Central Midlands Heritage, Arts & Landcare
39A Bridge Street
CONTACT: Kim Peart ~ 0400 856 523
MEDIA ~ Where is the Footpath?
Building footpaths will create work, improve community health, and open the way to a whole new visitor experience in Tasmania.
At present residents in country towns like Ross and Campbell Town are prisoners, unable to walk or cycle between the towns, without fear of being crushed by a truck.
Do we eternally continue with the tyranny of the car, as the only way to go between towns, or do we make the highways and roads of Tasmania people friendly?
When residents were asked for their views on the planned upgrade of the Midlands Highway going past Ross and then north through Campbell Town, I lodged a submission suggesting a footpath should be included.
A response was received saying that this would not be possible.
The question then arises, how could a footpath become possible with a highway upgrade?
The simple answer is, the political will-power must rise to make this happen.
I raised the matter of this footpath in an Email to the Premier on 19 May 2020, but have yet to hear back.
What can we do?
Political will-power can often come from the voting public, telling elected representatives what they want.
Signs have been put up around Ross and Campbell Town, inviting denizens of the towns to contact elected representatives, if they would like a footpath between these two country towns.
When enough people beat the drum, politicians will hear.
If we can win the Ross to Campbell Town stretch, this can be the start of connecting all towns and cities in Tasmania with a footpath for walking and cycling.
Citizens anywhere in Tasmania can get involved in calling for the Ross to Campbell Town footpath, as the first step in making this happen near them.
There is already a footpath between Oatlands and Parattah, so it can be done.
Imagine how much work this would create, and with a really solid outlook for the future.
If the footpath can be built from the Devonport Ferry Terminal to Port Arthur, visitors could step off the ferry and walk or cycle to Port Arthur, and back again.
To get past the difficult section of road south of Colebrook, the footpath could run along next to the train line.
A visitor could fly into an airport, catch a coach to a selected point in the track, and walk a section of the trail, then catch the coach to the airport to fly out again.
Those walking or cycle trips could be planned well ahead, including bicycle hire and booking accommodation.
A walking visitor could buy a souvenir in Ross, or any other town, and then post it home, before continuing along the trail.
Many little businesses would spring up along the trail, along with interesting features being created.
With demand for a coach service, denizens of the country towns could also book a trip to go to the city, to see a movie, go shopping, or attend a sporting event, and then catch the coach back home again.
The footpath would then be giving back benefits so many times over, and creating employment, that there will be good reason to extend the trail to all towns and cities on the island.
Not only will the roads and highways become people friendly, but the whole island will become a much friendlier place.
People would be able to live in a country town, and we may see many new towns created, with residents able to catch the coach to work in the city, and then home again.
Where is the footpath?
It is waiting for citizens to drum up the political will-power to make it happen.
Can you help make a footpath happen, and grow, all over the island?
The idea of an Australian Convict Trail, from Moreton Bay to Port Arthur, is a concept proposed by Kim Peart during the Federal Election in 2016 ~
For the Aboriginal people of Tasmania, walking was the only way to travel around the island, along well-worn tracks.
In the earlier days of British settlement, most people had to walk to get around, as few could afford a coach or a horse.
Taverns and towns of old would serve the needs of weary walkers.
The Viking of Van Diemen’s Land, the Danish adventurer and later a convict, Jorgen Jorgenson, wrote of walking all over the island.
Jorgenson can be seen among the carvings on the Ross Bridge, as the king, with his Irish convict wife, Norah Corbett, next to him as the queen.
In her book, ‘Life is for Living’ (1986) Marjorie Bligh, the housewife superstar who grew up in Ross, and has been featured in a year-long exhibition in the Queen Victoria Museum in Launceston, at the old railway yard, spoke of frequently walking from Ross with her sister, to go shopping in Campbell Town ~
The exhibition closes on July 26th, and there are gifts to buy, including mugs and Marjorie’s cookbooks.
Marjorie spoke of her father, Oscar Pearsall, walking from Ross to Campbell Town to play his piano accordion at dances, and home again.
When Marjorie designed and built her house in Campbell Town, she included the metal outline of a piano accordion in the front gate, as well as musical notes along the fence, the opening bars of ‘Melody of Love’, reflecting on her dad’s many walks from Ross to Campbell Town.
The house is affectionately called the Music House, and was included on the Tasmanian Heritage Register in 2012 ~
In June 2021 it will be the bicentenary of the naming of Ross and Campbell Town.
What better way to celebrate, than to get that missing footpath built, with memorials at Ross and Campbell Town.
Many thousands have walked this way, and many millions can follow, on a footpath for the future.