Saturday, September 28, 2019

A night in the Deua National Park

Back from a night spent at the Deua National Park. We started off exploring Monga National Park from the Braidwood end but found one access road was blocked by a big muddy bog which on inspection with a stick determined it was too soft to try and cross. So we backtracked and headed off to Deua.

The campground was deserted, small with 3 firepits and a long drop toilet. We were visited by a local ranger who collected $6 camp fees and stopped for a yarn and to remind us of the NSW National Parks fireban which is expected to extend to March 2020. So a cold camp it was.

The next morning we reterned to Monga and visited a place called Penance Grove. It consists of a wet forest Gully containg towering plumwood trees said to be an ancient remnant of when Australia was still conected to the prehistoric landmass of Gondwana.

You could feel the temprature drop as you climb the viewing boardwalk to be surrounded by these ancient trees interspersed with tree ferns and moss. Beautiful place.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

A night camping at Mount Coree

I spent Friday and evening camped at Mount Coree in Brindabella National Park which has a prominent fire tower that is manned by the ACT.

I think we are very lucky in Canberra to have so many remote campsites within an hours drive from the suburbs.

Access to the Coree campground was closed at the Canberra end because of unsafe track conditions but was accessible via Picadilly Circus and Two Sticks Road off Brindabella Road.

The campground is untamed, small and basic having a well maintained pit toilet and a few picnic tables.

The trail up to Mount Coree is a challenging drive on a very rough surface and I found myself parking and walking the last 50 mtres to the summit. 

Saturday, August 3, 2019

The Blue Range Hut

I spent Friday and Saturday of last week at the Blue Range campground out past Urriara on Brindabella Road. We hired the rustic corrugated iron hut and loaded up with firewood in preparation for the cold nights forecasted.

The campground has an interesting history having once been a World War 2 Italian internment camp. The residents worked on forestry projects and produced charcoal. Supplies came from Canberra every two weeks and when the supplies failed to come they eat rabbits.

Its a first in best dressed for booking the hut and is a bargain for the price.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

A new scar on an old scar tree in Wanniassa

I spent a while this morning with Mark Parton, a local Tuggeranong MLA, visiting a few Indigenous heritage sites. After an inspection of the Theodore Grinding Grooves off Christmas Street we visited a few scar trees in Wanniassa.

Whilst visiting the canoe tree on Livingston Avenue Mark noticed a new third scar. Someone has recently, within months, removed a section of bark in traditional style from the tree.

The more I think about this the more disturbed I am. Couldn't they have chosen a tree not already scarred? Interestingly there is an Australian Federal Police notice stapled to the trunk so maybe there is an investigation underway.

I took some video

Friday, June 28, 2019

The loss of a significant remnant heritage listed Canberra Scar Tree

The now lost Wanniassa scar tree in 2010..

Recently an identified Aboriginal scar tree was wrongly cut down and mulched despite heritage listing. The magnificent and free ABC reported on the occurance here.

I had first and last visited the tree in 2010 and the photo above is from that visit. The kids at some point in time called it the "spook Tree" which I'm sure is a story in itself.

I have visited the sites of many of the Tuggeranong and Woden Valley trees. Many are in an excellent condition and, protected by law, should be around for whatever the lifespan of the tree is. My thoughts go to the trees on the fringe of the Diplomatic area of Yarralumla on West Ridge.

These appear to me, although it could be a trait of the species, to be very old compared to others I have seen..

There are other trees however that, in 2010, were seeing the ravishes of white ants.. not much left of some but compost.

Which brings me to the point of this post.. is there more we can be doing to preserve these trees for future generations. Especially any neglected on Stirling Ridge

If anyone is interested in the not difficult walk it is located on the intersection of Empire Circuit and Forster Street Yarralumla starting at the signposted remnants of Westlake Settlement. Walk up the hill where you will find a track that climbs past a 1920's Canberra sewer vent that looks like an ornate chimney to the ridge where most of the trees are located.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Early Snow in the Brindabellas

The plan was to camp at Flea Creek Campground but the onset of wet weather made the notion of a steep incline on a greasy, clay fire trail unpalatable. We instead went looking for the Blue Range Campground and set out up Blue Range Road to where it joins with Two Sticks Road just short of the road to the Mount Coree summit.

