• Black Rock Wallaby

    31 Oct – 4 Nov 2011- KNP – Gungarlin Valley, Mawsons, Cesjacks Huts Areas

    Koscisuszko National Park. A 5 day 75Km hard walking trip from Gungarlin River to Daveys Hut, Kidman Hut, McDonalds Diggings, Mawsons Hut, Cesjacks Hut, Jaanga and Bogong sites, Bulls Peak old Trail in Kosciuszko National Park.
    [provided as record of an old trip visiting many sites around Cesjacks area]

    Featured Image is view of a Black Rock Wallably on the Pipeline Trail to Gungarlin River

    This is a report on a walking trip from Gungarlin to Daveys Hut, Kidman Hut, Upper McDonalds Diggings, Mawsons Hut, Cesjacks Hut, Jaanga and Bogong sites, Bulls Peak old Trail. The main aim was to revisit old sites, recheck the Upper McDonald Diggings, recheck the old bridle trail from Strawberry Hill to Cesjacks, try and locate Jaanga and old sites around Bogong Lodge site.

    GPS readings of important sites were done using a Garmin Oregon 450 connected to 10-12 satellites and averaged over 1-2 minutes to provide a 100% reliable reading. In the GPS file/Maps the red waypoints are incorrect points, the green are sites not checked but may be valid, blue points are those I GPS’d.

    Pictures referenced are from Google Photos

    Day 1 – Mon 31st October

    I drove to the Gungarlin River camp site and walked out on the track to Daveys Hut site.

    I dropped into Daveys Hut site and came across Garry McDougal & another ranger who were from Jindabyne NPWS office. They had been working there through Oct to raise the front footings of the hut and repack them with rocks as the front of the hut had been sliding down into the sub-soil. They had also had to redo the front right set of footings as even after repacking it had continued to subside.

    They had also worked on squaring some of the frame and cleaned and relined the fireplace. They expected to be finished within a week. Pics 1, 2 and 3.

    I discussed the boundary issues with Andrew and he indicated he was aware of some of them and had advised Lands the maps were wrong. Also Garry advised me that someone had told him the Mill Flat old mill was just on the right across the last creek before going up the ridge to Little Brassy Gap.

    Before having lunch at the Teddy/Collins Ck junction, I did a detour over the boundary of the park and GPS’d where the boundary did a right hand turn. Pic 97.

    Mill Flat old mill site approx 635425 5992185 (updated this Nov 2017)

    It’s actually quite a distinctive site as it seems like a raised piece of land with grass different to all around and is fairly solid ground. Pic 82, 86.

    Further along I found the bits of corrugated iron that define about where the old picnic shelter was for those on route to Alpine; so the story goes.

    Old Picnic Shelter Site approx 635101 5991760

    I redid Kidmans GPS reading right at the front door (averaged). It’s the same as my older reading however

    Kidmans Hut (new Oregon 450 reading) 631845 5991222

    I stayed overnight at Kidmans. I reached the hut around 3.30PM, a nice to time to gather wood, set up the tent, have wash and relax. Damn marvellous compared to reaching say Broken Dam Hut two weeks ago totally pooped out at 7PM. I saw a small copperhead snake some 40m NE of the hut around 5.30PM. Pictures of Kidmans 4-9.

    Distance was 13.8Km.

    Day 2 – Tue 1st November

    Arose at 6.15AM and left Kidmans at 8.45AM in fine crisp weather.

    Saw a pig 200m up the hill and west of Kidmans.

    Also saw a small tiger snake near the McDonald Diggings as you start to climb up through the middle Burrungubuggee gorge.

    Upper McDonald Diggings Diggings

    I stopped and had a long look at these as well as the race that comes down near these from a tributary of the Burrungubuggee River. Pics 12-18, 88.

    I previously thought there was a header dam near where the race seemed to start. On further inspection the race does a right hand turn near where it meets a tributary of the Burrungubuggee River and follows it up a short distance (35m) where the tributary is constricted by a large plateau to the west; it seems like the race started around this location. There may have been a small daming arrangement or a simple flume to bring the water from the actual creek across a few metres to the race.

    The race comes down at an angle to the main River, does a right hand turn and drops down in a small sluice gully at the northern end of the diggings.

    These diggings are piles of river stones, many covered by grass on the south bank of the main river.

    Upper McDonald Diggings (updated) 630366 5991387

    The old reading I had is right at the northern end of the diggings, which really stretch along the banks for some 100m or so.

    Mawsons Hut
    Mawsons Hut 2011

    I continued on to Mawsons Hut following the old bridle trail and route crossing the Valentine without getting wet feet due to zippered gaiters.

    I reached Mawsons early at 2PM and set up camp.

    With spare time I checked at the great refurb work at Mawsons Hut, although the rats have tried to eat through the new internal cladding in one corner.

