The Hobart

Exploring Mount Nelson Bicentennial Park

by Liz Osborne
Exploring Mount Nelson Bicentennial Park

Have you wandered any of the tracks of the Bicentennial Park at Mount Nelson?

Venture on to the Troglodyte Track, starting below the lookout at the Mount Nelson Signal Station, classified as “moderate difficulty”. The track winds downhill through lightly wooded bushland with breathtaking views of Hobart and the Derwent River. Porters Hill, and the iconic Dorney House, are a two kilometre walk along the track. In 2006, to ensure the preservation of Hobart’s wooded skyline, the Hobart City Council acquired the Dorney House and thirty-five hectares of surrounding bushland.

Porter Hill is the site of Fort Nelson, built in 1904, as part of the network of fortresses that defended the approaches to Hobart. It was abandoned at the end of World War Two. The old fort was purchased by renowned Melbourne architect, Esmond Dorney, in 1949. Dorney built his family home on top of the thick concrete walls of the northern gun emplacement. Imagine doing that today!

Southern gun emplacement Fort Nelson

The remaining southern gun emplacement and concrete rooms contrast with the light modern architecture of the house. The house is a story of resilience and courage. The first house Dorney built in 1949 was destroyed by bushfire, as was the second in 1966. The present house was constructed in 1978. Will the building survive if a bushfire sweeps across the hills of Mount Nelson again? The Dorney House is stunning, an icon of modern Australian architecture. Walking up the steep drive, the building seems to float on the skyline; it is all curves, shimmering glass, and metal. The house is an eyrie, a sky house of infinite views.

Exhilarated by the beauty of the Dorney House, we decided to return to the summit of Mount Nelson via the 2.1-km Truganini Track, on the south-east side of Mount Nelson. The track follows the Cartwright Creek, through light eucalyptus woodland to a sheltered rainforest gully filled with birdsong. The ascent is arduous. The steep steps have eroded over years, a metre between some, well beyond the length of my short legs. It was certainly a good cardio workout! We paused at the Truganini memorial, contemplating Truganini’s life.

Back of Dorney House

In one walk on Mount Nelson, we had connected with Truganini’s story, the military might of the British Empire, and iconic twentieth century architecture.

Love this

Close
Cold Water Wake Up Call
It seems everywhere I turn someone is talking about or participating in cold water swimming right now.
A Short Geelong Getaway
Since the Spirit of Tasmania terminal moved from Melbourne to Geelong late last year, a visit to Geelong has been on the radar.
27 Hobart Friends Get Snipping For One Off Wine
The borders were declared shut in Tasmania on the 30th of March, 2020; the first stare to do so amid the COVID- 19 pandemic and hard lockdown of Hobart followed.
Danphe Nepalese and Indian Food + Peppermint Bay Bar and Bistro
Nepalese food is a comfort in our house. Having spent much time trekking and mountain climbing in Nepal as a younger man, Nepalese food is something I always love to go back to.
That’s DR Hannah Gadsby To You
From Smithton to Netflix and the Emmys stage, Tasmanian stand up comic Hannah Gadsby has forged an unlikely path. Following on from the massive success of her shows Nanette and Douglas, Hannah brings her new show Body of Work to Hobart this month.
PODCAST: Incat founder Robert Clifford on why electric boats are the future
Robert Clifford is the founder of Incat, a Hobart company building fast ferries for the world. Always looking to future opportunities, he has identified where Hobart sits in the next wave of transportation. For more of this interview listen to The Hobart Magazine podcast.
Is Tourism Ready For More Forestry Wars?
Tasmanian forests are special. They’re home to centuries-old trees, including the tallest flowering trees on the planet, and support unique native species. Yet not everyone agrees on how these forests should be managed.
Hobart Chefs: When The Obsession Becomes Real
Tasmania’s brand as a foodie haven is cemented. But within the local hospitality industry there are those who love to use local produce...and those who are next-level obsessed with it. We spoke to a bunch of Hobart chefs who are top of the game when it comes to fostering relationships with local farmers and growers.
Did You Know Australia’s First Female Doctor Was Hobartian?
Tasmania, despite its small size and population in comparison to the mainland, has produced more than its proportionally predicted percentage of significant figures and heroes of Australian history. 
Return Travellers Adding Pressure to Hobart Housing
For all of us 2020 was a year like no other, punctuated by rapid change and plenty of new challenges. For vulnerable people in Tasmania, including people facing homelessness, those on low incomes and those facing increasingly higher rents, it was very challenging. We are seeing a growing demand for homes in Tassie from international travellers returning home, people moving for work and others seeking the lifestyle that our Apple Isle has to offer.
Magazine
AboutContributeAdvertiseNewsletter Sign UpContact
June 2024

Stay up to date with everything happening at the Hobart Magazine.

Thank you to Luke Brokensha for mobilising his friends and local residents recently to host two rubbish clean ups along the Hobart Rivulet after heavy rains.
The warm weather returns...hello summer.
Need a laugh? Check out @theinspiredunemployed feed on Instagram.
Moto Vecchia Cafe in Bellerive and Czegs Cafe in Richmond have joined the Clarence City Council dementia program, creating dementia-friendly spaces for all patrons.
It’s hard to believe it’s not standard practice to have a working phone in every aged care room - shared phones make private conversations impossible and increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Tacks on the tracks. Mountain bikers beware of tacks being left on certain tracks on the mountain.
Just when you think your cousins are alright. NZ Opposition Leader Judith Collins took aim at Tassie during her recent (unsuccessful) campaign, calling us Australia’s “poor cousin.” She also seems worried about us nabbing tech businesses, “It’s a lovely part of the world but do you necessarily want to go there with your high- tech business? Possibly not,” she said. We beg to differ!