1 February 2011 Border Markers near HQJOC

Map: Bungendore 1:25000

Getting There

This walk was organised and led by me as an irregular CBC Tuesday walk:

Tuesday 1 February - Border Markers near HQJOC - M/E,X. Walk 1 - From Brooks Hill Reserve on the Kings Highway to the eastern most point of the ACT, then along the railway line near the HQJOC (if possible) to the Kowen Pine Forest on the S side of the Kings Highway. Return along the road. Walk 2 - Drive 5km W to the mountain bike area. Walk the forest S to the railway line and follow it E. Return through the forest. Around 16km and 250m climb. Map: Bungendore. Leader: John Evans - jevans@pcug.org.au, (h) 6288 7235. Transport: ~$5 per person.

Met Max in town and we took 2 cars. Left one on the side of the Kings Highway about 1.5km before the HQJOC roundabout and the other at the border at the top of the hill before the Brooks Hill Reserve, where Stepehn was waiting.

Further Information

The previously advertised walk for this day is a little too long, with little shade, for a forecast 38°C day.

Have arranged to meet Stephen M at 7am at Brooks Hill Reserve, on the S side of the Highway.


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We wandered off into the bush, expecting to find at least one blaze, as Tim the Yowie Man had sent me a photo of one in this area. We soon found the D7 blaze, but no border corner. Onto E7, a possible bag of the border marker, and its E7 blaze. This is the one that Tim had sent. The point marks the East-most extent of the ACT. From here it was pretty much all downhill.

We skirted the E side of the ACT Nudist Club, carefully averting our eyes. No F7, G7, H7 or I7.

J7 was to be the first border marker I'd hunted on the railway line. Neither the marker nor the railway could be seen. Our local guide explained that we were standing on top of a tunnel.

Turning SW we followed the railway line. The border was on the N side of the line easement. The easement on this side had a new fence and a broad track maintenance road. We were to have not much joy. No K7, 37 Mile, L7, M7, N7, O7 or P7. Q7, an 8" post in poor nick, bouyed our hopes.

No R7, S7, T7 or U7 E of the rail bridge over the road into HQJOC. But there was a U7 post lying on the ground at its expected location, W of the bridge.

Great excitement followed and I now know that the AFP are interested in border marker hunting! We were wandering along, hoping for a train or a border marker, and an AFP patrol truck pulled up behind us. Now I'm assuming we were legal - we were on the railway easement, outside the farm fence with occasional Department of Defence Trespassing Prohibited signs and well clear of the further over security fence surrounding HQJOC. They asked us what we were doing and wanted a look at my map. They didn't lock us up and on we went.

No V7. Realised we'd passed the 38 Mile marker, so about turned and went to its location. Smack on a lovely apple tree - was the the surveyors or a later fencing team tossing the apple core? No 38 Mile marker. But a huge wedge-tailed eagle soared by.

Heading in the right direction again, no W7, X7, Y7 or Z7.

The lads were both happy to go on, so we unsuccessfully searched for A8, B8, C8, D8, E8, 39 Mile, F8, G8, H8, I8, J8, K8, L8, M8, N8, O8, P8, Q8, R8 and S8. But we did find a rock cairn at T8. We had a bite of morning tea.

Nothing more to the end of the alphabet - no U8, V8, W8, X8, Y8 or Z8.

Disappointed (although Max had collected some railway memorabilia), we returned NW and NE through the Kowen Pine Forest, crossing the bit cleared for the realignment and upgrade of the Kings Highway.

Thanks Stephen M and Max S.

Distance: 11.4km Climb: 100m. Time: 7.20 - 11.05am (3hrs 45mins), with 10mins of stops
Grading: M/E-M,X; E(7)

KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: Border Markers near HQJOC

A little pome about the day:

Walking the border in Sheaffe’s steps one day,
I was with some mates out off the Kings Highway.
It was to be a special – no, make that spatial – walk,
Soon we were off with no time for talk.

Armed with GPS stuffed full of data,
Thanks to Alex Petrow from ACTPLA we knew where we’d be later.

First to the east-most point of the ACT,
Marked with a near 100-year blaze still on a tree.

As a ‘man of the cloth’ the next part filled me with fear,
We were to pass by the ACT Nudists’ club, very near.
I called to my mates “Avert your eyes, I say
Or else I’ll have to spend time on my knees and pray."

Past that temptation our next goal was the rail line,
Searching for border markers from time to time.
Arriving, no rail nor train was in view,
Explanation from a mate “You’re standing on top of a tunnel – you goose, you!”

We found the rail tracks where they emerged from the hill,
And followed them along until
Cameras and lights and sharp barbed wire announced where we be
Crossing the road leading to secret HQJOC.

On the railway easement we gave it a wide birth
Not intending to disturb soldiers, they’re the salt of the earth.
So following the surveyors we continued on our way,
By now near Kowen Forest, well east of the Kings Highway.

To my trusty companions I said “There’s a mile marker somewhere there”
And snapped a pic of them searching, bums in the air.

The next thing to happen certainly gave us a stir
As up pulled behind us the AFP “What are you doing here sir?
I must see that map you’re holding in your hand.
What are those markings, so near to our land?”
“We’re hunting border markers” I said.
I reckon the cops thought I was gone in the head.

No spy could dream up a scheme so weird … so they sent us on our way with a polite “Good day”.

Well, that’s my story for today and it’s the gospel truth
No doubt you surveyors have led such field excursions in your youth.

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This page last updated 25Aug22