    I took the digger and went down the trail and dug a hole to reinsert one of the burnt fallen snow poles. There are now 5 poles all lined up, three on the west side of the Valentine.

    Jagungal looked magestic as usual with a splattering of white snow drifts.

    Unfortunately the weather did not live up to the BOM prediction with dark menacing clouds racing across the sky. So I had an early dinner on a small fire and then it started to rain. I was not really cold so I went into the hut and read some more of Tim Winton’s “Breath”. Initially a strange book but it held me compelled to read on which I did.

    As I went out to my tent the rain ceased, maybe 10PM, but stated again around 6AM.

    Distance was only 8.8Km, although there was some scrub bashing to climb to the Great Divide.

    Mawsons Hut Inside
    Mawsons Hut Inside 2011

    The reading I took in Oct 2010 with my old Vista GPS was verified when my new Oregon 450 came in with the same reading at the door. Mawsons Hut 626137 5990522. Pics 30-37.

    Day 3 – Wed 2nd November

    I got up at 5.45AM planning to have a long fruitful day.

    However it rained until about 9AM, when I had to make a decision to stay or go to Kidmans or Cesjacks.

    I had breakfast in the hut using my gas stove.

    I packed and left at 10AM for Cesjacks. The weather was overcast and slightly drizzly. Maybe low cloud now as Jagungal was covered. So it was going to be a Gortex jacket day.

    So I wandered north down across the creek and up onto the plateau that leads to Valentine Hut or the Big Bend. However I deviated slightly to where they used to have some large yards. There are some posts still standing, some wire on the ground and the old kerosene can etc.

    Mawson Yards 626088 5990954

    Halfway between the Valentine River and the Geehi River. I thought I had found a small, cutting part of an old bridle trail from the Big Bend to the Geehi. However on looking around carefully there are numerous small dug out areas, certainly not natural and not something done by pigs or cattle in the past. I think these were either small diggings or some prospecting work. Pics 38-39.

    Possible Diggings 625521 5992912

    Crossing the Geehi River I was too confident and got wet boots. Bugger! The gaiters failed!

    Large Cairn on Rock 625595 5995821

    This represents where the Strawberry Hill FT finishes and where the bridle trail to Cesjacks starts.

    I climbed the rock and took a GPS right on the top. Then had lunch under the north side as it offered some cover.

    I then followed the old bridle trail to Cesjacks. Including crossing the Upper Geehi River near where it forks into two. The trail is indistinct here. It’s also indistinct where it drops from a ridge down into McAlister Saddle. Pics 41-45, 90.

    Coming down from the saddle towards the Doubtful River I same across a copperhead snake basking in the sun in one of the track grooves during a break in the weather. Pics 46.47.

    The old trail does not cross the Doubtful River as such but does cross a southern tributary, but is very indistinct in the area. It then climbs slightly up the eastern side of the valley and heads north to Cesjacks. Along here you can pick up portions of the trail and even a nice cutting. Then it peters out NW of where the Bulls Peak Lodge trail joins the Bulls Peak ridge old FT. It may have gone up in that direction as David Scott’s map suggests. Pic 48.

    Walking along the valley bottom whilst not technically difficult requires crossing several bogs and thick grass which is slow. It’s much easier to climb up to the old Bulls Peak trail around this area. However I walked along the valley slowly climbing to below the tree line. The last 1Km to Cesjacks is much easier.

    I reached Cesjacks around 3.45PM, setup camp, dropped my pack and went off to try and find the Jaanga site.

    Unfortunately the rain came back and was fairly persistent right through to 10PM or so.

    However I did get out to the Jaanga area and followed around my search circle based on previous visits. I had also come to the conclusion that based on several old pictures the site was further east and slightly down an incline, as some pictures were taken of the old hut from above it.

    Luckily I found the old wheel tracks which became very definitive as this track went east and down a small incline, then largely stopped after a sharp turn to the left, i.e. north.

    I then walked around and back up the hill and around my search circle. I returned to that area down the incline and tried to compare it to an old picture John Williams had taken around 1990?

    The areas just north of the old FT is close to JW’s old picture but not exactly the same. However the length of the period and the advent of the 2003 fires has changed some of the vegetation. I think the thing that makes me believe this is the Jaanga site, is the openness of the area, close to the old FT, it can be photographed from above, and the horizon is similar to the horizon in JW’s picture. No where else gave me that background horizon. Pic 49, 91, 92

    Jaanga Hut site locale 631634 5999831

    The weather was too bad to hang around so returned to Cesjacks and wondered what to do tomorrow if the weather stayed as it was. If it had continued I would have gone down the road to the Snowy Plains and cut through Jardine’s property and gone south on trails and across to Daveys and back to the car.