As we progressed the rain turned to snow and the chill from the brisk wind was noticeably uncomfortable whenever we left the vehicles. The decision was made to abandon the adventure.

I did learn a lot about the area and a return trip is planned, however in the current season a booking of the Blue Range Hut as a basecamp could be the go.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

A visit to the Yankee Hat Aboriginal Rock Art Site

I managed to cross something off my bucket list early this morning. A visit to the Yankee Hat Aboriginal Rock Art Site. The adventure required a 6 1/2 kilometer round trip from the carpark off Bobeyon Road in the south of the ACT.

It is an easy walk through an enormous grass covered plain at the base of Yankee Hat Mountain. On the walk we disturbed quite a few small mobs of Eastern Grey Kangaroos as we progressed along the well marked track.

I took a few minutes of video of the site. It really is a unique and special place.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The devil's gap recordings

In 2013, whilst hunting winter lyrebird song recordings, I managed to capture what I thought at the time to be 'out of place' noises for the location and times of the night they were recorded.

This will be a little more complex post than usual and I urge you to watch the videos I present, using headphones with mine if possible, and with Russell's video see an explanation of the two charts that were compiled by him from the compared data of his research into bipedal walking sound analysis.

The following two videos are the recordings I captured, firstly in 2013 and secondly in December of 2018.

The 2013 gap recordings were taken over two sessions of several days and I acknowledge now, six years later, that some of the recordings may indeed be native fauna e.g. wallabies as I think I can discern the sound of grass eating inbetween movements. There should however be no sounds of people in the location in the dark.

 These are the recent he recent gap recordings. Not as dramatic as the original recordings but with definite, at least I believe, bipedal walking accompanied by dramatic tree breaking. I sent these recordings down to a friend who I would personally describe as an expert on wildlife sound recording. He has done extensive work on analysing this type of recording.


For full information on Russell's "therusty222" research visit his website at..

These are the charts compiled by Russell for the unknown subject in my recordings in the December. Based on the impact and stride of wallabies, a 75 kg human and calculated height by stride time calculations the unknown subject of my recordings was dramatically taller than 5' 9" (possibly nearly 7' and much heavier. 

For an explanation of Russell's method he recently uploaded a video which is quite descriptive and I highly recommended.. 

Rusty's youtube..

So.. Are there 7 foot tall 140 kg wild men lurking at Devil's Gap? It's always made me wonder how the area got the name.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Chasing feral cats results

As promised, the results of the camera I put out near Gibraltar Creek two weeks ago.

I had collected am image of a very healthy tabby feral cat at the location and was basicly interested in learning about any population of them there. I don't aim to persue it any further after satisfying my curiosity with the capture of a cat ear shown in the video.

Its a very active area for wildlife with captures of several wallabies, a lyrebird, and a photogenic wombat who all visited the field of view recently..

I took some video tosay while I picked up the camera and tacked the results on the end.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Shanahan's Mountain Camp

Years ago I was told the story of a young man who claimed to have an encounter with yowies at Shanahan's Mountain in 2009.

As the tale went this fellow, who had argued with his parents, decided to drive out on Bobeyon Road to the southern most reach of the Territory to camp in the Shanahan's Mountain walking trail carpark. (why there I couldn't imagine).

On the second night of his stay there he says he was confronted by the sounds of branches breaking and bipedal movements around the carpark culminating in an attack of rocks being hurled into the carpark. In terror he fled in his car at this juncture. And so ends the story.

