THE ICONS [and the stories that inspired them].
Or that they say Derwent Valley cherries are individually wrapped in gold leaf and sold in Japan for $50 each? They’re so valuable that local producers keep two helicopters on standby during winter and use them to keep off the frost on the coldest nights. Only in the Derwent Valley can a cherry become the new gold standard.
It’s widely accepted that the last Tiger was trapped in Maydena before living his life out in Beaumaris Zoo. But speak to someone from the upper reaches of the valley and they’ll tell you otherwise. Apparently, in the forests you can often hear their high-pitched screaming at night... Only in the Derwent Valley can a supposedly extinct animal become a nuisance.
They’re the welcoming party for visitors coming this way from Hobart. And no finer first impression was there than witnessed by the famed Irish composer, William Vincent Wallace. It was 1838, and young Bill was gazing over the Derwent River from his room at The Bush Inn. Suddenly, a flock of swans before him banked and broke out into song. So moved was Bill by the scene, it inspired him to write ‘Scenes That Are Brightest’. And to this day, when the swans sing together the Valley becomes an opera.
Tasmania’s only cold climate winter-deciduous tree, it lives deep within Mt Field National Park. It changes the colour of its leaves for just a few weeks a year, bringing hundreds of groupies to worship at its tangled roots. Only in the Derwent Valley can something so flamboyant be so reclusive.
Not many people do - in fact, not many people know who ol’ Ebenezer is at all. But we do. Because Ebenezer’s the godfather of Derwent Valley hops, and with over 70% of all Australian beer brewed using hops from the Valley, possibly Australia’s greatest ever hero. Only in the Derwent Valley can a farmer’s son turn a weed into the world’s favourite flower.
It’s what makes our platypus so big and trout so plentiful. Many travel from far and wide to sample its fabled powers - some say that it even holds the secrets to eternal youth. We’re not so sure about that, but what we do know is that it’s a terrible gossip. Up and down the Valley, secrets are babbled and laid bare like a rolling news report. Only in the Derwent Valley can a river be so clean yet harbour dirty secrets.
Perhaps too many trout. It’s been known for kayakers to be marooned on islands of silvery scales. For locals to walk across the river as if on land. For fishing competitions to be cancelled (because where’s the competition if everyone wins?). Only in the Derwent Valley can you catch a trout by accident.
Some argue they’re the tallest trees in the Southern Hemisphere and that they reach out and pluck things from the sky. This may be why National park and Maydena were hotspots for UFO sightings in years gone by; low flying UFOs were escaping the lushness of the branches. Only in the Derwent Valley can one climb a tree and touch the stars.
Why so big? That’s something we ask ourselves often. Maybe it’s because of the pure waters of The Derwent? The fertile banks? Or maybe it’s just some weird hangover from the time of the dinosaurs whose bones can be found buried throughout the valley. Either way, they’re everywhere. Sliding across ski fields in Mt Field, bumbling across roads and bringing traffic to a halt. Only in the Derwent Valley can the weirdest animal in the world be that little bit weirder.
UNQUESTIONABLY DERWENT VALLEY
Whether it’s on a raspberry punnet, ceramic pot or a beer label - this logo will be a sign of quality, and will let the world know it’s from here.
DERWENT VALLEY TRUE
Have you noticed something a bit strange about the stories behind our icons? Do they seem like they’re a little over the top or not quite right as you know it? That’s because they’re what we like to call ‘Derwent Valley True’.