworks Reserve. The cascade soon became known as Gentle Annie Falls (possibly after “Gentle Annie” in the Irish folk song), a name which it has kept even [though] it has been dry since about 1940 when its water was re-directed to the higher-level Ridgeway Reservoir.
The local sandstone was also used for other pipeline works, including the stone aqueducts built at Fern Tree in 1881.To the right of the channel you can see a quarry from where building stone was cut.
From Hobart City Council sign: The Pipeline Interpretation Project. An initiative of the Fern Tree Community Association, supported by the Hobart City Council. Original research by Lindy Scripps.