On a mild autumn morning Glenn led a group of 13 walkers down into a forested gully, along a mostly dry creek bed and along scrubby trails to the stony remnants of Billy’s Hut. There Glenn described to the group, Billy’s life in that isolated spot.
The occupant of Billy’s Hut was William McCarthy, an Irish immigrant who arrived in his late 20’s and built a dry stone walled, 2 roomed hut in the forest near Nelligen. He became locally known as “Black Flat Billy.” and was a true bush character, an illiterate bachelor whose only companions were a dog, a pig and a diamond python. The hut is now almost invisible amongst the forest, only a few metres from the creek he used for water and the quarry that were the centre of Billy’s small world.
Prospectors began making gold strikes in the 1890’s but it wasn’t until 1960 that the Mines department commenced a more systematic record of mine shafts. It can be assumed that shafts not included in the McIlveen Study were insitu prior to 1890. It is a testament to the skills & knowledge of many early prospectors that they could detect a site that would yields “liveable” amounts of gold.
Our group sat reflectively on a log and tried to imagine Billy’s life but perhaps that reality is just too different from this day & age.
Thank you Glenn for our walk & our trip into the past.
Click for larger and captions from the website. Photos by Denise and Mary
**** This article first appeared on the Batemans Bay Bushwalking website
About the BATEMANS BAY BUSHWALKERS INC. First formed in 1985, we have about 200 members. We are not-for-profit and run by volunteers We are an Incorporated Association with a Constitution and a Committee to oversee administration Personal Accident, Public Liability and Associations Liability Insurance is funded by your annual subscriptions We publish 4 Walks Programs per year, with 2 walks a week of varying grades. Visitors are welcome on walks and are covered by our insurance for 3 walks per financial year Walks are led by volunteer Walk Leaders, who carry a GPS, topographic map, and when appropriate, a safety beacon. We take our safety seriously. Bushwalking is a risky business, accidents do happen, injuries do result. Each walk is graded for difficulty so that you can choose walks to suit your level of ability. Members and Visitors sign a Responsibility Waiver before each walk. We also get together for a variety of social activities and camps, but you have to be a Member to come along to those