This was a 21/2 days and 40Km hard walk from Mt Selwyn Car Park to Nine Mile Diggings & Tabletop. The it was tracing races & looking for mining sites such as dams & diggings. I climbed Tabletop attaining great views around North Kosciuszko National Park and explored down several Gullies below 9Mile diggings.
The featured image is a view of Mt Jagungal from Mt Selwyn
10-12 Oct 2017 – Nine Mile Diggings, Tabletop (Kiandra Trip 13)
Summary Interesting Items
- Day1 – Climbed Tabletop & took a bearing on the pointed mountain way to the north
- Day1 – Followed race from below Tabletop Trail that goes to Dam13 to its source
- Day2 – Found two races to Bells area came off the creek below campsite also with Dams 23 & 24. New Dam 27 on the Creek
- Day2 – Determined that no race from Dam 13 goes to Dam 12 near Bells directly
- Day2 – Walked down Scotch Gully from Bells to junction with Scotch Trib Gully passing several cascades and a falls and several diggings
- Day2 – Walked up Scotch Tributary Gully and found several more groups of diggings with piles of stones piled into ridges. Located races coming mainly from Dam 22
- Day2 – Visited Skeleton Gully accessed directly west of Dam 21 and followed it down as far as diggings seemed to go. Three dams along valley and lots of gullies and stones ridges. The top Dam 28 linked by race right back to Dam 19 west of Bells. A parallel race from Dam 19 didn’t go all the way & either was linked or spun off and went over to 9 Mile Ck area. Determined that previously named Dam 20 was actually two parallel ruts of the two races
- Day3 – Checked race from near Main Header Dam & believe it goes past Dam15 to a gully. However it must feed two parallel lower races that go back to main sluice. The main sluice near Header dam must have subsided over the years otherwise this race isn’t possible
- Day3 – Followed race from Dam15 to new Dam 16
The following are notes on my 3 day trip. Some are detailed in regard to mining infrastructure such as races, dams, and diggings sites. Some might seem excessive work but learning where the water is taken from and where the dams are, leads to finding the actual diggings and even mine tunnels. Many of the sites are in remote rugged country. Many races run through thick scrub and can be very hard to detect and follow. After a while you can work out where the races go and often only need to verify a sampling of the race locations with GPS waypoints. Sometimes they follow around large features like mountains and hills. Its often a treasure hunt to see if they follow contours or cut across a saddle or track to defeat your original thought as to where they were going. Walking say the Tabletop Trail between south of Nine Mile and north of Four Mile diggings you would never know that at least a dozen races have crossed over the route of this track. One of them that cuts the trail at a saddle between Tabletop Mountain and the ridge to the north is quite large and is 3m deep in some places and of course as it cuts through the saddle where the trail is it is was carrying water from the Snowy catchment side to the Tumut or Murray-Darling side. There are several examples like this. It interesting to appreciate that they did this 50-60 years before the Snowy Scheme was started.
This trip was one of many over several years checking mining and other historical sites around Kiandra to help historian David Scott and ultimately Kosciuszko Huts Association (KHA) with documenting European historical activities within Kosciuszko National Park (KNP). In the process many hut and mining sites have been found, GPS’d and photographed.
10th Oct – Day 1
Up early & left home 6.35AM. Stopped for a newspaper then at Maccas Cooma for a break & coffee. Then straight to Mt Selwyn. I made CP about 10AM. After organising I left just before 10.30AM and headed out on the trail to the Tabletop Trail.
Weather was sunny and calm. I got some good pictures of Jagungal in the distance with still some snow coverage as well as snow covered Kerries and Brassy Mountains behind it, I also passed 4 brumbies not far from the comms towers.
I reached 9Mile Creek at 12.40PM and stopped for a short lunch break. Around 1.10PM I revisited David’s old wood stove which is still in place although the round chimney pipe is lying in the grass behind with some other small pieces of iron. I walked up to the top of the Nine Mile Trail passing some precarious partially fallen dead trees.
On top I quickly revisited the two dams that are just to the east of the trail & rechecked my findings of 5 years ago that the race coming off 9Mile Ck came behind these two dams, feeding them, then continued some 30-40m before turning hard right, crossing the trail & dropping into the Upper Scotch Gully Diggings. This it did.