On Saturday a couple of friends and myself enjoyed the views atop Shanahan's Mountain and spent the evening camped down in the carpark. The night was quite cool and deathly still. Many a good conversation was had while we waited for our yowies. I took some video..

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Chasing feral cats

Picture of the taxidermy at Tidbinbilla.

Spent an hour setting up a single remote camera this morning at a location I have visited several times over the years. It is a small gully seldom visited at the end of a disused old forestry trail on a tributary of the Gibraltar Creek.

In the past I have collected images and video of the usual native fauna and the small gully flat seems to be a natural pathway from the Gibraltar Creek to higher ground. The area is cooler than the higher ground and feels a bit 'jurassic' in contrast to the surrounding dense bush.

Of particular interest to me are the population of feral cats in the area. The following photo is the image captured of a tabby feral cat at this location. I'd like to see how active they are there now.

I took some video of the setup..

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Return to Devils Gap

On the 22nd of December I returned to a small geological feature near Canberra called Devil's Gap which is located in between Gibraltar Creek and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. My aim was to see if some strange out of place type of noises I first captured in 2012 whilst recording lyrebird song would repeat.

I collected the recorder and returned home to find that my computer had given up the ghost so I sent the SD card containing 16 files of 6 hours duration each to a fellow called Dan who edits an Australian online newsletter called the Yowie Times and who researches the existence of what we today would commonly refer to as a Yowie.

He collaborates with several persons in the field of study a lot more knowledgeable and technologically savvy than David. The recordings in the following video are the results. Feel free to comment.

( if you are interested in subscribing to the Yowie Times send an email requesting submission to )

Friday, December 28, 2018

Devil's Gap

Some years ago I had placed an audio recorder out at a place called Devil's Gap which is located in between Gibraltar Creek and Tidbinbilla and accessible by foot from the Tidbinbilla Ring Road or via the fire trail which starts just up from the woods reserve campground located on Corin Road.
It was mid winter at the time and I was attempting to record the sound of a lyrebird display. It is my habit to put out a sony voice recorder which will run for 4 days with high powered lithium batteries on super high quality. The 8gb memory card holds 16 x 8 hour files which matches the battery life.

I did manage to capture a lovely recording which had the claim to fame of being played on ABC Radio Canberra. I also captured some unidentified noises which had left me wondering for a long time as to what had made the noises.

I would describe the sounds captured as being like a very heavy man running past the recorder several times and at times striking the recorder. This was accompanied by the sound of tree branches/bushes being snapped in what sounded like an aggressive action and a separate approach by a set of walking sounds, stopping to rummage the granite rock that was placed on the plastic weather sheild that protected the recorder.

All this happened in the small hours of the morning in fairly dense scrub at an hour that I wouldn't expect bushwalkers let alone cross country runners.. I returned there 6 days ago and again set a recorder.. I picked it up today. Here is a short video of the set up..


 And another of my trip to collect today..


 If there is anything to report I'll post again.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Gibraltar Creek Aboriginal Grinding Grooves

A trip today with Vlad to Gibraltar Falls on Corin Dam Road to see some documented Indigenous grinding grooves. There are several grooves located within a few square metres along the edge of the creek above the falls.

Vlad tells me there are more undocumented grooves below the falls which can be approached via the Gibraltar Creek walking track which begins at Woods Reserve.

My first impression of the location was the impressive views that would have been on display as the person grinding worked. I took some video..

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Sainsbury Park Aboriginal Scarred Tree - Wanniassa

A trip today with Vlad to inspect the known Aboriginal Scar Trees in Wanniassa. Of particular interest to me was an old tree with a double scar near a small children's play area in Sainsbury Street opposite Spensley Place. The tree has two scars indicating two utensils were made. One, to me, appears to be the size of a large shield and the other a smaller coolomon.

The larger scar is impressive. In my opinion it is the most destinct scar I have seen in the Canberra region because of the way the bark regrowth on the scar's edge has grown symmetrically giving a good impression of the original size of the scar.

I took a few photographs..

