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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Long Marsh Dam

Wednesday 30 March 2016
Long Marsh
Long Marsh Dam has quite a history as it was the site where local landowners were going to use convicts as free labour in 1840’s but when it was decreed in 1844 that they had to be paid the landowners refused and the convicts walked off the job and that was the end of the project.
Hibbertia procumbens
Shirley suggested that Honeysuckle Road be used as the access to Long Marsh and a perusal of the 1:25 maps and satellite images seemed to confirm that way would be possible. From Ross it was about 44k with the last 28 Along the gravelled Honeysuckle Road, which was not too bad although it was a bit rougher towards the end. A bridge that once spanned the Macquarie River has long gone which meant a walk along the road to the access 4wd track. It was most noticeable that the bush along beside it was literally carpeted with Hibbertia procumbens to an extent that I had never seen anywhere like this before,
At a junction Shirley took us to the old quarry sites where large stone had been shaped and abandoned, then on to the Long Marsh itself and the coffer dam still partly in place. Here we could also see the extensive embankments that the workers had toiled to build. From there it was a scramble up more embankments on the western side.
Coffer dam
probation station ruin
A marked walking track took us to the ruins of the probation station. Quite a number of the remains of buildings are there and it was interesting to wander about the site. Our return eventually brought us to 4wd track above the weir on the river and this point was less than 1k from the car and we opted to risk following it in the opposite direction heading south westerly and hoped it would get us close to the cars. In fact, it went all the way meeting Honeysuckle Road, only a couple of hundred metres from the cars.
Trough at probation station
A photo album is on line, click the image below.

The Map of the route taken

Some history

From a Northern Midlands Council report on the site
The Long Marsh Dam and Convict Probation Station is located on the upper Macquarie River, about 13 kilometres south of Lake Leake and north of Tooms Lake. The site is accessible by vehicle and foot via Honeysuckle Road. It is an important historic complex within the rural landscape of Tasmania’s midlands region.
The Long Marsh Dam and Convict Probation Station contains evidence of a range of convict dam building activity, and extensive remains from the associated convict settlement. The combined dam and settlement site is a large complex that covers an extensive area.
The site comprises three main activity areas, evidence of the construction of the dam. Firstly, at the southern most end of the complex is the dam site. Two 20 metre high manmade earthen and rock abutments form the dramatic visual presentation of the dam site. The embankments flank the partially completed rubble coffer dam wall below. Diversion channels under the embankments run parallel to the river.
Secondly, is the sandstone quarry to the southeast of the dam. The sandstone quarry is located east of the embankment and rock abutment. The quarry contains numerous dressed sandstone blocks cut from the quarry face, and the remains of the quarry face has partly cut blocks of sandstone in situ. Dressed sandstone blocks are scattered in the marsh area east of the embankment. Thirdly, a pathway from the dam site gives access to the ruins of the convict settlement, situated in open woodland on a hill overlooking the Long Marsh. The settlement contains numerous features including building foundations, remains of dry stone wall compounds, pathways, outbuildings and several chimney butts. The station area originally consisted of 14 dwellings. Other ruins and features are linked by a network of cleared pathways through the bush. At a distance from the main settlement is the isolated grave of Thomas Collins, a convict worker killed by a falling stone in 1843.
The Tasmanian Heritage Council state that the Long Marsh Quarry and Convict Probation Station is of cultural heritage significance because of its association with the convict probation system specific to Tasmania. Long Marsh Dam demonstrates early attempts at applying civil engineering in the form of large scale irrigation projects aimed at promoting agricultural development in the Midlands. The site also has significance from being one of the largest and ambitious convict based land development projects undertaken in Australia at the time.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Cradle Hill

Tuesday 22 March 2016
Now this walk turned out to be nicer than I thought it might. It didn’t hurt that the day was absolutely lovely, warm but not uncomfortably so.
We expected to find a barrier on the road and when we reached it we were pleasantly surprised to find the property behind it was owned by the Tasmanian Land Conservancy, and there were a lot of large rocks that prevented illegal entry. After a short walk along the road we turned off into the bush, soon came upon an old logging track of sorts to ease the way, then went up a boulder field to a higher level and before long were at the foot of the final scramble to the top of Cradle Hill. Some fine old gums were encountered but they weren’t huge in height and splendid views were appreciated on the rocky summit.

Dave, Nigel, Greg and Adrian on summit of Cradle Hill with Lake Sorell beyond.

Return was by initially heading north where an open large area, that was marked on the map and clearly visible on satellite images, was crossed. It was all low grass that was heavily cropped by the wildlife that would have found it very much to their liking. A short distance through mostly pink mountain berry bushes a 4wd track was met and a hut spotted on the edge of another plain. We did investigate the hut before the downhill leg and it did test a few legs too. The cars were reached by 2:40 and this gave us time for a relaxing coffee and more at the Stables at Oatlands.
Total walk time 3:10, but elapsed time was 4:20 and distance 8.2k

A photo album is available – click the image below

Below is a map of the property owners

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Belton Florentine Circuit

Tuesday 15 March 2016
I had been trying to organise a circuit walk to Lake Belton and up to Florentine Peak for several months, but weather and other circumstances intervened.  Finally, it was on and completed successfully. The walk was from Wombat Moor to Lake Belton, alongside the eastern shore and ascending by a narrow and very distinct ridge to the plateau between Tyenna and Florentine Peaks. The return journey to go via k Col and the Rodway Range.
Greg and Neville at morning break at Lake Belton

Being a long walk we needed an early start and were on the track at 8:00 am. Wombat Moor was as usual a bit wet in parts but not as awful as sometimes and the track from the saddle down to the Humboldt River in very good condition, due to the work of the Friends of Mount Field. A previous visitor had recently placed pink ribbons on trees along the way, which seemed a strange and irritating thing to do as the track is very obvious.

