Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

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Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby mandragara » Fri 19 Jul, 2019 5:42 pm

Hi all,

I was reading the Plan of Management for the Wollemi NP and I saw reference to a 'Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route', which is to be allowed to overgrow.

I was wondering if anyone knew what the old route used to be? I did a walk through the area over Easter and found a tiny bit of what looked like an old fire trail, I'm curious to know if I found a bit of that old Barakee route (and also how they got around Annie Rowan Ck). The trail appeared out of nowhere and then promptly vanished after about 500m.

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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby Warin » Fri 19 Jul, 2019 6:18 pm

I may be imagining it .. but I think I see traces of it in the LPI satellite imagery ... no something I'd rely on but ..

33.2814001 150.369283 might be it at your creek.

An old map might help .. I have none for that area.

Parish maps;

Parish of Rock Hill, County of Cook [cartographic material] / printed & published by Dept. of Lands, Sydney.

One dated 1970 and the other 1908.

No .. they do not go far enough north
https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-560999366/view
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby mandragara » Fri 19 Jul, 2019 6:37 pm

My eyes aren't sharp enough to spot a track at the point you mention.

My photo was taken at -33.261328, 150.414181, best viewed using Bing Maps Aerial view.

I'll check out your reference, cheers!

EDIT: Those maps are confusing, either way no marked trails.
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby michael_p » Fri 19 Jul, 2019 6:41 pm

Google Earth allows you to look at historical imagery. You may be able to spot something from older aerial photos.
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby Warin » Fri 19 Jul, 2019 7:37 pm

mandragara wrote:I'll check out your reference, cheers!


1935 map 1 inch to the mile
viewable here https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-283727828/view

has some tracks but none continuing eastwards ..

1973 1:100,000 Wallerawang (N.S.W.) 8931 .. not found on the web (by me) ..

1976 1:25,000 Rock Hill 8931-2-N also not found on the web

These could be available in the NSW State Lib., they are in the National Lib., Canberra.

Think six maps allows 1946 imagery .. but it is of low resolution and that is an area of trees... may not be that visible.
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby wildwanderer » Fri 19 Jul, 2019 8:11 pm

Off topic but I wish parks wouldnt just abandon routes/old fire trails..
by all means let them grow back so it becomes a track rather than a road but it wouldnt hurt (or be that expensive) to run a bobcat down these old fire trails every couple of years so the route is preserved.

Not everyone one wants to bash through scrub..
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby Warin » Fri 19 Jul, 2019 8:30 pm

wildwanderer wrote:it wouldnt hurt (or be that expensive) to run a bobcat down these old fire trails every couple of years so the route is preserved.


:lol: The Wiriba (sp?) Ridge Trail some what north of this was put in by the army as part of operation Snow Ball. The bull dozer came from west to east.. in one section the driver put the blade down as it came down the sandstone hill - one pass as it could not go back as the track was too steep in that direction. It would be an expensive operation to maintain it! And for what? No one is going to fight a fire there these days. I have put that track into OSM - but it is market 'disused' or 'abandoned' I forget which. I mapped it from satellite views and memory (before GPS) - some bits are missing. It probably will not show on most maps due to the 'disused' or 'abandoned' and that is as it should be. But it can be found by the determined. I would hope that similar old tracks can be mapped in the same way. I should put the Wiriba (sp?) Ridge Trail into "Open Historical Map" too. The start date for it was 1952, not all that long ago.

Consider the quantity of weeds that NP now has and the lack of money to control them, let alone eradicate them .. money on keeping tracks that spread weeds .. no.
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby mandragara » Fri 19 Jul, 2019 8:43 pm

Warin wrote:[ 1935 map 1 inch to the mile
viewable here https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-283727828/view


That map shows how the Barakee route would connect to Mt Cameron. From there it would simply follow the ridge line out to Barakee I imagine, so as far as I'm concerned this is solved! Wonderful! Many thanks for your detective work, you must be a master of the NLA's search engine.

wildwanderer wrote:Off topic but I wish parks wouldn't just abandon routes/old fire trails..


