Mt Imlay National Park

In early Spring, we finally made a visit to Mt Imlay, a long-held ambition ever since we first arrived here. Mt Imlay (886m) dominates the skyline from Merimbula to the Victorian border and is accessed via Burrawang Rd, 20 km (15 mins drive) south of Eden, on the Far South Coast of New South Wales. Here is a photo of the National Parks map:blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0676 It was named after the Imlay Brothers, who settled in this region in the 1830s and 1840s, establishing a huge pastoral, whaling and trading empire. It was known to the local aborigines as ‘Balawan’ and is a place of spiritual significance for them. Apparently, it was used as a site for telepathic communication with groups to the north near Wallaga Lake. The foothills were selectively logged in the 1960s and a fire trail was built to the summit, giving access to the trig station, but the track was closed in the 1970s to allow the area to revegetate. There is also a Telstra Sea Phone facility, built in 1994 and serving as the last communication link between Melbourne and Sydney for coastal vessels.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0736 In 1972, 3808 ha of steep, heavily forested country around the peak was reserved as Mt Imlay National Park, which has since been extended to 4822 ha. The park has a variety of habitats and is an important refuge area for the conservation of the local native flora and fauna, including a number of threatened or geographically significant species. The summit is of particular scientific interest because of its predominantly undisturbed nature, the presence of several threatened plant species and its biogeographical similarity to Tasmanian peaks. I will be describing our walk soon, but first some introductory notes about this beautiful national park.

Geology

Most of Mt Imlay National Park was formed during the Ordovician Period, 500 to 435 Million years ago, from sedimentary and metamorphosed rocks of the Mallacoota Beds, part of the Southern Highlands Fold Belt, including greywacke, sandstone and shale. The summit of Mt Imlay and the upper slopes are younger, with Devonian (395 to 345 Million years ago) rocks of the Merimbula Group, lying above the Ordovician sediments. The Merimbula Group includes sandstone, conglomerates, quartzite, siltstone and shale. Quaternary sediments form narrow river flats along the Towamba River on the northern edge of the park.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0917blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0770blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0995blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0888blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0899 The soils on the summit and ridges are shallow with many rock fragments and the upper slopes are very sandy, loose and very erodible and subject to movement. I always marvel at the tenacity and optimism of seedlings growing in rock!blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0919 The summit area is only small and drops steeply in all directions with cliff lines in the north and east and a series of steps on the western slope. These steps are formed by the differential erosion of the alternating bands of sandstone, conglomerate and shale. Ridgelines extend from the summit, dissecting the rest of the park, which has narrow rocky ridges and deep gullies, as seen in the photo below.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1016Vegetation

The ridges and dry lower slopes are covered by open forest, dominated by Silvertop Ash, Eucalyptus sieberi and also includes Yellow Stringybark E. muelleriana and occasionally  E. globoidea and Blue-Leaved Stringybark E. agglomerata.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0918 The understorey is shrubby and  includes Native Cherry Exocarpos cupressiformis, Hickory Wattle Acacia falciformis, Shiny Cassinia Cassinia longifolia, Tetratheca thymifolia , Narrow-Leaf Geebung  Persoonia linearis, Acacia obtusifolia , Prickly Broom-Heath  Monotoca  scoparia , Smooth Geebung  Persoonia levisBanksia collina, Bedfordia arborescens, Hakea macreana, Mountain Speedwell Derwentia perfoliata, which had just finished flowering when we visited, and Hibbertia saligna, which is regionally uncommon and at the southern limit of its range. The steep south-east facing slopes (especially just below the ridge crest) are covered by stands of White Ash, E. fraxinoides, a species with a restricted distribution.

blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0882
Tetratheca thymifolia
blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0697
Narrow-Leafed Geebung Persoonia linearis
blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0772
Blanket Bush Bedfordia arborescens, so called for the supersoft undersides of their foliage.
blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1008
Hakea macreana
blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0754
Mountain Speedwell Derwentia perfoliata had just finished flowering.
blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0855
Hibbertia saligna

The moist sheltered gullies and slopes support a tall open forest of Yellow Stringybark, Monkey Gum E. cypellocarpa and River Peppermint  E. elata, with a shrub layer of Hop Goodenia  Goodenia ovata , Blue Olive-Berry  Elaeocarpus reticulates, Lance Beard-Heath  Leucopogon lanceolatus and Fireweed Groundsel  Senecio linearifolius.

blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0771
Monkey Gum, also known as Mountain Grey Gum, Eucalyptus cypellocarpa, has beautiful bark.
blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1028
Blue Olive-Berry Elaeocarpus reticulatus
blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0889
Lance Beard-Heath Leucopogon lanceolatus

There are also pockets of rainforest, including Black Olive-Berry, Elaeocarpus holopetalus, Banyalla Pittosporum bicolour, Soft Tree-Fern Dicksonia antarctica, Hard Water Fern, Blechnum wattsii and Pomaderris species, including Pomaderis phylicifolia subsp. ericoides.

blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1033
Black Olive-Berry Elaeocarpus holopetalus
blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0989
Soft Tree-Fern Dicksonia antarctica
blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0788
Hard Water Fern Blechnum wattsi
blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0705
Pomaderris phylicifolia subsp ericoides

Other ferns include: Maidenhair fern  Adiantum sp (Photo 1); Bracken fern  Pteridum esculentum; Coral Fern  Gleichenia rupestris (Photo 2); and Rock Felt Fern  Pyrrosia rupestris (Photo 3).blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0898blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0744blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0767 Climbers include Austral Sarsparilla, Smilax australis, which is shown in the first three photos at various stages and Drooping Mistletoe, Amyema pendula (Photos 4 to 5).blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0777blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0762blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0766blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0747blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0750On the rocky summit is a woodland, dominated by Narrow-Leafed Peppermint, Eucalyptus sp. aff. radiata, but also including Silvertop Ash and Messmate E. obliqua. There is also a stand of less than 200 trees of the very rare, endemic Mallee Gum, Eucalyptus imlayensis, which emerges from a closed tall heath, containing Leptospermum scoparium (1st photo below), Scented Paperbark, Melaleuca squarrosa, Mat Rush Lomandra longifolia, Sunshine Wattle Acacia terminalis (2nd photo below), Prickly Broom-Heath Monotoca  scoparia, Common Oxylobium Oxylobium arborescens, Boronia pinnata and Hibbertia dentata.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0934blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0686 Other plants we saw on our walk included: Hairpin Banksia Banksia spinulosa (photo 1), Old Man Banksia Banksia serrata (photo 2), and plenty of flowering Epacris impressa (photos 3 and 4), which was quite spectacular!blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0837blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0862blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0980blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0902The  Imlay Mallee is only found at a single site on the steep rocky east-facing slope at an altitude of 850m to 870m. It grows to a height of 7 metres and is multi-stemmed with smooth orange-brown and grey bark, which is shed from the stems in ribbons. Seed production is rare and there are no juvenile plants recorded. Mallee Gum appears to be related to Tasmanian eucalypts, an association backed up by the presence of Eriostemon virgatus, which normally grows in Tasmania, Mt Imlay being one of the few mainland locations of this shrub. Known by its common name, the Tasmanian Waxflower, it is the only four-petalled Eriostemon in Eastern Australia. The Weevil Aterpus kubushas, also found in Tasmania and the Victorian Alps, has also been collected on the summit, further evidence of Mt Imlay’s biogeographical similarity with the Tasmanian peaks.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0909blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0903

blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0921
Eriostemon virgatus

The summit of Mt Imlay also has a number of threatened and biogeographically significant plant species including: Pomaderris costata, Persoonia brevifolia (close to northern limit), Monotoca elliptica, Saw Sedge Gahnia subaequiglumis, Prostanthera walteri, and Leafless Pink Bells, Tetratheca subaphylla, seen in the photo below.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0798 We enjoyed seeing the early Spring blooms of another endangered endemic species, Boronia imlayensis, seen in this photo. It had only just started flowering on our visit in late August.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0964 We could not identify this shrub- perhaps someone could help us?blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0839blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0838Recent mapping of the park revealed that half of the park is fragmented old-growth forest, whose hollows provide essential habitats for all the arboreal mammals.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1004blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1005blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0774Fauna

