14-17 Mar 2017 – Four Mile – Nine Mile – South Bloomfield – Elaine Mine – Long Plain Homestead – Yarrangobilly Mountain – Kosciuszko National Park (Kiandra Trip 11 Public)
This was a 4 day 56.6Km trip from Mt Selwyn Car Park. Gooandra Car Park and Long Plain Hut to Four Mile & Nine Mile areas, searching for an old CSIRO research site north of Kiandra, looking at several sites near Long Plain Hut and finally walking up Yarrangobilly Mountain.
- Day1 – Found a new Dam in the valley between 4Mile Ck and Tabletop Track.
- Day1 – Determined where the race from west of North Bloomfield went to on 4Mile
- Day2 – Found new Hut site in the 9Mile area
- Day2 – Found new 6 Dams in the 9Mile area
- Day2 – Verified source of Race from Bloomfield Ck to a Dam near Four Mile Creek
- Day2 – Found Miners Sluice Hut a near Four Mile Sluice
- Day3 – Found abandoned CSIRO research site Kiandra Plain
- Day3 – Visited Long Plain Homestead, found Joseph York’s grave
- Day3 – Couldn’t find Yorkies Diggings where it was reported
- Day3 – Visited Long Plain Diggings 1 &2, and found a possible hut site
- Day4 – Walked up Yarrangobilly Mountain
14th Mar – Day 1
Up early 6AM & left home 7AM. Stopped at Maccas Cooma for a bite & coffee. Then straight to Mt Selwyn long stay car park by 10.30AM. Left there 10.45AM and arrived at 4 Mile Hut 12PM and setup my tent & had lunch.
At 1PM I went to where the race from the west side of the Tabletop Track to near Yan’s Yards went. It was hard to determine after it crossed the track if it went north or south although I thought the south route was the most likely option. After walking up to the North Bloomfield tail races & then back down to 4M track I thought it might feed another dam I found lower down, which I GPS’d and later called Dam 14.
At the North Bloomfield tail races it is hard going. I did discover that there is a small 3rd tail race on the south side and close to the other 2 main tail races.
On my way south to check if the race went that way it started raining so I returned to the hut and of course it stopped quickly by 3.05PM. The rain was coming from the North East off the coast and wasn’t that cold. So by 3.20PM I went back up the track and took the first creek south and cut through fields to a point I estimated the race may be. And there it was. It’s a bit hard to discern in places however I followed it uphill slightly but decided to follow it down as the main objective.
I was able to follow it around until it branched and went to the Small Dam (DS Dam 1) and the Large Dam which is south west of 4Mile Hut. I called these 4M Dams 2 & 3. Later I retagged them Large Dam & Small Dam 1 (DS) based on past history. Rechecking old data from a trip in Oct 2012 I note that a race from Dam3 on the 4Mile Tributary, that crosses the Tabletop Track first, actually joins the race (near my WP R159) I followed some 50m from where the race splits going to the dams, and they then they flowed to both dams. I obviously missed that junction of the two races.
I walked down to the Large Dam to the middle and then over the wall & picked up the race that went from the Dam down to diggings along 4Mile Ck & also past the hut. At one point it does a hard right turn, WP R164. I followed this divergent race and it eventually went to the 4M access track and crossed it. I didn’t follow any more as I deduced it would ultimately flow to Dam 8 which is down that way some 200m north of the hut.
I returned to camp, got some firewood and setup for dinner. It was still quite windy and dry until 7PM enabling me to cook on the fire. However by 7.15PM it started to rain lightly, which it did well into the next day. It also blew quite strongly all night.
Mt Selwyn CP to 4 Mile Hut was 5.5Km. I had walked 11.0Km this day not far but some of it was tough going.
15th Mar – Day 2
Up around 6.30AM & had breakfast in the hut cooking on my small gas stove.
I headed off at 8.15AM with a day pack pretty damn full with wet weather gear, lunch & emergency items. The weather looked poor with strong winds blowing still from the east. I expected a long hard day. It was spitting a little which dented my enthusiasm. However I made the Tabletop Track junction by 8.30AM & reached Nine Mile Ck by 9.30AM and stopped for a short morning break.
I then walked through the old mining village area and down into the wide open area below. I came across an old Mining Hut site made of pile of rocks that was new to me.
I reached my old campsite from the Kiandra trip in April 2016 and had a look around for an old valuable lightweight MSR tent peg I thought I had lost there. Of course I could not find it until I put my pack back on & was heading uphill to the west to explore more; and then I found it. You beauty!
