• Balnarring- Coolart

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    Walk report
    Balnarring-Coolart
    Wednesday 17th June 2014
    Leader: Chris Spencer

    On a good morning for walking, eight of us headed off from the Balnarring
    Hall carpark, for the Coolart Wetlands and homestead.
    After walking just over a kilometre down Sandy Point Rd, we turned right
    into Luxton Drive. Russell and I commented on the huge cypress trees, that
    must have been planted over a hundred years ago.
    Once entering the wetlands reserve, we went to look at the bird hide, on the
    banks of  Coolart Lagoon. There was a note on the whiteboard inside, remarking on the lack of birds in the area at the moment; sure enough when we were there, not many were to be seen. The reason wasn’t fully known apparently. Both the bird hide and our morning snack stop ( the theatrette and meeting building ) had excellent information and pictures of the various birdlife, that could be seen on a good day.
    After the morning break. some of us had a look through the homestead; it is a magnificent building, with large formal rooms and an impressive staircase.
    Following this, we headed on a very pretty walk, meandering through the wetlands and then along the beach, and the banks of the Merricks Creek, a tranquil spot.
    Finally we arrived at Balnarring  beach, and walked along Balnarring Beach Road, back to our cars. Enjoyable coffee and eats followed at the Red Hill Bakery.
    Thanks Chris for an enjoyable walk. Keith M

  • Navigation training

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    Navigation Training
    Lysterfield Lake
    Saturday June 14  
    Leader: Richard Kraus
     
     
     
    The objective for the walk was to navigate our way around the park using a map of Lysterfield and a compass.  We were shown how to orientate the map using visual observation as well as a compass.
     
    At 9:30 am, we met in the top car park situated on the Eastern side of Lysterfield Lake.  From here using our map to guide us we walked in a southerly direction along a track to the southern end of the lake where we crossed the foot bridge from East to West continuing to walk along the track until we reached an intersection where we turned right and headed north to a point where we began using our map and compass to set our bearings and walk from point to point using visual targets, to ensure we were keeping on the chosen route.  Continual observation of the map and the surrounding area taught us to identify markings on the map such as man made objects, ruins, water course, roads, density of the forest and interpreting contour lines.
     
    We continued to navigate our way around the park in a circular direction travelling from North to North West changing direction to East back to North East then again East.  We walked cross country in high grass, up hill, down into valleys, frequently having to climb over or around fallen trees, across knolls and open clearings.
     
    Historical sight, ruin, man made object, dam, road or intersection awaited at the end of each destination.
     
    The first man made object was a bench seat.  A little further along was an old ore cart used in the Quarry around the mid 1920s.  Along the side of the track Marty discovered a Fungtopus.  An incredible fungus that looks like an octopus! The Octopus Stinkhorn is native to Australia.  It emerges from an egg called superumpent – this means it erupts in an explosion of enlargement. At maturity the Stinkhorn gives a fetid odor, reminiscent of rotting flesh.  This is to attract flies that land hoping to have found a place to lay their egg. The species are spread by the gleba attaching to the body of flies.  The eggs are edible and taste similar to a very rancid radish. Aborigines used this bush tucker as a very last resort. Do not try at home.

    We stopped for morning tea at a dam. Continuing on we arrived on top of a grassy knoll where we found a tram wheel base used to transport materials from the Quarry in the early 1900s.
     
    Near the intersection of Donelan Track and Powells Track was chosen for our lunch break.  The apple tree, the clumps of lilies and the snowdrops were evidence that the area had belonged to a homestead at one time.  The homestead was built by the Donelan Family in 1878. The homestead was situated further up the hill at 218m on one of the highest hills in the park. They managed 100 hectares of razing/dairy/cattle property.  The homestead was demolished in 1960 when the State Government closed down all farms in the region.
     
    From the intersection a bearing of 1100 E we located the remains, a pump, well and milking shed that formed part of Boys Farm that was set up in the 1930s and operated until the 1950s.  It was designed to train boys as young as 14 and 15 in farming.
     
    From here was our last bearing of 840 E.  Our destination was the lookout where we settled ourselves under an embracing tree surrounded by an abundance of kangaroos.  The shy little joeys peeping from behind tree trunks and bushes cautiously watching these two legged creates invading their space. Big Daddy was not far away either!!
     
    Throughout the day we saw many kangaroos; we were serenaded by the Grey Currawong and heard Kookaburras laugh.
     
     Homeward bound, travelling south we arrive back at the car park at approximately 3:30pm where we gathered at the café for that hot cupper or ice cream for some.
     
    The day was a whole new experience for me and I believe it was enjoyed by all.  It was filled with many interesting things to see and learn.  Lots of laughter and good company! 
     
    Thank you, Richard for a great day and for imparting your knowledge with us.
     
    Giselle

  • OT Dam

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    Walk to OT Dam, Dromana
    Wednesday June 4th
    Leader: Margaret Madge  

    Seven highly experienced bushwalkers met at the Hillview Community Reserve on quite a pleasant day. As we started the walk, up that steep climb of 1.3km to the OT Dam, there were mutterings of ‘this must be doing us good’ and unusually not much talking. Once at the top, we remembered just why it was worth making the effort. The surface of the dam was very smooth and the surrounding dense bush was reflected quite beautifully. As usual, there was someone else there who was keen to find out about the origin of the dam and our knowledgeable leader Margaret was able to tell the story of this Peninsula icon. We then made our way around the dam to the boardwalk and again, took some time to admire the environment – a perfect photo opportunity (see attached photo). Continuing on our way, through the bush tracks, more undulations and unmade roads, we occasionally glimpsed our stunning bay. As we emerged from the bush, a leech was spotted on my scarf, most unusual, but my fellow walkers dispensed with him promptly. No morning tea this time but a lovely coffee at the shop opposite the reserve, which is now under new management. Thank you Margaret for a very pleasant morning.  
    Ann Balette

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