I have been walking and cycling on sections of the Clarence Foreshore Trail for many many years, since my school days. Hobart’s Eastern Shore is well-served with pathways hugging the shoreline and providing access to and views across the River Derwent to the city, kunanyi / Mount Wellington and the other hills beyond. Growing up at Lindisfarne, cycling to Howrah was quite a trek, and I generally turned around where the track ended at that time, behind the end of Howrah beach near the primary school.
Tranmere is not an area that one tends to visit unless there is good reason. It extends along an ithsmus and the road to Tranmere Point does not lead on; once reached, the only option is to back track to Howrah again. However, on a fine summer day, the area offers spectacular views across the river, and I had heard tell that a recently-completed extenstion to the Clarence Foreshore Trail now extended along the foreshore at Tranmere.
Sure enough, on a sunny February afternoon, I parked at the turning circle towards the southern end of Tranmere Road where I found the start of a recent and well made walking track leading along the foreshore.
While many of the backyards adjoining the foreshore are fenced, others tumble informally out into the shared public space, as do some plantings that have clearly escaped – or been encouraged – to colonise and thrive. Tables, seats, areas of tended lawn and event a tyre swing extend the recreational possibilities for residents and visitors alike (although presumably using the swing is done at one’s own risk!)
The track continues north to the vicinity of Corinth Street. Locals told me that it is possible to continue around the foreshore beyond the house pictured above, although it requires a lowish tide and some rock-hopping around Howrah Point. For the less adventurous, a path leads back to Tranmere Road at about this point, and there are numerous access points along its length for those wanting a shorter stroll. I turned around and retraced my steps back to the farther end of Tranmere and my car.
The proximity and informality of many of the boundaries between public and private space mean that it’s difficult not to notice the ways that residents are using their space and decorating their homes. Many of the area’s original homes were little more than shacks, built in vernacular style from whatever was to hand at the time. While some survive, the views and property values mean that many are being alterered, extended or replaced by modern architectural homes of varying scale and sensitivity. Planners do seem to be keeping a reasonable rein on the excesses of new homes along the foreshore, certainly when compared to the new-build MacMansions that dominate a street or two further back, especially at the farther end of Tranmere.
Tea tree fences were a feature of my childhood, and I suspect of the 1970s in Tasmania. Made from endemic melaleucca, gathered at goodness knows what cost to the environment, they were a cheap but reasonably attractive and distinctive form. We had several in our back yard, but I’ve not noticed any for years, so this one by the track stood out.
Tranmere is named after Tranmere in Merseyside in the UK. The dreaded Wikipedia tells me it’s a suburb of Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula and that it’s name derives from an old Norse term meaning ‘sandbank with the cranebirds’.