This was a 5 day hard backpacking trip researching sites on north Gungarlin Valley, Burnt Hut, Mackays Hut, Diggers Ck sites, Boobee & Crooks & Happy huts, Happy Jacks Areas sites, Dr Phillips & Bulls Pk Ck area sites. Quite long hard days. There was a heavy thunderstorm one day.
[provided as record of an old trip visiting many sites around the Happy Jacks area]
Featured Image is Greg in front of the Vertical Rock just west of Doubtful Ck near Cesjacks
This is a report on a walking trip from Cesjacks to the Happy Jacks Area plus a further visit to Cesjacks area and Bulls Peak Ck area.
The main aim was to check out some sites in the Happy Jacks area, check the Diggers Ck diggings and to see if access to Bolton’s Hill was possible as well as revisit some sites in the Gungarlin Valley along Bulls Peak Ck.
GPS readings of important sites were done using a Garmin Oregon 450 connecting to 9-11 satellites and averaged over 1-2 minutes to provide a 100% reliable reading.
Total GPS recorded trip distance over 5 days was 113.8Km. Reference the end for information about pictures, files and GPS files.
Day 1 – Mon 14th March
Drove to gate near Cesjacks Hut. Took route along the border as previously done and defined by Robert Green. I also had a GPS route provided by Craig Doubleday that went across to Mackays Hut and Boobee Hut.
I got to the spot where the border and farmers trail turn. I then took a detour along the border fence east down towards the Gungarlin River looking for a site provided by Graham Sully called Burnt Hut that he had been shown many years ago by the Boltons. The hut supposed to have been built by John Bolton ~1895.
The fenceline on the map is supposed to be straight. It is a new fence but is not straight. It zigs and zags to the south, then east, the south again, then veers a bit north.
However I found the site of Burnt Hut which is about 250m west of the river and 3 metres south of the fenceline that runs east-west. There are two piles of stones at the north and south ends. It’s about 8×5 metres in an N-S alignment. Pictures no 2-6 on Picasa link
Burnt Hut GPS 635650 6001055 (accuracy very high)
Looking at the topo maps, there is a section of KNP that shoots east down to the Gungarlin River. However I followed a new gate in the fenceline and well used 4WD north and then west to not so old stockyards and then a border fence which I roughly marked on the GPS map. The border fence appears roughly N-S (10deg true to the north) and is 1Km west of Gungarlin. Stockyards are Pic 7.
Stockyards GPS 635006 6001582
Also the maps show private property impinging into KNP just west of the bit just walked. However the fenceline clearly follows east of the 4WD and just west of the Weather station.
In some respects these two variations to the maps balance out somewhat.
Walking further up the valley and over the watershed it’s clear that this was a useful bridle route in the old days. As one get down into the Tibeaudo Valley signs of a rut can be found on the east side and a bit of a walking track develops through a gorge before reaching the Greymare FT.
This route from Mackays (Greymare FT) to Cesjacks is probably the best route between the two.
Saddle point that divides Eucumbene from Tumut catchments 632750 6002267
I reached Boobeee Hut very late because of the Gungarlin deviation.
Boobee Hut (new one) at the door 631910 6008301 (very accurate)
I used Boobee as a base camp and spent 3 nights there to explore Happy Jacks area. Pics 44-45, 75-79.
I did 20.4Km this day.
Day 2 – Tues 15th March
Day trip around Happy Jacks Plain. Did some 33.8Km.
Firstly stopped at the location of HJ2. KHA and DS’s GPS readings are only 1 metre apart
The general location is on a small knoll overlooking the valley and the 4WD track. A small creek is close by. It’s sheltered from westerly winds. No signs of any structure are visible
Happy Jacks No2 locale 632512 6008884 (same as KHA)
Continued on to approx. location of HJ1. This is on a small hill overlooking the 4WD.
Again KHA and DS are a metre apart. No idea now this is. There is no evidence of any structure again
Looking at the ground slope I chose a flatter area nearby as just as likely the site
Happy Jacks No1 locale 633214 6009271 (diff to KHA and DS)
Continued on to HJ4 KHA nominal site. It’s quite sloped with nothing obvious around. I found a better site to the NW. I have captured a GPS view that shows these variants as well as HJ4 DS variant which is some 200m north of the KHA location.
Again here I have chosen a location slightly to the west that is flatter.
