20 September 2011 Border Markers near Williamsdale

Map: Williamsdale 1:25000

Getting There

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

Tuesday 20 September – Border Markers near Williamsdale – L/E-M,X. From Williamsdale, cover the ACT border markers on the railway line north and south. From near Angle Crossing, cover the border markers east to the Monaro Highway. Climb Cunningham Hill. Around 20km and 500m climb. Map: Williamsdale. Leader: John Evans - jevans@pcug.org.au, (h) 6288 7235. Please book by 2pm Sunday. Transport: ~$6 per person.

2 of us drove down the Monaro Highway and parked just in on Williamsdale Road.

Further Information

I like to have permission to walk on private or leasehold property, and tried hard in this instance. I rang the Williamsdale garage and got a contact for landholdings further south, advice that ACTEW now controlled the land in the ACT on which the Murrumbidgee River to Googong Dam pipeline is being built and the fact that the homestead east of the Monaro Highway did not own the land around Cunningham Hill. I rang the contact, however Bob advised me that he did not own the land south of the ACT-NSW border. I did take his further advice - just walk!


You can access all photographs here.


Track maps: thumbnails are active - click for a larger picture
Track overview Track 1 Track 2

Parked on the side of Williamsdale Rd just over the railway line and before the road closed (for water pipeline construction) sign.

First went north along the railway line as far as the last previously found border marker on 23 Aug 11. Not very productive, yielding only 68 Mile marker and H24. No G24, F24, E24, D24, C24, B24 nor A24. Walked back to the car.

Then heading south, immediately no I24 nor J24, originally located either side of the tarred Williamsdale Road. K24 and L24 originally defined a small inset to the west of the current railway easement, now on private property, so could not be searched for. M24 and N24 were located back on the edge of the current railway easement, but could not be found. Then another insert to the west, opposite the Williamsdale garage, was defined in the original survey between N24 and Q24. This, I assumed was on private property so, although I ventured in to check the 69 Mile marker (not there), I looked no further for O24 and P24. If you want to, you can see this area in Percy Sheaffe's original survey notebook, digitised and made available on the ACTPLA web site at A 1029 - B23 to B26 - FC18 sheet 6, 7.

Tonight, ringing Bob to thank him for his direction and interest, he said there is an original post in this area (I guess either O24 or P24). He said the paddock belongs to the McDonalds and he'll ask them if I can go on it when he next meets them.

Back on the railway easement and across the bridge over a drainage line, no Q24. A long, straight length of railway line followed. No R24. But S24 and T24 were still there, in their (nearly) full glory. No 70 Mile marker. U24 was there, a little worse for wear after nearly 100 years. No V24 nor W24. X24 was nearly buried in the grass, but retained its original central nail over which to position the theodolite.

Then an unproductive patch - no Y24, Z24, A25, B25C25 nor D25. At D25 we reached the southern extent of the border along the railway line and were right on the verge of the Monaro Highway. The metal ACT sign was pretty much on location, but the fancy concrete and stone Australian Capital Territory sign on the west side of the highway was tens of metres to the north (as there is insufficient room on the west side of the highway to build such a sign at the border). Here, instead of doubling back to the car and driving to Angle Crossing, we decided to press on - a good decision, as it turned out - even though Roger's lunch was in the car.

We puffed up the hill and followed an old border fence. No E25. A short detour to the trig on Cunningham Hill gave us a great view from W to NE. And also SE to the Tinderrys.

Back down to the N, no 71 Mile marker could be found. F25 and G25 were found at a little kink in the border, the latter defined with a lovely right-angled lockspit.

Along from G25 we found two interesting things. One was a hunting arrow (the blades on the tip proved useful later to sever blackberries) and a goat, just kidding. I'm just kidding, the kid was probably a couple of hours old. Nanny was quite upset at our presence, ran off, but reunited.

H25 was an interesting area. With the border crossing the crest of a little spur, there obviously must have been a border marker in the area (line of sight was required). The original notebook at A 1029 - B23 to B26 - FC18 sheet 6, 7 is annotated "gone 17/4/78". The ACTPLA location data has no entry for H25. Calculating the location from the notebook (1575.34 links at 279° 28' 24" from G25 - using wonderful formulae provided by Alex P) gives a location of UTM 55H 693127.640-6059304.343 (MGA94) for H25. On the ground, there were 3 sites which I thought might correspond:

So, any one of them may be the marker - more likely the peg or the concrete block. I've never seen a concrete block with a brass strip (see more on this later) as a marker before, so I'd opt for the peg as a possible.

The border then did some zigs and zags - perhaps along currently surveyed block boundaries at the time. We found I25 (a little worse for wear) and J25, with only one arm of its lockspit. K25 was also a little battered. As were we, as we crawled under new fences and across a gully, then up a sharp spur. Half way up we paused for a quick morning tea, quick because Roger was separated from his lunch and couldn't eat any of my sandwiches.

Ever onwards, we found L25. This, and border markers through to P25 were quite out in the open, not associated with any fence lines - I wander how the land ownership (in NSW) and leasehold (in the ACT) is determined? M25 was a fine specimen, the post covered in lichens to camouflage it like the surrounding granite; N25 upright with CT and the broad arrow clearly showing on adjacent sides of the post; O25 a little weathered; P25 again standing proud with CT and broad arrow visible.

No Q25 nor R25 in the ACPLA data. Along here, we had views to the pool at Angle Bend - and the weather threatening.

I reckon Roger and I were the first to see S25 since Percy and his men placed it - we headed through a steep gully then through horrible scrub and bushes along the bank of the Murrumbidgee, Roger finally spotting it as we clambered along.

Things only got worse - impenetrable scrub forced us back up the hill, a shower dampened my enthusiasm and, back down beside the river, blackberries (even with the arrow tip saw) blocked our way. A pity, as T25 was recorded as a "Gal. Iron Pipe", V25 an "Iron Bolt Cemneted in hole drilled in rock" and X25 "Iron Bolt cemented in rock" - we looked for them carefully, but no joy. As for U25, W25, Y25, Z25 and A26 - these were described by Sheaffe as "no mark"; we visited each location and, as expected, found nothing.

A large tin shed ruin up above the (finally) easy-going sand area of Angle Bend - was there sand mining here?

Finally, I forgot to look for B26 and will have to cross the river when we come in from the W to look for it, even though our GPS track showed we walked right past it. Bob described a concrete block with brass plate (probably like the one at H25) when I was talking with him on the phone prior to the walk and I thought it could be at B26. However, mentioning it again tonight, he said it is definitely there, so it may be by one of the gates up the hill to the east (if so, the marker is definitely off the border and may be a NSW state survey marker).

Things looked up as we pulled into the ACTEW lower pump site compound to check that it was OK to walk out the road. A very kind young lady site engineer offered to drive us to our car (I think so we were safely out of the way, even though the Angle Crossing Road is still open to the public). As a brief shower started, we said "yes please".

Thanks Roger E. A partially successful hunting day in new territory.

Distance: 13.8km Climb: 250m. Time: 7.00am - 12.20pm (5hrs 20mins) with 10mins of breaks.
Grading: M/E-M,X; M(8)

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

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This page last updated 28Aug22