The Wollemi is one of the nations last big wilderness areas, I'm OK with letting the trails overgrow. If the demand is there, walkers will naturally keep the trail alive. Actively managed trails in a wilderness area is something I'd like to see minimised. We want to keep the weeds (and walkers who don't respect the place) out.
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby Warin » Fri 19 Jul, 2019 9:31 pm

mandragara wrote:
Warin wrote:[ 1935 map 1 inch to the mile
viewable here https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-283727828/view


Many thanks for your detective work, you must be a master of the NLA's search engine.


I like maps! Old maps can be quite useful.

And some of my family history is in NLA ... as well as other places like the Mitchell, Art Gallery of NSW, etc
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby mandragara » Fri 19 Jul, 2019 10:59 pm

Warin wrote:I like maps! Old maps can be quite useful.


Oh no I totally agree. I've checked out some older maps myself, even got to see the original Bob Buck Sketch Map at the NLA. It's absolutely huge!
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby rcaffin » Sat 20 Jul, 2019 6:06 pm

Biased opinion, but one which makes sense.

Long, long ago there was a certain amount of cattle duffing out on the plains, Rhylstone way and beyond. The cattle just 'disappeared'. The cops had no idea how. In fact, they usually ended up around Colo Heights and Putty on a few farms. Impossible, you might say?

I personally KNOW of at least five cattle duffing routes across Wollemi, because I have walked them.
* The Hunter Main Trail used to be an aboriginal path, then got upgraded to a 4WD road by the cattle duffers to come out near Putty. Then it got 'roaded'.
* The Army Road referred to above was the same, and it had two starts which joined near Gospers Mt, and ended S of Putty. One start was graded as a road, the other was graded part of the way but you had to ride a horse for a major section. Yeah, the Wall, quite famous. 4Wd cars have winched up it in the past, not without serious damage.
* There is a cattle route from Nullo Mt down to the plains to the East, not withstanding the cliffs all around. This was a horse & cattle route, not a 4WD.
* The Mt Cameron route was once a cattle track, then was graded to a 4WD status for a lot of the way, but about half of it was only for horses and cattle. It does NOT go over Barakee, nor does it have anything to do with Bob Buck's 'Barakee Pass'. He was given the name by Colo locals, but he never found the Pass and put up a rock climbing route instead (personal communication).

Of course, there is also Surveyor Townsend's track up the Colo: a mule track from Upper Colo to Rhylstone. Yeah, I know, impossible you say - but it exists. It was meant to be a survey for a railway line, but fortunately Parliament sensibly rejected it as a mad idea. Convict remains are out there. Parks do not want to acknowledge it, despite all the official logs, because they would then have to maintain it - at huge expense.

We do not give out details because we do not want hoons, yahoos, trail bike riders, MTB riders, or 4WDs out there. Nor do we want the pollies and 'authorities' involved, searching for lost novices. You will have to go explore yourself. Don't get lost: it is difficult country.

Cheers
Roger
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby mandragara » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 1:24 am

Fascinating info Roger.

So you think we stumbled across an old cattle duffing route. If it doesn't go over Barakee, where do you think it leads\used to lead? The cliffs surrounding the Colo that north are substantial and I can think of no pass he could have used to bring cattle down. Do you think it may have lead down to the Wolgan river somehow?

Also if you're familiar with the Hunter Main area, do you know where the path that branches off near Mt Monundilla leads? Was that an old cattle duffing route do you think? I've cycled the length of Hunter Main but haven't had the time to explore down past Monundilla.

Thanks

Richard
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby tom_brennan » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 12:58 pm

mandragara wrote:I was reading the Plan of Management for the Wollemi NP and I saw reference to a 'Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route', which is to be allowed to overgrow.

I was wondering if anyone knew what the old route used to be? I did a walk through the area over Easter and found a tiny bit of what looked like an old fire trail, I'm curious to know if I found a bit of that old Barakee route (and also how they got around Annie Rowan Ck). The trail appeared out of nowhere and then promptly vanished after about 500m.