I then continued to the Main Header Dam, dropped my pack, took the compulsory pictures of the main sluice. However I also reviewed earlier discoveries about a race leaving the Dam, crossing the track twice before also crossing the earlier mentioned race to reach the same Upper Gully. I still believe this is the case. However I noted for the first time another rut running next to the trail and heading for Dam 15. I thought it had to come from the Header Dam as well but couldn’t see it on the ground (more on that on Day 3). I followed it down for a short distance until it reached an open and cleared area where it was impossible to discern any features. I was able to pick up two parallel ruts ie races that went to the NW and reached the most SE part of Dam 15 with a long entry small gully to that Dam. However I noted the most eastern race could have bypassed the entry gully and could see a race continuing further to the NW. I followed and worked out the race ended in a gully which is not far from the same gully the earlier race from 9Mile Ck had gone to.
I back-tracked and tried to follow the other race from the entry to Dam15 and over the open area and managed to find two races going a short distance of around 40m from the open area right to the edge of the main sluice gully and I was able to look straight down into a heavily eroded section.
It was unclear where the water came from for these two races but the only conclusion that makes sense is that the race from the Header Dam I had just followed, also fed through another dam now graded over or through pipes or flumes to the races to the Sluice Gully as well as to Dam 15.
I then continued on the main trail until I could turn right and head for my proposed camp site. On the way I crossed over the Main race that went to the Main Header Dam near point 9MR6 and then walked parallel to the lower race to reach the camp site just before 2.30PM. I put up my tent and organised my day pack and then headed out around 3PM to check out the origins of the lower race that ends up at Dams13/14.
I climbed back to the Tabletop Trail and followed it for 700m including walking though some snow that was still over the trail, before dropping down to cross the main race and then pick up the lower one. I then followed it around for around 750m below the main race but eventually the two came so close together they were virtually side by side. It finally seemed to stop although the exact location was hard to pinpoint. However I went past the last sign of the race and could no longer see it. I thus concluded that at some time it was fed from the main race, although I never actually saw any junction as such.
I then cut across to the Tabletop Trail again and followed it around until where I knew was a route that is maybe the easiest way up to the top of Tabletop (1784m). Near the top was a large area of snow cover. On the top my GPS stopped recording and I lost 200m or more.
I was able to get a reading on a mountain to the north that looks quite spectacular and which I had previously noted on Mt Tantangara. The compass bearing to this peak was 340 Deg magnetic. I now think the peak is either Michelago peak or the Bogong Peaks. For checking purposes I also read the reading to the Selwyn comms tower and it was 315 deg. There were great views on the top to Jagungal and some of the Main Range behind it, to the Bogong Peaks to the north and east over to Eucumbene Dam.
I then returned along the trail to my campsite (1635m GPS 634322 6018732) reaching there around 6.05PM
I had walked 18.2Km this day according to the gpx file whilst the GPS trip meter said 18.9Km.
11th Oct – Day 2
Up around 6.00AM & had I headed off at 8.10AM.
I walked down the creek past Dams 23 & 24 (found in my Kiandra 11 trip in Mar 2017) to the Scotch Gully junction below and then turned north to reach the Bells area again. I noted I was on a race feature so I backtracked and found the race started at an obvious old Dam structure on the creek I had just left. I labelled the Dam 27. This follows my sequence with Dam numbering to label all the 9Mile Dams I have also recently nominally labelled the Header Dam, as Dam0, and the two little ones along the Tabletop Trail Dams 25 & 26.
I followed the race back around to Bells area where it finished. I then went up above Bells to note that there were signs of a race crossing the open area above Dam 12, which lies above Bells and collect water from an open area above. I followed the race around the same creek again but I could not find any takeon structure; no obvious weir or similar. So I just labelled a point as the takeon and followed it around, above and past Dam 12 (it logically may have fed this dam at some stage) and then it continued on to join the main race that comes down from Dam 13 and reaches the Bells area just north of it. There was also a side race that joined this race but went down to the small gully I thought was maybe the location of the tunnel.
I then decided to go down Scotch Gully and see if I could walk up Skeleton Gully or similar. That was the days’ main task.
I started on the east bank and followed it fairly easily finding a couple of area of diggings represented by piles of stone along the banks. Before reaching the first side creek I had to sidle past a small gorge. Then I was into an open valley with a side creek on the east and then the creek on the west (Scotch Trib1) that I had previously struggled down to. I noted an area that was suitable to camp on just past the junction. Then I passed my first serious Cascades, then some more diggings another possible campsite. Then I had to contend with a couple of cascades in series followed by a real waterfall of 10m or more. Just below the falls I could cross the creek and found diggings at a new junction on the west that David that labelled Scotch Tributary Gully. Looking downstream I noted that the vegetation was very close to the creek and very thick and nasty looking so I decided to go up this side creek and later cut across to Skeleton Gully.
