15 February 2011 Boot and Bulbeck sites in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Map: Tidbinbilla 1:25000

Getting There

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

Tuesday 15 February - Boot and Bulbeck sites in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve - M/M,ptX. In 1991 a Cultural Resource Survey and Conservation Plan was prepared by David Bulbeck and Phillip Boot for TNR. Let's see what the years and fire has changed. Around 15km and 300m climb. Map: Tidbinbilla. Leader: John Evans - jevans@pcug.org.au, (h) 6288 7235. Transport: ~$8 per person.

Further Information

With the assistance of information in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve Cultural Resource Survey and Conservation Plan 20 May 1991 by David Bulbeck and Philip Boot, kindly provided to me via KHA, ground-truth:

1 Try to get into Birrigai to visit 'Gibraltar' site KHA 813 B&B p74-75.
2 Do the Birrigai Time Trail (3km 1hr) for TNR visitors Centre KHA 828, Dam KHA 837, Maxwells (WC Greens) KHA 810 B&B p 91-94, Tennis Court KHA 795 B&B p110, Gibraltar School KHA 812 B&B p101-103, Dam KHA 830, John Maloney's KHA 811 B&B p98-100, Tidbinbilla Old Depot KHA 809 "Destroyed Jan 2003 bushfire. Boot & Bulbeck (1991) pp.120,121", TNR Sewerage Plant KHA 829.
3 Go to the adventure playground road for Blewitts Rabbiting Hut KHA 807 B&B p 107-108, Substation (BBQ area) KHA 826, Toilet Block B KHA 815, Toilet Block A KHA 814, drive to the very end and walk to check out the washed out bridge at UTM 55H 675064-6076547 (GDA94).
Drive to the old education centre site for Nature Education Centre KHA 816 "Destroyed Jan 2003 bushfire."; Cultivation Plot 4 KHA 792 B&B p 124 and 126; Greens Sheepdip, garden and dam KHA 793 B&B p 106-107.
4 Drive to the start of the Gibraltar Trail for Dalsetta Staff Cottage 1966 KHA 524 "Destroyed Jan 2003 bushfire. Boot & Bulbeck (1991) pp.119-120 "; Julia Sheedys KHA 808 B&B p71; Cultivation Plot 8 KHA 794 B&B p 125,126.
5 Drive to Rock Valley for Rock Valley KHA 522 "Burnt Jan 2003 bushfire. Boot & Bulbeck (1991) pp.78-83"; Cultivation Plot KHA 791 B&B p 123,126; walk across road to Dam KHA 840.
6 Drive to Flints picnic area for Flints picnic area KHA 842, Flints House KHA 803 B&B p 95-98 (schematic has site bisected by Tidbinbilla Ring Road, location is up Church Rock Heritage Loop); Portion 69 Hut near Flints KHA 802 B&B p 98; John Sheedys 'Rock Valley' KHA 804 p 70; Church Rock Valley School KHA 805 B&B p 90-91 (built on site of John Sheedys former home); Staff Cottage KHA 818; Pump House A KHA 820; Reservoir (old) KHA 823; Dam KHA 831; Reservoir (main) KHA 822; DAm KHA 834; Dam KHA 832.
7 Drive the SE ring road and in to the Lookout KHA847. Continue round the road to park at UTM 55H 673393-6072495 (GDA94). Walk in to the Southern Eucalyptus Oil Distillery KHA 786 B&B p 113-114.
8 Drive around the ring road to opposite Ashbrook fire trail/Hanging Rock. Check out Hanging Rock Distillers Camp KHA 779 B&B p 114 (nothing there); Dam KHA 835; LA Kayes KHA 797 B&B p 100-101; Cultivation plot 7 KHA 781 B&B p 125-126; Pump House B KHA 821; Ash Corner (Green & Hatcliffe) KHA 798 B&B p71-72; Farrers Hut - no KHA - B&B p 104-105 25m S of Green & Hatcliffes.

That's probably enough! If we want some exercise, Cascade/Lyrebird or Camels Hump.


Access all photographs here. All thumbnails in the walk report are active - click for a larger picture.


Friday 11 February

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Track Birrigai

The Gibraltar homestead site is described as within the Birrigai precinct, so I rang TNR Visitors Centre and made contact with Birrigai (these places are jointly managed since around mid way through 2010). With a school group in on Tuesday, it suited them better that I come out the previous Friday. Sandra was most helpful. After explaining on the phone that the Gibraltar homestead was burnt in 2003 (along with the rest of Birrigai) and that the rebuilding of the centre was on the Gibraltar site, she still welcomed me out there. Sandra escorted me to a fenced in area in front of the administration building which contains the stump of a (fruit?) tree - all that remains of the Gibraltar site. But things go on - the tree has seeded and a small one of the next generation waves green beside it.

We then wandered past a most interesting short walking loop with signage explaining the different rocks in the area and up over a small ridge to the Tidbinbilla area pioneer grave and plaques (which is within sight of the location of the Birrigai rock shelter). An emu grazed on the slopes.

Distance: 1km Climb: 20m. Time: 1hr

KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: Birrigai

Tuesday 15 February

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Track overview B&B Sites in TNR Track walks 1-7 Track walk 8

4 of us drove to TNR.

