23 March 2013 The Settlers Track for WAG


Canberra Womens Adventure Group walk all over CBC guide at Westermans Homestead

Maps: Yaouk and Shannons Flat 1:25000

Walk Description

This walk was organised and led by me as a CBC short-notice (fully subscribed) walk:

Saturday 23 March: The Settlers Track for Canberra Women's Adventure Group - M/E-M. Early settlers in the ACT region rose before sunrise and went to bed at sunset. Let's get up early and drive through Namadgi National Park to the south of the ACT to visit some of their homesteads, huts and yards. We'll also walk along the ACT-NSW border and see some of the original surveyor's work. The ACT Government has built a wonderful walk, the Settlers Track, which takes in these sites. The track can be easily extended to include the border. A full day's outing, but back in Canberra in time to party. Around 15km and 250m climb. Maps: Yaouk and Shannons Flat. Limit: 24. Leader: John Evans - john@johnevans.id.au, 0417 436 877. Transport: ~$60 per car.

17 of us met at the Namadgi Visitors Centre (never seen the outer car park so full!) and drove in 4 cars south to the Brayshaws Hut/Settlers Track car park.

Further Information

  1. See the ACT Government brochure here.
  2. See the Kosciuszko Huts Association brochure here.
  3. See a previous similar walk on 28 Dec 10.
  4. The drive. The start of the walk is around 85km south of Canberra, via Tharwa and the Boboyan Rd (45km south of the Namadgi Visitors Centre where we'll meet). The unsealed portion of the road is suitable for 2WD vehicles in good weather.

    Park in the Namadgi Visitors Centre outer car park by 8am (if you park inside, your car might get locked in). Car pool into a minimum number of cars.

    2 Set odometer to zero. Turn left (south) onto the sealed Naas Rd. DRIVE SLOWLY IN CONVOY. LOOK OUT FOR KANGAROOS.
    3 At 8.1km continue past the Apollo Rd turnoff on right. At 8.7km cross the Gudgenby River. Continue along the road, now named Boboyan Rd.
    4 At 11.2km cross Half Moon Creek then continue steeply up Fitzs Hill.
    5 At 15.6km continue past the Orroral Rd turnoff on right.
    6 At 18.6km continue south and cross a grid into Namadgi National Park.
    7 At 21.1km cross the Gudgenby River at Glendale Crossing.
    8 At 27.7km cross the Gudgenby River. 300m further on, continue along the sealed road past the Old Boboyan Rd turnoff on right.
    9 At 29.2km the Boboyan Rd becomes gravel.
    10 At 31.8km, STOP at the road side lookout on the right. We'll get out and enjoy huge views to the hills at the heart of NNP.
    11 At 36.6km continue past the Yerrabi Walking Track trackhead on the right. At 40km continue past the Shanahans Mountain trackhead on the left.
    12 At 43.2km continue past the Mt Clear Camping Ground turnoff on the left. At 44.2 continue past the Old Boboyan Rd (South) turnoff on the right.
    13 At 45.5km park at the Brayshaws Hut/Settlers Track car park on the right.
  5. Map of proposed walk (thumbnail - click for more detail)

    includes optional shorter exits if you feel you're conking out
  6. Toilets

    (The toilet at the NVC will not be available at 8am, nor when we return around 5pm.) There is a toilet at the start/finish of the walk at the Brayshaws Hut/Settlers Track track head. There is a toilet at Westermans Homestead, after 12km of the walk. There are toilets at Tharwa on the there and back drive.
  7. Water

    I'd recommend you carry your own water, say 3 litres. There is a tank at Waterhole Hut; can't remember if there is one at Westermans (there isn't).
  8. What to wear and bring

    Wear closed-toed shoes and long trousers or gaiters. Broad-brimmed hat and sunscreen, sun glasses (gotta look cool). Bring a waterproof and warm jacket and other clothes, depending on the weather forecast. Bring morning tea, lunch and snack items. Water as above. All in a back pack. You may care to bring a towel, change of footwear and clothes for the return car trip, in a separate bag. If we're back in time, we can always stop at Val Jeffries' Tharwa General Store for a beer (whoops, icecream).
  9. What we'll see