John Norris and Russel May drove to Mt Barakee (via Mt Cameron) in a jeep in 1959. Pretty sure there was an article about it in an old NRMA magazine. I assume others may have done the same.

Whether this relates to your track, I have no idea!

My guess is that it's unlikely, though I don't know when someone would have driven it most recently. The Wollemi Wilderness was declared in 1999 so there's been 20 years at least of regrowth.

I remember a few years ago finding a section of road up on the top of the Wollemi-Capertee Divide west of the Pipeline Track - where there's no chance of getting a vehicle!!. Turned out it was because NPWS had heli-dropped in a bulldozer to clear a firebreak to help manage a fire. So that's another possibility.
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby rcaffin » Wed 24 Jul, 2019 7:44 am

Hi Richard and Tom

Yes to the cattle duffing route. That is quite positive: I could see the cattle track in places where it had not been dozed. No, it does not go over Barakee - which is a silly idea anyhow as the summit is very rocky. Yes, the cliffs around the Colo are substantial, but there are weaknesses here and there. No, it does not go into the Wollemi River: a quick check of the map will show you that would not work at all. I repeat: I have walked the entire route from Natural Bridge to the Putty Road.

Yes, Norris and May drove out along the old track back then, and engraved their names on a rock. I have seen the rock myself, and the engraving is still there, just lichen-covered. But that was probably about as far as they could go. Post fires, the track will have revegetated somewhat.

Further details will not be published as this is a very sensitive area, still fairly pristine. If anyone does find bits of the track, please do not publish them. Preserve the bush.

Yes, I know the psuedo-track above Newnes, W of the Pipeline track. Yes, it was an air-lifted dozer during the fires, although I don't think the clearing would have done an ounce of good against a wild-fire. I discussed it with (I think) Dave Noble, the ranger, at the time: he was pleased that it was also revegetating like mad. That is a pretty wild area too.

Cheers
Roger
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby juxtaposer » Tue 05 Nov, 2019 12:41 pm

I cut that track coming out of Colo Gorge from near Girribung Creek mouth in 1981. We dropped packs and followed it for about a kilometre towards Mt. Barakee, then turned back to our packs and followed it west towards Mt. Cameron before leaving it to drop into Tambo Creek. It was a reasonably clear two-rut vehicular track. I wondered if it may have been used for grazing on the broader ridges out that way, but we saw no sign of cattle at any point, and the area does not offer much in the way of grass. Alex Prema of Lithgow told me around that time that 4WDrive chaps from Lithgow used to go out and clear obstacles with dynamite. I later discussed it with Wilf Hilder, who speculated that it might originally have been a supply line for navvies on Townsend's rail line down the Colo, though he knew of no extension of the track down from Barakee, and I don't think the work actually extended much further up than the Wollemi junction before it was abandoned. But Wilf's theory is interesting, in that the rail project abandoned at this point might also explain why the access to the gorge from Mt. Cameron was never completed.
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby mandragara » Tue 05 Nov, 2019 9:50 pm

Thanks for the info juxtaposer. Must have been really exciting being out there in the early 80s, before the era of GPS and PLBs. What challenges did you face in these sorts of remote, off-track walks in the 80s that us youngin's don't have to face these days?

I'm 25 and don't really remember the pre-GPS eta. I sometimes wonder if we're missing out on things with our ultra-light gear, GPS, internet research, PLBs etc etc.
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby juxtaposer » Wed 06 Nov, 2019 9:17 am

mandragara, I got into it up there just after the 1st edition 1:25,000s became available in the late 70s. Before that there were only old inch to the mile and some 1: 50,000s, which were notorious for simplifications of terrain and other anomalies. The more detailed 1:25s were big improvements and I think served to increase interest in the area, along with the attention the establishment of the Wollemi NP got. I never used GPS & PLB so really don't know how much advantage they give. We just stared a lot at maps. It's very challenging country no matter what navigational aids are available. One little incident: on the 9th day of a 10 day trip there I suddenly found when looking at the map that all the contours and drainage lines were inverted: the ridges appeared as valleys and the valleys as ridges. Try as I did to focus, I had to give up, though later in the day my perception returned to normal. Talking to Bob Buck later, he told me he had experienced the same disconcerting phenomenon once in the very same area. I put it down to that's what can happen if you stare hard at maps for too long. Back to the track - when we met it we were very surprised as it wasn't marked on the map and we hadn't heard of a track going out beyond Mt. Cameron. It wasn't on our line of route for long, only about a couple of kilometres.
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby DaveNoble » Wed 06 Nov, 2019 9:35 am