Native mammals include: Red-Necked Wallaby, Swamp Wallaby, Greater Glider, Brush-Tail Possum, Eastern Pygmy Possum, Platypus, Wombat, the Large-Footed Myotis and Bush Rat. There are three threatened species: the  Long-Nosed Potoroo, the Koala and the Tiger Quoll. Native birds recorded include: the Gang-Gang Cockatoo, the Superb Lyrebird, the Little Eagle, the Wedge-Tailed Eagle, the Wonga Pigeon, Common Bronzewing, Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo, King Parrot, Grey Currawong, Little Lorikeet and Red-Browed Finch.  Reptiles include: Red-bellied Black Snake, Brown Snake, Lace Monitor and Cunningham’s Skink.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0675And now to our walk, as seen in the National Parks map above! From the Princes Highway, a 20 minute (10 km) drive up the gravel Burrawang Rd through the East Boyd State Forest with dramatic examples of the devastation of clear felling practices along the way , as well as revegetated areas from 1977 and 1978, brings you to the Burrawang Picnic Area and the start of the Mt Imlay Summit Walking Track.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0670 At the start of the walk and the last stretch to the summit are Boot Cleaning Stations with an information board (seen in the 2nd photo), to stop the spread of the Cinnamon Fungus, Phytophthora cinnamomi.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0689blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0688 These include a brush to clean your boots and a dip with a chemical solution to wash your soles.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0877blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1034 Already, a number of species have been affected including the Austral Grass Trees, Tea Broom-Heath, Common Heath, Leafless Pink Bells and Hairpin Banksia.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0863 The fungus attacks the roots and causes them to rot and has already destroyed large areas of Grass Trees in particular.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0866blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0867The track is described as a challenging 3 km walk, rising 600 m to the summit (6 km return; 3 to 4 hours), but because the walk is broken up into different sections and there is so much botanical interest, we managed it quite easily with photography stops along the way. Also, I think we are fairly fit, as our daily walks in Candelo involve steep hills either side of the valley, and we weren’t even stiff the next day. I was very impressed with my usually suspect knee, which behaved beautifully on the walk with not a twinge of pain! The walk follows the ridge up the right hand side of the mountain, shown in the photo below.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0737 The track is marked by silver tags on the trees and there are interesting information boards at intervals.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0822blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0752 The first stretch of the track is a bit boring through dry open eucalypt forest along the old road, but once you reach the Austral Grass Tree (Xanthorrhoea australis) ridge, it becomes much more interesting.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0704blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1022 We ascended a steep path past Dianella tasmanica outcrops (photo 2) to our first set of large boulders.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0720blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0996blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0734 We skirted around a natural amphitheatre on the same level, then ascended to the base of a cliff with huge boulders under a tall forest of Silvertop Ash trees.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1015blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0789blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0790blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0978 A steep slope leads to a razorback ridge, which runs 500m to the trig station.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0942blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0954blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0890 There were lots of Spring wildflowers in a variety of colours- whites, creams, yellows, pinks, blues, purples and reds. Here are a few more photos. In order: Eriostemon virgatus, Lance Beard-Heath Leucopogon lanceolatus , Hakea macreana, Pomaderris phylicifolia subsp. ericoides, Sweet Wattle Acacia suaveolens, and Common Heath Epacris impressa (last two photos).blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0923blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0870blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1013blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0841blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0684blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0869blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0979 The stunning photo opportunities were further increased by the spectacular views of the coast, north to Mt Dromedary (photos 1 and 2) and Eden, including the wood chip mill (photos 3 and 4); west to the mountains (photos 5 and 6); east to Green Cape and Bay Cliff and the Wonboyn River (photos 7 to 10);  and to the far south, the holiday shacks, beaches and river entrance at Mallacoota (photos 11 and 12).blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0973blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0967blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0926blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0930blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0956blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0848blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0842blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0844blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0831blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0931blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0946blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0947Unfortunately, the day was a bit cloudy and grey and the summit quite cold and windy, so we ate a quick picnic lunch at the top, disturbing a roosting Little Eagle in the process.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0906 Then descended back to the Silvertop Ash forest, where we met the only other bushwalkers we saw that day- a couple with a six year old daughter, whose timing was better as the sky had just turned a bright blue for their arrival at the summit. Their views would have been even better! These photos  contrast our day (photo 1) and that of the next couple (photo 2).blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1036blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1014 We really enjoyed visiting this iconic local landmark. Next week, we explore the Merrica River, another stunning walk in Springtime. I will finish with a lovely photo of the stump of a dead Austral Grass Tree, which captured our attention!blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0924

South East Forests National Park

We are very lucky to live close to this wonderful national park, which encompasses a wide range of habitats from swamp and grassland to old growth forests and escarpment and gorge country and a variety of wildlife, including 48 mammal and 33 reptile species. The 115, 177 ha park was formed in 1997, amalgamating earlier national parks and state forest reserves including : Genoa, Tantawangalo, Bemboka, Yowaka and Coolangubra National Parks, which were all formed in 1994, after a major campaign to protect the last of the old growth forests in South-East New South Wales from woodchipping, which began in 1969 and continued for 25 years, despite increasing opposition. It is part of less than 10 percent of the old growth forest, which survives in Australia after 200 years of clearing. These old growth forest are incredibly important, as they provide nesting hollows for birds and arboreal marsupials. The South East Forest campaign has been documented in a film called ‘Understorey’ by David Gallant. See: https://www.facebook.com/Understorey-a-film-on-the-south-east-forest-campaigns-940034452718427/.

Last April, we spent a wonderful day exploring some of the local landmarks, including Alexander’s Hut, one of the few remaining cattleman’s mountain huts; Nunnock Swamp and Grasslands; Woolingubrah Inn; and finally Myanba Gorge. A few days later, we searched out ‘Fernleigh’, the original farm of Alexander Robinson, and tried to determine the ridge, up which he used to drive his cattle to their Summer pastures.

BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-24 11.28.08
Fernleigh‘ on middle of far right edge; The ridge is between the house and the forested mountains at back.
BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-24 11.26.42
Another view of the ridge
BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-24 11.28.15
‘Fernleigh’, in front of the ridge up into the mountains

During our search, we photographed a pair of beautiful Wedge-Tailed Eagles, sitting high in a dead tree, looking back to the heavily forested escarpment.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-24 12.41.21BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-24 12.40.25 If this majestic bird was travelling inland from the coastal fringe, she would fly over the fertile pastures and undulating hills of ‘Fernleigh’, ‘Tantawangalo’ and Mogilla to the heavily forested 400 Million year old granite escarpment of the South Coast Range (also known as the Bega Batholith), which lies between the Victorian border in the south and Bungendore and Braidwood in the north.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-24 12.53.02

BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-24 12.29.14
Heavily forested slope and escarpment

Travelling west, she would cross steep-sided gorges, a myriad of swamps and rolling forest country to the open grasslands and volcanic basalt of the Monaro Tableland.

BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-24 11.29.50
The old homestead

‘Fernleigh’ was the original home of the Robinson family. Every Spring, they would take 40-60 head of cattle up into the mountains to reduce the pressure of stock grazing on their lower holdings during Summer. Using dogs and an experienced beast as a leader, they would take a full day to herd their animals up this gentle ridge into the dense escarpment forests along old bridle trails : the Postman’s Track and then onto the Cattleman’s Link Trail to their Summer pastures at Alexander’s Hut, seen here in the National Parks map at the hut. For the rest of this post, I will be referring to National Parks and Wildlife Service by its acronym, NPWS.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 15.03.09 The farmers would let their heifers and poddy calves loose in the bush for a few years. Cattle moved freely between different escarpment properties, so all the cattle grazing families would muster the cattle together and shared each other’s huts.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 15.01.11 Alexander’s Hut is one of the few remaining mountain huts left. Originally, the property was owned from 1898 to 1922 by Charlie and Ethel Soloman, who ran the General Store in Cathcart.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 15.00.34Their original hut was on the site of the current pear tree (photo below), but it burnt down and was replaced by a one-room slab hut, built by George Summerell and his sons Norm and Harry of Cathcart, who incidentally built many of the mountain huts.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 15.07.16 Local trees were felled, the logs were cut into lengths and split into slabs with broad axes, mauls and frocs, then they were dragged to the site by bullock teams. Slabs were fitted closely together into grooved timber plates at the top and bottom, then the gaps between slabs covered with thinner timber boards to reduce draughts.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 15.12.22 The roof was corrugated iron, under laid with a hessian ceiling, glued with flour paste (see photo below). There was a fireplace on the right wall, but on the later addition of a second room, the fireplace was relocated and the old fireplace wall was patched up.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 15.02.02 The property was sold to Alexander Robinson in 1922 and used by three generations of the family, until it was sold in 1990 to the Wilkinsons, who replaced the patched wall with a window and looked after the property until it came under the control of NPWS.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 15.11.42 It is possible to stay there – both camping and in the hut- a great way for absorbing the atmosphere of the early days!BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 15.11.56It is such a peaceful beautiful spot now, though it would have been very different back in the early days. Apparently, there was a rabbit plague between the 1920s and 1950s and the Robinsons would often stay up here for a fortnight to dry the skins of the trapped rabbits, before giving them to their Nimmitabel agent, who sold the skins in Melbourne and Sydney. They would often trap 60 rabbits in a night. Rabbit fur was used to make felt hats, worn by the soldiers during the world wars, and the rabbit carcasses were exported to Post War Europe during food shortages.

BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 16.01.14
Red-Necked Wallaby
BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 16.02.56
Another local resident!

Since the introduction of myxamatosis, rabbit numbers are now under control, but unfortunately feral deer and pigs are still a major problem and cause considerable damage to the fragile Nunnock Grasslands and Swamp, which are both endangered ecological communities. Other threats include: the introduction of weeds; the spread of Phytophthora (dieback); climate change and illegal hunting.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.01.30Nunnock Swamp (seen in the NPWS map above) was formed in a shallow depression, perched on the edge of the escarpment of the South-East Ranges (part of the Great Dividing Range), at the headwaters of several creeks.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.10.29 Covering more than 100 ha, this subalpine bog is comprised of a complex array of basins and arms, which reflect the underlying valleys, cut into the impervious granite rock by ancient small streamlets and  which vary in degrees of saturation, according to seasonally fluctuating water levels and the particular section of the swamp.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.10.15 The northern part (photo above) is permanently saturated , with a large body of surface water, fringed with sedges and sphagnum moss beds (Sphagnum cristatum), and underlain with a deep layer of peat, formed over many centuries, and which acts like a huge sponge, holding lots of water.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.16.08

BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.14.10
Sphagnum Moss

The central and southern part of the swamp is drier and dominated by seasonally saturated shrub and grass communities with fringing woodland. Occasionally, it dries out with periodic droughts. One arm of the swamp drains to the east into the Bega River, but most of the swamp drains south-west into the tributaries of Bombala River and thence to the Snowy River in Victoria.

BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.56.36
Southern Swamp with waterlilies

BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.56.27We had a lovely 4 km walk around the edge of the swamp, allowing us to appreciate the wide diversity of habitats:

Tall Wet Forest: Moist slopes and gullies: Brown Barrel Eucalyptus fastigata; Monkey Gum (also known as Mountain Grey Gum) E. cypellocarpa; Ribbon Gum E. viminalis; and Messmate E. obliqua; with an understorey of tall shrubs of Blanket Bush Bedfordia arborescens; Olearia; Pomaderis; Ferns and herbs.

BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 14.23.37
Tree Fern
BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.50.56
These old growth trees are so important for their nesting hollows
BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 14.00.49
Gnarled old warrior!

Dry Forest: Granite ridges, exposed to the sun:  Narrow-Leafed Peppermint E. radiata; Mountain Gum E. dalrympleana and Snow Gum E. pauciflora; with an understorey of Silver Banksia B. marginata and Snow Grass Poa species.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.41.05BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.38.58BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.45.35BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.42.39Grassy Woodlands (Endangered): Fertile soils, derived from basalt and past volcanic activity: Snow Gum E. pauciflora and Ribbon Gum E. viminalis, with a sparse shrub layer of Snow Grass Poa sp.; Kangaroo Grass Themeda australis; and forbs (broad-leafed herbaceous wild flowers).BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 14.11.06

BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 14.17.44
We saw a feral deer grazing at the back of this photo, before disappearing into the forest behind

BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.57.12BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 14.34.18

BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 14.34.01
Heath Daisy Allittia uliginosa
BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 14.45.02
White Heath Daisy and Yam Daisy (Microseris sp.)

BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.39.26

BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.32.01
Colourful fungi in leaf litter

Natural Temperate Grasslands: Patches along the escarpment on exposed basalt or low lying areas, where the cold air pools or the soils are periodically water-logged, preventing the growth of tree seedlings. In October and November, they are filled with wildflowers: Granite Buttercup Ranunculus graniticola; Grass Trigger Plant Stylidium graminifolium; and Swamp Everlasting Xerochrysum palustre (see first 2 photos above).BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.05.51BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 12.53.07Forest-Grassland Ecotone: Transitional area between snowgum woodland and grassland: Rich diversity of plants and wildlife including: Eastern Grey Kangaroos; Red-Necked Wallabies; Swamp Wallabies; Koalas; Yellow-bellied Gliders; Greater Gliders; Powerful Owls and Masked Owls eg Nunnock Camping Ground.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 14.39.59BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 14.40.11

BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.45.09
Wombat hole

Swamp: Sphagnum cristatum; Eastern Banjo Frog (Pobblebonk); Whistling Tree Frog; Dendy’s Toadlet; White Lipped Snake; Copperhead; Migratory Latham’s Snipe and many other birds, including these Grey Teal in the first photo below.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.10.05BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.32.07The wide variety of vegetation types supplied a variety of food, fibre and shelter resources for the local aboriginal people, the Maneroo, who lived here for over 20 000 years. In Winter, they would follow well-worn bridle trails down to the coast for trade, large inter-tribal ceremonies and feasting, enjoying whale meat, fish and shellfish like mussels. In the Summer, the coastal Yuins would follow these same trails up into the mountains to the Monaro Tablelands to feast on the Bogong Moth.

BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 14.43.54
Magpie
BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.53.24
Ground Thrush

Later, early European settlers would also follow these trails, and they still exist today as part of a network of 4WD roads like the steep rugged Postman’s Track (the main route for the weekly packhorse mail service for the Monaro, from Cooma to the coast, from 1851 to 1875) and bushwalking tracks, including the 2.5 km Cattleman’s Walking Track, which retraces the old stock route and the  4.8 km Wilkinsons Walking Track and 2 km Keys Track between Alexander’s Hut and Nunnock Campground. Here are the NPWS maps of the walking tracks.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.01.21BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.06.15 Camping is also available at Six Mile Creek, which has a 300 metre walking track along Tantawangalo Creek and is a popular swimming hole in Summer.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-08-12 13.29.27BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-08-12 13.32.57BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-08-12 13.40.02Further south, the aborigines used to follow an old bridle trail from Towamba up Myanba Creek to Myanba Gorge and the Monaro Tablelands. Here is a NPWS map of its location.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.42.49 Myanba Gorge is perched on the granite escarpment in the Coolangubbra section of the South East Forest National Park.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.58.03BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.57.41 We accessed it via Coolangubra Forest Way and Kanoonah Road, a long dry dusty road through clear-felled forest, but it was worth it for the end destination! The 2 km walk (takes 1 hour return) follows the banks of the Myanba Creek, as it flows over granite boulders into the steep-sided gorge, then off the escarpment into the Towamba River, which opens out into the sea at Twofold Bay, Eden. This is a photo of the NPWS interpretive board.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.43.26BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.46.00BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.48.25 BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.53.19BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.57.51There are three lookouts: Myanba Creek Lookout; Pulpit Rock Lookout and finally, Myanba Gorge Lookout with very impressive views over the gorge to the Towamba Valley below.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.58.36BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.59.07 The Coolangubra section of the park has a number of unusual plant communities and rare and endangered animals. Vegetation communities include:

Dry Rainforest (Endangered): Dry open forest on rocky north–facing slopes and heads of gullies: Rusty Fig, Ficus rubiginosa, is at the southernmost limit of its geographical range.

Escarpment Dry Grassy Forest: Blue-Leafed Stringybark E. maidenii.

Escarpment Tall Wet Forest: Brown Barrel E. fastigata ; Messmate E. obliqua; Monkey Gum or Mountain Grey Gum E. cypellocarpa ; Narrow-Leafed Peppermint E. radiata: Possums, gliders and owls.

Hinterland Dry Grassy Forest

Hinterland Dry Shrub Forest: White Stringybark E. globoidea; Yellow Stringybark E. muelleriana; ; Peppermint Gum E. nicholii; Brown Barrel E. fastigata; Silvertop Ash E. sieberii; Messmate E. obliqua ; Monkey Gum or Mountain Grey Gum E. cypellocarpa.

Wet Gully Fern Forest

Rainforest: Small pockets along Myanba Creek:  Cool Temperate rainforest restricted to gullies with steep slopes eg Olive Berry Elaeocarpus holopetalus; Warm Temperate rainforest on rocky sites in the gorge, where they are protected from fires eg Pittosporum undulatum; Streaked Rock Orchids Dendrobium striolatum; and Victorian Christmas Bush Prostanthera lasianthos. The photos below are in order: Epacris impressa and Correa reflexa.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.50.40BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.52.32The old growth forests homes and nesting hollows to a wide variety of animal life:

Wombats; Swamp Wallabies ; Parma Wallabies; Tiger Quolls; Platypus;  the threatened Southern Brown Bandicoot; Endangered Long-Footed Potoroos, the only known population in NSW; White-Footed Dunnarts; Smoky Mouse ;  Eastern Pygmy Possum, Brush-Tailed Possums; Feather-Tailed Gliders; Sugar Gliders; Greater Gliders; and Yellow-Bellied Gliders.