Happy Jacks No4 locale 633665 6009806 KHA variant (diff to KHA)
Happy Jacks No4 locale 633687 6009980 DS variant (diff to DS)
Can’t say which look more likely the KHA or DS variants. They are some 200m apart. Intuitively the DS variant looks more suitable as the KHA site is very exposed. Both have good views back to HJ1
Continued onto to HJ Road and then around to HJ Plain site.
I could not find any old track into the HJ Plain (3/4) site. I approached from the east side and headed towards the KHA GPS point. It didn’t look prospective so headed towards the JW reading and bingo it’s there or close. Took a 100%/HQ reading.
Very little remains but some hinges, tins, and scattered pieces. The whole area is getting heavily overgrown
Happy Jacks Plain (3/4) site 634225 6009458. JW’s reading is only 5 m difference so is OK
Note the KHA reading is 125m north and DS’s is farther.
Continued on to Happy Jacks Cattleyards 634772 6008775. Took a HQ reading. JW’s reading is only 1 metre different
Then continued onto the Footbridge across Happy Jacks Ck. This is now dangerous with a simple large log across with old pipe above for support. But the pipe moves. I nearly fell in.
Happy Jacks old Footbridge 636943 6010078
Continued up the ridge, picked up the 4WD and then had lunch at Brooks new hut
Brooks Hut (new) 636918 6011641
JW’s reading is 5/10 metres different. I took a HQ reading at the door so it’s good.
Looked for the Unknown site (Gatis Gregors) some 200-300 m north to NW of Brooks. Found nothing but didn’t look too hard. Doesn’t seem possible that there was any site near where it is supposed to be as its sloped and close to the top of the ridgeline which would not have been usual for a mountain hut. It’s a very unlikely site.
Went on to Happys Hut. Took another HQ reading at the door
Happys Hut 638732 6013666. This is close to JW and DS’s but there is a 5m variance with some of the reading, but mine was done accurately.
Went along road to Tabletop Track, then GreyMare FT and to Dr Phillips site
Dr Phillips Hut site 639478 6010651. JW is again only 1 metre different. Pics 35-38. There are two drums buried in the ground near the site connected back to the site by an underground pipe.
Found an old tower partially fallen on the plain
Old Tower HJ Plain 638602 6010460
Found a new weather station 500m north of the HJ Plain site. Its looks the same as the one in the Gungarlin valley near Cesjacks
Happy Jacks Weather Station 634278 6009990
I did 33.8Km this day.
Day 3 – Wed 16th March
Did 14.8Km this day.
The weather looked dubious and it rained very heavily in the morning and whilst I was on the HJ Road.
I firstly went to the nominal site of the HJ7 location that KHA had recorded based on Gatis Gregors listing. Again nothing obvious. I can’t say if there was anything there but it’s very dubious. The GPS position based on the GDA66 GR. I feel if there was a hut there it would have been a bout 15m east
Happy Jacks No7 locale 633427 6009684
I also rechecked both HJ4 sites again. Impossible to define which is valid again. However we know there was one there.
Happy Jacks Township
Wandered around the roads for several hundred metres on the east side and took a reading at a major intersection
Happy Jacks Township Eastside 633258 6011979
There are some roads also on the west side over several levels
I note Jong Williams took a reading on the main HJ road at the junction where I went into the east side. This is probably a better overall location for a reading
Happy Jacks Township (Main Road Junction) John Williams 633258 6011979
Pics 51-55. I also looked for HJ6 also a Gregors listing at 633213 6011884. Nothing there and its quite overgrown and dense.
I had lunch on the tops overlooking the Delorite Quarry as well as the gorge formed up and down the Happy Jacks River. It was running pretty well. The views were magnificent. Good views of the crusher plant
The GPS readings from DS for these seem OK
HJ Diorite Quarry 632670 6012700 (DS) Pics 59-60.
HJ Diorite Crusher Plant 632350 6012700 (DS)
They were carrying out some restoration work on the plant area. Pic 61.
Holston Diggings 632170 6012400 (DS)
Pics 62-74. DS’s readings for this site cannot be substantiated. I walked up Dodger Ck from HJ Road. The area between the main road and a small dam across the eastern ck has formed a large pond. Near the ck damming there is another quarry which has been used as a camp site by some in the past, although it’s very rocky
There is a road that goes over the ck and heads around the point between the west and east cks to where DS shows the Holston Diggings. The road continues up the valley on the east side of the west ck. It’s overgrown there. It would be easy to walk up the ridgeline between the two cks. To the west there appears to have been an old 4WD that went from the crusher plant across an embankment that spanned another creek that flows down into the west ck and then continued up the west side of the west ck
The West Dodger Ck is heavily impacted by old willows that have been poisoned or burnt out and died making access to the ck near impossible. The grass is also very high after the wet weather. I could see no signs of diggings in the creeks. No machinery and no stones.
