|24 June 2008
|Something Old and Something New in the Southern ACT
|Maps: Shannons Flat and Yaouk 1:25000
This walk was organised and led by me as an irregular CBC Tuesday walk:
Tuesday 24 June - Something old and something new in the southern ACT - L/E-M,X. Look for new and old sites in the southern ACT, including border markers, geological sites, graves, house and hut sites and old roads. Trust me. From the Boboyan Road on the southern ACT border, a loop generally along Grassy Creek to Bulls Flat Creek and the Old Boboyan Road South. Around 24km and 350m total climb. Fairly demanding walking. Route not fully known to leader. Maps: Shannons Flat and Yaouk. Limit of 8. Leader: John Evans – email@example.com, (h) 6288 7235. Please contact me if you would like to co-lead. Transport: ~$15. Further details at http://jevans.pcug.org.au.
9 of us gathered from across Canberra and nearby NSW and drove in two cars to the stile on the Boboyan Road at the start of the Grassy Creek fire trail. Around 1.5hrs drive. A beautiful day - clear sky, no fog or cloud. We dropped a car back at the Old Boboyan Road South car park.
The plan - Visit B24 House and garage; BR14 Woolshed and yards; border marker K41, SoS G46 Border Fault Geological Site; border marker Q41; border marker U41; Wrights Hill; border marker V41; SoS G45 Border Basalt Geological and Historical Site; border marker A42; B21 Westerman Graves and Homestead; B20 stockyards near Pheasant Hill; B19 Waterholes Hut; B18 Waterholes yards; B23 Grassy Creek Track; B17 Old road and causeway; B16 Stockyard; B5 Hut foundations and garden; possible detour to B6 Alexander Brayshaw's Hut site and B7 Two fork fences/SoS G32 Sheep Station Creek Fence; B4 Fork fence and gatepost; B3 Two bridges over Naas Creek/SoS G31 Upper Naas Creek Valley - Site 2; B2 Boboyan graves and Boboyan Homestead complex; B1 David Brayshaws cairn; BR11 James Brayshaws house; BR10 2-2 Fork fencing; BR10 1-2 Stockyard; B22 Brayshaws Hut, woolshed site and fencing; and BR9 Tin Dish School.
Two cars, so subtract 4.8km of road bash. But add it on again for a detour to see Alexander Brayshaw's Hut site and the Sheep Station Creek Fork Fencing.
I'm always flustered at the start of a walk, no exception this time. By the time we drivers completed the car shuffle, the first site, BR14 Woolshed and Yards, had been identified by a brick buried in the ground, from the site description 20m west of the Naas Road and from the background hills in the 30 year old picture. Terence U confirmed that policy when NNP was declared was that contemporary structures were totally removed. This was the case here. Perhaps the House and Garage site was spotted - I was too anxious to get moving to check it properly.
I didn't bother to check the first border marker by the road (must come back again some time) and we headed along the Grassy Creek Fire Trail to a knoll which contained SoS in the ACT G46 Border Fault Geological Site. Several bits of quartz, particularly around the far side of the knoll, confirmed this site.
The climb up Wrights Hill was a bit scratchy in places. We just followed the fence marking the border. As to the border markers, not sure. There were lines of stone blocks by the fence in one place (but they could have been placed to prevent rabbits getting under) and in another a stout post about waist high with stone blocks packed around it. There was no missing Wrights Hill with its trig, even though its location has been moved from SH1314 on the 1st edn map to SH1345 on the 2nd edn map. One concrete foot pad is engraved 'Wrights Trig 1981'. There is quite a significant pile of stone rubble nearby, not really running in the correct direction to be a nearby border marker.
We took a right turn following the border, from the NSW side for a while. We slipped back into the ACT through a gate and found, after reaching the GPS waypoint (many of which are notoriously poor), one of the two best sites of the day. Our reference material had a photograph for SoS in the ACT G45 Border Basalt Geological and Historical Site of a substantial snow gum with a deep basal scar (possibly a survey mark) with a marker rail nailed to it, indicating the direction of the border. It was a real team effort - one identified the tree (looking quite worse for wear over the intervening 20 years), another found the rail on the ground with a nail in it, a third member of the party found a nail in the tree (see pic 1) and a forth the basalt area. An interesting experiment to hold 2 rocks of equal size and to feel the additional weight of the basalt compared with granite.
We next headed NE to the B21 2-2 Westerman Graves (see pic 5), then on to the B21 1-2 Homestead (also SoS in the ACT G44 Westermans Homestead) (see pic 6), crossing a newish fire trail not marked on the 2nd edn map. Two of our party had not been in this area before, so Westermans and the other huts were new to them.
On up the Grassy Creek fire trail for a while, then across Grassy Creek following the vestigial line of a fork fence to the B20 Stockyards near Pheasant Hill (also SoS in the ACT G39 Grassy Creek Sheepyards) (see pic 7). Then a B-line to B19 Waterholes Hut (also SoS in the ACT G38 Grassy Creek Hut) (see pic 8) for morning tea at 10.50am.
It was only a couple of hundred yards further on the B18 Waterholes yards (see pic 9).
