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The Urban Bushwalker - West Hobart

Stairway to heaven - 99 Steps and you are in West Hobart

How can you not love a place that has stairs and secret walkways, tiny cottages full of history and streets named after poets and artists? New vistas unfold in every direction the higher you climb. Look down and you can see the whole city before you. Look north and it's the superb churches and tiny cottages of North Hobart. To the west, a craggy Mt. Wellington looms and to the east, there is the breadth of the Derwent.

The not quite finished sculpture by John Cole in the Peace Park not far from the top of the stairs

The Friends Park in Mellifont Street used to belong to the Quaker's and is one of Hobart's oldest Cemeteries, unused after 1912. Headstones from pioneer graves line the old sandstone walls, although all human remains were removed in 1936.

This stunning and very large Roland Gabatel Sculpture is also in the Friends Park

Train Park in Hill Street - This fully enclosed park has safety gates so that children can't escape.
It also has an excellent tricycle track from which skateboards and bicycles are banned

Serendipitously, ie. thanks to some rather dubious directions given to me by a couple of council workers, I come upon a crooked lane named after a C17th painter renown for his "wildly romantic and sublime" landscapes. Despite development and gentrification all around, it probably still looks a lot like it did in the 1940s when one of the local historians enjoyed an idyllic childhood here.

Giant willows meet overhead. Drifts of forget -me -knots cascade down to a hidden creek. Two cashmere goats lift their heads curiously and nicker as I walk past. There is a cubby behind some trees and two swing ropes hang from overhanging branches. Except for the grand sandstsone building which presumably belonged to the Bidencope family, and one new house, most of the houses here are modest with old fashioned gardens and big backyards. Marguerites and marigolds encroach on the road.

My favourite part though, is a rough structure that bears a hand lettered sign "Frog Bridge." This is definitely Wind in the Willows territory where imaginations can still run free. Pray that Landcare never hears about it or they will be down their with the Round -up before you can say "Fiddlesticks."

In the words of the artist who gave the road it's name and who was also a poet, an actor and an accomplished musician.

Our wealth must consist of things of the spirit,
and in contenting ourselves with sipping, while
others gorge themselves on prosperity.

PS On the subject of sipping,there are a couple of nice looking coffee shops in West Hobart too and a truly excellent deli