Three Moruya Silver & Gold Mines

Thursday 17 October 2019

Photos by Rob, Karen, Denise, Amanda and Tom

Sixteen walkers set off on a beautiful spring day to visit three historic gold and silver mines close to the township of Moruya.

Silver and gold was first reported in the area at Candoin Creek in 1839 however it was not made public for fear of sparking a gold rush.  However word did eventually get out in the 1860’s and the first silver mine was opened.  This mine yielded not only silver but also gold to a lesser extent.  The ore was heavily impregnated with sulphides so it was sent overseas for both sale and processing.  In later years the ore was able to be treated at a smelter in South Australia and an unsuccessful attempt was even made to treat it locally in Moruya.  A concrete roaster was built but abandoned soon after, in 1914.  This roaster was our first stop and it was amazing that it was still in a remarkably good condition, having stood there for just over a hundred years.

We then visited another mine site where a ten head stamper, various sheds and a miners cottage were all located in reasonably good condition.  Extensive mullock heaps and large holes reminded us of just what a thriving area it would have been in the day.

Following morning tea at the site, we commenced a lovely walk along Candoin Creek.  Myrtle trees had shed their leaves which provided an attractive carpet to walk upon.  We then left the creek and followed a ridge where we arrived at our third site.  This site contained many artefacts and infrastructure from the mining era.  Of particular interest was a boiler that had been part of HMAS Sydney (WW1) which was decommissioned in 1928 and scrapped the following year.

After spending some time investigating the area it was time to head back down the ridge to the creek where a pretty lunch spot was waiting.  After lunch we followed the creek where further diggings were spotted.  Then it was time to walk up a gully and back to the cars to complete a nice day’s walk.


Depot to Pebbly Beach (Long Version)

Saturday 12 October 2019

Photos by Karen and Helen

After rain the previous night and with the sun and clouds still deciding who would dominate the day, eight BBBW’s set out from Depot Beach carpark. The route was an 11 kilometre circuit to Pebbly Beach through forest tracks and service roads, returning via coastal rock platforms.

The first kilometre was a steady incline not steep enough to cease conversation or for that matter, observation, as the women in particular were soon pointing to budding wildflowers or small blooms pushing through wet ground and breathing deeply to inhale that “fresh bush” scent that so invigorates bushwalkers.

The track levelled and the pace quickened slightly, but hikers still managed to spy unusual fungi on the underside of several fallen trees and take photos. The birds sang their appreciation of dust free trees with glistening, white trunks and newly formed puddles that offered them a thirst quenching drink.

Clouds won out as the group approached Pebbly Beach and walkers paused to take out wet weather gear from their backpacks. Donna had purchased a purple poncho in Machu Picchu and its practicality was obvious as it soon had her water proof. Walkers took the opportunity to pause under a shelter, hoping that the tide would further recede whilst they took time for lunch.

Recent seas had been high and another delight on this varied walk, was the sound of rolling pebbles as the waves drew back causing a hissing noise. The group stopped and listened, enjoying this unusual phenomenon. Gentle rain was still falling as the cars came into sight at Depot Beach, but it had been a truly varied and interesting walk, not to be forgotten for some time.

A big thank you to Brian.


Mogo Forest & Gold Mines Sites

Wednesday 9 October 2019

Photos by Erika, Joan and Lesley

We were privileged to be invited by Lee and Tim to join their new walk near Mogo, which was partly in State Forest and partly on their property.   The history of Mogo includes a gold rush period, when thousands of people lived and worked in the boom town, both mining and supplying miners.   Many were the needs, from stores and equipment to pubs and brothels, and 5 police stations….

We considered the lot of the miners, as many would have trudged from afar, carrying or carting their meagre belongings, to toil with pick and shovel, on poor rations and in poor conditions, often to fail to find their riches and sometimes suffer cholera and typhoid, only to end in pauper’s graves.   But the chance of a strike drove them on.

At its peak, with the rapid deforestation and removal of over a metre of topsoil, with many mines like rabbit warrens, the area would have resembled a lunar landscape.  More recently, large quantities of gravel and road-base were taken to rebuild and upgrade the highway.

There was considerable variation in parts of the forest, between the parts that had been ravaged by deforestation and soil removal, and the parts near watercourses where better soil & moisture had allowed healthier forests and magnificent Spotted Gums to thrive.

Another point was the difference in mining methods, between the higher ground which allowed shafts and tunnelling, and the lower parts where excavation by trenching was used, as tunnels filled with water from soakage.

A very interesting tour, thanks to Lee and Tim, rich in history and interest.


North Durras – Depot Beach Circuit

Sunday 6 October 2019

Photos by Donna and Tom

Our walk leader led 10 hikers on a pleasant 10 km hike along the coastline and forests at North Durras. This walk mixes beach walking with forays through the spotted gum forests on the headlands on good paths to lookouts with great views of the offshore islands and beaches. Being a long weekend we saw more tourists than is usual for our hiking group and thankfully the sounds of the surf drowned out the noise of the jet skiers. The rainforest trail was crowded with happy kids, all future club members and we decided the ocean swimmers had to be Canberrans who were determined to get wet regardless of the overcast and rising wind conditions. All in all a good hike. Thanks Carol.


