Tracks and Mines Near Moruya

Sunday 22 May 2016

Photos by Karen M

Bob T led a group of 17 walkers on a very interesting hike to the abandoned gold mines near Moruya. Bob did an amazing job of navigating us directly to the old workings on a 6km hike with only small sections of track to follow. Everyone was impressed by the extent of the workings and infrastructure built by the miners to store water. We all stopped counting concrete and metal water tanks when it was obvious there were so many. Bob recounted the history of the workings including a boiler, now rusting away but standing over 5m tall, that came from the WW1 light cruiser HMAS Sydney and was used on site to run various equipment. Standing in the middle of a forest of gum trees on the east coast of NSW it was surreal think that this boiler came from  a ship that sank the German raider, Emden, on the Cocos Islands in 1914.  An old abandoned Chevrolet flatbed truck and aluminium caravan attested to the fact that the site was active up until the 1950’s. The story goes that a hermit lived in the still relatively sturdy huts until the 1950’s.

“Sergeant” Bob runs a tight operation and managed not to lose a single hiker as we spread out over the mining area that must extend to over 2500 sq m. He even had us fan out in a “SES-like” search line looking for an old miner’s grave site (unsuccessfully) before he agreed to let us have lunch. While this site seems so remote and old when you are standing in a moon-scape of rock piles, collapsed mines and rusting mining equipment we were brought back to the present by the sounds of gunfire from the nearby pistol range and a horse rider who appeared out of the forest. All that was missing was the Clark Gang riding along this old bridle trail to rob some unsuspecting miners at a nearby town.

Well done Bob, this was a great hike, educational and oh I forgot to mention the four red tailed black cockatoos that joined us for the morning break that ticks the ‘nature’ box and made this a thoroughly enjoyable day.

Rob L

Saltwater Creek Area

Thursday 19 May 2016

Photos by Bob M

Betty led us on a 13km tour around Mogo State Forest near Saltwater Road and Saltwater Creek in fine sunny autumn weather.  As is usual with Betty’s walks, it was a good leg stretch with some sizeable hills.  We just managed to get the walk in before the area is to be logged.  Forestry was already harvesting across a couple of the gullies.  Saltwater Creek is quite a big body of water which flows into a deep arm of the Clyde River and is tidal, exposing wide mudflats at low tide crawling with little crabs and dotted with mangroves.

Karen M

Wallaga Lake to Bermagui Coastal Walk

Sunday 15 May 2016

Photos by Kay

After admiring the serenity of the waters, bird life and distant mountains, seven walkers set off across Wallaga Lake boardwalk in a southerly direction. Thence a coastal forest was entered on a track that weaved in and out of it, for most of the journey.It was a balmy autumn day with hardly a breath of wind.  The first view of the ocean was at Camel Rock where the party scrutinised the shape of the rock that gives the beach its name, and watched dolphins surfacing and splashing in the waters.

Further on, leader Kay pointed out two mine shafts that belong to the Montreal Plateau mines and explained that they contain alluvial gold deposits being transported by water, unlike the mines seen on the club’s Mogo walk the previous Sunday. The nearby Montreal goldfield is an intact example of alluvial diggings in the 1880s and the only goldfield in Australia that goes into the sea.

The bush was very dry but there were patches of Epacris reclinata (native heath), Correa alba and Correa reflexa (native fuschias) to give it colour and cheer along with birdsong.  Prior to a lunch stop at Keating’s Point the walkers paused and viewed the many water fowl on a reedy swamp behind the sand dunes. Lunch was eaten watching the ocean below, also a pelican, and a white bellied sea eagle that dipped and soared directly overhead.

After lunch the group continued south, veered west onto a track that led the way through a small swamp – home to an escaping Red Belly Black Snake, then on to the footpaths of Bermagui township. Not tempted by the aromas of their famous fish and chips, it was straight on for the gelato shop, and then on via the headland from where seals were spotted, to the end of the ten kilometre walk at the Blue Pool.


Billy’s Hut Short Walk

Wednesday 11 May 2016

Photos by Ken and Karen C

This walk was led by Jill and John and numbered 12 participants including 3 visitors. Conditions ideal, about 21 degrees, sunny and bright. We followed a combination of firebreak roads and bush tracks, a circular itinerary, initially downhill, then uphill on the way back.

The highlight of the walk was the re-visiting of Billy’s hut, where we stopped for morning tea. It is now dilapidated 150-years old stone structure, comprising an old fireplace, where Billy, from County Cork in Ireland, lived a solitary life in the 1840s/1870s. He built the hut himself, using boulders from the creek, and mud. The spot is now overgrown but one can sympathise with the life this recluse might have led, with weekly walks to Nelligen (approx 20 km away) to pick up his mail. The Club has visited Billy’s hut at other times in the past, on longer walks, including the first recorded walk of the Batemans Bay Bushwalkers in 1985.

The walk took about 3 hours, covered a distance of approx 7.5 km and finished before lunch.  Thanks Jill and John for leading us back to this secret spot.

John M

Kellys Mine

Sunday 8 May 2016

Photos by Karen M

Despite ominously clouded skies, Geoff & Elizabeth bravely accepted the conditions and the company of 11 other members to lead their walk into the forest west of Mogo.

Serenaded at times by the chatter of Rainbow Lorikeets, and possibly some Swift Parrots, (I’m sure I heard 21) we marched through the hills until we reached the area of old gold mines in Mogo State Forest.  As there have been people cutting away the heavy barriers on mines, which protect both resident bats, and people from the risks of entering old mines, the access road to Kellys mine now has numerous earth barriers and logs blocking vehicle access.    Nimble Bushwalkers, we were undeterred, and enjoyed our lunch break at Kellys mine.