The first 100m were steep, some snow, scrub but passable and it soon flattened out so that I could walk along a ridge of diggings’ stones fairly easily. I labelled two distinct ridges here Digging 8 & 9. At the top of Diggs9 I noted a large open field to the NW and walked along some of this. It was maybe 250m by 150m wide. The creek went up its NE side and at the top NE end of the area was another set of diggings I labelled Diggs10. I noted a small side gully to the east of these diggs but turned NW instead and went through some scrub to find another set of distinct diggings along the creek alignment I labelled Diggs11. I walked up the gully a little before noticing a race like structure which I followed up to quickly come across Dam 22 where it exited the Dam at its SW corner
I spent some time walking around Dam 22 and across to Dam 21, noting a further small race that went from the SW end of Dam 22 across to the exit tail of Dam 21 and also another race that came out the SE side of Dam 22 and ran down to reach the Diggs 11 slightly lower down than where I had found the first race.
I reckoned that I could get to Skeleton Gully to the west by walking below and past Dam 21 which I did Ok and avoided most scrub to pick up a race that I followed down to a beautiful dam with some water in it. The area around and above the dam was quite wet due to the snow melting. I labelled this Dam 28. I then followed an exit race that took me to a lower gully.
From the dam I went down the valley around 800m to where the diggings peated out. The top section of the valley contains mostly dug out gullies with two further dams, Dams 29 & 30. Below these it is mainly a serious of diggings with stone piles along the banks of the creek. I labelled several grouping of piles as Diggs13 to 17. Below the last it forms a small gorge and I could see not further diggings although I got a glimpse of some open valley and banks below. Dam 29 was the lowest Dam and had three outlets and spanned most of the width of the dug part of the valley with a further creek to its west. Dam 30 looked more like an embankment across part of the dugout gully with the other north south element incomplete. It was much further up the valley.
The whole series of diggings of Skelton Gully reminded me much of Frenchmen’s Ck to the west.
After lunch I went back up the valley and found a couple of side races that came off the race from the Dam, then I headed back across the top of the valley to pick up the main race and I thought follow it back to Dam 21. However the scrub became bad and the race went well above Dam 21 and then I noticed there were two races in parallel. Either another race had joined it from the NW or it was broken into parallel pieces. I struggled through really thick vegetation & fallen timber & eventually I picked up some old race points from earlier visits and then I was at Dam 20. I then realised that the Dam 20 was not really an embankment but really two parallel races which I followed across and then through a swampy section before ending up at the exit gully to Dam 19.
The extra parallel race is an enigma. I can only guess it might be a duplicate although it is possible it turns away as it approaches Skeleton Gully and heads north around the contours at about 1585m to either connect with Dam17 on the saddle between Nine Mile and Scotch Gully or a dam on 9 Mile such as Dam18.
The Dam20 I had previously indicated should be removed from any records, but the number reused as coming down from Dam19 I realised a small depression above some of the diggings was really another small dam with a race coming down to it from the northern races that left Dam19. There was even some water in this new race. So I labelled it Dam20.
I then went down to cross Scotch Gully at Bells, went up the general route of the race that comes down from Dam13. The way is now harder with a lot of fallen timber. Up where I once saw what I thought was a junction along the race, I now realised that it was a small creek that the race just passed, but didn’t join. So I followed the creek down and soon realised that it joined the creek I had come down first thing in the morning. So I cut across to that creek and was back at the campsite early at 3.45PM.
This was good as although I had only done 9.1km this day, they were hard Km with no tracks, a lot of scrub, some waterfalls to get around and a lot of rock piles to walk over. Also it was predicted for a change to come through later that night and it did look ominous in the western sky. The wind was also quite strong.
I had an early dinner but stayed up with my little campfire until nearly 8PM, although it rained a little at 7PM, when I retired to my tent to read my Kindle. Later that night it blew like hell and rained cats and dogs, so much that the side of my tent and fly were touching my sleeping bag and it ended up partially wet as were some clothes and the bottom of the tent and my sleeping mat. I also noted a hole in my bag with down feathers escaping. I then realised my trip was really over and I would have to get out quickly and get the bag repaired if possible. Also it was a bit wet in places.
12th Oct – Day 3
I was up early at 6.40AM and cooked breakfast on my stove. The weather was fine again, although windy. The campsite was in an open grassy area but quite damp underfoot due to a swamp to the south-east which I had seen initially. It’s probably would have been better to camp 50m to SW.
