4 March 2008 A significant point on McKeahnie Trig Ridge, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve Photos
Maps: Tidbinbilla and Corin Dam 1:25000
Getting There

This walk was organised and led by me as a private Tuesday walk:

(Tuesday 4 March - Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, McKeahnie Trig Ridge - M/E-M,X. A short-course smorgasbord of places that need to be visited. TNR - Church Rock Heritage Loop, Hanging Rock, Rayners Sawmill; a possible significant point on the ridge to McKeahnie Trig. Around 14km and 350m total climb. Maps: Tidbinbilla and Corin Dam. Leader: John Evans – jevans@pcug.org.au, (h) 6288 7235. Transport: ~$10. Further details at http://jevans.pcug.org.au.).

3 of us drove first to the Smokers Gap (Square Rock Walk) car park, then afterwards to various locations within the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.

Further Information

I'm out of kilter with CBC it advertising, so this is a private walk. I did part of the Church Rock Heritage Loop on 13 Feb 08 with my family and saw some excellent signage and places I hadn't been. I've also recently been thinking about significant areas and thought I'd remembered seeing a significant point on the way to McKeahnie Trig on 22 Sep 04 - this was confirmed by Doug F at my suggestion on a recent Wednesday walk.

The walks are:

Walk A: McKeahnie Trig Ridge - wander to Square Rock, Orroral Valley Lookout, then along the ridge towards McKeahnie Trig to the significant point (10km).

Walk B: TNR - Church Rock Heritage Loop (2.5km). See brochure at http://www.tams.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/61148/Church_Rock_Heritage_Loop_Brochure.pdf.

Walk C: TNR - Rayners sawmill (0.5km). Depending on what TNR staff can turn up.

Walk D: TNR - Hanging Rock Track (0.5km). See brochure at http://www.tams.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/13724/LR_03.06_mapguide.pdf.

Walk E: TNR - Birrigai Time Trail (3km). See brochure at http://www.tams.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/13724/LR_03.06_mapguide.pdf.


Walk A  A quick stroll up to Square Rock, the early morning air giving a hint of Autumn coolness and the regenerating low shrubs a hint of dampness. Glad to be able to show this nice little wander to David who, although having 2 walks of the AAWT and several in NZ, hadn't done this before. We paused for a while to admire the views to the W (Stockyard Spur, the Brindabellas) and Max mused over a prospective wander to High Range.

We returned along the track about 500m, then set off SW through the scrub in the direction indicated by the GPS. My, the regrowth is lush! As described above, we were heading for what I believe is a significant point which I thought I remembered passing a couple of years ago and which was confirmed by Doug F on a recent Wednesday walk (actually the GR I gave him to investigate was 600m out, so I'm very grateful for Doug's persistence in finding the site). We arrived, spot on.

We then wandered generally E-ish, around the top of a drainage line, towards the Orroral Valley Lookout track. After around 480m I paused to check where we were. Max confidently steamed past me - when I looked up from the technology we were 5m from a sawn tree stump on the edge of the track (a lesson for me there somewhere). A few tens of metres and we were at OVL. We admired the view down to Orroral Valley and across to Mt McKeahnie, Dutchies Peak, Split Rock and the bulb of Mt Namadgi. A wander back to the car.

We drove to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, where I'd set up a call in to Ranger Lara, who has been extremely helpful over the last several months in organising us early access. She'd only just got into work from a meeting, so we went away to do ...

Walk B  Parking at Flints car park, we commenced the Church Rock Heritage Loop. Some imagination needed in places and I'm not sure about the precision sawn gate posts at Flint's homestead and Sheedy's gate. But the signage is excellent and it give one a feel for the Europeans living in the area. Great brochure (see here). We wandered past (1) Sid and Annie Flint's Milking Yard, (2) Sid Flint's Pine Trees, (3) Pine Windbreak, (4) Flints Homestead, (5) Sheedy's Home Site, (6) Church Rock Valley School, (7) Old Tidbinbilla Road, (8) Dallender's Spring, and Church Rock. All have excellent signage and there's some additional signage on the Tidbinbilla Range - and huge views of it - and Towards Canberra. Back at the car and across the road, I couldn't really identify the Old Vegetable Patch site.

We returned to meet Lara and she'd photocopied a few pages of information for us, as well as showing me a large detailed map on her office wall. The best was the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve Cultural Resource Survey and Conservation Plan by Bulbeck and Boot, 1991.

Walk C  We drove up to the Trails car park, sat at a brand new, as yet not finally installed bench and seats and had lunch whilst scanning the papers. Not encouraging 'The structural and other remains relating to the saw milling operations are vestigial.' And that was in 1991, prior to the 2003 fires and recent timber harvesting of dangerous tree. I had a scout around, then all 3 of us had a look. The documentation had a detailed description to find a slab of concrete near a pile of stones near the eastern approach to the car park, but no joy. However, thanks to the persistence of my mates, I was instructed to drive out slowly and David spotted a pile of stones (half scattered by caterpillar tracks). We stopped and looked and, voila - pic 1 - the vestigial remains of Rayners Sawmill!

We next drove around the ring road to the Hanging Rock car park, to be greeted by the largest grader I've ever seen.

Walk D  Again, excellent signage for Hanging Rock and altogether everything excellent about this picturesque little walk and site. I'd certainly bring family guests of any ability and interest back here. Begins with a bridge and boardwalk over Ashbrook Creek then a gentle stroll up and around a hill to Hanging Rock. More great signage, then up to the rock. Someone had built a bark shelter against the rock (see pic 2). A short stroll back to the car.

Next we continued anti-clockwise around the ring road and drove in to the central lookout. Lovely views and interesting signage on recovery since the 2003 fires.

We then drove back to the Visitors Centre.

Walk E The Birrigai Time Trail starts to the left of the Centre. Another well signposted walk, taking in sites of European settlement and activity and the Birrigai Rockshelter (see a pic of it on the Aboriginal Sites page). We walked via Maxwells Homestead site, Tennis Courts, Gibraltar School site, the Birrigai Rockshelter, (had a peek over the rise at the rebuilt Birrigai Centre and could see Mushroom Rock), the Scientific Grazing Plots and the site of Jack Moloney's hut. Again, a worthwhile little wander for city-slicker visitors.

An ice cream capped the day.

Thanks David and Max for indulging me. The TNR walks are little ones that I usually drive past in haste early in the day to get to a good location and drive past utterly exhausted at the end of a day. Yet each proved to have something and are great places to take city-slicker family and friends to get an easy taste of the bush.

Distance: (A) 9.2 + (B) 1.7 + (C) 0.2 + (D) 0.4 + (E) 3.1 = 14.6km  Climb: 250m.  Time: (A) 7.45-11.00am (3.25hrs); (B) 11.25am-12.25pm (1hr); (C) 0.25hr; (D) 1.40-1.55pm (0.25hr); (E) 2.15-3.20pm (call it 1hr).
Grading: M/E-M; M(9)

KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: Aboriginal Stone Arrangement and TNR

Click on a thumbnail below to see the full sized picture
2 Site of Rayners Sawmill
3 Hanging Rock