Walk 1 - From the TNR Visitors Centre car park, we began by doing the Birrigai Time Trail, a pleasant wander usually producing an emu or two and always plenty of 'roos. We ground-truthed Maxwell's (W.C. Green's) - 1902 (KHA 810/B&B p 91-94) - this is actually 2 sites, according to the signage); Tennis Court - 1930's (KHA 795/B&B p 110); Gibraltar School - 1907 (KHA 812/B&B p 101-103); Dam (KHA 830); wandered up to the Birrigai Rock Shelter and over to the Tidbinbilla Pioneers grave and grove near Birrigai (naughty, did not have permission); back on the BTT to Scientific Grazing Plots (no KHA entry); John Maloney's - 1905 (KHA 811/B&B p 98-100; and even the TNR Sewerage Plant (KHA 829).

By this time the boom gate was down, so we exercised the annual pass card and drove to the top car park on the right of the adventure playground area.

Walk 2 - Set the GPS running to point to Blewitt's Rabbiting Hut - 1920 (KHA 807/B&B p 107-108). There was nothing there, as it was at new fencing at the edge of the car park.

Next, drove down past the adventure playground as far as we could through the various picnic areas.

Walk 3 - No ground-truthing here, just mixing it up a bit with a short wander. These picnic areas are lovely and well worth a family or community group visit. Walking NE past brand new, hardly been used, free barbeques, we came upon the rude steel and orange walking track signs that I'd seen previously in Jedbinbilla so, as I'd surmised, there are plans to link the E and W sides of the Tidbinbilla River. Followed the track to the spot where, from the other side, I'd seen a washed away footbridge on 7 Dec 10. Metal bridge removed, concrete footings still there. We jumped across the river. A short section of fire trail took us to the track which is being developed on the W side of the river which runs back up the W side. Followed it a few hundred metres to its end (as last time) where footings are being laid out to no doubt put in another footbidge to complete a lovely loop. Went a bit further up, to opposite the Greens picnic area, where we could walk dry across tree trunks. The Greens picnic area is lovely. Back down to the car.

Drove to the old education centre car park.

Walk 4 - Checked the location of the Nature Education Centre (KHA 816). Of course, burnt in 2003 and nothing there now except a flat area with kangas lazing around. Went a little N of the Grass Tree walk to visit Green's Sheepdip, Garden & Dam (KHA 793/B&B p 106-107) - nothing there. Needing a little more exercise to prepare for next Tuesday (and always looking for a peak to bag!) we joined the Grass Tree track and visited them. Looking lovely at the moment - always a special site, the grass trees with the Tidbinbilla Range at the back. On up to Gibraltar Peak for morning tea. Back down to the car.

Drove a little further S along the Tidbinbilla Road and carked at the start of the Gibraltar fire trail.

Walk 5 - A B-line to the Dalsetta Staff Cottage 1966 site (KHA 524/B&B p 119-120) - burnt. The site obviously identifiable and some building rubble lying around. Cultivation Plot 8 (KHA 794/B&B p 125-126) nearby - imagination needed. Return down the Gibraltar management trail a lot smarter than the inward B-line.

Drove to the Rock Valley car park.

Walk 6 - Wandered around and through Rock Valley Staff Cottage 1895 (KHA 522/B&B p 78-83). Looking great, work being done on garden plantings. Over the drainage line to Cultivation Plot 3 (KHA 791/B&B p 123,126), a terrace beside the creek and not so much imagination needed. Back to the car.

Drove to Flints car park.

Walk 7 - Did the Church Rock Heritage Loop walk. Ground-truthed Flint's Picnic Area (KHA 842) - the roos have got it good; a detour over to Dam (KHA 834) and Dam (KHA 832); a detour to Portion 69, Hut near Flint's (KHA 802/B&B p 98) - nothing there; John Sheedy's ("Rock Valley") (KHA 804/B&B p 70) and Church Rock Valley School (KHA 805/B&B p 90-91) - just a plaque marking the spot; a detour to Pump House A (KHA820); a detour to Reservoir (old) (KHA 823); Dam (KHA 831). Lunch on the open ridge top on the seat at the signage, looking out over the Tidbinbilla Range - magic. After lunch a short detour to Reservoir (main) (KHA 822), returning to the lunch spot via a couple of very tasty blackberry bushes. Down past Church Rock and followed the walk (over one of the dams) to the car.

Drove to a pre-determined point on the S loop of the Tidbinbilla Ring Road.

Walk 8 - The only real bit of mild bush-bashing for the day. B&B and KHA identify a Southern Eucalyptus Oil Distillery (KHA 786/B&B p 113-114). Evidence perhaps a little tenuous, but the ex-ranger mentioned and B&B are the experts. And why else lug a whopping great steel pipe and fitting up into the bush? I'd asked the TNR Head Ranger and President of the Tidbinbilla Pioneers Association the previous day if they knew anything of this site - they didn't. So mild excitement when we found the pipe (and a rusty kero(?) tin), exactly as described. The track mentioned in the report is also evident and, perhaps, trees coppiced 60-70 years ago.

Thanks John H, Henry H and Phillip S. I think we were all surprised at the beauty of out-of-the-way places in TNR and encouraged to bring family and grand kids out here.

Distance: 19.5km Climb: 650m. Time: 7.50am - 3.00pm (7hrs 10mins), with 30mins of stops and driving between walks.
Grading: L/E-M,ptX; M(10)

KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: B&B Sites at TNR

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This page last updated 25Aug22