The possums and gliders are the main food source for the threatened Powerful Owls, Sooty Owls and Southern Boobooks. Other birds include: Square-Tailed Kite; Peregrine Falcon; Gang Gang Cockatoos; Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoos; Superb Lyrebird; and Honeyeaters. Other animals include:  Diamond Python; Eastern Water Dragon; Giant Burrowing Frog and Australian Grayling, an endangered freshwater fish, which lives further downstream and which migrates from the coastal streams to the ocean.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.58.29BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 18.08.23If you are in the area, it is also worth visiting Woolingubrah Inn in the Coolangubra State Forest, 20 km from Bombala.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 16.56.48 Woolingubrah is an aboriginal word meaning ‘windy place’, an apt description for its location on the exposed peak of Big Jack Mountain. Before the construction of the Tantawangalo Mountain Road, the Big Jack Mountain Bridle Trail was the only track from Eden to the Monaro and the goldfields at Kiandra. The inn was imported as a prefabricated building from the USA to provide a halfway house for emigrants travelling to the goldfields during the goldrush of the 1860s. Only one of three such buildings still existing in Australia, it arrived at Eden by coastal steamer in October 1860 and was transported by bullock wagon to Woolingubrah, where the sections were assembled together to make a dwelling with six bedrooms, a bar and a kitchen and dining room.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 16.59.47 From 1871, it became the family home of HA Nicholson for the next 15 years. It was purchased by the Forestry Corporation in 1986 and was restored in 2001.The old roof shingles were replaced by a corrugated iron roof, but can still be seen under the verandah.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 16.59.26At the end of April, we drove up Wolumla Peak, also in South East Forests National Park.

BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1430
Our destination : Wolumla Peak

Once we finally found the start, the signs all having been removed(!), it was a really long slow road, 15 km at 20 km per hour, along corrugated 4WD forestry roads and at times, we wondered if it was worth it, but the 360 degree view at the top from the fire-spotting tower was magnificent !BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1464

BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1445
Fire-Spotting Tower

We could see Merimbula (photos 1-4) and Pambula (photo 5) and the coast to the east and south;BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1431BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1433BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1449BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1579BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1434 the escarpment behind to the west and to the north, our own little village of Candelo.BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1452BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1451 The vegetation was lovely- Fireweed Grounsel Senecio linearifolius, white and golden everlasting daisies, red heath, wattle…BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1460BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1468BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1457BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1456BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1461BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1582BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1583BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1484BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1585On the way down, we spotted our first Glossy Black Cockatoos, feeding in the casuarinas (1st photo)- a very exciting event, as we knew they were in the area, but had not seen them yet.BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1498BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1540BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1573BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1565 We also saw Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoos, a pair of Spotted Quail Thrush (also new to us – photo below) and Swamp Wallabies and listened to the entire repertoire of a Superb Lyrebird, mimicking the calls of Grey Thrush, Butcherbirds, Eastern Whipbirds, Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoos, Kookaburras and White-Browed Scrub Wrens.BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1481 We discovered a huge velvety-brown moth, with a 16 cm wing span and camouflaged well against the brown and grey pebbles of the beautiful Pambula Creek, later identified as a White-Stemmed Gum Moth, Chelepteryx collesi. This is what I love about our amazing natural world- there are always new things to be discovered and new places to explore!BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1636BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1633BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1637There is so much more to do in South-East Forest National Park, as can be seen in: http://www.eden.nsw.au/~edennswa/images/stories/BushWalks/SouthEastForestNationalPark_region.pdf. There is also much more information on the National Parks Management Plan : www.environment.nsw.gov.au/parkmanagement/SoutheastforestMgmtplan.htm  (map)  and click on the Download Now button on the right hand side of the page for the plan.

Here are some  photos of the beautiful Pambula Creek:BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1607BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1612BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1615BlogSEForestsNP20%ReszdIMG_1617

Ben Boyd National Park : Part 2 : Photo Essay

Last week, I finished with a brief description of the Light-to-Light walk and while we have still to do the whole walk over 3 days, we have visited all the spots we can access by car, so I thought a photo essay with a few brief notes about each spot would give you an idea of this magical spot! The photo below is of the National Park board of the northern and middle section of the park:BlogBenBoydNP75%ReszdIMG_2423Northern End : Pambula River and Bar Beach

Pambula River mouth, extending up the river;

National Parks and Wildlife lookout;

Walking trail up the side of the river and an amazing swing !;

Interesting rock formations and lots of quartz veining;

Popular with daytrippers, holiday makers, artists and fishermen.

Always lorikeets in the trees beside the picnic area.

Bird hide and walks at Panboola Wetland Conservation Area, Pambula.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-01-27 13.12.07
Start of the walk up the river

BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2318BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-20 17.44.35BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2350BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2377BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2383BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2360BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-01-27 13.10.18BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2014-11-09 07.16.41BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-01-27 13.19.03

BlogBenBoydNP50%Reszdaug 2010 525
Panboola, Pambula

Middle Section :

Severs Beach

500m walk through old farming property to a beach and massive 4000 year old aboriginal middens near the mouth of Pambula Lake, 1km inland up the Pambula River;

Shifting sandbars, so the river landscape is constantly changing.BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2457BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2458BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2462BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2469BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2468BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 18.52.41Barmouth Beach

Can be accessed by road through tall open coastal forest or a track from Haycock Point.

Sheltered north- facing beach, overlooking Pambula River mouth and beach.

George Bass, who was in an open whale boat with 6 crew members, sheltered from a gale here in 1797. He named the river ‘Barmouth Creek’, after the large sandbars at the mouth of the river, but it is now known as ‘Pambula River’.

Beach is protected by a tall headland on the ocean side.

BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2330
Pambula River Mouth from the northern side of river; Barmouth Beach far right across river
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-20 17.52.33
Barmouth Beach across Pambula River from Bar Beach

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 17.58.14OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 18.20.45Haycock Point and Haycock Beach (North Long Beach)

Ten minute walk through old farmland with regenerating coastal wattle and the odd feral lily to Haystack Rock and purple red rock platforms and rock pools.

Ocean beach is 3 km long and can also be accessed via the North Long Beach road (Red Bloodwoods and Banksia forest).

BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2432
Long Beach, Haycocks Point looking south
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 16.49.12
Cliffline Haycocks Point

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 16.40.50

BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2453
Northern end Long Beach, Haycocks Point
BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2451
Rock platforms at northern end Long Beach, Haycocks Point looking north to Haystack Rock
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 17.10.52
Haycocks Point
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 17.15.02
Haystack Rock, Haycocks Point

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 17.15.06Long Beach and Quandolo Point

Wide isolated 1km long beach with colourful rock ledges.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 14.09.14
Looking north from Quondolo Beach to Long Beach and Haycocks Point
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 14.16.33
Quandolo Beach
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 14.45.43
Quandolo Point looking north
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 14.46.42
Quondolo Point, looking south to Terrace Beach and Lennards Island
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Lennards Island from Quondolo Point
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Red rock platforms, Quondolo Point
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Quondolo Point

The Pinnacles

Also known as the Quoraburagun Pinnacles.

Eroded gully at northern end of Pinnacles Beach with colourful rock layers of sand, clay and sediment.

White pipe clay used by local aborigines for white ochre, an important trade commodity.

Feral pine trees.

Pinnacles Beach is 3km long and leads into Terrace Beach at the southern end.

Thick coastal scrub and steep colourful cliffs.

BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2479
Track through heath land, The Pinnacles
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Pinnacle Beach heading south to Terrace Beach and Lennards Island
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 13.52.44
The Pinnacles are still actively eroding
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 13.49.48
Lennards Island from the Pinnacles
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 13.48.24
Feral pines at the Pinnacles
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 13.57.17
Pinnacles Beach from Terrace Beach Car Park, looking north

The Terraces

One of our favourite spots. We spent New Years Day 2016 here and there were only four other people.

It is fun exploring the rocks at the end, and if you walk the other way, you will reach the Pinnacles.

The Terraces, Lennards Island and North Point are all accessed by the road to the Eden Tip, off the main highway.BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 14.29.20BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 14.03.01BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 14.24.20BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 14.25.03BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 14.58.40BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 15.08.29BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 15.48.29

Lennards Island

Can be accessed at low tide, but becomes an island at high tide.

We saw an a echidna on the beach and a pair of peregrine falcons last time we were here.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 16.44.51

BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2478
Lennards Island from the Pinnacles
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 14.07.12
Lennards Island from Quondolo Point

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 16.44.09BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 16.42.04BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 16.27.24BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 16.25.45

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 16.14.48
Lennards Island

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 15.58.09BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 15.58.01

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 16.35.35
Lennards Island
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 16.27.50
Lennards Island

North Head (Warong Point)

My daughter loves this place for its wonderful geology and myriad of small shells.BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 16.57.17

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-12 13.26.46
North Head from Aslings Beach, Eden
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-07-04 15.13.59
Fisherman on rock platform, North Head
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-07-04 15.31.03
Heavily folded layers, North Head

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-07-04 15.31.27

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 17.39.29
Sleeping Dragon, North Head
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-07-04 15.35.46
Hidden beach, North Head
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-07-04 15.37.32
Narrow ridge to south of beach, North Head

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-07-04 15.55.36

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 17.02.17
Rocks to north of hidden beach
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 16.56.46
North Head
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 16.59.32
View south from North Head towards Asling Beach in background

North Point looks across to Aslings Beach and the town of Eden, which separate the middle and lower sections of Ben Boyd National Park, so, even though they are not National Park, I have added a few photos in.