After crossing the river, a route through the bush was taken, as it would be good to find a better way to Lake Belton than the existing poor track. The bush was a bit wet but by the time we arrived at the lake some 30 minutes later it was sunny and trousers quickly dried during a pleasant break near the shore. The walk beside the lake is mostly quite easy with lots of open spots and it is scenic with even a few spots giving views down the Lake Belcher valley. There are numerous Pencil Pines on the banks.
Lake Belton from high on ridge, the lunch time view

Belton has a long narrow isthmus jutting into it and this could now be seen and soon after it was time for the brief descent to cross the outlet creek and climb onto the ridge that goes all the way up to the plateau.  We were now on new territory for us and it proved to be about as expected; light scrub interspersed with relatively open country. High on this narrow ridge we stope for lunch at a spot giving very good views and a different perspective of Lake Belton. Above awaited a further short climb then we had to locate the way down to the route that would take us to K Col. Two things stood out, one being we had all forgotten the need to pinpoint the rocky descent location and the other being the minimal pad between there and Clemes Tarn; clearly it does not get high usage. As we had all been more than once to Florentine Peak and did not bother going to the top.

The remainder of the walk was via the Bobs Peterson hut for a break, then over the Rodways to lake Dobson followed by the trudge up the road to the car at Wombat Moor. It was fair to say by then we were somewhat tired.

Click the image below to view a photo album

Belton Florentine Circuit
Belton Florentine Circuit

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Johnsons Hill

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Now the ascent to Johnsons Hill was very steep and even the gentlest descent we could see was also steep. Part way down the land levelled out and it was much easier going to the southern gully, although as we discovered it was the northern one that had by far the best caves. Unfortunately, then access to this latter gully was choked with Gorse and a clamber up on the side was needed to get to the destination.
Cave in northern gully

I had mistaken the meeting place for the walk, thinking it was in Kempton, and it as we drove past Dysart when we noticed Dave’s car and had to make a quick exit from the highway. Then soon after we got to the start of the walk a car pulled up and it was Alan, who we didn’t know was coming and had been waiting at Kempton. As no one turned up at Kempton Alan decided to drive out to see if he could find us and we were very glad he did. 

Alan and Dave crossing the flat

For the photo album click this link

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Snake Plains

Sunday 28 February 2016

We had heard that the Snake Plains track had been cleared and other work done, so decided to walk there along Milles track. In fact, Milles had been cleared extensively and parts of the track through cutting grass areas on Snake Plains were cleared back quite a distance, which will make walking there easier for some years.

Snake Plains track cleared wide through cutting grass section - Gahnia grandis

Mention had been made of another track, that started north of Neika and just above the Pipeline Track. On spotting rough track through the scrub well down Snake Plains we decided to explore it and discovered it was this said one. Initially it went through Melaleuca squamea dominated scrub before dropping to E?? Rivulet, where I had a bit of uncertainty as to where the track went., But once that was resolved it was up through more scrub to the top of a hill, in country that was so reminiscent of South West Tasmania and even the views over rolling hills and scrub filled gullies were too.

A junction was met with the branch heading NW going to who knows where, whilst we went SE and were soon in forest. At this point the track widened where had small sized trees and bushes had been cut. A rocky outcrop made a good lunch spot and from there it was all gently downhill until a clifftop was met where it took a bit of searching to find where the track went. It was then much the same easily followed track until very close to the Pipeline Track where it seemed to run out, or at least we couldn’t locate anything, but it was a simple matter of scrambling down to the track. 

Cathedral, Thumbs and Montagu  from hill at edge of Snake Plains

Total distance 11.5    Total time  5:20  Total walking time 4:15 

Photo Album Link

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Wellington Mudstone and Sandstone Cliffs

Tuesday 9 February 2016
I was recently walking along the track near New Town Falls and while looking at the intriguing mudstone cliffs near there, I realised it had been quite some time since I actually walked up to them. They look so much more like a dry mainland spot than Mount Wellington, but it is a dry and steep slope there. Anyway I have enjoyed being there decided on a ramble about them again.  As it was not a very long walk that far we then headed further up, crossing the north south bike track and on through the bush to the sandstone cliffs starting near Lakins Lair.
Mudstone cliffs near New Town Falls

It became bit rugged after that, including steep pinch into the deep gully of the creek that flows down over New Town Falls. After a scramble out we had lunch in the shade and with the Hunters Track just a couple of hundred metres above we opted to cut out some of the hard going by exiting that way.

Sandstone Cliffs overhang near Lakins

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Mount Connection Flora

Sunday 17 January 2016
A pleasant walk in reasonably warm conditions, but overly hot. We placed out two geocaches on the way to coincide with the Geocaching event on 26 Jan 2016. Another couple arrived at the spot we chose for lunch on the north western edge of the summit plateau not far from the track and surprised us, given all the space about, by also stopping close by for lunch as well.
The flora over the headwater moorland for Mountain River was very good.
Olearia obcordata   Heartleaf Daisybush ASTERACEAE (COMPOSITAE)

Mountain Heath-myrtle, and Ozothamnus

Snowgums on flank of Mount Connection

click image  to view a photo album
Mount Connection Flora