I went over a small saddle and down to the diggings I had previously labelled “Scotch Gully Trib1 diggs”. I then noted that there was small gully or tail race going uphill to the NW with quite a lot of piles of stones around. I went up there and came upon and old area of surface diggings with an obvious dirt embankment above. It turned out to be a dam which had a two sided embankment structure and was fairly large. There was an obvious race leaving it to the north that feeds down in the valley north of where I had previously camped.
I headed south as I had previously crossed a large race lower down.
After some fiddling around trying to avoid heavy scrub I ended up crashing into a small open area that I recognised as a dam. It was quite large and had been formed across and around a swampy area. There was an obvious open outflow that went downhill and there was a race heading North East. I followed the race a whole 50m and ended up in another dam. It was narrower and longer with a strongly formed downhill wall on the south side. I found it hard to work out but it seemed to supplement the other dam.
I didn’t have time to investigate further but it’s likely these later two dams fed mining activity further downhill.
On the other side of the valley after lunch I walked up and alongside the race that comes from the main top Header Dam down to another lower Dam. I was able to see where the race came out of the Header Dam which was different to the outlet that went down to the main Sluice closely.
I then went along the Tabletop Trail some 125m and turned south to have an easier walk down to the other Dam. On the way I crossed the main Tabletop to Header Dam Race. From this other dam I was able to track a race from Tabletop for around 200m whence it reached a small creek and seemed to stop. I guessed the creek must have been a conduit in the past with a small diversion embankment/weir where it left the creek. So I went upstream about 50m and noticed a channel joining the creek from the right and followed it as best I could right around to a point close to an old spot on the main Tabletop race. By climbing up a small steep rise I was able to see the main race. They are very close these races but maybe 8m separate them in height difference. I then went back through some scrub and then across a large open field to regain the creek I had been at previously. I had wanted to verify that there was not lower race going out and around a ridgeline to reach the Dam.
I was able to get some water from the creek and went downhill and in 70m I came upon another Dam. I then continued down further and in 120m came upon another Dam. I could not readily see any races leaving either dam. It’s likely there may be more dams lower down possibly feeding water across to the Bells area. However it’s also possible the two dams were put in to support stock as the area around the dams to the east and south was very suitable for grazing.
I then went straight up the hill and crossed the new race and main header race again regaining the Tabletop trail. I went south along it for around 400m past the junction with the 4Mile Trail, then turned right and dropped down over mostly grassy area to find the main race and the new race below. I followed the latter for 165m and then decided to turn uphill and head for the Elaine Mine as it was getting late. The terrain and vegetation along this section was easy going.
I noted numerous dead trees above the race towards the trail.
I went up along the 4Mile Trail some 500m before turning left and heading for a Cairn that was my initial target to make the Elaine area.
I made the Cairn then another large Cairn and dropped down to see the Rock Dam again, then went down to view the South Bloomfield Sluice, before dropping down to the Elaine Mine. Here I looked at the adit hole, mullock heap, mine manager’s hut site before climbing up to find the race that runs from the Bloomfield Ck right around to a Dam in the 4Mile area.
I went right to the creek and could visualise that the takeon Dam/Weir must have been significant as it had to lift the water a fair way. It seems that part of the dam is still right there at the race start, with the creek diverted a couple of metres south and around the end of the dam. I assume over time the rest of the dam structure was washed away.
I have to apologise to David Scott as what I wrote about the last visit to this race start I had somehow believed that the race ran water down to Bloomfield Ck. Logicially this normally never happens and was something I never rationalised.
I followed the race right back until it crossed the Elaine Mine access track. I then tried as best I could to follow the track back around to the 4Mile Sluice. In places this is now hard because of scrub regrowth and fallen timber. However the essence of the route can still be determined. I made the final creek which also had a dam across it and then up to the main 4Mile sluice. I then travelled down its north side which becomes easier on more open grassy fields not far from the top of the sluice.
Then I saw a grass covered rocky mound which I believe was one of the Sluice Miners Huts that Paddy Kerrigan of Old Adaminaby had advised about. I decided to continue back to camp via Glennie’s Hut site and I reached the campsite at 6.10PM. The weather was better and I was able to cook over the fire and was not impacted by rain.
I had done 21.2Km this day. It was quite hard and long.
16th Mar – Day 3
I was up early and cooked breakfast on the stove again. Then I went back across to the area near the Sluice Hut found yesterday and looked around extensively. I could find no sign of any similar sites. Could Glennie’s Hut site be the one indicated! Unlikely as its some 275m bearing 318degrees true from the Sluice hut site.
