Bournda National Park

Bournda National Park is a very special part of our beautiful Sapphire Coast. We first discovered this area in May 2012 at the start of a 2 week holiday on the NSW South Coast. It is situated between Tathra and Merimbula, 15 km SE of Bega, and covers 2590 hectares. The Park was declared in 1992. ‘Bournda’ means ‘place of teatrees and kangaroos’ in the local aboriginal dialect. This is a photograph of a map of Bournda National Park from ‘The NPA Guide to National Parks of Southern NSW’ by Peter Wright.BlogBourndaNP20%Reszd2015-11-14 18.04.20We camped at the Hobart Beach Campground for 4 days and were very impressed with the amenities, especially the hot showers! Being May, there were very few campers and we had the place mostly to ourselves, except for the bell miners, wonga pigeons and choughs!!BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2307BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2251BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2293BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2304

The campground is situated on the southern shore of Wallagoot Lake, a large saltwater estuary on Monck’s Creek, which was last opened up to the ocean in June 2008. It is stunningly beautiful, especially at sunrise and sunset.BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1909BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1911BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1908BlogBourndaNP20%Reszd2015-05-01 16.11.29There are a number of short walks from the campground to the local beach and brackish Bournda Lagoon, formed by alluvial deposits from Margaret Creek; freshwater Bondi Lake and the 210 m high Bournda Trig to its west;  and Scott’s Hut, a relic of former agricultural days.  The latter is of bush post and beam construction with sapling rafters, slab walls, three rooms, a timber floor and an iron gable roof. The central room has a large stone fire place with an iron chimney. The hut was constructed in 1890 by Thomas Scott. It was originally one of two buildings and was used as a kitchen, dining and storage area.BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2220BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2227BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2209BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2211

You can also drive from the northern side of Wallagoot Lake to Turingal Head, the southern end of the Kangarutha Track, which follows the coast 9 km north from Wallagoot Gap to Games Bay, then White Rock, Kangarutha Point, Boulder Bay and Wild Horse Bay before ending at Kianinny Bay, just south of Tathra.

We walked the first third of the track to Games Bay. The Games family cleared the land here back in the early 1900s for dairy farming and growing rockmelons for seed. It is a beautiful walk, with plenty of interesting geology, flora and fauna, as well as stunning coastal views and delightful little rocky coves and rugged headlands 30 – 40 m high. The underlying rock is mainly rhyolite, a solidified lava from a volcanic eruption almost 400 Million years ago.

Here are some photos from our walk :

Wallagoot Lake from the North :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2194BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2200Turingal Head and Wallagoot Gap : BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2073BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2082

The bush track through Coast Banksias and architectural tunnels formed by Bracelet Honey Myrtle :

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Stunning coastal scenery looking north to Games Bay and south to Bournda Island :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1966BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1969Games Bay :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1989BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2037

What a wonderful place for a feast! An aboriginal midden on the headland at Games Bay :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2003BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2012Conch shell and orange lichen :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1981BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1974

A possible aboriginal stone artefact and a rock covered with a variety of lichens and mosses :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2006BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2025

Most of the park supports a Dry Eucalypt forest of Woollybutt, Silvertop Ash, Blackbutt, White Stringybark and Yellow Stringybark, as well as Forest Oaks. Pockets of Gallery rainforest – Coachwood, Lilly Pilly, Sassafras, Rusty Fig, Cabbage Tree Palms, Wattles and Pittosporum, ferns, orchids and vines – line the creeks at Boulder Bay, Games Bay, Sandy Beach and Margaret Creek.

