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Latest news from Bushwalking Victoria

Images captured during Waverley Bushwalkers' base camp at Wilsons Prom, 10-15 April 2016.

FloraFaunaWilsonsProm

Source: Walklines, May 2016

Note: This article includes an invitation to walk the Bald Hill to Woods Point section of the track on Monday 13 June.

 

Unless you have a high level of navigation skills and are prepared to bush-bash, not all of the 220km of McMillans Walking Track is currently suitable for walking. But thanks to the recent efforts by DELWP, Parks Victoria and the Ben Cruachan Walking Club several sections have been cleared and remarked, making them very suitable for club outings. Clubs and independent walkers are encouraged to experience the wonders of McMillans Walking Track.


McMillans Walking Track follows tracks cut by Angus McMillian in 1864 when he was commissioned by the Colonial Government to construct a track to link the goldmining communities in the Gippsland high country. The track starts on the Great Alpine Road near Omeo and winds its way through the high country above Dargo and Licola to finish at Woods Point.


Recently volunteers Joe, John, Michael and Anna from Ben Cruachan worked on behalf of Parks Victoria and the DELWP to upgrade some 10km of three off-road sections of the track. In addition DELWP engaged contractors to clear and upgrade 4km of the track leading into Woods Point.

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Photos: Left: Volunteers Anna, Joe and John
Right: Volunteer Michael checks his GPS for the position of the track on Treasure Spur


Treasure Spur


From a camp on the Mayford flats on the upper Dargo River, John, Michael and I put in almost 50 hours of labour to upgrade the marking and clear the route on Treasure Spur from Mayford up to the King Spur Track. It will now be much more straightforward to follow the track and the walking will be easier.


Mayford is a delightful and remote location. It has 4WD access only between November and the beginning of May, but is accessible on foot all year round subject to weather conditions. It is a 9km walk and a drop of 800m in from the Dargo High Plains Road.


A rewarding overnight back pack with a car shuffle would be to walk down the Dinner Plain Track from Dinner Plain and descend into the Dargo River via the Mayford Spur Track. Then camp the night(s) on the grassy flats adjacent to the Dargo River, once the site of the bustling goldmining settlement of Mayford, not that you can recognise any of it now, but the fishing can be rewarding. When you are ready to move on, climb Treasure Spur up to the King Spur Track, then follow King Spur Track taking in the views into and over the Devils Hollow to its junction with the Dargo High Plains Road. Have a vehicle waiting for you here.


On this 20km walk you will experience 14km of McMillans Walking Track. You will not need a 4WD for this trip.


Talbotville to Eaglevale


From a camp on the banks of the Wonnangatta River at Eaglevale, the volunteers cleared and upgraded the marking on the track from the suspension bridge over the Wonnangatta River up to the top of the Cynthia Range, marked on some maps as Station Track. The work hear revealed some of the original benching of McMillans Track.

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Photo: Before, during and after clearing work on Station Track


They then went on to clear the track from the Wongungarra River up to Brewery Creek Road, not far from Talbotville. They had to deal with quite a lot of blackberry on the lower half of this section of track.


The track from the Wongungarra River to Brewery Creek Road has arguably some of the best examples of Angus McMillian's work, where rock was hewn and stone walls constructed to form an eight foot (2.4m) wide track along steep slopes.

 

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Examples of Angus McMillian's work


After some 120 hours of volunteer effort there is now an easy to follow 11km system of tracks linking the pleasant camping areas of Talbotville and Eaglevale. But you still need to take your maps. You will need to ford the Crooked and the Wongungarra Rivers, which is straight-forward at low flow. There is a suspension bridge across the Wonnangatta River. You will observe some of the construction work carried out by Angus McMillian and his men over 150 years ago.


Bald Hill to Woods Point


Much closer to Melbourne, the eastern end of McMillans Walking Track now provides for a pleasant day walk in the Woods Point Gold-Mines Historic Area, thanks to DELWP at Mansfield which engaged a contractor to clear and upgrade the track from the turn off from the Bald Hill Track down to the Goulburn River. It is now a pleasant 8km walk down from Bald Hill into Woods Point or a challenging 16km return walk involving a 350m climb. Check it out.