The four wheel drive trail to near Mt Barakee has nothing to do with the much older railway survey track up the Colo Gorge. During the 1970's a group of 4 wheel drive enthusiasts from the Lithgow area, tried to construct a road down the Wolgan River with the aim of eventually getting to the Colo and I think then to the Putty Road. In the Wolgan, they got to the Luchetti Farm at Anne Rowan Creek, and a little beyond. But past that there was a big landslide area that they could not find a way through. So they abandoned that project and tried another approach. They made use of the Mt Cameron Track that went out from Natural Bridge to an old farm on the summit of Cameron. The track went a few kilometres beyond to a place called "Permanent Water" and then a short way past that. The 4 WD group then extended that along ridges towards the Colo. When they got close to the Colo rim they again ran into difficulties and gave up their attempt. After many bushfires that trail is now very hard to follow.
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby juxtaposer » Wed 06 Nov, 2019 1:29 pm

Yes, Dave, that is along the lines of what Alex Prema told me, but Wilf had some fascinating theories so I thought I'd toss that one in. I'll consider that one now well and truly scotched.
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby rcaffin » Wed 06 Nov, 2019 7:43 pm

The four wheel drive trail to near Mt Barakee has nothing to do with the much older railway survey track up the Colo Gorge.
Which did go from Upper Colo to the Rhylstone plains. We have walked enough of it. Townsend was slightly mad. And yes, his track does go up and down the cliffs!

In the Wolgan, they got to the Luchetti Farm at Anne Rowan Creek, and a little beyond. But past that there was a big landslide area that they could not find a way through.
We have walked that valley too, all the way down the Wolgan to the Colo-Capertee junction (eventually to Upper Colo in fact). But beyond Annie Rowan we were walking IN the river, through lots of quicksand. The chances of getting a road down that valley were and are zero. It IS a gorge. The chances of driving across the river bed without sinking terminally in the sand are zero.
ColoGorge2S.jpg

This is in the gorge. Room for a road - or even a 4WD track? Ha! The stick in my hand is 'Snake', because it has a snake head. It got us out of the quicksand many times. We brought it home in honour.

While the Lithgow 4WD club may have driven down that track, and maybe even cleared bits of it, I really don't think they created the track in the first place. There was a fair bit of bulldozing involved: that cost! It would have made sense for the Luchettis to pay for a track access to their farm, but not for the club. At the AR end the track does actually go down to the Wolgan and cross it to the pastures. Half way along the track there was a cattle stockade made by stringing old mine shaft cables (from Newnes) around trees: not the work of a club.

They made use of the Mt Cameron Track that went out from Natural Bridge to an old farm on the summit of Cameron. The track went a few kilometres beyond to a place called "Permanent Water" and then a short way past that. The 4 WD group then extended that along ridges towards the Colo. When they got close to the Colo rim they again ran into difficulties and gave up their attempt.
I repeat, we have walked from Natural Bridge to the Colo road - well, to the Culoul Range FT anyhow. We were following an old cattle track the whole way. Some parts of that route we have done several times. The Lithgow 4WD club may have driven out along the old track, but again I doubt they paid for the bulldozer work - which was extensive in some places. Yeah, they would have run into difficulties when they reached the rim! But we followed an old cattle track down into the Colo and up onto the plateau on the other side. As I said, it is just one of several duffing routes.

Interesting Q about pre-GPS days. We still do not carry a GPS today, and we manage just fine. I am sure many others are the same. We just carry an extra day's food in case.