Photos of the local flora :

Bracelet Honey Myrtle (Melaleuca armillaris) and Coast Banksia (Banksia integrifolia) :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2064BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1954

Hakea macraeana and Sunshine Wattle (Acacia terminalis subsp angustifolia) :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1948BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2190

The fruit of Sweet Pittosporum (Pittosporum undulatum) top and  Hairy Pittosporum (Pittosporum revolutum) below :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2066BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2079Orange fungi (Pycnoporus coccineus) and catkins of the male Sheoak (Casuarina cunninghamiana) :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2237BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1956Calocera sinensis and a Correa reflexa :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1962BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2111

Sandpaper Fig  (Ficus coronata) and Rock Orchids (Dendrobium speciosum) :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2043BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2019Photos of the animals and birdlife :

Stalked Sea Tulip (Pyura gibbosa gibbosa) and Porcupine Fish :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2032BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2196

Little Pied Cormorant and a White-Faced Heron :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2099BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1933White-Breasted Sea Eagle and an Eastern  Grey Kangaroo :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1925BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1934

Roo Footprints and a Swamp Wallaby :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1958BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_1928Red-Necked Wallabies :BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2205BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2308

The next day, we drove up to Tathra and the northern end of the track at Kianinny Bay. See my post : https://candeloblooms.com/2016/01/21/the-jewel-in-the-crown-tathra-and-kianinny-bay/BlogTathraJewelCrown 70%Reszd2015-01-26 21.33.35From there, you can access the rough 4WD track south to White Rock, a white pipeclay deposit used in brick manufacture from the 1960s till the early 90s.BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2122BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2115BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2152BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2105BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2180BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2117BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2177BlogBourndaNP40%ReszdIMG_2168These unfortunate, but very well-camouflaged, flathead were left behind in their own rock pool, high on the rocks at White Rock.BlogTathraJewelCrown 40%ReszdIMG_2149BlogTathraJewelCrown 40%ReszdIMG_2146

The Bournda National Park management plan is well worth reading for a more in-depth description of the geology, flora and fauna and Aboriginal and European history. See : http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/planmanagement/final/20140029AmendBourndaNPandNR.pdf.
It is also worth consulting the Bournda National Park website on : http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/Bournda-National-Park  and  http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/Walking-tracks/Kangarutha-walking-track.

The website of the Bournda Environmental Education Centre ( http://www.bournda-e.schools.nsw.edu.au/), which is run by the Department of Education and Training and operates within the park, is also well worth visiting, especially as it provides a wonderful resource guide for local plant identification, the Bournda Online Herbarium. See : http://www.bournda-e.schools.nsw.edu.au/ecosystems/terrestrial/. It also has much information about the terrestial and aquatic ecosystems of Bournda National Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Jewel in the Crown : Tathra and Kianinny Bay

Tathra is a small coastal township (population 1622) on the Sapphire Coast and is one of our favourite spots! It has the closest beach to Bega and is situated between Merimbula, 25 km to the south and Bermagui, 44 km to the north. It is 446 km south of Sydney via the Princes Highway and sits high on a bluff, overlooking its famous wharf. The 3rd and 4th photos show the view north to Wajurda Point and Moon Bay.

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Tathra Headland
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Historic Tathra Wharf
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Kingdom of the Sea Eagle
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View to the north from Tathra: All part of Mimosa Rocks National Park

The area has a rich aboriginal history, which I will cover in next week’s post (A Slice of History), due to its abundant land and sea food resources. The name ‘Tathra’ means ‘beautiful country’ in the local Yuin dialect, though other sources suggest it has a  slightly different meaning : ‘place of wild cats’!!!

The first Europeans in the area settled to the west of Tathra, illegally squatting on Crown Land in the 1820s and 1830s. At that stage, the area was outside the limits of legal settlement, known as ‘the 19 Counties’. See : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Counties for more information. This rich dairying country is regularly flooded and teams with birdlife, especially water birds. Apparently, in the 1971 Bega Valley flood, water covered the 45 foot telegraph poles all the way along the mile long flat!

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Dairy flats at Jellat Jellat
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Extensive waterways and home of Bird Route No. 1
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Recent flooding this year

An enquiry into transport facilities in the Bega area in 1851 led to the formation of the Illawarra  Steam Navigation Company in 1858. It was an amalgamation of smaller steamer services along the South coast : the Kiama Steam Navigation Company and vessels of the Twofold Bay Pastoral Association and Edye Manning’s fleet. The name was changed in 1904 to the Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Company. The first cargo vessel, a 50 ton sailboat called ‘Vision’, arrived in Tathra that same year and moored offshore, its cargo being transported on a small boat to Kangarutha, where a store shed was erected at a small anchorage, ‘Stockyards’, later that year.