After packing up the wet tent I was off about 8.15AM. I climbed back up the Tabletop Trail and walked down to the Header dam where I stopped quickly and checked out where the race I had seen on Tue started. This is when I saw a rut coming from the edge of the main sluice gully (Race point R275) that clearly joined with the race alongside the trail. The water clearly ran NW towards Dam15 and downhill. Thus the water had to come from the Header dam but that was impossible. I think the obvious conclusion is that over the years the edge of the main sluice gully has been eroded away maybe as much as 5-10m and if so would have allowed space for the race to come from the header dam. Also those two small parallel races may have got their water from this race, as mentioned earlier. It’s hard to deduce which way the water would run, although it’s possible again that the edge of the gully has washed away and the water could have come down from the Header dam. However I noted with the lower race right on the Sluice Gully was pointed straight into the Main Gully whereas the race higher up was slanted at an angle towards the Header Dam as it reached the Sluice Gully.
Further to the checking around Dam15 on Tue I dropped my pack near there and followed a race coming out of its north end, around for 50m or so until I found another near perfect dam, which I subsequently labelled Dam16. I walked down from this dam along gullies that took me to the Upper Scotch Gully Mullock Heap. I looked again for any tunnel but had no luck. I walked back up a creek line to Dam15 recovered my pack and headed off. I noted possible races coming out of Dam 15, one going north towards where I had just come and the other SW towards the bottom of the main sluice.
The wind was ferocious so that cemented my thoughts to abandon any checking on 8Mile area and go straight home. I also noted another large dead gum down across the Tabletop Trail compared to 2 days earlier. It certainly dangerous walking anywhere with large dead gums standing when it’s very windy.
I reached the car park at 12.20PM and after changing and cleaning up I was on my way home by 1PM.
Today I did 11.5km mostly on the Tabletop and Mt Selwyn trails.
I was home by 4.00PM
Maps & Documents
Oziexplorer Topo Map Views
These can be seen in the Google Photos
- Trip Overview.jpg Spatial Services, DFSI NSW (was LPI) Map
- 9Mile Overview.jpg Spatial Services, DFSI NSW (was LPI) Map
- K13 Day2 A Cabramurra Ozraster Map.jpg
- K13 Day2 B Cabramurra Ozraster Map.jpg
- K13 Day3 TabletopTrack 9Mile Diggs Cabramurra Ozraster Map
Manual sketches in jpg & pdf format:
These can be seen in the Google Drive link
- 2017-10-10 9Mile Diggings Header Dam to Dams 15,16,25,26 Sketch.pdf & jpg
- 2017-10-10 9Mile Diggings Race Tabletop to Dam13 Sketch.pdf & jpg
- 2017-10-11 9Mile Diggings Dam19 to Dam28 Skeleton Gully Sketch.pdf & jpg
- 2017-10-11 9Mile Diggings Races & Dams 21&22 Scotch Trib Gully Sketch.pdf & jpg
- 2017-10-11 9Mile Diggings Races Bells Dams 12&27 Sketch.pdf & jpg
- 2017-10-11 9Mile Diggings Scotch & Trib Gullies Sketch.pdf & jpg
- 2017-10-11 9Mile Diggings Skeleton Gully Dams & Diggings Sketch.pdf & jpg
Oztopo Topo Map Views
- K13 Day1 Trip Tabletop races Oztopo.jpg
- K13 Day2 Bell Races Oztopo.jpg
- K13 Day2 D19-D28 Race Oztopo.jpg
- K13 Day2 Scotch & Scotch Trib Gullies Oztopo.jpg
- K13 Day2 Skeleton Gully Oztopo.jpg
- K13 Day3 TabletopTk Races nr Header Dam Oztopo.jpg
Map bases mainly OzRaster using Cabramurra or Denison digital topo 1:25000 maps and Oztopo digital maps
Overview GPS Map View from Oziexplorer using Spatial Services, DFSI NSW (was NSW LPI) approval for display. Others can copy for personal use but need permission to publish. Other GPS Map used Oziexplorer with map base using OzRaster Maps with permission of © BKK Enterprises Pty Ltd, http://www.gpsoz.com.au
Each picture is labelled with descriptive title. Pictures hi qual mode (9Mpixels) in Google Photos.
It will have captions through the ‘i’ button. The album is shared but only for those with the link above.
GPS files provided in gdb, gpx & kml format are labelled ‘Kiandra13 10-12 Oct 2017’ and ‘Kiandra13 10-12 Oct 2017 Tks&Races’.
There is one xlsx file: Kiandra13 10-12 Oct 2017 Sites.xlsx – shows all waypoints from gps file sorted into functional group including race waypoints with comments.