Ben Cruachan Bushwalking Club has a club walk on this section of the track on Monday 13 June, the Queen's Birthday weekend. Members of other clubs are welcome to register to join in. Contact Anna at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Acknowledgements


I want to acknowledge James Noonan, Forest Manager - Macalister, DELWP Heyfield; Sarah Noonan, Ranger Team Leader, Parks Victoria Heyfield; Vicki Jones, Ranger, Parks Victoria Dargo; Dan 'Dargo', DELWP Dargo; and Catherine Spencer, Forest and Fire Planner, DELWP Mansfield for their facilitation, support and encouragement. Thanks also to John, Michael and Anna for their unselfish time, companionship and hard work. Special thanks to John for the use of his vehicle and equipment and all the 4WD driving to get us to and from the work sites and coming all the way from Mt Gambier.


For further information about walking McMillian's Walking Track contact Ben Cruachan Bushwalking Club at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; website: http://bencruachanwalkingclub.com.


Joe van Beek, Ben Cruachan Bushwalking Club

Bushwalking News Victoria


The Bushwalking Victoria website contains a great deal of valuable information for both members and the non-members. During 2015 the Board tasked a website subcommittee, led by me, with reviewing this large and complex website to assess how easy and intuitive it is to use, especially for those not necessarily familiar with it, with the objective of making specific recommendations for any required changes.


A website committee report has been presented to the board, which accepted its recommendations. Prominent among the many recommendations was the 'elevation' of member information so that this resource for club committees and club members is easier to find.
Implementation of the recommendations will entail a redesign of the website. Some of the changes you can expect are a 'flatter' menu structure so that there is less 'drilling down' to find information; make all major topic areas 'visible' at menu level so that users can see what information is on the site; making user accounts easier to understand and manage.


The new version of the website will be launched later in 2016.


Bushwalking News Victoria


We conducted a survey of readers (and non-readers) of Bushwalking News Victoria. 323 responses were received – more than sufficient for the survey to be statistically valid. There were good levels of response from metropolitan and regional club members, as well as Individual Supporter members and bushwalkers who do not belong to any club.
Comments received about Bushwalking News Victoria were generally favourable. But we asked about what content readers would like to receive. Three items were prominent: news about what Bushwalking Victoria is doing on behalf of bushwalkers; news from land managers; and news about Bushwalking Tracks and Conservation activities.


We are now planning to undertake a restructure of Bushwalking News Victoria, which we hope will fulfil these desires of readers. We are also planning to redesign the newsletter and its delivery mechanism to give readers the option of reading it on a mobile device as well as having a print-friendly version of the newsletter.


The new version of the newsletter to be launched later in 2106.


Joslin Guest, board member

Bushwalking Victoria recently met with Bradley Fauteux, CEO of Parks Victoria. At that meeting, we emphasised the importance of the volunteer work we have been doing with Parks Victoria, which is focussed mainly on tracks and conservation work.


We also made the point that some important tracks are being lost due to lack of maintenance.


He has asked us to nominate up to 10 tracks state-wide where we would like to see priority given to remediation work. In 2015 the Bushwalking Tracks and Conservation (BTAC) committee compiled a short list of 'tracks at risk'.


We need your input and knowledge to complete that list, and identify the priorities. I am therefore requesting that club walks coordinators or walk leaders tell us about the tracks that need some TLC! Ideally, we would like you to send us a short list of tracks you consider to be at risk, with a brief outline of the major problems associated with each track at present.


The BTAC committee, led by Megan Major, will then coordinate and review the list, and liaise with Parks Victoria to hopefully get some priority action.
The next BTAC meeting is Monday 6 June, so please provide your input by Friday 3 June. Please send responses to Megan Major, the Bushwalking Tracks & Conservation Convener, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


We'll give you feedback on the outcomes we achieve.


Tony Walker, President, Bushwalking Victoria

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