Welcome to the Halls Saddle entrance to the Pipeline Track, an easy walking trail that follows the historic Pipeline to its source at the North-West Bay River.
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. This saddle joining the lower slopes of Mt Wellington and Chimney Pot Hill, to the east, is named after John Hall, an original landowner in the Fern Tree area who built the first Fern Tree Inn in 1861.
Halls Saddle was a key point in Hobart’s Mountain supply system. Water from streams flowing southeast had to be diverted across this saddle to reach the Sandy Bay Rivulat reservoirs at Waterworks Reserve, from which the city could obtain its water. From about 1940, virtually all water from mountain streams above the Pipeline Track was diverted near this point to the higher-level Ridgeway reservoir. Drinking water collected from Mount Wellington is still fed to the community through pipes that are directly under the walking track ahead.
The original road between Hobart and the Huon Valley wound up the Sandy Bay Rivulet to the north of here and across this sadlle. It is the route most likely used by Charles Darwin in his ascent of the mountain when he visited Hobart Town in 1836. He later complained that his guide had led him up the wetter, more difficult southern side of the mountain.
“Timber built, bark roof, stone chimney, two storeys with upper and lower verandahs likened to Hobart’s old double-decker trams.” Situated north from here on the Sandy Bay Rivulat, Fern Grove Hut was the only privately-built two-story timber hut near the Pipeline Track. Many huts were privately built on the mountain during the 1800s, but only one has survived; Lone Cabin near the Lenah Valley Track.
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.