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.