Tathra started out as a small jetty, known as the ‘Farmers’ Sea Wharf’. It was a shipping outlet for a group of local farmers, led by Daniel Gowing, who were fed up with having to transport their produce to Merimbula 25 km away, especially as the wagons often had to wait for the tide to go out when they crossed the beach at Bournda. Daniel Gowing was a farmer from Jellat Jellat, who opened the first store in Tathra for produce to be shipped soon after from Kangarutha.

In 1860, it was decided that Kianinny Bay was more sheltered for loading than Kangarutha, so a store was built at Kianinny. Cargo was still shipped from the beach by small boats to vessels, like ‘Gipsy’, ‘Ellen’, ‘You Yangs’ and ‘John Penn’, moored in the bay. Bad weather often held up the produce wagons on their way to the boats, so loading was uncertain and the freight costs high.

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Kianinny Bay today

Tathra township was surveyed in 1861 and that same year, the jetty was replaced by a wharf, funded by donations from local farmers and The Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Company. Regular shipping commenced in 1862 with PS Mimosa being the first ship to moor. The wharf was designed by prominent colonial engineer, Ernest Orpen Moriarty, and built by R. Mowatt with the help of Daniel Gowing and John Kirkwood. Turpentine logs, from the North Coast, driven into solid rock. It was sited in its current location, due to the protection from southerly winds, though the northerly waves still caused enough damage to necessitate continual repairs, including re-piling and changing the location of the piles, as piling techniques improved. The steep road down to the wharf also caused problems, requiring extra teams of animals to haul the fully-laden carts back up the hill.

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The wharf from Tathra Beach

With the opening up of Crown Lands to free selection in 1861, the population rapidly expanded and the increased trade was reflected in major additions to the original wharf. A cargo shed was built in 1866. In 1868, the Bega-Tathra road was cleared to a width of one chain and in 1879, Tathra opened its first post office in Gowing’s Store, a general store and guesthouse, on the corner of the main road and the road down to the wharf.

Due to the expansion of  shipping needs and the increase in the size of visiting ships and depth of moorings, major extensions to the wharf were made in 1873; 1878; 1886; 1889; 1903 and 1912, under the guiding hand of another well-known colonial engineer, Ernest Macartney de Burgh. In 1901, cattle and pig yards were built. The route between Tathra and Sydney became known as ‘the Pig and Whistle Line’, due to the transport of pigs, produce and passengers between the two locations. Apparently, as the boats rounded the corner, they would always blow a whistle and the pigs would start squealing!

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View south from ‘Pig and Whistle Lookout’ on Tathra Headland to the point

In 1862, the Illawarra Steamship Company fleet consisted of 3 schooners : ‘Ellen’, ‘Gipsy’ and ‘Rosebud’; a clipper : ‘White Cloud’; and 3 steamers: a paddle steamer : ‘Hunter’ and 2 screw steamers : ‘John Penn’ and ‘Kameruka’, but the sailing ships were superseded by steamers after 1881.