There was further quarry from the ridgeline on the eastern side of the west ck. Maybe that was the diggings, although all these quarries and roads seem to stem from SMA days.
It’s possible the SMA work has destroyed or covered the old diggings
Day 4 – Thur 17th March
Left Boobee and walked down 4WD towards Diggers Ck. It eventually stops before the ck.
I found a clear evidence of diggings along ck near where I crossed. Marked it Diggers Ck Diggings 1. I went up the ridge to the east and could see clear evidence of an old bridle trail along this area
I could also see down onto Diggers Ck and picked out 3 more clear areas of diggings. These I marked as Diggs 2, 3 and 4. These I marked where I was on the ridge and noted the approx. distance to the sites. They are all mainly on the western side of the ck. Diggs4 is just above a crops of rocks through which the creek drops and enters a min gorge below it. Pics 81-93.
There is a defined race along the ridge to the east of the creek that finishes apposite Diggs3.
I followed the race all the way back to close to the creek that comes down from the header dam.
The GP track marks it as 2.8Km long. Parts of it near the open cut and further south are deep and supported by a small rock wall.
The Open Cuts areas as DS defined are grassy areas where they cut out the ground and sluiced no doubt.
The first one I came to I did not initially recognise it as it very minor. It’s about 30m below DS’s waypoint.
The second one OC1 is more pronounced and I took a reading in the middle.
Diggers Creek Open Cut 1 632083 6006981
Diggers Creek Open Cut 2 632335 6007222
Diggers Ck Diggs 1 632150 6007399
Diggers Ck Diggs 2 approx 632559 6007648
Diggers Ck Diggs 3 approx 632718 6007656
Diggers Ck Diggs 4 approx 632774 6007653
There does appear to be a small race joining this main one just south of OC2.
A creek flows down from below the Main Header Dam wall to joining Diggers Ck at a WP I marked as the Ck. The creek above this area is very flat with a small area defined by steep grassy sides. There may have been a small dam here funnelling water into the race but all signs have gone. Pic 94.
Where did water come from to fill the header dam? It’s on top of a ridge
Well halfway between the dam and Mackays Hut I came across a very defined rut/race running generally SE to NE (alignment 100 deg true). This race dropped quickly and was heading down into Diggers Ck maybe 500m upstream of where the main race finished. I am guessing it comes from Tibeaudo Ck but it’s hard to conceive it on the map. DS’s map showing a race coming around the east side to the header dam and past Mackays to Tibeaudo Ck I didn’t check. Some of that matches my thoughts.
There may be another race also going from that creek to the header dam. I didn’t look for it.
These are worthy of further checking.
I stopped for lunch at Mackays Hut and took a HQ GPS reading at the front door.
Mackays Hut 631837 6005200. It says Mackays above the door. There I also a plaque inside which I photographed that says “Tibeaudo Hut. This chimney was resurrected in autumn 1972 on behalf of the KHA on the combined efforts of the Monaro Acclimatisation Society, Tate Ski Club and No5 Sqn RAAF”. Pics 96-99.
The junction of GreyMare FT and the newly recut Doubtful Gap FT is 629831 6004557
The Doubtful River near Grey mare FT is a damn difficult thing to cross. Crossed ok upstream 100m.
I kept my eyes looking across to where Rials Stockyards should be but could see nothing. If they were there they seem to have gone.
There are some signs of an old bridle trail up the west side of the Doubtful River but it disappears in less than a Km. It must have gone up a ridge.
Going along the Doubtful River is not that easy and I ended up crossing two more times and another time just below Cesjacks. The route up Tibeaudo Ck and along the border would have been easier and quicker.
The Vertical Rock which is 500m NW of Cesjacks is 630184 5999050. Pics 104-106.
Did 17.3Km this day.
Cesjacks Hut GPS UTM 630631 5998858 Alt 1727m
Day 5 – Fri 18th March
I did 27.5Km this day.
