Old Gold Creek Sawmill Forest Walk
The newly established Old Gold Creek Sawmill Forest Walk is located a few metres from The Cottage at the end of Gold Creek Road.
This well-marked forest walk will delight young and old with over 80 species of trees close to the track labelled with their scientific and their common names and distinctive features. Look out for some interesting and surprising finds also located within the forest!
Old Gold Creek Sawmill Forest Walk marked in yellow. Map created by volunteers Bob Dale and Peter McMahon
This pleasant walk through a small forest with a lot of history is accessed either from MCCG’s cottage (to Section A) or from the parking area by sidling around the locked gate to enter Section B, see map below. About 80 species of tree close to the track are labelled with their scientific and their common names.
Here is a PDF list of all the trees to look out for on the walk.
Gordon Grigg one of the driving forces behind the Forest Walk showing off one of the Sawmill relics located near the path.
The walk is named for the sawmill that operated here from 1919 to 1923.
Track users will note an extensive understory of weeds; Freckleface (Hypoestes phyllostachya) and Coral Berry (Rivina humilis). Their control by hand is impractical and repeated herbicide treatment would be both unacceptable and likely to be deleterious, so we tolerate them.
We are undertaking an inventory of trees and are expecting the full list will comprise about 100 species. Additional labelling of many more trees is foreshadowed, focussing on small specimens because the leaves, flowers and fruit of mature trees, so important for identification, are usually lost to sight in the canopy.
Only a very small part of the area west of the cottage access road (white) is remnant forest, the rest of that half is regrowth since the 1920s, after the sawmill was dismantled. Supplementary planting along both sides of the access road and also to the east of it, cleared originally for the sawmill, was undertaken by MCCG members in the mid-2000s.
Apart from a fringe of trees along Gold Creek Road, the area east of the access road was bulldozed clear of lantana and other weedy species in 1998 and left to see what natural regeneration would occur. Little did and substantial planting was undertaken, mainly in 2004-5, by MCCG’s Section 9, the “Upper Gold Creekers”.
A working bee by Upper Gold Creekers east of the old sawmill site, November 2004.
Morning tea on the road (no longer advisable!)
The change of ownership from BCC to Seqwater constrained maintenance work for a number of years and the whole area became overgrown with lantana and other weeds. Happily, an MoU between MCCG and Seqwater opened opportunities for renovating the area. However, because the area was so heavily overgrown, we saw the need in 2016 for funding to employ contract weeders to ‘break the back’ of what would be a big job to open up the area so that a walking track could be developed. The first two applications were unsuccessful, but an application in 2019 for a grant from the Federal Government’s ‘Communities Environment Program’ did succeed and was funded in December that year. But of course, everything went into lockdown in March 2020 for what became known as Covid 19. The renegotiated finish date became June 2021, and the work in that first phase is now completed and the track is now open.
Future work is foreshadowed, including opening and maintaining a branch track down to the creek, installing some possum boxes, labelling many of the smaller trees close to the track and installing a couple of simple seats along the track.
Why is there the ruins of a boat in the middle of the forest?
There is a lot more information on the history and the walk itself coming soon!