Of rivulets and tarns

In Sydney, it would be called a creek. But since moving to Tasmania six month ago, we’ve noticed that small waterways are mostly named using the quaint old English version ‘rivulet’. For example, the irregular watercourse that borders our own property is called Fleurty’s Rivulet. Across the other side of the Huon, there is a place called Nicholls Rivulet. And then there is the Hobart Rivulet which flows from Mount Wellington to the Derwent River, the source of water for the early European settlement and before that for the Mouheneener people. After the Europeans got to it, it quickly became polluted and unusable as a water source. Now it is largely underground and of historical interest. There used to be a Hobart Rivulet Tour you could go on to see some of the convict brickwork that went into building the underground portion of it.

‘Tarn’ is another word I hadn’t noticed before moving to Tasmania. This is probably because I haven’t spent much time in mountainous areas, and the term describes a mountain lake or pool, formed in a cirque excavated by a glacier. Certainly I saw a lot of them on last weekend’s visit to the Kosciuszko National Park in NSW. One of the best known in our area is Disappearing Tarn south of Mount Wellington. There are tales of people setting up camp in the evening and waking up next to a large blue lake, or the other way around. No idea if there’s truth in these yarns.


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