History

Elwick Bay was once the tribal country of the Mou.he.neen.ner people. The richness of the dynamic ‘aboriginal landscape’ would have included “open dry sclerophyll forest dominated by eucalypts…mid story plants with an understorey of sags, native grasses and numerous native herbaceous plants” and supported a diverse range of flora and fauna activities of the local people. (L.Maynard ‘An Aboriginal Heritage Values Survey of the Wilkinson’s Point & Elwick Bay master Plan’, 2007). The indigenous flora and fauna of this landscape changed significantly due to farming, industrial activity, building development, transport infrastructure and land reclamation over 200 years of colonial and contemporary development.

 
Elwick Bay, 1957

From the 1820’s, in the early years of colonial settlement, Glenorchy was dominated by farming estates and orchards. From the 1860’s and 70’s a diverse range of enterprises within the area had emerged including a tannery, a soap factory, a hat factory, fruit preserving factories, and even tourism with the area renowned for its scenic values (p.59, 66, Glenorchy 1804-1964, A. Alexander, GCC, 1986). During this time there was growth in the migrant population significantly contributing to the diversity and prosperity of the area and still today Glenorchy has a higher proportion of cultural diversity than Tasmania as a whole.

Elwick Bay, 1920s

From the 1870’s the site named ‘The Grove’ on the shores of Elwick Bay adjacent to Humphrey’s Rivulet, formed part of the largest Hop farm in Tasmania, remnants of the poplar grove are still visible from the Brooker highway. The Tasmanian Race Course at Elwick opened for races in 1875 on land owned by pharmacist John Wilkinson (p. 70) bringing members of the community together in a festive environment. Across the road this atmosphere was complemented with the first Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania show in 1904. In addition by the 1930’s less formal social activities on the foreshore evolved and ‘…the clear sparkling water of Montrose Bay was crowded with swimmers.’ (p. 112). By that time the swimmers would have looked across the bay to Cadbury’s chocolate factory established on Dogsear Point at Claremont in 1923. Water sports increased with the opening of the Montrose Bay Yacht Club in 1955 and continue today including the Montrose Bay Rowing Club and Hobart Outrigger Canoe Club.

 
Elwick Bay, 2005

Large, medium and small-scale industries are a feature of Glenorchy with large-scale industry and employment in the area marked by the opening of the Zinc refinery in 1916 just east of the GASP! site. The refinery continues as a prominent and highly visible part of the Glenorchy landscape, so too does road infrastructure including the Brooker highway and Bowen bridges which has rapidly increased the rate of commercial activity in the region. And while the Brooker highway brings people to and through Glenorchy it effectively dis-located the foreshore from the local population and interrupted casual social use.

 

Community activity grew at Elwick Bay when Rosetta High School (now Montrose Bay high school) opened in 1965 and in 1988 with the Derwent Entertainment Centre constructed as a bicentenary project on site adjacent to the race course on reclaimed land. In the same year, just further east at Dowsing Point, Technopark, a centre for hi-tech industries opened.

The Glenorchy Art & Sculpture Park (GASP!), located within a linear stretch of public space from Wilkinson’s Point to Montrose Bay, was first conceived through conversations in 2006 between Mayor Adriana Taylor and advocates passionate about developing a unique public space for families and the Tasmanian community. In 2008 a full time Project Development Officer and a committed group of eminent arts, civic and business leaders in consultation with the community advanced the vision. As land-owner and main stake-holder the Council continues to take strategic actions to promote the values and potential of Elwick Bay by creating a place of state and national significance.

Origins

In 2006 an early years parents and friends group approached the Mayor of Glenorchy, Adriana Taylor, with an idea to build an innovative, interactive ‘adventure’ style playground with an arts focus for small children. The concept was developed by the original committee Mayor Taylor, Madeleine Ogilvie, David Kinnibrough, Simon Boughey, Kim Backhouse and Mark Wilsdon. Through an in-kind contribution GHD Pty Ltd prepared concept designs to start the ball rolling.

Over 2007 and 2008 the Council commissioned a master plan from Inspiring Place for the Wilkinson’s Point and Elwick Bay area, taking into consideration the need for ‘play’ and art installation along the foreshore. Subsequently, Pippa Dickson was appointed Project Development Officer by the Council in late 2008 to develop a business plan and consult with the community in regard to the foreshore space now zoned ‘special community use’.

Prior to the incorporation of GASP as a company limited by guarantee and the appointment of a board of directors, the Project Development Officer was supported by an advisory group of eminent business and arts leaders: Mayor Taylor, Narelle Calphy, Heather Chong, David Walsh, Madeleine Ogilvie, Olivier Varenne, Nicole Durling, Sean Kelly, Wesley Hindmarch and David Handley.

We wish to thank and acknowledge the generous contributions of all those who have played such an important role in the early years of the project.