Bushwalking News Victoria, Bushwalking Victoria's monthly newsletter.
The combined Gippsland bushwalking clubs are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the establishment of McMillan's Track with an end-to-end walk from Friday 30 October to Thursday 12 November.
Some places are available for members of other bushwalking clubs to join the walk. Anyone who wishes to express an interest in participating should contact Joe van Beek.
McMillian's Track was established after Angus McMillian was commissioned by the Victorian colonial government in 1864 to establish a track to link the various gold fields in Gippsland. The track stretches some 220km from Omeo westward to Woods Point through the Gippsland high country.
Plaque near Breakfast Creek commemorating the official opening of McMillan's Track as a walking track in March 1988
Each year the Gippsland based bushwalking clubs have a combined weekend of bushwalking and camaraderie. This year's Combined Gippsland Bushwalking Clubs' Weekend is being hosted by the Ben Cruachan Walking Club in the Victorian High Country. This year, the 'weekend' includes an end-to-end walk of McMillan's Track.
Ben Cruachan Walking Club has had a long association with the track. Starting a few years after the club was formed in 1965, members investigated, documented and marked what they thought was an accurate re-creation of 'McMillan's Track' and began maintaining it. During the 1980s a concerted effort was made, with help from the State Government, to get the track to a condition where it was readily walkable and fully marked. The track was officially re-opened in 1988. The Ben Cruachan Walking Club last walked the track end-to-end walk in 2009.
The Combined Gippsland Bushwalking Clubs' Weekend this year will be based at Sambain Chalet, 35km north of Licola. The program of walks includes joining the end-to-end McMillan's Track walkers for day 9 from Thomastown to Breakfast Creek and part of day 10 from Breakfast Creek to the Glencairn-Licola Road. Other walks on the weekend program also include parts of McMillan's Track: The Crinoline, Mt Reynard and Mt Arbuckle. The iconic Mt Howitt and Bryces Gorge walks are also on the program.
150th anniversary celebration
After dinner on the Saturday night, there will be a function to formally commemorate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of McMillan's Track, including the cutting of a commemorative cake.
The end-to-end walk of McMillan's Track will be a 14 day supported walk, starting near Omeo on Friday 30 October and finishing at Woods Point on 12 November. There will be a core of end-to-end walkers, but people are welcome to join and leave the walk at any of the overnight camps or road crossings.
The end-to-end walkers will camp at Sambain Chalet on the Friday and Saturday nights of the combined clubs' weekend and be party to the 150th anniversary commemorative dinner.
Michael Dowe, Tracks and Huts Convenor for Ben Cruachan Walking Club, at Abbotts Link Track near the Eastern end of McMillan's Track
Parts of McMillan's Track have had little maintenance in recent years. Bushfires, heavy rains and natural regrowth have impacted on the track. An outcome from the end-to-end walk will be a track condition report with a prioritised list of projects to bring the track back up to scratch.
Joe van Beek, Ben Cruachan Bushwalking Club