After lunch for us and some leeches, we set off through the lovely forest along the creek, and found a beautifully woven bird nest, which we thought may have been made by a Scrub Wren.  However, while later trying to identify the species, I was bewildered by the many possibilities, and will retreat behind the conviction that it was the nest of an LBB (Little Brown Bird).

We then enjoyed the relatively short walk back to the cars, having only had to suffer light drizzle at morning tea and lunchtime, there being little of it as we walked.

Bob T

Micalong Creek, Wee Jasper Camp

Thursday 28 April – Tuesday 3 May 2016
Words by Rodney, Photos by Karen M and Rodney

On the Thursday afternoon thirteen campers arrived at the beautiful campsite at Micalong Creek, a stunningly picturesque spot on a tributary of the Goodradigbee River, west of Canberra across the Brindabellas. Upstream of the site, within two hundred metres were swimming holes and limestone cliffs, and the colours of the turning autumn trees brought vivid colour to the surroundings.

Over the following four days the walkers explored the Hume and Hovell walking track, including a visit to the summit of Mount Wee Jasper, and traced the footpaths beside the Goodradigbee River, over rock and and the trunks of trees washed down by storms and through blackberries.

While storms lashed the campers at night the daytime weather was delightful, bright and cool, ideal for walking in the region but, as the nights became cooler and cooler following a cold front, the evening campfire was a welcome opportunity to defrost. The whole group is looking forward to revisiting this delightful spot.

Grateful thanks to Camp Leader Len who spent the day before we arrived re-exploring the walks and clipping back the worst of the blackberries from some of the tracks.  He also transported a heap of wood to the camp so that we could have a blazing fire every evening at Happy Hour.


Pretty Beach, Mount Durras Circuit

Thursday 5 May 2016

Photos by Brian and Karen M

Thursday dawned a clear bright day and thirteen walkers travelled to Pretty Beach to enjoy a walk in the iconic Murramarang National Park. It might have been a chilly start to the day, but very soon layers of clothes were shed as we warmed up on the hill which is Mount Durras.

We lingered around the old farmstead area, marvelled at the huge trees and cabbage palms, enjoyed the extensive views of coast and hills, caught glimpses of kangaroos in the undergrowth and a few of us disturbed a couple of sleepy black snakes. Clear Point made a lovely spot for lunch, Snake Bay a beautiful rest stop.

Returning by the beaches and rock platforms a geology lesson was to be had, noting where a discontinuation of sandstone gave way to basalt and observing where rocks were stained with iron deposits. A few members checked out alternative routes around the foreshore and probably walked more than the 14kms the rest of us did. The sea was turquoise and inviting, but no-one took the plunge, maybe next time.  Thank you Brian for another great day out.


Quandolo and South Head

Saturday 30 April 2016

Photos by Bob T, Irene’s daughter and granddaughter

On 30 April, one of our venerable leaders took a group of enthusiastic walkers around the Moruya Heads area.

At only 87, Irene set a brisk pace, while showing us the bower of a male Satin Bower bird, then explained the odd aerial roots and seeding process of estuarine mangroves, took us past the remains of a coastal shipping wharf and dry dock, then up to the old Pilot Station where the weather man gave us fascinating information on the history of the estuary and shipping, then spoke in detail about weather records and his part in taking them.  If that is a breathless sentence, then it reflects the pace she set.

On to the lookout on the headland where several graves of sea-lovers were laid many years ago.  It would be nice to say they were undisturbed, but a few decades ago, drunken vandals smashed most of the headstones.  But the view, as always, is glorious, to Broulee, Burrewarra Point and the Budawangs in the north, and to Bingie and Tuross Head in the south.

For a relatively short walk, it was packed with much of interest, and was enjoyed by all.

Bob T

Buckenbowra Farm Walk

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Photos by Mary T

A group of six walkers were led by Ian H for the midweek club walk. We had been invited to enjoy this beautiful, working property on the Buckenbowra River by its owner, Jane. Our walk started near the main homestead and then across large fenced, grassy paddocks, the site of many tall gum trees, with a backdrop of the distant mountains. Jane pointed out the damage deer are causing to the bark of the trees.  We stopped along the way to read the inscription on a monument to Browne’s Hut and Stockyard. This is the first known habitation in the Shire of Eurobodalla. The track took us past an unknown grave and on down to the Buckenbowra River. This was the start of our fence ‘hopping’ or rather crawling!

Ian had a delightful spot picked out for morning tea complete with a table and benches. The majority of the group declined the comfort of these facilities to sit in the shade on nature’s own chairs, hard rocks. Reluctantly the break was over and we had to leave this peaceful setting. Fortunately we were continuing along the riverbank for some distance, so were able to enjoy the river with dappled sunlight and perfect reflections until the homestead came into view again. This was not the end of our walk. We passed the property manager’s home and set out up and across paddocks with yet more fences to be negotiated. Our leader found the exact place needed to scale the last fence and meet up with a 4-wheel drive track that took us up to the top of the ridge, the boundary for the property. From there it was downhill back to our cars safely parked out of harm’s way from two curious horses.

Lunch was on the way out at another lovely, shady river location on the Quart Pot Road. Three sleek, black cows grazed amongst the ferns on the other side of the river.  They too must have appreciated this cool spot on what was a very warm day for the end of April.

Thank you Ian for leading us on a delightful walk in a beautiful part of our Shire. Especial thanks to Jane for generously permitting the members of the Batemans Bay Bushwalkers to walk on her property.

Mary T