Aslings Beach (2km long)

Stretching round Calle Calle Bay and enclosing Curalo Lagoon and the main surf beach for Eden. Large sea pool at southern end. One day, we saw a dolphin pod catching the waves in.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-12 13.30.11
Aslings Beach looking north with North Head in background
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-12 13.30.31
Aslings Beach looking south to Eden and Middle Head
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-12 13.30.08
Northern end of Aslings Beach- note entrance to Curalo Lagoon on far left of photo

Eden

Home of the Killer Whale Museum (http://killerwhalemuseum.com.au/) and the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre (http://www.sapphirecoastdiscovery.com.au/).

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-07-04 15.38.30
Middle Head, Eden from North Head
BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2521
View from Rotary Lookout, Middle Head over Twofold Bay, Red Point and Boyds Tower

BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2523

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-01-27 14.11.33
Rotary Lookout, Middle Head, Eden
BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5638
Rotary Park, Middle Head and Eden township from Boyds Tower
BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2526
Wharf, Eden

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-01-27 14.29.29BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2528

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-05-15 11.00.33
Navy vessel, Twofold Bay

Southern End:

Quarantine Bay

Not in National Park, but worth a visit en route; Just south of Eden and Rixon’s Beach.

Lots of pelicans, seagulls, rays and even a friendly seal;

Boat launching ramp and fish cleaning tables.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-12 12.53.21
Rixons Beach, looking north to Eden and wharf
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 10.06.37
Quarantine Bay
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 10.07.03
Quarantine Bay with Mt Imlay in background

Boydtown Beach– 2km long- adjacent to site of Boydtown and historic Seahorse Inn.

BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5867
Boydtown Beach, looking north
BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5877
Seahorse Inn, Boydtown

Here is a National Parks map of the southern end of Ben Boyd National Park, encompassing the Light-to-Light Walk from Boyds Tower to Green Cape Light Station:BlogBenBoydNP40%ReszdIMG_5595Whale Beach and Davidson Whaling Station

Long isolated 2 km long beach protecting mouth of Towamba River and Kiah Inlet.

Once the site for onshore whaling operations at historic Davidson Whaling Station on Brierley Point.

This is a photo of an information board at the Killer Whale Museum.BlogBenBoydNP25%Reszd2015-05-15 11.17.08BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 10.36.42BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 11.20.31

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 12.25.00
Large midden on the headland

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 12.25.27Boyd’s Tower and Red Point

See post last week on Ben Boyd National Park for its history.BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5607BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5609BlogBenBoydNP75%ReszdIMG_5615BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5618BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5617Leatherjacket Bay

Isolated rock and pebble beach;

Granite boulders covered in bright orange lichen.BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5682BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5683BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5685BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5687BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5689

BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5690
Leatherjacket Bay
BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5738
Leatherjacket Bay

Saltwater Creek

500 m long beach bordered by 2 creeks and small lagoons

A lovely spot with an estuarine lagoons with reeds and rushes, melaleuca thickets, forest (rough barked apple and old-growth tall trees, full of hollows) and coastal foredunes, providing a variety of habitats for native flora and fauna and a veritable feast for the local aborigines, as evidenced by their middens.BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5768BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5781BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5785

BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5786
Southern end of Saltwater Creek
BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5812
Southern end Saltwater Creek

Hegarty’s Bay

Shrubby heath provides a habitat for the Ground Parrot, Pezoporus wallicus. We have yet to visit this bay, as it can only be accessed on the walk.

Bittangabee Bay

Aboriginal middens;

Old ruins of the Imlay’s ‘Bittangabee House’. The Imlays based their whaling operations here. Boats launched from Bittangabee Bay and Mowarra Point could attack northward migrating whales before the crews at Twofold Bay, giving the Imlays a commercial advantage. However, with their financial demise, the Imlays had to cancel the work on the house, and in 1848, Boyd took over the site on their departure.

Shed used to store supplies for Green Cape Light Station from 1880-1927. There was a horse-drawn tramway to the light station, 7km away.

The rocks provide homes for with limpets, chitons, snails, crabs and seaweeds. Sand Hoppers and Weedy Sea Dragons, Phyllopteryx taenolatus, live in the kelp beds.

Small white sand beach, backed by thick eucalypt forest.

Healthy Superb Lyrebird population.BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 13.33.50BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 13.35.01

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 13.44.49
Bittangabee Bay with old storehouse ruins
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 13.55.44
Swamp Wallaby, Bittangabee Bay
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-28 15.51.47
Bittangabee Beach
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-28 15.40.22
Storehouse ruins Bittangabee Bay

Pulpit Rock

Land-based game fishing, as it is very close to the continental shelf.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-28 14.36.00
Pulpit Rock
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-28 15.08.29
Pulpit Rock
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-28 15.09.14
Pulpit Rock

Green Cape

Deep water immediately offshore and sheltered sites in most wind conditions, making this a popular site for snorkelling and scuba diving.

BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_6212
Looking towards Green Cape from Bay Cliff
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-28 13.26.39
From the rock platform at light house, looking north to Lennards Island
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 14.50.22
Rock platform at the end of Green Cape

Disaster Bay

From the road to Green Cape, there is a spectacular view over Disaster Bay, so named because Matthew Flinders lost 8 sailors, when they went ashore for water and were killed by aborigines in 1802. Nine ships were also lost in the area between 1862 and 1917.

Disaster Bay is a cove between Bay Cliff and Green Cape. Bay Cliff is a 350 Million year old rock formed by waves and it was an island 10,000 years ago. Since then, ocean currents have deposited sand to form parallel dunes and beaches.

Wonboyn River flows into Disaster Bay, just north of Bay Cliff.

Both are accessed by a road from the highway, further south of Ben Boyd National Park, and it is well worth spending a whole day there. It is one of the most stunningly scenic spots I have ever seen and warrants its own post later on in the year!BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 15.07.55BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 15.08.02

 

Ben Boyd National Park: Part 1

Covering 10,485 hectares and 47 km coastline, Ben Boyd National Park is comprised of three sections : a small area north of Pambula; a central section, north of Eden ; and a large area, south of Eden. Here is a map from ‘The NPA Guide to National Parks of Southern NSW’ by Peter Wright.BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-07-09 10.48.16 First gazetted in 1971, it was named after Benjamin Boyd, a larger-than-life, boom-and-bust entrepreneur of the Alan Bond variety, whose financial empire collapsed after only 7 years. Given that the local aborigines had inhabited this area successfully for over 3000 years, we feel an aboriginal name might have been more appropriate!

Ben Boyd National Park is significant for its old growth forests; extensive heath land; estuarine and freshwater wetlands; dune ecosystems; a large number of threatened native animal species and biogeographically significant plant species; aboriginal sites; and historical structures associated with whaling and lighthouses, including Boyd’s Tower, Green Cape Light Station and the ruins at Bittangabee Bay.

Ben Boyd National Park is a geologist’s heaven with two geological zones: sedimentary base rock in the north and middle section and much older metamorphic rock in the southern section.  The northern part of the park covers the southern section of the Merimbula Bay barrier dunes, which began accumulating 7000-8000 years ago and stabilized in their current form 5000 years ago. They are one of only four major stationary barriers in Southern New South Wales.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-28 14.01.52
Layers of sedimentary rock, Green Cape
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-07-04 15.18.13
North Head
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 14.39.20
Terrace Beach
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 15.16.11
Quondolo Point
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 15.16.15
Quondolo Point
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 14.50.10
Quondolo Point
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 15.19.38
Quondolo Point
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 16.41.05
Leatherjacket Bay
BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5729
Leatherjacket Bay
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Quondolo Point
BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5813
Salt Water Creek

The southern section has some of the oldest rocks on the NSW coast, with more than 80 percent of the Upper Devonian rocks exposed along the coast of South-Eastern Australia found in Ben Boyd National Park. During the Devonian Period, sediments similar to those in the northern section of the park, were laid down in estuaries and were later compressed, heated, folded and twisted into arches and curves. The soft sediments hardened and formed new types of rocks : brown and green shales, sandstones, red siltstones, conglomerates and quartzites. These metamorphic rocks of the Devonian Merimbula group are exposed along the cliffs and coastal headlands north to Terrace Beach and west from Haycock Point along the Pambula Estuary. There are only small areas of Tertiary deposits in the Southern section of the park. Red Point below Boyd’s Tower (photos 1-3) and the rock platform, south of Saltwater Creek (photo 7), are excellent examples of heavily folded metamorphic beds.BlogBenBoydNP75%ReszdIMG_5615BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5618BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5617

BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5621
Cliffs to south of Red Point
BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5706
Leatherjacket Bay, looking north
BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5713
Leatherjacket Bay
BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5812
Southern end of Saltwater Creek
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 14.34.53
Southern end of Terrace Beach
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-07-04 15.29.20
North Head

During the Devonian period (345-410 Million years ago), forests did not exist, though a few land plants grew in local swamps and primitive fish swam in nearby seas. During this time, the drying out of one of the floodplains trapped a school of fish in mud, forming Devonian fish fossils. These extinct species include a plate covered fish and a previously unknown species of air-breathing lobe-finned bony fish, measuring up to 1.5metres long. Younger and softer Tertiary deposits of sands, gravels, clays, ironstones and quartzites lie on top of the Devonian strata in the central section of the park, as seen in the sandy ridges of Long Beach.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 14.39.06
Terrace Beach
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 15.10.00
Terrace Beach
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 18.07.53
Barmouth Beach
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 18.07.37
Barmouth Beach

The Pinnacles are an erosion feature formed in the finely-mottled well-lateritized Pinnacle Lens of the Quondolo Formation with cliffs of soft white sand, capped with a layer of red gravelly clay, which was laid down in the Tertiary Period, which started more than 60 Million years ago.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 13.52.24
The Pinnacles

Below are more photos of the erosion process.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 15.07.27
Rock bridge/ arch forming, Quondolo Point
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 17.38.44
North Head
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 17.46.06
North Head

The sandy soils support a wide variety of coastal habitats from open forest and woodland; dune dry scrub forest; small pockets of warm temperate rainforest; closed heath land and scrub land;  estuarine and floodplain wetlands; and perched swamps.

BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2476
Flowering gums, The Pinnacles

In the central section of the park, Red Bloodwood (Corymbia gummifera) and Blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis) grow on the Devonian strata, as well as Rough-barked Apple (Angophora floribunda), Brown Stringbark (E. baxteri), Mountain Grey Gum (E. cypellocarpa), Coast Grey Box (E. bosistoana), Swamp Gum (E. ovata), Ironbark (E. tricarpa), Manna Gum (E. viminalis) and Woollybutt (E. longifolia), with an understorey of Black Sheoak, Large-leaf Hopbush, Coast Tea-tree, Port Jackson Pine, Black Wattle, Coast Banksia and Grass Tree. Silvertop Ash (Eucalyptus sieberi) predominates in the south.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-28 13.48.43
Native Pea at Green Cape
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 16.25.10
Hyacinth Orchid Dipodium punctatum on the road to North Head, December
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 16.42.02
North Head

The Dune Dry Scrub Forests of the northern section include Red Bloodwood; Blackbutt; Woollybutt and Forest Red Gum. Moist gullies, next to Disaster Bay, support Warm Temperate patches of rainforest species including Lillypilly, Sassafras, Scentless Rosewood, Cabbage Tree, Smooth Mock Olive, Sweet Pittosporum, Bolwarra, Sandpaper Fig, Muttonwood, Smilax vines and tree ferns.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 15.57.12
Hop Goodenia Goodenia ovata at Lennards Island
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 14.03.31
Needlewood Hakea macreana at The Pinnacles
BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5756
Leatherjacket Bay

The closed heath land on the headlands and cliff lines, typified by the vegetation at Green Cape, includes Dwarf Sheoak, Silky Hakea, Coast Westringia, Common Heath, Coral Heath, White Kunzea, Daphne Heath, Native Fuchsia, Boronias, Croweas and Hibbertias. The heathland is significant, not only because of its restricted distribution, but also because it provides important habitat for threatened species like the vulnerable Striated Field Wren.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 14.31.32
Red Common Heath Epacris impressa at Green Cape
BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5670
Correa reflexa at Boyd Tower
BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5676
Pimelea linifolia and Red Common Heath Epacris impressa at Boyd Tower
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-28 15.23.01
Pink Common Heath Epacris impressa at Pulpit Rock
blogiris20reszdimg_0673
Native Iris Patersonia sericea at Pulpit Rock

Closer to the coast, the closed scrubland/ woodland includes Giant Honey Myrtle (Melaleuca armillaris), Large-leaf Hopbush, Coast Banksia and Sydney Green Wattle.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 16.41.26
North Head
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 16.00.09
Old Man Banksia Banksia serrata at Terrace Beach
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 16.53.23
Coast Banksia Banksia integrifolia at Haycocks Point
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 18.35.47
Golden Wattle Acacia longifolia at Barmouth Beach

The estuarine and floodplains at Pambula are important habitats for salt marsh and mangroves.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 15.14.58
Quondolo Point
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 17.32.59
North Head
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 17.04.03
Round-Leaved Pigface Diphyma crassifolium at North Head

The perched swamps of Woodburn and Bittangabee Creek support Bauera, Melaleucas, Sprengelias and Mimulus.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 14.28.47
Wind-swept Bracelet Honey-Myrtle Melaleuca armillaris at Terrace Beach
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 16.03.14
Bracelet Honey-Myrtle Melaleuca armillaris at Lennards Island
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 18.36.47
Prickly Moses Acacia ulicifolia at Barmouth Beach
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-28 15.29.15
Flax Wattle Acacia linifolia at Barmouth Beach
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 17.11.44
Thyme Pink Bells Tetratheca thymifolia at Lennards Island

Ben Boyd National Park is also significant, because it contains plants at the limit of their natural distribution. For example, it is the southernmost limit of Blackbutt (middle section of park and on track to the Pinnacles) and Plum Pine and the northernmost limit of Brown Stringybark and Furze Hakea.

BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2427
Mushroom in the sand, Haycocks Point
BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5647
Red Point
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 18.03.41
North Head
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 16.05.43
Lennards Island
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-07-04 15.28.30
North Head

The wide variety of habitats are home to 150 species of birds, of which 48 species are water birds; 50 native mammals; 15 reptile species and 2 frog species.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 13.59.05
Goanna, Bittangabee Bay
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 16.31.33
Hiding, Lennards Island
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 16.31.38
Echidna, Lennards Island
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-28 13.52.05
Wombat hole, Green Cape

These include :

1 critically endangered bird species : the Hooded Plover (only 50 left in NSW);

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 16.48.12
Seabird trails, Haycocks Point
BlogBenBoydNP40%Reszd2015-06-28 15.03.07
Sea Eagle, Green Cape
BlogBenBoydNP60%Reszd2015-09-25 16.24.09
Peregrine Falcon, North Head
BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2400
Pied Oyster Catchers, Pambula River
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-07-04 15.52.10
Sooty Oyster Catchers, North Head
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 18.03.36
Sooty Oyster Catcher, Barmouth Beach
BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2472
Silver Gull, Severs Beach
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-12 12.40.36
Pelicans, Quarantine Bay

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-12 12.38.25BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-12 12.38.054 endangered animal species : Southern Brown Bandicoot: important for the dispersal of fungi; green and Golden Bell Frog; Regent Honeyeater and Gould’s Petrel.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 17.14.23
Welcome Swallow, North Head
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-12 12.54.36
Wrens on Rixon’s Beach
BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5767
Eastern Yellow Robin, Salt Water Creek
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 11.39.19
Wonga Pidgeon, Whale Beach
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 11.34.58
Currawong and female Bowerbird, Tryworks, Davidson Whaling Station
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 16.15.37
Little Wattlebird, Haycocks Point
BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_2643
Gang-Gang Feast on Hawthorne berries, Panboola, Pambula

BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_2645

BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5599
The Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo feeds on the seeds of Casuarinas and Plantation Pines, Boyds Tower
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 14.06.01
Superb Lyrebird, Bittangabee Bay

25 vulnerable species including the Ground Parrot and Striated Field Wren of the coastal heathlands; the Powerful Owl, Sooty Owl and Masked Owl and Yellow-Bellied Gliders of the tall open forest; Glossy Black Cockatoos; Tiger Quolls, Koalas, Long-nosed Potoroos and White-footed Dunnarts; Pied and Sooty Oyster Catchers; and Providence Petrels and Wandering Albatrosses.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 13.55.49
Swamp Wallaby, Bittangabee Bay
BlogBenBoydNP50%Reszdaug 2010 502
Roos fighting, Pambula Beach

BlogBenBoydNP50%Reszdaug 2010 483BlogBenBoydNP50%Reszdaug 2010 503

BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2455
Eastern Grey Kangaroos sunbaking at Haycocks Point
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-20 18.05.30
Chez Roo, Pambula Beach

The sea life is amazingly abundant too.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 15.10.41
The littoral zone, Quondolo Point
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 17.03.01
Cunjevoi, North Head
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 14.13.55
Sea Tulips, Terrace Beach
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 17.54.09
Kelp, North Head
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-28 17.00.06
Hungry Ray, Quarantine Bay
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-12 12.41.57
Fisherman’s friend, Quarantine Bay
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-12 12.39.13
Patiently waiting for dinner, Quarantine Bay
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-12 12.39.50
How could you resist?! Quarantine Bay

There are also a significant number of feral weeds and pests including: pine trees; bitou bush; blackberry; bridal creeper; sea spurge; wild dogs; foxes; deer; rabbits and cats (especially round the Eden tip, which is the gateway to Terrace Beach, Lennards Island and North Head). The pines are remnants of Forestry plantations from the 1940s.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 19.06.13
Feral arum lilies, Severs Beach
BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2489
Feral pine trees and white pipe clay  used for white ochre by local aborigines, The Pinnacles

Ben Boyd National Park has a long history of aboriginal occupation with more than 50 sites, most of which are on headlands, including middens and artefact scatters, campsites and rock shelters, scarred trees, stone arrangements and possible axe grinding grooves. In South Eastern New South Wales, there were 2 aboriginal nations, the Monaroo and the Yuin, and within these 2 nations were a number of tribes and language groups. The aborigines of Twofold Bay, the South Coast and the South Monaro Tablelands included the Dhurga; Dyirringan; Bidawal; Dthawa; Maneroo; Kudingal and Ngarigo language groups and clans. There were well-established trade routes for trade and exchange of white pipe clay used for white ochre, quartz crystals and twine, and large groups would congregate for celebrations and the exchange of marriage partners.

BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2461
Midden, Severs Beach
BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2464
Oysters in the shallows, Severs Beach

At Severs Beach on Pambula River, there is an occupation site dating back 3000 years and there are a number of middens on the headlands and banks of estuaries, including Lennards Island, Haycock Point, Pambula Estuary and Severs Beach.

BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2395
Midden on north bank, Pambula River
BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2345
Oysters on rocks, Pambula River

The middens are basically giant rubbish heaps and contain :

: the shells of oysters and mussels, collected from the rock platforms, reefs and estuaries;

: fish bones. Fish were baited with pieces of crayfish, sea eggs or cunjevoi or stunned by biodegradable poisons, then caught with spears, grass nets and fish traps;

: the bones of sea mammals. From 2300 years ago, increasing population and pressure on fish resources led to the expansion of dietary resources from fish to marine species, enabled by the use of canoes;

: the bones of kangaroos and wallabies; potoroos and bandicoots and possums and gliders;

: charcoal;  and

: bone tools and artefacts : cores, flakes and resharpening fragments.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 16.29.42
Midden, Lennards Island

The midden near Boyds Tower was used as a source of lime in the construction of the tower. An Aboriginal Cultural Camp has been established at Haycocks Point. The photos below show dolphins surfing at Aslings Beach, Eden.BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-12 13.27.30BlogBenBoydNP60%Reszd2015-06-12 13.27.30 - CopyBlogBenBoydNP75%Reszd2015-06-12 13.26.18 - CopyAborigines played a major part in the early whaling history of Twofold Bay, working for the Imlay, Boyd and Davidson families. The men crewed whale boats for rations, tobacco and whale products, while some of the women worked as servants in the houses of the whaling families.The aborigines had a unique relationship with a pack of Killer Whales (Orcinus orca), who returned to their base in Leatherjacket Bay every June to November between 1843 and the 1930s to hunt for migrating whales, including Finback, Right Whales and Humpbacks. Every June, whales migrate north to the tropics to give birth and in Spring, return back south to their Summer feeding waters in the  Antarctic. Up to 36 orcas would split into 3 packs and herd whales into Twofold Bay. Their leader, Old Tom, whose skeleton can be seen in the Killer Whale Museum in Eden, would swim to Kiah Inlet, where he would leap out of the water and splash to alert the whalers that a whale was in the bay and then, he would lead them to the whale. After the men had harpooned and killed the whale, its carcass was anchored to the seabed and marked with a buoy and the killer whales would eat the tongue and lips, after which they disappeared to look for more whales.

Twofold Bay is the third deepest natural harbour in the Southern Hemisphere and has 6.5 square miles of navigable water with safe anchorages. Captain Thomas Raine opened the first shore-based whaling station here at Snug Cove back in 1828. The Imlay brothers were the first to settle the area in 1834, exporting pigs, sheep, cattle and whaling products from Cattle Bay. By 1840, the Imlay Whaling Station was producing 200 tuns ( 1 tun is equivalent to 252 gallons or 1150 litres) of whale oil from 50-60 whales. The whale oil was used to lubricate engines and for lighting, the clear smokeless flame far superior to that of tallow and far cheaper than beeswax candles. The baleen strainer plates of the upper jaws, used by the whale to sieve plankton and krill, was used to make stays for corsets and hooped skirts. By 1845, up to 27 whaling boats were operating out of Twofold Bay. Competition between rival whaling stations was fierce. The Imlays built an unfinished house at Bittangabee Bay to catch the northbound whales before the crews at Eden, but by 1847, they were bankrupt. This is a photo of an information board at the Killer Whale Museum, Eden. See: http://killerwhalemuseum.com.au/.BlogBenBoydNP25%Reszd2015-05-15 11.17.04Benjamin Boyd, a London stockbroker, arrived in New South Wales in 1842 with the dream of creating his own empire, based on trading, shipping, grazing and whaling. By 1844, he was one of the largest land owners in the colony with huge properties in the Monara and Riverina and a whaling station at East Boyd, managed by artist Oswald Brierly. Boyd established Boydtown as a port to serve his Monaro properties, using coastal steamers to export his cattle, wool, wheat and whaling products.BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5877 At one stage, the depot at Boydtown held 9 ocean-going vessels and 30 whale boats for deep sea and offshore whaling. In 1846, he built a lighthouse at Red Point on the southern shore of Twofold Bay, also known as South Point. Pyrmont sandstone was shipped from Sydney, unloaded at East Boyd and hauled to the building site by bullock teams, where it was worked by master stonemasons into a tower with 5 timber platforms and etched with Boyd’s name on the top. A dispute with the government meant it could not be used as a lighthouse, so the tower became a whale watching lookout. Boyd’s empire collapsed within 7 years and he left Australia, his businesses in liquidation, in 1849. Two tears later, he went ashore at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands and was never seen again.BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5608BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5655Alexander Davidson emigrated from Scotland with his wife and 6 children in 1842 and initially worked as a carpenter in Boydtown. In the 1860s, he bought whaling boats and operated a try works at Kiah Inlet.BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 12.28.41 The business was continued by son John, then grandson George, who built a cottage with his wife Sara at ‘Loch Garra’ on 17 acres of freehold land on Kiah Inlet in 1896. The family were self-sufficient in fruit, meat, vegetables and dairy products. This is a photo of the National Parks map at Davidson Whaling Station.BlogBenBoydNP40%Reszd2015-03-31 12.41.22BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 11.40.35BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 11.09.48 The Davidsons used Boyd’s Tower to watch out for whales. The minute a whale was spotted, a gun was fired and the resultant puff of smoke alerted waiting whalers to launch their boats, then row within 8 metres of the huge beast, which would then be harpooned. At the height of their operations, the Davidson family were catching 10-15 whales each year. In between sightings, life would have been very cold and boring for the watchers and they often whiled away the time with board games like draughts (photo below).

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 15.59.57
Boyds Tower from Rotary Lookout, Eden

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 11.02.37 The try works below the house was housed in a 10 m shed with cutting tables, brick furnaces, try pots for boiling down the blubber and storage tanks for cooling the whale oil, after which it poured into casks and shipped across the bay to Eden. A capstan was used to winch the whale carcass into position and to remove the blubber as it was cut away with a sharp boat spade. George Davidson continued to use the capstan, even after steam-powered winches became available to whalers, thus preserving the history  and integrity of the 19th Century whaling station. Large flensed blanket strips of blubber were winched up to the try works, then cut into manageable pieces and sliced finely before being dropped into the try pots to boil them down for oil. The blubber scraps were used to fuel the fire. This is a photo of the National Parks information board at the Tryworks at Davidson Whaling Station.BlogBenBoydNP40%Reszd2015-03-31 11.23.23BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 11.21.19 It was a very smelly business and I wouldn’t have fancied being Sara, looking after all those men! Life was hard and tough in those early days and the Davidsons had their fair share of tragedy. Son Jack (1890-1926) drowned, trying unsuccessfully to save his children Roy (10) and Patricia (3) after their dinghy capsized, though his wife Ann and 8 year old daughter Marion survived. Apparently, a film called ‘The Law of the Tongue’, chronicling this event, is in the offing.

