Sunday 3 May 2020 – Following article published in the Bay Post Online edition
As the coronavirus keeps everyone at home, the Batemans Bay Bushwalkers have been reminiscing about walks from years ago (story written by Jeanne Medicott, Bay Post incorporating information provided by Karen and Gay)
Back in 1987, when Broulee Island was an island and the only way to get there was by boat
Batemans Bay bushwalkers Aliza Emery and Bev Brazel visit Elizabeth Maleber’s grave on Broulee Island in 2017
This week heralds 33 years since the bushwalkers undertook a hike to Broulee Island at a time when the island could only be accessed by boat and the logistics involved in getting there were time consuming.
“Ron Thompson brought his rubber-duck around from Tomakin and then spent the next three to four hours ferrying the 52 walkers across to the island and back again,” a spokesperson for the walkers said. “The walkers were surprised at how deep the channel was between the island and Broulee Headland.”
These days walkers don’t need a boat to access Broulee Island and for Batemans Bay Bushwalkers it continues to be a popular walk.
Once on the island the walkers climbed a steep overgrown track to the top of the cliff where they visited the old grave located there. The grave is that of Elizabeth Maleber who passed away on June 27, 1842 aged 45.
Elizabeth and her husband Abraham Maleber lived on a property on the Moruya river where Abraham made a living transporting goods along the Moruya River and on occasion to Broulee.
Elizabeth’s grave is said to be one of the oldest known graves in the entire south coast region.
After visiting the old grave the walkers made their way to the northern side of the island and inspected the ruins of the old jetty.
Back in the 1840’s, Broulee was the only port between Wollongong and Twofold Bay and up to six sailing ships a day could be anchored in Broulee harbour, however all that remains of the old jetty today is four posts sticking out of the sand and one steel railway track projecting onto the beach.
For more information on Batemans Bay Bushwalking Club and their walks, please visit www.baybushwalkers.org.au
Wednesday 22 April 2020 – Following Article published in the Bay Post
Back in Time to 29 June 1985 – Club members have been trekking on the mountain for decades
Rainforest Beauty – Audrey at the base of a giant pinkwood tree in 1990
Making the most of the shutdown, the Batemans Bay Bushwalkers have been looking back over their old records and thought it would be fun to share with readers.
The Club started in June 1985 and will this year be celebrating 35 years of walking.
The Club’s second walk in June 1985 was to the summit of Mt Dromedary, then part of Bodalla State Forest. Mt Dromedary was officially handed over to Yuin ownership and management in 2006 and renamed Gulaga, now situated in the Gulaga National Park. The mountain was originally an active volcano, thought to be 3 km high. It has eroded over millions of years to 806 m high.
The 11 km (return) Gulaga walk has something for everyone, for example – the tors are the remains of the hardest granite left behind after the mountain eroded to its current height and the rainforest tucked under the summit of the mountain, where the rare pinkwood tree grows and flowers in late February.
The mountain was also the scene of frantic activity from the 1860s to the 1920s when alluvial gold was discovered and mined. Relics such as a stamper battery and foundations of a miner’s residence can be discovered amongst the dense bush.
To the Yuin people, Gulaga is known as the Mother Mountain, and has always been a woman’s place. It includes sacred sites where Aboriginal women would retreat for storytelling, ceremony and childbirth.
The summit itself is disappointing because views are blocked by tall trees. However, there are views from several spots along the walk track.
Although the mountain was not burned in the 2019/2020 bushfires, the Gulaga National Park is currently closed to visitors while NPWS conducts ground and aerial pest control programs as part of the bush fire recovery.
The Batemans Bay Bushwalkers are looking forward to the day when they can walk to the summit of Gulaga again.
Brian at start of headland track to Cullendulla crossing
Wendy is going in – Taking one for the team!
Wendy testing the water depth
Cullendulla Nature Reserve
Photos provided by Brian and Mary
A perfect autumn walking day was enjoyed by our small group, led by Brian.
