28 July 2009 Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve Photos
Map: Hall 1:25000
Getting There

This walk was organised and led by me as an irregular CBC Tuesday walk (½ day am only):

Tuesday morning 28 July: Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve - M/E. A stroll through parts of this NR, based on a National Trust pamphlet of the area. Includes a short raid across the border to Oak Hill. Around 18km and 200m climb. Map: Hall, Canberra Nature Park. Limit of 8. Leader: John Evans – jevans@pcug.org.au, (h) 6288 7235. Transport: $15 per car. Further details at http://jevans.pcug.org.au.

5 of us drove to the new entrance to the Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve on Amy Ackman St Forde.

Further Information

This walk is not advertised in the CBC it but is an approved CBC walk.

The Canberra Nature Park map for Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve is here. The National Trust pamphlet on which the walk is partly based is here. There's an excellent map of the main part of the Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve superimposed on an aerial photo here. The brochure for Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve is here.

Max is unavailable and I have to be back home by 2pm.


I last visited here on 18 Jan 07. There certainly have been some dramatic changes! The first was the car park and entrance to the nature reserve, the former on Amy Ackman St Forde and very swank with a modern shelter, tables and seats and the latter sporting new signage, but still recognisable. I gave a proper briefing to the party, hardly necessary, but good practise for me.

Excellent signage told us the story of the Mulligans Flat school and we detoured a few tens of metres off the wide track to view it. One can't miss the described photinia - it's a huge tree - and the rubble of the site is clearly visible (see pic 1). This photo, with houses visible on the other side of Amy Ackman St, set the scene for much of the day - it was hardly a bushwalk and, at times, very much a near urban walk!

Back on the track, it appeared we were heading for destruction ("Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it." Matthew 7:13). The main entrance track is very well made and broad, leading to the animal proof fence and the 'Woodland Gate'. Here we picked up an excellent pamphlet (available here) and another excellent one, Birds of Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve. The smooth gravel track (available for cycling and you'd get a wheelchair along here) led us in a broad arc to the north of the Old Coach Road and past the shearing shed site (see pic 2). Examining the map in the brochure as we walked, I decided that we'd change the planned route. Rejoined The Old Coach Road (see pic 3) and examined the nearby Quoll Gate. The animal proof fence is electrified and at each gate there's a solar panel which powers a gate status signal, very well done.

A little further to the E, we did a left turn along the Pipeline Trail. This took us N across the flat part of Mulligans Flat to the Curlew Gate. We turned left and headed W along the fence, passing the Dunnart Gate and Treecreeper Gate. The detail of the fence was interesting in this area. In other places, netting was buried to prevent burrowing under - here the ground was too hard and a skirt of netting was pegged to the ground each side of the fence. Morning tea was demanded by mutinous party members.

Wandering further to the NW, we left the enclosure via the Antechinus Gate and entered the buffer zone. Climbed a rise on a management trail, looking for the 'Dugarvon' site. Didn't find it - stupid me had mis-positioned the waypoint. It's down on the Old Coach Road just before it crosses the border! Will have to go back some time.

Next leg was to cross the Mulligans Flat Road/Gundaroo Road and enter the North Mulligans Flat area. We generally did an anticlockwise circuit. Janet pointed out the Kangaroo Grass to me. A bit of a climb up to the border, the top providing sweeping views of the nearby developing suburbs, into the heart of Civic, Woden and Belconnen and views to the distant Tidbinbillas and Brindabellas.

We did stray a little outside the NR, following the fence marking the border towards Oak Hill. To my delight we passed an obvious border marker (which I didn't photograph), then two more which I did (see pic 4 (could be A2) and pic 5 (could be Z1)). The latter still sported its original marker post, albeit in a most deteriorated state. Not having yet fully analysed my source data for this part of the border, I'm not absolutely certain which ones they are.

A little naughty, I led the party on a direct line to Oak Hill, rather that looping around in the ACT and approaching it from the SW. The sky didn't fall in. 'Stumpy' must have carved his name in the rock on the top of the pile under the Oak Hill cairn somewhere else, then brought it up (see pic 6)!

Back down SE to the intersection of the Mulligans Flat Road and the Old Gundaroo Road. We followed the latter SW for a while, then hopped an old fence into the NR, up to the Mulligans Circuit track and just off it out of the breeze and away from the noise of heavy earth working machinery for lunch. I nearly fell off a large log that beckoned a stretch out on it, so curled up on the ground for a short zizz.

Away again, down a gentle slope towards a party of three 'gardening' under a patch of trees. Very interesting - they were sampling one of 160 areas in the NR and finding and recording native truffles (see pic 7)! The professor in charge showed us a handful, 4 different species. They are sampling prior to the reintroduction of bandicoots, who eat the truffles. Another dug up an underground mushroom whilst I was watching. Fascinating! All that is needed is a little rain, under trees and a cover of leaf litter for the truffles to grow a few millimetres under the soil.

Time was getting on. We trundled back to near where we'd begun, set the GPS for the Gungahlin Quartz Ridge and followed the line - across through houses being built in Forde, with the NR looping away to our left. Eventually re-entered the NR buffer zone, climbed the hill and examined a few tens of metres of the Gungahlin Quartz Ridge, Site of Significance GH24 in the ACT (see pic 8).

A scurry down the hill, NW across more streets of Forde and back to the car.

Thanks Henry H, Janet E, John H and Karen C. A wimpy bushwalk, but new things to see for all of us in the half day available. Southside might be closer to Namadgi, but Gungahlin has some nice nature reserves and Mulligans Flat is one of them.

Thanks also to all of you for your generous sponsorship for the Walk for Uganda!

Distance: 17.2km  Climb: 250m.  Time: 7.30am - 1.00pm (5hrs 30mins), with 40mins of stops.
Grading: M/E,ptX; M(8)

KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve

Click on a thumbnail below to see the full sized picture
1 Mulligans Flat school site
2 Shearing Shed site
3 Old Coach Road
4 Border marker
5 Border marker with original post
6 Oak Hill
7 Native truffles
8 SoS GH24 Gungahlin Quartz Ridge