As whale oil was replaced by coal gas lighting, kerosene, mineral oils and electricity and the fashions changed, the demand for and income from whale products decreased dramatically  and by the 1920s, the family had to supplement their earnings from other sources. Only 2 whales were taken in 1925 and the last whale was caught in Twofold Bay in 1929 and the Davidson Whaling Station was closed, thus ending the longest continuously operating whaling station, run by 3 generations of the same family, in Australia. George and Sara moved into Eden in the 1940s, though family members continued on at ‘Loch Garra’. The present garden was established by Dr and Mrs Boyd between 1954 and 1984, then the 6ha property was acquired by the Coastal Council of NSW, before being taken on by National Parks and Wildlife Service as an historic site in 1986. Even though it has a fairly gruesome history, it is well worth visiting ‘Loch Garra’ as an example of early pioneer life in coastal NSW, as well as being an incredibly beautiful spot!BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 12.24.18 Ironically, when my husband was a young schoolboy, he and his classmates were taken on a school trip to see Tangalooma Whaling Station on Moreton Island off Brisbane before it closed in 1962. Little wonder, that he turned into a keen environmentalist! The photo below is the National Parks and Wildlife map of Green Cape Light Station.BlogBenBoydNP50%Reszd2015-03-31 14.57.53BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 14.50.05The other site of major historical significance in the southern section of Ben Boyd National Park is the 29m high Green Cape Light House, built in 1883. It is a very early example of the use of mass concrete and was the largest mass concrete structure in New South Wales at that time. The lighthouse was designed by Colonial architect, James Barnett, and has an octagonal tower on a square base, corbelling, a domed oil store and a distinctive balcony railing.BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 14.44.57BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 14.45.51

The light station complex also includes 2 cottages for the Head and Assistant Keeper; several sheds including a generator shed, a former telegraph office and a signal flag locker; a quarry; a garden/ tip site  and old stables, later used as a workshop and garage.BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 14.43.13 Nearby is the Cemetery, housing bodies from the Ly-ee-Moon shipwreck in 1886. The steamer struck an offshore reef on its journey from Melbourne to Sydney and only 15 of the 86 people on board survived.BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 14.42.07The lighthouse was manned all night, every night in four-hour shifts from 1883-1992, after which it was replaced by an automated light tower (now powered by solar panels). The National Parks and Wildlife Service took over management of the historic site in 1997 and now rent out the cottages for holidays. It would be lovely to stay there for a few days to enjoy all the natural history and atmosphere of the place.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 14.45.14
Heathland Green Cape
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 14.47.11
Rock platform Green Cape

It is a wonderful spot for whale and dolphin watching, October and November being the best months to see Southern Right and Humpback whales, as well as observing the annual migration of Short-Tailed Shearwaters, Puffinus tenuirostris, which travel from the Northern Hemisphere to their breeding burrows on islands in Southern waters from late September to early November. I remember watching this spectacle from Coffs Harbour years ago – there was a long, low, endless black cloud of migrating birds. Other birds of note seen at Green Cape include the Yellow-Nosed Albatross (late Winter/ Early Spring), gannets and the Southern Emu-Wren, which loves to hide in the coastal heath.

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 14.54.35
Windswept Green Cape looking out to sea.
BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-28 13.51.03
Green Cape

I remember visiting Green Cape one day and seeing what appeared to be the burnt-out broken carcass of a rowboat off-shore… except, it kept moving! On careful inspection through the binoculars, we discovered it was in fact a ring of bachelor Fur Seals, Arctocephalus pusillus, who commonly exhibit this behaviour!BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-06-28 13.24.02The lighthouse is now the bottom end of the 31km Light to Light walk, which starts at Boyd’s Tower and takes 3 days to complete. There are camping grounds along the way at Salt Water Creek (14 sites)and Bittangabee Bay (30 sites) and it is also possibly to drive into these spots. Here is a photo of a map of the Light to Light Walk, taken from an information board at Green Cape. BlogBenBoydNP30%Reszd2015-06-28 13.01.23 Next week, I will post a photo essay on Ben Boyd National Park, with a few brief notes about all the wonderful spots to explore, but in the mean time, more information can be found at : http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/planmanagement/final/20100979BenBoydBellBirdCreek.pdf

P.S. The feature photo is Terrace Beach, one of our favourite spots!

Landmark Birthdays: Part 2

My final landmark birthday fell in the middle of a triple celebratory 6-month holiday, camping around Australia. It was my 49th birthday (my 50th year), my husband had entered his 60s the previous year and it was our 25th wedding anniversary!  We had just sold our Dorrigo property the previous year and were foot-loose and fancy-free again! Originally, we had planned a 3-month trip to Cape York, finishing with Lawn Hill, but we were having such a great time and all our obligations were being met, so we decided to continue travelling around the rest of our amazing continent. The outlay had been relatively small, as we already had an old Toyota 4WD, which we set up with my patchwork drawers in the back to hold all our provisions.BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_1436 We bought a heavy-duty canvas tent, which could be erected in 5 minutes flat (and often was!) and a car fridge, but we already had most of the camping equipment, including an inflatable queen-sized mattress and a light bushwalking tent, not to mention Caroline’s favourite travelling companion, the porta-loo, which kept threatening to fall down on her during the trip!BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_5101 Our youngest daughter, Caroline, who had just left school and was accustomed to joining us on our anniversary camping trips, came with us, as well as her guitar and a mascot called Nomad (as in Grey Nomad!), an Eeyore donkey from Ross’s favourite childhood book, Winnie-the-Pooh! Here is our intrepid adventurer at Cooktown Botanic Garden on the head of ‘Mungurru’, the scrub python, who created the Endeavour River, according to local aboriginal legend. It was carved out of Cooktown Ironwood (Erythrophelum chlorostachys), a very hard wood, from which the aborigines also used to make their spears.BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_1838 It was wonderful having our very own travelling minstrel and the perfect way to encourage fellow campers to turn off their radios and listen to some real music! She even entertained a tour group of 18 retirees with Wilderness Challenge’s 4WD safari tour at Jowalbinna on Cape York.BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_2687We had some wonderful adventures together from:

Climbing Mt Kootaloo on Dunk Island; visiting relatives and friends in Townsville, Cairns, Herberton and the Daintree; and revisiting Cape Tribulation (see below), where we camped on the beach totally on our own for our honeymoon, all those years ago, and just before the Bloomfield Rd went in- now the place is crawling with tourists ! ;BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_1722Watching a rescue of an injured fisherman by the Royal Flying Doctor Service at Musgrave Station, where the road had to be cleared of cattle before the plane could land; and viewing Eclectus Parrots, Palm Cockatoos, Yellow-bellied Sunbirds, Double-eyed Fig Parrots and butterflies at Iron Range National Park. The photo below shows a male Eclectus Parrot.BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_2486Learning to juggle at Moreton Telegraph Station with Smokey, the support team for Michael Mitchell’s ‘Great Australian Cancer Bush Walk’,  retracing Steve Tremont’s footsteps from the tip of Cape York to Wilson’s Promontory, Victoria, along the Great Dividing Range; being attacked by cave bat lice at Captain Billy’s Landing- a very uncomfortable night !; and swimming at Twin Falls;BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_3891Singing and playing guitar with other guests round a campfire at Punsand Camping Resort on the top of Cape York ; Feasting on freshly-caught crab the size of a dinner plate at Jardine’s old homestead site (photo above)  and playing guitar on the very tip of Australia- Caroline actually walked to the cape 3 times- the 2nd time to collect Nomad and the 3rd time her guitar (photo below) !

BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_3749

Driving part of the Old Telegraph Track past huge termite mounds and bustards to the notorious Gun Shot section, environmental vandalism by 4WD at its worst! To give you a bit of an idea, see : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nF92zaHtnYc. Needless to say, we did NOT attempt it! We drove up to the cape early in the season and I think a lot of our fellow travellers thought that we were a little bit strange, because we weren’t fishermen nor 4WD enthusiasts and we actually enjoyed looking at birds !!! ; crossing flooded streams and having to wade through potentially-infested crocodile waters to check for depth and dangerous potholes !; and exploring ancient aboriginal cave art at Jowalbinna and Laura, including a tour with Steve Tresize. The cave art below was at the Guguyalangi Gallery at Laura. UNESCO rate the Quinkan region as one of the top 10 rock art sites in the world.BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_4823And this was all before my birthday! We camped at Old Laura the night before, and my 49th birthday was heralded by a flyover of hundreds of squawking Red-tailed Black Cockatoos! Such delightful raucous party animals!!!BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_5186BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_5250BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_5193BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_5227BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_5204 Ross gave me a tripod for my birthday, but we decided to reserve the official birthday celebrations till the mid-June, when we were spending a week in a house in Cooktown.BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_5215

I had a makeshift birthday cake- a crustless slice of bread, smeared with Nutella and lit with 3 matches at Kalpowar Crossing, where we set up camp in Lakefield National Park on the banks of the Normanby River.BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_5288 We met a lovely couple, Ruth and Dave, from Mornington Peninsula, who were in effect having a pre-honeymoon, as they were married the following year. We shared many interests like archaeology, aboriginal cave art and environment and Ruth also sang and played guitar, so we enjoyed listening to duets by Caro and Ruth.BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_5602BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_5582

BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_5591
Never smile at a crocodile!

We saw a huge freshwater crocodile sunning on the riverbank and loved our birdwatching at all the billabongs and lagoons. The first photo is Lakefield Lagoon and the second photo was taken at Catfish Waterhole.