The air was cool and crisp as we began with a stroll along Maloneys and Long Beaches and then took a tea break before climbing to the top of Square Head. Looking out towards the Tollgates, the bay was glassy, the views clear in every direction, and the atmosphere wonderfully calm. It was a delight to follow the track up and down across the headland through the burrawangs and eucalypts just soaking up the quiet.
The track ended down at Cullendulla Creek and much laughter was heard as we readied ourselves for the crossing. Wendy bravely offered to test the depth, and as a result, we went further upstream before paddling knee deep across the creek to Surfside. Lunch in the shade, then the final beach walk in the breeze saw us return to the car park.
Many thanks to Brian for leading a great day on what has become our last official club walk for the present.
10 walkers met in an optimistic mood that the weather forecast was going to be accurate and that the rain would rapidly pass through. By the time we arrived at the start, blue skies to the south and west were promising a fine morning.
Our walk of 9 kms took us through lightly forested, no tracked areas with patches of lime green grass to Pedro Beach where Bob pointed out various animal tracks in the dunes. Recent Emu and perhaps fox prints were identified and Ghost Crab holes. We took a brisk walk along the beach to the dunes where we enjoyed morning tea in the sunshine.
We made our way back through the scrub and forest to a good track and eventually to a very pretty open forest of Spotted gums where Bob had situated a large log, the site for lunch.
Bob, being a local of the South Head area, was able to tell us a great deal about our surroundings and the people living there. This local know how was the reason we were able to walk randomly in bush with little or no track to Pedro Beach and back through forest that was certainly new to most of the group.
Thank you Bob for having so much confidence in the varsity of the weather bureau, it was a very pleasant morning.
The Group in front of the Moruya Racecourse bunker
Bunker 4 in the sand
Bunker ventilation shaft
Duct tape to the rescue
Betty’s boot good for another few thousand kms
Photos provided by Brian and Helen
Twenty two members and three visitors were treated to a new walk on a beautiful autumn day. The Moruya Bunker Walk involved a tour of four little known bunkers located around the vicinity of Moruya racecourse. These bunkers were constructed during World War Two.
The club was fortunate to secure the services of local war historian Gary Traynor who accompanied the group, providing expert commentary with a comprehensive and informative account of the history of the bunkers. Built by the RAAF, these bunkers served as part of the coastal defence system against a potential Japanese and/or German invasion. By 1944 the concrete bunkers had been established as part of a fully functioning reserve air base where aircraft could refuel whilst looking for submarines or conducting surveillance conveys. The Moruya racecourse was the site of three runways with all four bunkers housed nearby.
The walk began at a bunker which is now used by the Moruya Pistol Club as an indoor range. This underground bunker was previously used as an operations centre. The group was given special access to this bunker and it was fascinating to observe such a well preserved building that still provided a functional service so many years after the war.
We commenced our walk, passing bunker number two, which is an above ground bunker situated in the grounds of Moruya speedway. This above ground bunker would have been used for storage and rudimentary protection against shrapnel. We then continued our walk onto the racecourse proper to bunker number three. This bunker is similar in construction to the previous bunker, also being above the ground. Gary gave another presentation, showing us where an aircraft made an emergency landing during the war close to where we were standing. It was great to have the opportunity to access an area normally off limits to the public.
Following morning tea we made our way to the fourth bunker which is similar in construction to the pistol range bunker. This underground bunker was used as a radio operations centre and was constructed well away from the runways so that it could maintain operations if the aerodrome was bombed. Two rooms were used to house radios, generators and engines and at each end a pill box allowed sentry duty. The bunker was constructed in a giant sand hole and covered with remaining sand to camouflage it.
Whilst visiting each bunker, our guide Gary informed us of many stories relating to the war and Betty recounted her experience as a six year old, with her family sitting around the transistor radio listening to the broadcast informing listeners that Australia was now at war. Betty clearly remembers that day. What a moment in history!
After seeing all of the bunkers we made our way towards Bengello Beach. On the way Betty’s trusty boots decided, after many many kilometres, to call it a day and blow a sole. Bob T was going to be nominated to piggy back Betty for the remaining five kilometres but in sheer desperation to avoid this task he dug deep into the bowels of his back pack and pulled out a roll of duct tape. After some expert repair work, Betty’s boots were ready for another 5000 kilometres and off we went. We continued on to Bengello Beach and back to the cars where we thanked Gary very much for a most unusual and entertaining tour.