We next headed NW to a track triangle (visible via Google Earth, but not on 1st or 2nd edn Yaouk maps). From here I had a series of waypoints from the reference material which were points on a 'Grassy Creek Track'. No joy in finding it as we continued NW, around a spring which was supposed to define a turn in the track (and we were definitely at this drainage line source) and NE down to the S extremity of Bulls Flat Creek. But extremely pleasant walking through the unburnt dry sclerophyll forest. Here we struck a fire trail, again not marked on either edition of the Yaouk 1:25000 map.
Our next objective was B17 Old road and causeway (also SoS in the ACT G35 Boboyan Trackway). We turned NW again and battled up the S side of a very scrubby gully, again heading for a referenced grid reference. Nothing there (as in quite a few of the map references), so we split up for 10 minutes (always a little risky and took some time to regroup) to search around. Those travelling down hill found a fire trail within several tens of metres. We wandered up it until it leveled out and there was no possibility of locating an embankment. We about turned and walked down, passing an area which could possibly have been the 0.5km 'causeway' so described, but obviously been graded and widened as a fire trail. One member of the party muttered about further research and a return to the area.
The fire trail took us back down to Bulls Flat Creek (and would have been a very handy up route in place of the scrubby bash!). We followed it as it took us directly to our next site, B16 Stockyard (see pic 2). A nearby spreading tree with nearby sun (it was cold in the breeze) provided a lovely lunch spot looking down across the creek flats.
Away after a 20 minute lunch to search for the next site, a hut foundation and garden site. We left the fire trail to its course well up the NW side of Bulls Flat Creek, crossed the creek and walked down the SE side of the creek. Possible terraces where the hut site could have been, but no positive identification. A reference guide was the old track from Boboyan homestead to Grassy Creek. This we found around 500m further on. It is very indistinct and is most likely the old track marked on the 1st edn map. Our next site, fork fence trace, was similarly not identified. Disappointed, we walked down to the Old Boboyan Road.
The next site was guaranteed to be present, as I visited it on 18 Mar 08. Described in one reference as B3 Two bridges over Naas Creek and also as SoS in the ACT G31 Upper Naas Creek Valley - Site 2 with 3 bridges, the number of bridges was the question to be answered. 2 only! See pic 10.
We then placed ourselves in the hands of other party members for the next task of finding the B2 7-12 Boboyan Homestead Graves (also SoS in the ACT G37 Boboyan Homestead Complex). We walked to the homestead site with its magnificent chimney (B2 1-12 Boboyan Homestead, see pic 11), then headed via the dam and spring/well (B2 4-12 Small Dam and B2 6-12 Boboyan Well/spring) to the reference location where I'd searched before. Again the party spread out and, a little further down the 'dell', we found star pickets marking off the grave area (see pic 3). All the clues were consistent (except for a reference misprint(?) of north east instead of north west!), including the fact that the ground had obviously been disturbed and that it was weed covered. The second excellent find of the day. We did have a quick poke about the site, for those who had not been here before.
Nearly sited out, we continued towards the car along the Old Boboyan Road (South). A step or two off the road to B1 David Brayshaws cairn (see pic 12).
Another site, first time visit from me and most of the party, was about opposite the walks register, across the far side of the (currently dry) swampy area. It is BR11 James Brayshaws house. The give-away was the reference description of a grove of quince trees - the grey form of the trees can be seen from the road. We wandered over and spotted several placed pieces of granite flagging under the trees (see pic 4).
Back to the car, we retrieved the other one and drove to the Brayshaws Hut parking area. A quick visit to B22 1-3 Davey Brayshaws Hut (also SoS in the ACT G40 Brayshaws Hut) (see pic 13) for those who hadn't seen it and a pop up to the BR9 Tin Dish School (also SoS in the ACT G41 Tin Dish School) site (see pic 14).
The long drive back, battling to stay awake.
Thank you very much to David L, Eric P, Janet E, Jenny H, Madeleine H, Mark B, Max S and Terence U for wonderful site searching and identification. I still find it difficult to know if others appreciate these sorts of walks but I guess folk always vote with their feet.
Distance: 20.1km Climb: 400m. Time: 8.05am - 4.00pm (call it 8hrs), with 35mins of stops. 10mins at Brayshaws Hut/Tin Dish School.
KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: Something Old and Something New in the Southern ACT
|Click on a thumbnail below to see the full sized picture
|1 Border Marker Historical Site SoS G45
|2 Stockyards overlooking Bulls Flat Creek
|3 Graves near Boboyan Homestead
|4 James Brayshaws house site
|5 Westermans Hut from Westerman Grave on 18 Mar 08
|6 Westermans Hut on 8 May 07
|7 Stockyards near Pheasant Hill on 18 Mar 08
|8 Waterhole Hut on 8 May 07
|9 Waterhole Hut Stockyards on 18 Mar 08
|10 Bridge 1 over Naas Creek on 18 Mar 08
|11 Boboyan Homestead on 25 Apr 07
|12 David Brayshaws cairn on 18 Mar 08
|13 Brayshaws Hut on 8 May 07
|14 Tin Dish School ruin on 18 Mar 08