    Cesjacks Hut
    Cesjacks Hut 2011

    I found David Scott’s entry in the log book from 23 Oct 2010. Pics 84. He was mainly gung-ho in having scared off a Copperhead snake using his walking sticks somewhere down on the Geehi swampy area.

    Had dinner and breakfast in Cesjacks Hut. Pics 50-51.

    I also used the limited NextG reception 100m up the hill south of Cesjacks to send the son a happy birthday message.

    I did 19.5Km this day.

    Day 4 – Thu 3rd November

    Awoke at 6.15AM but didn’t leave until 9AM. I had heard a pig pass the tent and hut around 5AM. The tent was quite wet and took some time to fold up.

    I went up to the Bulls Peak old FT, near the gate posts and left my pack there and did another survey of the Bogong lodge area. Pic 93-94.

    This time I started with Site 6 which was some concrete pieces I had found in March. After looking at these twice I believe they belong to the Tank and look like formed concrete that may have been used in that structure. Also close by to the south. 9m, is a large piece of clip lock roofing, just the thing that would have been used on a tank. However I do not believe this was the site of the tank. It’s all wrong. Probably these items were left here by mistake or fell off a truck. Pics 52-54.

    Roof tin
    Roof tin from Bogong Tank (Site6)

    Site 6 Concrete Pieces 631035 5998557

    Site 6 Roof Tin 631017 5998555

    Site 3 Wood New 631223 5998519, I took a newer reading for the tree on which some wood is nailed. Pic 56.

    Site 4 Wood-Spoon 631203 5998511. Pic 55.

    Nordheim site locale 631215 5998511. This is approximate based on being slightly down the hill from Sites 3 and 4 and between the two. I did wander around and look for the rocks that were in JW’s picture but I could not align them. However the area looks the most likely site with a good view of the Gungarlin Valley and is slightly slopped as it was reputed to be. Pics 57-58.

    Site 2 Katingal site 631256 5998550. I took a new reading in the middle of this site, which I am now very positive is the correct site. It was also the site where several daffodils were in full bloom. Old reading was 631257 5998552. Pics 59-61.

    Site 1 Bogong Lodge site 631302 5998594. I took a new reading. My old reading was 631304 5998596. Pics 63-64.

    Site 1 Out Building 631287 5998579. There were supposed to be a couple of outbuildings. The level nature of the ground indicates to me this was one such location and is only 20m from the main building. Pics 65.

    Site 1 Bricks 631272 5998573. This is unclear but could signify several possibilities. Most likely these bricks were accidentally left here. Pic 62.

    Site 5 Tank 631174 5998568. I took a new reading more in the likely centre of the tank. The old reading was 631172 5998559. This earlier reading was on the southern edge of the tank site on a small embankment. I can now see it was more circular with some bits of stone and concrete under the grass to the north. Some seems to be at Site 6. Pics 66-67.

    I then returned to the old trail and headed along to the Bulls Peak Ridge leaving about 10AM. Pics 68-69.

    McAllister Saddle Hut site. At Smiths Perisher where I stopped for lunch, I detoured NW to look for this hut site listed in the KHA database. However I could find no sign of any hut in the area. The KHA GR 284957 translated into 628512 5995884. KHA ID 23066. Its only on 1993 list. Pic 95.

    Bulls Peak Beacon 629045 5994289. Provided by Robert Green. I searched for this site. All I could find were two cut cable ties. I suspect it was some form of Weather Balloon since recovered or destroyed. Pic 96.

    I left the Bulls Peak trail where it becomes indistinct although it does continue. I then headed straight for the top of the old trail down to Kidmans.

    Kidmans Hut
    Kidmans Hut Nov 2011

    I arrived at Kidmans at about 4.40PM.

    Total trip including various searches 17.9Km

    Day 5 – Fri 4th November

    Awoke at 6.30AM but didn’t leave until 9.30AM. Having an easy day. However I did stop to take pictures of wild flowers Pics 70-78. I also came across more pig damage, which had been bad between Cesjacks and Kidmans Pic 79.

    I stopped near Snowy Plains House and made a packless detour to check out the boundary of the Jardine property. Quite a hard hot detour but I could see the fence and how it links with other bits I have seen. Pic 97.

    Saw a couple of mobs of brumbies on the plain near Daveys.

    Kidmans Hut Inside
    Kidmans Hut Inside 2011

    I reached the car at 3.15PM having done 14.9Km today. Overall about 75Km.

    Diagrams and Pictures Available

    Pictures of this trip are available on Google Photos were uploaded as 1024 pixels wide and if you download from Picasa you will get that size. 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:

    • 13 x GPS Topo map extracts showing my daily routes and the overall trip


    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
    • Separate file of this report of this trip and an excel file KNP Nov11 Important Location from Trip.xlsx

    Greg Hutchison, 15 Nov 2011 [Updated 27 Nov 2017]

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