A short distance from the Melaleuca pontoon the board walk diverged; one leg towards the airstrip and the other to the ‘Needwonnee Walk’.
The Needwonnee peoples lived in this part of Tasmania for thousands of years before Europeans arrived, settled, and removed (by killing and/or relocation) these people. You can read more here. Additional information about aboriginal heritage in the south west area can be read here.
The first document above contains excellent photos of the sample shelters which have been built beside sections of the walkway for tourists to obtain some understanding of where the original people would have lived or worked. My photos are not as clear.
The two structures above were covered with a matt of local native grasses. Further along the walk this plant grew prolifically; the fineness of its strands and the dappled light in the forest made it difficult to photograph. Thanks to a fellow passenger later in the day, I was alerted to the name of this plant; most likely Empodisma minus.
Another example of a structure similar to those built by the original indigenous population appeared to me to act as a windbreak. In addition to the two metre high verticals, I would be surprised if the original inhabitants would not have use leafy vegetation to fill or layer over the cracks of the vertical wooden branches.
Further along the walk, a sample swan’s nest was on show, again constructed from a matt of the Empodisma minus.
Beside the walk, shorter flowering plants flourished alongside the strappy melaleuca trees.
During our walk we passed Melaleuca Lagoon edged by water grasses.
A sample paper-bark canoe in the style of what was most likely constructed locally by members of the local indigenous peoples prior to European settlement, rested nearby. Certainly this shape and construction was typical of watercraft on the east coast of Tasmania when indigenous people were the only human population on this island.
The filtered sunlight through the grove of native trees created an environment with surprising beauty around each new twist and turn of the boardwalk.
And then, approximately 30 minutes later, we came out from the forest into an environment where the marks of European settlement and the aftermath were omnipresent.