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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby juxtaposer » Tue 12 Nov, 2019 9:36 am

Roger, I am amazed that you followed an old track down into the Colo from Barakee. I have never heard of any track, let alone a cattle track, down to the Colo Gorge from anywhere on that side. Did they really move cattle across the gorge here? What would be the point of that? Perhaps it was more bridle trail than cattle track. I do know that Gospers had a cattle camp somewhere out on Culoul Range, but didn't think they were able to access the gorge from it. As far as I know, Gospers' interest in cattle was all in the hills to east and north of the gorge. The track you found off Barakee must be very old.
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby rcaffin » Tue 12 Nov, 2019 10:26 am

Did they really move cattle across the gorge here? What would be the point of that?
Well, we were a bit amazed at first too, but we had enough food so we followed the track.

As to the point of it: cattle duffing! Knock off a dozen around Rhylstone, run them across to Colo Heights - and the cops would never know. The idea that you could actually cross from W to E was not in their imagination in those days. Yes, there was a lot of it going on in those days, all over the mountains, from the N end of Wollemi to the S end of Kanangra-Boyd. And there were lots of possible routes for it. Well, probably everywhere in NSW (or Aus) in fact.

I do know that Gospers had a cattle camp somewhere out on Culoul Range, but didn't think they were able to access the gorge from it.
Yeah, there are many places where they could graze and water cattle, hidden from the authorities. Some of those guys were expert bushmen. But would you expect them to ADVERTISE their places? Or that they could get down (fairly easily in fact) to the floor of the gorge and across?

Comment from someone who knew whereof he spoke: there is more cattle-duffing today than ever before - but it is done with B-Doubles.
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby juxtaposer » Tue 12 Nov, 2019 2:47 pm

To that I add that a bushwalker from the 20s & 30s, who I met in Singleton in the 80s, and who knew the Gosper family, told me that one of the Gospers told him that he had got a horse down to the Colo - Wollemi junction. Where he went from there I didn't inquire. I had in mind the approach might have been from Gospers Mountain, but it seems not necessarily so.
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby rcaffin » Tue 12 Nov, 2019 4:29 pm

He might have come down the Wollemi, but that would be a bit difficult. I know that when we walked the length of the Wollemi River (headwaters to Colo) there was one place where we had to swim. Chest-deep water.
It is very unlikely that he came down from the Rhylstone direction. Parts of the gorge up there are quicksand. Been there, sunk in that.
I doubt he dropped straight down from Crawfords Lookout - not with a horse anyhow. You can get down to the N into the Wollemi, but again, not with a horse.
I strongly doubt he came from Gospers Mt - wrong starting point.
But it is easy enough to come down off the Culoul Range to the Colo with a horse.

Cheers
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby mandragara » Tue 12 Nov, 2019 10:51 pm

Really interesting conversation. I need to find a book that talks more about this cattle duffing extravaganza, it's fascinating!

It'd be possible to get cattle up Pass 7 in the Colo and then out to Colo Heights. I've never done Pass 8 (Barakee pass) down to the Colo from the West, but the cliffs didn't look all that horrendous so it's possible that there'd be a route. The trail that ends at 'permanent water' could conceivably have continued all the way out to Mt Barakee and then down Barakee pass to the Colo.
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Re: Old Mount Cameron to Mount Barakee route

Postby rcaffin » Wed 13 Nov, 2019 6:30 am

Pass 7 has a rock step at the top which is OK for walkers but I doubt either horses or cattle could manage it. It's a walking route only.

The pass which Bob Buck calls 'Barakee' involves some delicate rock climbing. He knew, from a local, that there was a pass to Mt Barakee, but he was not told where. Unable to find it, he and his rock-climbing mates chose to go up the cliffs and called that 'Barakee'. (So he told me.)

Bob and his mates were looking for difficult and spectacular passes. There are many passes and routes on the east and west side of the Colo which he never found and which do not appear on his map. Details should not be published on the open web for the reasons in pink at the top of some of these channels. But you can have years of fun finding routes around Wollemi NP.

Cheers
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