The hidden charms of Bushy Park

The Derwent Valley is famed for, among other things, its autumn leaves. Many plantings of mature deciduous trees are located to the north west of Hobart along the River Derwent between New Norfolk and the beginnings of the Central Highlands at Ouse. Cool nights signal a chemical change in the leaves of poplars planted as windbreaks on paddocks of rich soil as well as other magnificent oaks, elms and other exotics, causing a show of golden tones.On a clear sunny Tasmanian autumn day these are set off to perfection against the blue sky reflected in the river.

Hop fields at Bushy Park

The township of Bushy Park, around 50km from Hobart, is perhaps the prettiest place to catch the show, which is supplemented by the township’s other hidden charms. Famed as the island’s ‘hop capital’, fields around the village are responsible for bittering most of the beer produced in Tasmania and considerable quantities produced elsewhere as well. In the nineteenth century, hops were widely grown throughout the valley, requiring the construction of oast houses in which they were dried before shipping.

A timber oast house near Bushy Park

These picturesque barns, with their airy lofts and vents, were mainly constructed from timber and sadly many have fallen victim to fire over the years. However there are still many to be seen in the area, especially in Bushy Park, where three magnificent examples sit almost hidden down a laneway in the midst of working hop fields at the centre of the town.

A series of historic oast houses surround a pond at Bushy Park. The Text Kiln is on the right.

The most famous is the ‘Text Kiln’, built by Ebenezer Shoobridge in 1867. Clearly a devout man, he believed that his workers would be inspired to work harder and lead better lives by the improving biblical texts with which he adorned is oast house.

Ebenezer Shoobridge’s Text Kiln at Bushy Park
The rear of the Text Kiln
The Text Kiln
The Text Kiln at Bushy Park
Ebenezer Shoobridge believed that his workers would be inspired by the ‘improving’ biblical texts with which he adorned his oast house
The Text Kiln at Bushy Park
Biblical text on The Text Kiln
The Text Kiln sits next to a pretty pond
The local ducks are surprisingly tame
The ducks keep a visitor company
A sweet spot for a picnic

A pond, complete with very tame ducks, picnic tables and lawns make this a singularly picturesque spot to pause and explore. Another spot is the Redhill Cemetery, also scenically located on the hill overlooking Bushy Park. Those in repose here are treated to a fine view of the valley and its autumn trees against the farming fields that roll off into the distance.

Those in repose at Redhill Cemetery are afforded views over Bushy Park and the Derwent Valley

At the time of this visit (early April) the trees were really just starting to turn, it having been a warm summer and mild autumn to date. They should really start to glow over the next few weeks as the weather cools.

Bushy Park from Redhill Cemetery

It has also been very dry – the storages in Tasmania’s hydro dams, to the west and north of this area, are at record lows, with the state’s electricity generator importing diesel generators to try and ensure the island’s lights stay on. The fields around the town here were certainly looking dry.

A lonely backroad in the Derwent Valley
Farmland near Bushy Park in need of rain
An old farmhouse near Bushy Park
Rosehips are another characteristic signal that autumn has arrived in Tasmania

References

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Tasmanian traveller – Bellerive Tasmania Australia – Through travel, I have experienced the eccentricities of people and their environments around the world. At the same time, I love where I live. So, for people who cannot travel to discover the wonders of my home town, this blog is an attempt to introduce its exoticness. My goal was to walk along both sides of Hobart's Derwent River from the mouth to New Norfolk, and to walk on one or alternating sides of the River between New Norfolk and the source of the River at the southern end of Lake St Clair. The walk was undertaken in stages around my other commitments of my life. Almost all stages of the walk connected with Tasmanian public transport - my intentions was to inspire people, who do not have access to a vehicle, to feel they can replicate the walks. This blog reports on each stage in the hope it will encourage people to either follow in my steps or to create their own walking project where-ever they live. Please note: The blog background and headliner image of 'Hobart from Mt Wellington' is the work of Tourism Tasmania and Garry Moore. It is a free image with unrestricted copyright and available from http://www.tassietrade.com.au/visual_library
    Tasmanian traveller says:

    This was yet again another of your gorgeous pictorial stories. How I love that text kiln precinct. I took another friend there recently ( its my go to place with friends these days) and for the first time, this person wasn’t so much in awe of the precinct as I always am. Whenever I go there, the woman whose wheelie bins I helped with the day I walked through Bushy Park is always home. She is old and always looks at me quizzically – and then I remind her, and her face beams and she relaxes. Lovely stuff. Thank you for your great photos – they transport me back to that magical place. And I love the rosy red rose hips. They are spectacular this year all over.

    1. Glad my words and pics fired off those good memories for you Helen. Will have to give Harold Fry a read:-)

  2. RuthsArc – London – Looking forward, looking back & enjoying now.
    RuthsArc says:

    Lovely photos of a fascinating place. I have to thank Tasmanian Traveller for introducing me to Bushey Park. We’ve enjoyed a couple of visits there.

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