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Batemans Bay Bushwalkers: Mines, Wildflowers and a Tribute

Five walks were on offer to the Batemans Bay Bushwalkers over the past fortnight but only three went ahead.  Rain hampered an easy/medium walk in the Moruya area and walkers seemed to be a little daunted by a medium/hard walk in the Gulaga Mountain area and no-one registered to walk! Nevertheless, four walkers did participate in a tough 7km hike to the Bumbo #2 gold mine near Nerrigundah.  This walk was last completed in 2017 when the forest cover was very dense and navigation difficult. The January 2020 fires severely burnt this area which made hiking on the upper slopes easier and also exposed many features which had been missed in 2017. The rains since the fires have resulted in dramatic growth of silvertop ash seedlings which appear like a carpet on the burnt hillside. The hikers came across many shafts dug by the miners between 1895 and 1906 during the peak of the gold mining activities. Many of these shafts would have been hidden before the fires and we could have easily lost a few hikers! The first tunnel is on the creek line with the water flowing out at a reasonable pace. Heading down stream to the second tunnel the bushfires exposed the remains of an old stone building on the hillside that was not seen in 2017. The second tunnel is more accessible and has many interesting features. The first thing you experience standing at the entrance is a cool wind coming straight out at you which means it must connect to a shaft to create the breeze. The group ventured into this tunnel for over 50 metres before reaching a drop off estimated to be over 10 metres deep.  On the long climb back to the car (400m of elevation) the hikers realised that in a few years from now the forest will reclaim this area and make navigation very difficult again. Meanwhile, perfect spring weather brought 13 of our members out to enjoy an easy morning walk of 5.5 kms in the Brou Lake area in search of wildflowers and they were not disappointed.  On the shores of Brou Lake, a mixed flock predominantly of Pied Oystercatchers with a few Sooty thrown in the mix, surprised walkers with their number, considering that the species is listed as endangered.   North of Batemans Bay, the predicted forecast of thirty degrees did little to deter the thirteen determined walkers who gathered for this lovely Easy/Medium walk of 9 kms among the forests and waterways on the western edge of Durras Lake.  The Walk Leader, Sharon Macdonald, came prepared with wine glasses (plastic) and sparkling wine (non-alcoholic) in order to raise a glass and reflect on the contribution of one of the club’s most loved members, Val Harris.  Many shared memories and stories of Val over morning tea by the lake.  The walk then continued to Benandarah Creek. If interested in joining the Batemans Bay Bushwalkers, please visit for more information.

Leader, Rob Lees and Peter Thompson inspecting an old stone building on the hillside exposed by bushfires

Leader, Denise Strickland, on the left, on the shores of Brou Lake ready to take her group in search of wildflowers

Paying tribute to Val Harris

Enjoying being out in the bush, Bev Dent with a Kangaroo Apple plant

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