The steamer service was crucial to the Far South Coast, as the roads were very poor and there was no railway service. The Princes Highway from Batemans Bay to the Victorian border was gravel up until the 1940s. Consequently, there was a chain of 15 reliable all-weather wharves up and down the coast, where the steamers would berth and deliver and pick up goods and passengers. Rixon’s wagon left Bega Post Office for Merimbula every Wednesday and Tathra on Mondays and Thursdays to take mail and passengers to and from the steamer. Produce from Tathra included : bacon, cheese, butter, timber, tallow, wattle bark, corn and wool. The boats would also carry prime beef and sheep, horses, pigs, poultry and turkeys, both for the Sydney markets and the Royal Easter Sydney Show. Mobs of up to 700 pigs would be walked to the wharf from local farms. One Bemboka farmer even walked her flock of turkeys over 50km to the wharf by coating her turkey’s feet in tar with a light dusting of sand! Ships arriving from Sydney brought tea, bags of flour and sugar, biscuits, farm machinery and parts, grains and seeds and household furniture.BlogTathraJewelCrown 70%Reszd2015-01-26 21.34.38In 1907, the buildings were reconstructed and the present two-storey structure was built. Spring-loaded wrought iron buffers were introduced to assist the berthing of larger vessels in the difficult north-eastern seas. A mooring buoy was positioned north-east of the wharf, to which ships would attach a spring line. Between 1907 and 1912, there were more major extensions, including a subdeck; a jib crane to facilitate loading; a cattle race; a loading ramp and a passenger shelter. In 1914, soldiers and horses were farewelled from the wharf on their way to fight in the Great War. Here is an old photo of the volunteers leaving for the war, as seen on the noticeboard on Tathra Headland.BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%ReszdIMG_5533The increase in transport by road had a major effect on the amount of shipping trade everywhere, but because the Far South Coast had no adjacent railway line to carry bulk freight to Sydney, shipping trade lingered on till 1954. By 1919, the number of passengers travelling by sea had greatly decreased, so the passenger shelter was replaced by a single storey shed, next to the two-storey building. Freight and cargo became the predominant trade from Tathra. During World War II, enemy activity off the Far South Coast of NSW, including German mines and Japanese submarines, had a further impact on the amount of trading. The last ship to work cargo was the 1929 SS Cobargo in 1954 and the even older SS Bergalia was the last steamer to visit the wharf later that year to remove valuable items of wharf equipment. The Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Company suspended trading in 1958.BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%ReszdIMG_5522BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%ReszdIMG_5518Gradually, the wharf structure fell into disrepair and became unsafe, so a demolition order was issued in 1973. Fortunately, an active local group and National Trust banded together to oppose the demolition. The Tathra Wharf Trust was formed in 1977 and launched an appeal for the conservation and preservation of the old wharf. By 1982, only minor parts of the wharf, the mezzanine deck and a few of the more recent buildings had been demolished. The decking was replaced and the two-storey building was restored, the top storey becoming the Tathra Maritime Museum, dedicated to steamer history, and the bottom storey being used for a cafe and tourist outlet.

BlogTathraJewelCrown 70%Reszd2015-01-26 21.29.36BlogTathraJewelCrown 70%Reszd2015-01-26 21.29.44BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%ReszdIMG_5523Between 1982 and 2010, road access was  difficult, as one leg of the access loop road was closed by boulders after heavy seas smashed over the headland.These photos show the old road.BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2015-10-10 10.56.55BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2015-10-10 10.55.32BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2015-10-11 13.55.16BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2015-10-10 10.57.35It is now the only coastal steamer wharf left on the NSW coast and 1 of only 6 timber wharves still listed for preservation on the Register of the National Estate, as well as the NSW State Heritage Register. It is such a beautiful old building with chunky solid wooden beams and spectacular views and it is a wonderful reminder of our shipping past. The cafe is so impressive and provides top-quality meals, which are beautifully presented. It is also a great venue for selling local arts and crafts – we have some highly creative artists and artisans in the area.BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2015-04-10 14.41.49BlogTathraJewelCrown 70%Reszd2015-01-26 21.29.38BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2015-05-01 14.36.12

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Delicious Spiced Chai!

The wharf is also very popular with anglers, as well as seabirds!BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2015-04-10 15.04.28BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2015-10-11 13.09.34BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2015-05-01 14.28.05-1BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2015-10-11 12.34.40BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2015-10-11 12.33.44BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2015-10-11 12.35.04BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2015-10-10 10.47.37BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2015-10-11 13.14.01Tathra Beach has been a tourist destination from very early days. It is 3 km long and stretches from the wharf and Tathra Headland in the south to Moogareeka Inlet and the mouth of the Bega River to the north. It is protected from the Southerlies by the steep headland. Beach fishing yields :

  • Salmon, tailor and gummy shark – caught with pilchards, fresh fish fillets and stripy tuna;
  • Bream, whiting and mullet – using beach worms, pippies, prawns and fresh nippers as bait;    and
  • Sand whiting – caught using sand worms and nippers.