Cullendulla Creek Paddle

Monday 30 September 2019

Monday’s paddle on Cullendulla Creek started under grey skies on an incoming tide. The creek is tidal and empties into the ocean at Square Head near Long Beach. Paddlers cruised inland on the tide enjoying the high water and narrowing channel. As the tide turned, so did the fleet, turning into the side channel towards Surfside to explore the mangrove forest at high water.

The kayaks then beached on the sand at the mouth of the creek for lunch in full sunshine.


Maloneys to Square Head

Thursday 3 October 2019

Spring had arrived for sure as 20 walkers set off from Maloneys Beach in warm sunshine with the temperatures rising.

We didn’t have long to wait before the option of a paddle presented itself, when the tide was not as low as preferred at a rock platform near the end of the beach. Here, most decided to keep their feet dry and walk along the cliff to Long Beach whilst a few water lovers paddled in the warm sea round the outcrop to meet the rest further along.

We all know Maloneys and Long Beaches for their expansive golden sands and smooth waters, but today we got close up to beautifully textured and coloured rocks , had stunning views of the Clyde estuary and islands, the sea was crystal clear and with the backdrop of hills this walk showcased the area in all its glory.

The Square Head track with its spotted gums and burrawangs provided cool shade and filtered views of boats on still water, before we wended our way back. This time we all walked on the cliff and returned to join the large eastern grey kangaroo mob on the grassy foreshore of Maloneys Beach and our waiting cars.

Thank you Philip and Erika for a lovely walk.


Tomaga River Catchment

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Photos by Karen

Thirteen walkers enjoyed a very pleasant hike in the Mogo State Forest. The walk started on the crestline of Dog Trap Road that was logged a few years ago and is experiencing rapid regrowth.  Following an old logging road we headed downhill to the Tomaga River. Only Australians could call this dry creek a ‘river’ but the moist environment with dense vegetation in the valley creates a perfect home for many birds. The bike track followed the river for about a kilometre and while our noisy hikers usually scare off most birds, we experienced the calls from many varieties close by. Along the river we saw a number of hybrid Sydney Blue Gums and Spotted Gums with very interesting quilt-like patterns going up their trunks for over 20m. No-one could seem to explain the cause for this phenomenon and we are hoping our resident club foresters will view the pictures and provide an answer.

We stumbled across an interesting hanging boulder sculpture left by an artist that is apparently part of a larger display in the forest closer to the Botanical Gardens. This art piece is well off the usual Gardens tracks so we felt pretty special to see it. All downhill walks have to end with an uphill climb but all the hikers agreed this was a great walk and congrats to Bob for leading it for us.


Burrill Ramble

Sunday 22 September 2019

Photos by Glenn and Gay

Mary and Stan’s 15 km Burrill Ramble showcased another gem on our doorstep.

We enjoyed the Giriwa (means goanna) walking track, with views of lake and forest. Following the foreshore, signage informed us of the Dhurga speaking Murramarang and Budawang people culture, the traditional custodians of Burrill Lake. We also had our first distant glimpse of Pigeon House mountain.

Our next track took us to the Burrill Lake rock shelter or bimbala meaning cockle shell, nestled in rainforest. This is truly amazing. In the 60’s archaeologists used carbon dating to confirm aboriginal occupation going back at least 20,000 years.

We finish the day walking over the rock platforms, keeping our feet dry, through bush to the cars.

Bush, lake, rainforest, rock shelter, beach, rock platforms, history and a perfect day.

Thanks Mary and Stan


Pigeon House Mountain

Thursday 19 September 2019

Photos by Erika & Philip

Our small group set out up the first steep section of the climb with a small possibility of rain ahead. We stopped for morning tea at a rock outcrop just before the flatter central section of the walk.

Once we reached the flat section we were greeted by an abundance of pink, mauve and yellow wild flowers lining the track. The vegetation and the drooping flowers were bejewelled with droplets of water from the earlier rain. Our desire to stop, admire and photograph the floral displays pleasantly slowed our progress for some time.

As we neared the second steep section of the climb the mist closed in and light rain began to fall. The rain continued on and off, as we continued our ascent, and the clouds covered the top of the mountain. Upon reaching the base of the ladders, that would take us to the summit lookout, we could only just make out the outline of the rocks above. The rain stopped as we carefully climbed the wet steel staircases and a patch of blue sky opened as we reached the top. However the clouds continued to sweep across the mountain, and as we had our lunch we were only afforded a few fleeting glimpses of the landscape beyond.

After lunch we retraced the route back down the many steps, through the fresh moist smells of the bush and the enchanting wild flowers, to the start of the walk.