Friday, November 30, 2018

Lanyon Homestead's Aboriginal Scar Trees

A trip today with Vlad to inspect the Indigenous Scar Trees at Lanyon Homestead. Lanyon is an 1830's convict established Property originally owned by the early settler James Wright.

There are quite a few documented stories about Wright's interaction with the original People. These old, old trees are a tangible reminder of their heritage.

I took some video...

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Review of an old post called the lost tribe

Recently an old blog post started showing up in the statistics.. At the time it was titled the same as the Australian National Library's Trove article it displayed..

"Canberra Blacks the Lost Tribe.

 There were two schools of thought in the 1920s as to the habitation and numbers of Indigenous People living in the (now) Canberra region at the time of European settlement/invasion. This article along with it's display of era racism nonetheless gives us some tantalising clues as to historical accuracy.

 The main early settler characters quoted are a relative of James Wright first settler of Lanyon Homestead in the 1830's and, after bankrupting, establishing Cuppacumbalong at present day Tharwa once "beyond the limits of habitation andA Mr Bluett who lived at Brindabella Valley and was somewhat the local historian.

 My thoughts on a video...


This is the old post in question..

 And if you are interested in the original argument it can be found here..

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Yowie Town Hall at Nana Glen NSW 2018

It's just gone past midnight and I had travelled 850km to attend a gathering of Yowie Researchers and interested people for the unveiling of a bust by artist Buck Buckingham of an alleged yowie that was photographed by Ray Doherty of the Australian Yowie Project.

There were three very interesting speakers dealing with varying aspects of yowie research in Australia followed by the final speaker, Ray, who detailed the story of how the photograph came to be.

Effectively the photograph was taken in Queensland and showed a blurry head sitting in a tree in a remote area. The photograph sat for a few years until some new software came onto the market that could refocus images.

From the clearer image Buck was asked to sketch the photograph and eventually create a lifelike bust from the drawing. I think the result is remarkable.

If you are interested in the details please go to the Project's website at..

I took a little video on the day and was allowed to film the bust and the artists sketch of the photograph as long as due credit is supplied.. Credit: Australian Yowie Project and artist Buck Buckingham.

Time for some sleep. It's a long way back to Canberra in the morning.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Relocating the Westridge Aboriginal scar trees

Another trip this morning to try and relocate several Aboriginal Scarred Trees on Stirling Ridge in Yarralumla. Apart from last week where I found one tree I haven't been there since 2012 so armed with my short memory and Vlad Mastara we started searching.

We managed to locate/relocate 3 trees distinctive because of their obvious age and after a fair bit of circling around possible trees are pretty confident that the trees pictured below are authentic.

The trees and their scars are very old. The deadwood 'face' of the scars are showing the destructive signs of weathering with one find now totally eaten through by termites. The others remain.

From memory there are more up there.. another day.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Aboriginal Killing of a 'hairy man' at the Yass and Murrumbidgee Rivers

The depicted image is of a 1790 woodcut from Sydney Cove.

There are a lot of reports with Australian Gorillas, yahoos, hairy men and yowies located on the National Library's Trove search engine and I have mentioned a few of them from the local area on this blog over the last 8 years. Of all the local reports one stood out more than all the others. It was a small addendum to a longer clipping quoting an early Canberra Settler by the name of George Graham Webb who relates his encounter along with his brother whilst mustering cattle at Uriarra..

Almost as an afterthought he relates the reminiscence of another early settler, Henry Williams, who tells the story of the killing of a grey ‘hairy man’ near the junction of the Yass and Murrumbidgee Rivers..

This image in so little words has stuck with me since I read it. Was, what we might call today a, yowie killed by a group of Aboriginals near the time of European settlement? "It was like a black man, but covered in grey hair."

I think that is somewhat odd..

A night in the Deua National Park

Back from a night spent at the Deua National Park. We started off exploring Monga National Park from the Braidwood end but found one a...