Initially walked along the ridge to the south and searched for Cesjacks 2 again this time also checking the KHA reading. Again no signs.
I went further and checked for Cesjacks 4 that was listed by Gatis Gregors. Again no signs. This is a nice area protected by small ridgeline from west with close by views of the Bulls Peak Valley. However there is no water anywhere near here and it doesn’t seem to be on any route. Pics 110-113.
Going back north I checked around Cesjacks 3 site this time also checking the KHA reading. No go with either. Pics 114-115. There does not seem to be reliable water here and the sites are exposed as with Cesjacks 2.
I took the Bulls Peak trail down to Bulls Peak Lodge but continued down to Flanagans Hut area.
I took HQ readings of the huts I came across down here. Pics 116-118
There is a an old set of yards and sheep dip here 631778 5996703
Flanagans Hut 631886 5996911
I then continued on down to a gate and worked my way along the west bank of the Bulls Pk Ck until opposite High Hut and found the new Footbridge built partly from the frame of Kore Grunnsund burnt caravan
Footbridge 2 633909 5997716
Note there are three footbridges along the Bulls Pk Ck. Pic 111.
I went then up to High Hut and retook a better reading at the door. Pics 121, 122
High Hut 634034 5997615
I went then south across to the old hut actually named “Katingal” above the door with Kore+Eva Grunnsund marked next to it. Pics 123-126.
Katingal 634145 5997290
Not far away I found the sign to Rowes hut and have established with the property owner that it is now in the right position. Pics 127, 128 and 136-138
Rowe’s Hut (1939-1964) 634067 5997159
I made contact with Max Rowe who is the son of the builder Eddie Rowe and have more information on the hut, pictures and the family history
I also went and visited the Tin Hut 633922 5995872. Pics 130-132
I did not have time to search for the Vanzella’s Ruin? I think the estimate may be way out anyway
I returned to Cesjacks via Bulls Peak Lodge Trail but using the new Footbridge that replaced an earlier one built by Gillespie Jones of Bulls peak Lodge. Pic 110.
Footbridge 3 632698 5997015
I went back to my car near the gate and stopped off at the Bogong Lodge area. Not having much time and the area being heavily over grown with grass I could find little although I found another site with some small pieces of concrete.
Some of the HJ sites are nearly impossible to decide if the information on their locations is valid. It’s impossible to know if DS’s HJ4 is more accurate than the KHA option. Also HJ 6, 7 listed from Gatis Gregors (GG) work are both suspicious. Both seemed superfluous and why would you have one at HK Township. The site just north of Brooks also listed by GG looks invalid. Some of his others may be of similar category including Cesjacks 4 (more on that elsewhere).
Holstons Diggings looks difficult to determine anything due to the immensity of the SMA work in the past.
The border fencelines along part of the Gungarlin are also totally out of alignment with the mapping.
The races to get to Diggers Ck need some more work as something must have fed the header dam.
The sites along the west Gungarlin/Bulls Peak edge are now surveyed and mapped. The Rowe history still needs to be collated and checked for any relevancy.
Diagrams and Pictures Available
Pictures of this trip are available on Google Photos were uploaded as 1600 pixels wide and if you click on a picture you can download it as 1600 x 900 pixels. The original pictures are all ~4320 x 2432, 16:9, 10.5 Megapixels, ~ 5Mbytes. The sketch/maps are either 1600, 1800 or 2000 pixels wide.
It includes several special sketches and scans:
- Two sketches/map extracts covering the Diggers Ck Diggings, Race and Header Dam
- One sketch showing the area near Happy Jacks Quarry and Holstons Diggings
- One scanned map showing the fencelines and boundaries in the Gungarlin Valley near Burnt Hut
- Two blown up GPS map views showing detailed variances for locations and GPS waypoints around happy Jacks 4 and Happy Jacks 3/Plain Hut sites
- 8 x GPS Topo map extracts showing my routes and any special details of hut or historic sites on a day by day basis. These are 1800 pixels wide
A Google Drive folder contains the following:
- One Google earth kmz file covering the trip but not extra routes
- One GPX file covering the trip data and other data used
- An excel file that shows info on important sites visited
- Separate file on short report of this trip.
I have also created a separate file on findings on the huts of Gungarlin Valley adjoining KNP near Cesjacks. Also I have kept data on the contacts for these huts in another file.
Greg Hutchison, 29 May 2011 [Updated 27th Nov 2017]