I returned to camp, packed up my tent, and went back to the car parked at Mt Selwyn. The weather had started to turn again with dark clouds coming over from the west with some light drizzle. I reached the car about 12PM and had lunch there and then drove around to the Gooandra Car Park north of Kiandra on the Snowy Mountains Highway.
I then walked up a valley to the west and saw two mobs of brumbies: one with 6 and the other with about a dozen horses. I also crossed a tributary of the Eucumbene River and was able to get some nice water from it.
Soon I noticed two posts with a top rail and as I approached I saw it was a corner post for a fenceline. I continued along the fenceline I had first met until it reached a corner and turned right and headed uphill slightly. This was clearly the CSIRO (or similar) Research site I had tried to find previously. No wonder I couldn’t see it as I did not see any buildings or obviously markers that one could see from a distance. I did see an area to the SW of the fenceline and about 40m away that looked like it had been cleared and flattened a little. I got the impression that this may have been where they had some building facility. I continued up the fenceline and never got to the end so I turned right again until I hit another fenceline that had been running in parallel to the one I just left. I then went down it to the spot where I had originally started and went back along to find a couple of more fencelines heading back uphill. It seemed from walking and viewing further there were at least 5 and maybe more parallel paddocks fenced off. The bottom two paddocks (ie south side) seemed to be about 50 & 70m wide and the top three I could see around 30m wide. The lengths I don’t know but at least 180m but probably around 200-300m I would expect. From the bottom corner post it’s only about 387m up to the Wallaces Ck FT. The fences were all down but made from a couple of options of wire plus were all electrified. Some posts and star pickets still stand.
I then returned to the car and drove on to Long Plain Homestead and campground. I put up the tent and walked around the Hut and then to the Horse Camp (this is not a shown on DS map) and also walked to the grave site. This was hard to find as a large dead tree had fallen close to it. I can imagine there may have been some huts close by as John Williams suggested. There is some nice open and flat land just to the south.
I then drove to look for Yorkies Diggings supposedly next to the main road. I could not find nor see anything like diggings here. The site is clearly elsewhere.
I then drove north and looked for LP Diggs 1 & 2 which I found. I found LP2 first initially coming upon a race to its east. The first site I noticed where some rocks and a small depression through which the race might have passed and some rocks the other side. It looked suspicious and may have been a tent site or small hut at some stage. I labelled it as Hut site and then continued until reaching a gully running north-south that obviously has been dug around and looked like diggings. It ran down and joined a small creek gully running west-east that was close to the LP Diggings2 area . I then went slightly south to reach LP Diggings1 that is another small gully running west-east. I looked at DS’s data and John Williams and could find no reference to the two LP Diggings sites and have no recollection as to where I got the information from. Could they be Yorkies Diggings? I don’t know at this stage. There is a Yorkies Hut site around 0.75Km north of these sites which I did not get to on this trip.
I went back to the camp site and spoke to two couple from Yass who were testing out their campervans and a lone fisherman from Bawley Point who had been in the area the same time as me and had been fishing on the Eucumbene east of Kiandra, on the Murrumbidgee near the Port Philip Trail and was going down to Tantangara Ck via Bullock Hill the next day.
The weather had looked very threatening with very dark clouds coming over from the SW but it never rained and a fantastic sunset view to the east occurred.
Today I did 17.4KM.
17th Mar – Day 4
It was a nice morning and I was up by 6.45AM. After packing up, except for the tent I left at 8.30AM with day pack only to try and climb Yarrangobilly Mountain.
It was not that hard a climb although I had to keep checking the contours and ridges on my topo GPS in order that I took the best route. I only went wrong by about 200m on one ridge. I had to deviate around a large number of fallen dead trees and noted a large number of more dead trees still standing.
I reached the top at 10.30AM having only really stopped once. I only found one source of water which was a low tributary of Yorkies Ck. Unfortunately there were only poor views at the top mainly over the Yarrangobilly Valley to the west and Michelago Peak and the Bogong Peaks to the NW. I had a small break and morning tea whilst there. I had climbed from 1350m at Long Plain to 1625m at the top or 275m overall climb.
Coming down was much quicker, leaving at 11PM I was down at 12.40PM.
I then packed my tent up and was home by 5PM or so.
This day I did only 7.8KM.
GPS file and Topographic Map Extracts on Google Drive GPS Map View from Oziexplorer using NSW Land and Property Management Authority approval for display. Others can copy for personal use but need permission to publish.