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Looking from Tathra Wharf back to Tathra Beach

It is a great spot for swimming with the Tathra Surf Club (formed in 1909) patrolling the beach every weekend from October to April, as well as Christmas Holidays and Public Holidays. Sail boarding, surfing and snorkelling off the wharf are also popular activities. It has been voted one of the cleanest beaches in NSW, which is not surprising, given the progressive and forward-thinking spirit of environmentally aware locals, who are establishing a solar farm in Tathra. See : http://cleanenergyforeternity.net.au/. Another very active local organization is the local volunteer fire brigade, which was established in 1945, with a 2nd new fire station built next-door in 2011. It is one of the most well-equipped fire brigades on the Far South Coast.BlogTathraJewelCrown 70%Reszd2015-01-26 21.28.57BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2015-02-22 12.13.14

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When full, the blue water drum at the top tips its contents onto unsuspecting kids below!

Another tourism drawcard for Tathra is its proximity to 2 wonderful National Parks : Bournda National Park in the south with 13 km of unspoilt coastline and Mimosa Rocks National Park in the north, which extends for 16 km. I shall be discussing Moogareeka Inlet, Ford Headland and Moon Bay, all within the southernmost section of Mimosa Rocks National Park and 4 km north of Tathra, in a separate post next week (A Slice of History), but will focus now instead on the spectacular Kianinny Bay, just to the south of Tathra.

Kianinny Bay is a protected bay with immediate access to the ocean. It is sheltered from Northerly winds and is an incredibly beautiful spot in all weathers, as seen in these photos taken from Chamberlain Lookout above.BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2015-02-22 13.38.51BlogTathraJewelCrown 80%Reszd2015-01-26 21.28.51 - CopyThe coastline between Tathra Headland and Kianinny Bay includes steep cliffs and rugged rock masses, providing wonderful opportunities for rock fishing, using cunjevoi, abalone guts and cabbage weed to catch Black Drummer, Silver Drummer, Leatherjacket, Groper, Luderick and Banded Morwong all year round. From December to May, Bunito, Kingfish, Tailor and Salmon can be caught with live baits.BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2014-11-07 14.26.35BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2015-04-10 14.36.47BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2015-10-10 10.46.21Tathra really is a fisherman’s paradise with its beach and rock fishing, reef and bottom fishing and estuary fishing, as well as all the freshwater streams and dams. The closest reef section is 6 km south of Tathra, 800 m out from White Rock and extending several kilometres out. Fish caught here include : Snapper, Morwong, Flathead, Leatherjacket and Gummy Shark. We found this flathead in a rock pool left high and dry on White Rock after the tide receded – a very easy catch (though we didn’t!)BlogTathraJewelCrown 40%ReszdIMG_2149BlogTathraJewelCrown 40%ReszdIMG_2146Boats leave Kianinny Bay to drift fish the outskirts of Tathra Bay, catching Sand Flathead and Tiger Flathead, using flesh baits and plastic jigs, and Gunnards and Gummy Sharks. Little wonder that Kianinny Bay is home to the Tathra Fishing Club. There are excellent boat launching facilities : a concrete boat ramp for vessels up to 7 m long; plenty of parking; areas to wash down the boats and tables to clean the fish, as well as a BBQ and picnic area and playground. Sting Rays regularly cruise up and down the shallows, competing for fish scraps with the local sea gulls and cormorants, and can be a little disconcerting for swimmers! Snorkelling and spear fishing are also popular. These photos show a very relaxed swimmer, two very large, friendly sting rays and a sea hare.

BlogTathraJewelCrown 70%Reszd2015-01-26 21.31.21BlogTathraJewelCrown 70%Reszd2015-01-26 21.30.48BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2015-10-11 14.26.02Kianinny Bay forms the north-eastern tip of Bournda National Park and is the starting off point for the 9 km long Kangarutha Track, south through cliffs, rock debris and small inlets to Turingal Head. See : http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/Walking-tracks/Kangarutha-walking-track. I will be covering this national park and walking track in a later post. It is a beautiful walk with fabulous coastal views and plenty of bird and animal life, as well as interesting vegetation. I will finish with photos of a Golden Whistler on Tathra Headland, some stunning feral vegetation and a very street-wise local resident!BlogTathraJewelCrown 40%Reszdaug 2010 592BlogTathraJewelCrown 40%Reszdaug 2010 595BlogTathraJewelCrown 20%Reszd2015-10-11 12.11.37

For an explanation, see : https://candeloblooms.com/2015/10/13/birthday-blessings/