    1. Brayshaws Hut. This residence was built during 1903, possibly by Edward Brayshaw and is one of only two slab and shingle dwellings remaining in Namadgi. The building has been conserved to its 1930s appearance.
    2. Brayshaws shearing shed site. The shearing shed site is just beyond the nearest clump of boulders.
    3. Grassy Creek sheep yards. Concrete dip with yards. Built by Frank Oldfield and others about 1947. Forked fence yard in good condition with remnant forked and wire fences nearby.
    4. Waterhole Hut. Dwyer's was constructed between 1872 & 1904. The hut collapsed and the chimney stones were used for Waterhole Hut. Attempts to positively identify Dwyer's have been unsuccessful. Waterhole Hut was erected in 1939, extended in 1940s.
    5. Waterhole stockyards. Built from bush timber, the yards are constructed of logs dropped between paired posts or into ‘Y’-forked posts; some of the rails are held in place with wire. A large boulder and a fallen tree have been incorporated into the yards’ perimeter.
    6. 112 Mile survey blaze.
    7. Several ACT border markers.
    8. Drop log fencing.
    9. NSW portion survey reference tree.
    10. Westerman graves. 2 graves, in an enclosure marked by Hawthorn trees, roses & periwinkle. Elizabeth Shiels (nee Westerman) died of tuberculosis in 1922, aged 46. Due to severe floods in area it was impossible to get her remains away to a cemetery, so a coffin was fashioned from ceiling boards from one of the main rooms and she was buried here. Second grave is that of an un-named baby daughter of Thomas and Mary Jane Westerman.
    11. Westerman Homestead. The present homestead is said (oral) to be the third built on this site, the first dating at least to the 1880s. The present weatherboard building dates from around 1916. Large pines and other exotics are present.
    12. Westermans sheep dip. Sheepdip of concreted rubble built by Thomas Westerman & Bruce Jeffreys sometime between 1916-45, associated with Westermans Homestead.
    13. Mixed exotics. Westermans Homestead garden plantings & landscape elements. Includes two windbreak lines of willows (5) and pines (3), 2 poplars, an elderberry and privet in area East of Homestead. Minor species include Broom, Ivy, Iris, Periwinkle and Nettle. Progression of rural fences evident including, 'fork & rail', post & rail, post & wire, and star-picket & wire.

Track Map

Track map: thumbnail is active - click for a larger picture


Track Notes

Could you blame me for being a little nervous as we met at Namadgi Visitors Centre? Nat (the organiser) and 13 ladies turned up from Canberra Womens Adventure Group and there were Cynthia C and Maggie K along from CBC to give me a hand. We sorted ourselves into 4 cars and drove south at kanga dodging pace.

A stop at the Hospital Hill lookout to gaze into the heart of Namadgi National Park and look at the hills. A beautiful Autumn day.

At last at we arrived at Brayshaws. The next logistical nightmare was to quickly reduce to zero the lengthy toilet queue. A map was handed to each walker and we had a quick go at orienting them and a bit of hand waiving. Off we set at 9.30am, with Cynthia in front and Maggie at the back.

It was soon evident that this was an excellent party of walkers. All most capable. We stuck together well and the only trouble (from my perspective) was the incessant chatter (just kidding).

We followed the Settlers Track to the signage above the sheep yards and detoured down to have a look at the drop-log fencing and the sheep dip. Back on the nicely mown track, we chattered on to Waterhole Hut, on to the stockyards, then back to the hut for morning tea.

No one had wanted to exit along the 6km Settlers Track route and no one wanted to do just the 9km Settlers Track, so we pressed on 500m along the track to cross the old Grassy Creek fire trail, then headed bush. A 1.3km leg to the SW in 25mins to hit the new Grassy Creek fire trail (not marked on the second edition maps).

From here, we went to the NW to the 112 Mile blaze. How sad - it's deteriorated even more since I last saw it on 8-9 Sep 12.

Heading back to the SE, we followed the new Grassy Creek fire trail generally along the border. We passed the old rail gate, then stopped at border marker P42 and had a look over at the drop-log fencing that runs extensively along the border.

A pleasant amble till around 12.45pm, calling up to the NSW portion survey blaze, then back down into dappled shade for lunch.

Back on the road, we walked down the fire trail beside the gully, stopped at the Westerman graves, then had a good poke about Westermans Homestead. A photo op.

Then the final leg back towards the cars, stopping to have a look at Brayshaws Hut.

Finally, across the road and up to the Tin Dish School site.

We drove back to NVC, sorted into our cars and a few of us called in at Val's Tharwa Store for refreshments.

A delightful day with a delightful group of fun people. Huge thanks to Nat for organising her Group, and to Cynthia and Maggie for helping me.

Canberra WAG are next off for some abseiling. If you qualify (ie. are of the female gender), check them out here.

PS. I mentioned the story of Sam Aboud's dunny. Here it is:


Distance: 15.3km Climb: 290m. Time: 9.30am - 2.50pm (5hrs 20 mins), with 50mins of breaks.

Grading: M/E-M; M(8)

Walk Participants

From Canberra Womens Adventure Group - Nat S and Bernadette B, Elizabeth C, Erinna P, Eve C, Grace M-D, Katherine B, Lindsay O'M, Lisa D, Mel H, Murphy, Rebecca W, Sue W, Tess R. From CBC - Cynthia C, Maggie K, me.

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This page last updated 2Sep22