Twelve members completed an easy/medium 10 km walk around Mossy Point and Broulee on Sunday. The walkers started at the boat ramp at Mossy Point and upon rounding the headland overlooking North Broulee beach were surprised by the amount of people down on the beach and the activity on the water.
The walkers managed to make it safely through Art on the Path without buying anything bulky that would need to be carried for the next 7 kms and then spent a leisurely morning tea at the lookout overlooking South Broulee while Gay, the Walk Leader, handed out chocolate treats in honour of International Women’s Day.
The group wandered around Shark Bay and back over to North Broulee to discover the reason for the extra activity on the beach was the annual Broulee Bay to Breakers Ocean Swim. The walkers were fortunate to be there for the start of one race and while the water looked inviting and with the sun shining, all agreed that walking was really their thing, and so decided to continue on walking back up the beach.
The leader led the walkers back to the boat ramp via a little known path completing the final leg along the banks of the Tomaga River. A very lovely few hours enjoyed in the seaside villages of Broulee and Mossy Point.
On a beautiful morning we met at Maloneys Beach, eighteen members and one visitor. We struggled through the mob of kangaroos and headed up Pine Knob Road, soon to arrive at a huge fallen tree. It had been logged probably over a hundred years ago when logs were pulled out by horses, but had been left behind when found to be hollow. Soon we saw three Glossy Black Cockatoos eating Casuarina cones, a rare sight.
After posing for a photo we turned east along the ridge top with views back over Maloneys Beach and southwest towards Batemans Bay, a superb view. We continued east to another small headland where we had morning tea, sitting on logs labelled “BBBW only”. From there we had a view of a small bay where there are a few houses. It was always called “the judge’s land”, but after his death the fenced off land was resumed by the NPWS for Murramarang National Park.
We followed old fence posts to the “canoe tree”, its clear canoe shape cut into a huge tree, probably about 150 years ago. Returning west we had a view down on to a beach which should remain unnamed, devoid of buildings and people, backed by green (not black) forest. Once down on this beach we found invasive sea spurge so it was not as pristine as it looked.
14 Batemans Bay bushwalkers and a family of 4 visiting Alaskan musicians, who also hike as a hobby, gathered at the Congo starting point of a 7 kilometre circuit walk along a section of The Dreaming Track.
The day was predicted to be 33 degrees Celsius. Fortunately for hikers, cloud cover and a cool coastal breeze kept temperatures a little more moderate.
There seemed little signs of the recent rains except for two muddy puddles at the start of the walk and the lake at the mouth of Meringo Creek was still well back in bushlands.
A mob of about a dozen kangaroos were spotted lazing beneath trees about half way along the first leg of the walk but, they proved shy when, the visitors tried to get close with their cameras. Sadly this was the only wildlife that we encountered during our hike as an echidna had been seen on the recce.
There were though, many opportunities for pictures of the coastline and ocean as the group paused to rehydrate. The significance and history of The Dreaming Track was explained to our visitors during one of these breaks. The walk finished at lunch time and it proved to be a very pleasant way to spend a morning.
The group launched at Durras Lake boat ramp (South Durras) early in the morning when the busy Lake was still calm and winds were almost absent. Nearly all the margins of the Lake have been fire affected and recent rains have seen the water level rise dramatically. However, the Lake is still closed to the Ocean.
Fortunately, the Lake is in the Marine Park and is therefore not closed. It was possible to skirt the northern burned shore and paddle quite far up the flooded creek at the back of North Durras where we could hear rangers with chain saws working to reopen the Discovery Trail on the northern shore.
The group crossed the Lake to see one of the few areas where the fire crossed the Lake to the West of Punt Arm. Burrawangs were sprouting in the fire zone; it was obvious the forest was beginning its recovery.
The final paddle back to the ramp included exploring the flooded wetlands near to Durras village, before an increasingly strenuous paddle into a rising headwind took the paddlers back to the ramp.