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Lake Cathie


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Hi everyone,
These are photos from Leon’s paddle around Lake Cathie a few weeks ago.
Sorry they are late but in the intervening period my computer died & went to cyber heaven & I am still getting used to my new version!!
This was a fantastic paddle as the lake was full & blocked off & Leon took us through the long grasses and melaleucas on the far reaches of Lake Cathie.
After navigating our way through the grasses, which was fascinating, we went back out in Cathie Creek where some of us headed towards Lake Innes. Bill & I elected to paddle up the lovely side creek & were not disappointed.
Paddling through the grasses is quite an experience & you have to keep up or risk becoming lost in a very short space of time. With the height of the grasses you Had to keep an eye out for the blades of the paddles of those out front as they were often the only things to guide you through!!
Thanks Leon
Cheers
Caroline                                

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Little Rawdon Island from Blackmans Point


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Hi everyone,


How welcome is that lovely rain!!! Hard to believe that things had become so dry when you think back to the floods earlier in the year.


We had 15 starters for our Sunday paddle around Little Rawdon Island from Blackmans Point. The day was warming up by the time we hit the water and it was a welcome relief to feel the wind when it got up on our way back. Luckily it was not strong ( as we have experienced it up in this area of the river ) but it was cooling.


There are always some lovely vistas to enjoy on this paddle; wide expanses of river with the distant hills as a backdrop, in particular Mt. Cairncross ( see photo ), the occasional old farmhouse making for a picturesque rural scene along with glimpses of farming land behind corridors of trees. One of my favourite scenes is that of the ” lone angler” fishing from Little Rawdon Island Bridge.  There always seems to be someone casting a line or two from the bridge when we do this paddle. We enjoyed a pleasant paddle, with a brief stop at the old ramp on the Galloway’s property on Little Rawdon Isl. The wind started to get up on the return paddle but was not a problem; it was actually cooling on what turned out to be a hot day. Back at McMillan Drive we enjoyed a picnic lunch topped off with a beautiful cake baked by Kate to acknowledge Leon’s recent birthday.


On May 12, 1819 while conducting a survey of the Hastings River (Dhoongang), Lieutenant King and Surveyor-General John Oxley landed on Little Rawdon Island where King recorded they had lovely views of a round topped hill (Mt. Cairncross) which was a dominant feature on the western skyline. The Aboriginal name for the  mountain is said to be COOLAPATAMBA or COULAHPATAMBAH, translated as ‘a place where eagles drink’. It is often referred to as the ‘sleeping elephant’ due to its shape. (Info. From the Elephant Trail Race and Manning River Times). Where the name Cairncross came from is the subject of conjecture.


The European names of Rawdon Island ( & Little Rawdon Island) refer to Francis Rawdon Hastings, the first Marquis/Marquess of Hastings. He was an Anglo-Irish politician and military officer, Governor-General of India between 1813 and 1823 and served with the British forces during the American Revolutionary War. He took the additional surname of Hastings in 1790 in compliance with the will of his maternal uncle, Francis Hastings, the 10th Earl of Huntingdon. (A marquis is described as a member of the British peerage ranking below a duke and above an earl).


Both Rawdon & Little Rawdon Islands have always been farming communities. The first school on Rawdon Isl. was opened in 1876 and remained open for 100 years, closing in 1976. The lovely old building is now a function centre. Rawdon Island also boasted a football club. Rugby union was first played in the Hastings area from 1891 until 1920 when the code changed to Rugby League. In 1931 the team from Rawdon Island won the 2nd grade competition, beating the Port Macquarie B team. Between 1928 -32, three grades made up the Hastings District Rugby League. Teams from Hamilton, Byabarra, Long Flat, Telegraph Point and Rawdon Island competed against the stronger Wauchope, Beechwood and Port Macquarie clubs. In 1933 the league carried a motion that ended lower grade competitions leaving only 6 teams to contest the 1st grade. At this point the Rawdon Island footy team disbanded (Port Macquarie Historical Society records).


Blackmans Point (GOOLAWAHL) also has history. The European name is thought to relate to one James Blackman who travelled with John Oxley on his journey to Port Macquarie in 1818. The ferry that used to operate from here across the Hastings to the Fernbank Creek ramp was the vehicular transport point between Port Macquarie and areas to the north prior to the opening of the Denis Bridge in 1961.

 On a darker, sadder note, as a part of events commemorating Port Macquarie’s bicentenary earlier this year, a short documentary entitled “Blackmans Point Massacre” premiered. This film explored, through interviews, the story passed down through generations of Aboriginal oral tradition, of a massacre said to have taken place here in 1826. A plaque acknowledging Country, erected at Blackmans Point by the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, makes no mention of the massacre. Professor Lyndall Ryan, who created the Colonial Frontier Massacre Map Project, is working with the Birpai people to collate more ‘western’ proof of a massacre. A written account of a bloody confrontation at Blackmans Point is recorded in the journal of one Henry Lewis Wilson. The Blackmans Point massacre is not yet included in the formal map and uncertainty remains about the number of people killed.  NITV’s The Point program, from which this information is sourced, also reported  that the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council was consulting with and taking direction from Birpai traditional owners on how to formally acknowledge the massacre. (The Point 8 June 2021 & SBS ) Hope this information is of interest.


Cheers
Caroline

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Herons Creek off Queens Lake


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Hi everyone,


Well my computer is back on deck after some ‘long service leave’, but has handed in its notice re imminent retirement!!


I am running behind with trip results, but will catch up asap.


We had another lovely paddle on Sunday March 7 on Herons Creek, off Queens Lake. We changed the scheduled paddle from Limeburners & Bobs Creeks due to the poor condition of the road into the Queens Lake Nature Reserve. Herons Creek never disappoints & this day was no exception. With 18 of us, we split into two groups. The first group, led by Bill W included Queensland travellers/visitors Mike, Christine & their paddling pooch Laddie, who hunkered down in the rear hatch of their double. This group paddled to the end of the creek –  16 kms return. The second group, led by Leon, paddled for about an hour or so across the lake and into Herons Creek before retracing their journey to the sailing club & adjourning to North Haven for lunch.


Queens Lake was calm for both crossings and Herons Creek was quiet & picturesque with that lovely sense of remoteness. Flanked on either side by towering trees, we caught glimpses of farms and houses, the vineyard and a few cleared stopping spots that looked fairly recent. It is a relaxing paddle with varied vegetation, rocky outcrops, vines, ferns, eye catching white tree trunks, reflections and vistas.


This area is the traditional land of the Birpai people. By 1822 the first Europeans in the Camden Haven area were soldiers guarding the southern entrance to Port Macquarie. By 1827 the area had been surveyed as part of a grant to the Australian Agricultural Company and by 1856 cedar was being exported through Camden Haven. Laurieton was originally known as the Village of Camden Haven. In 1872 Joseph Laurie and his two brothers moved to the area from Taree. He owned the rights to timber in the area and a timber mill ( near where the Fish Co-Op stands today ). In 1875 he became the first post master. By 1914 a new post office was built in Laurie Street and was called Laurieton by the Post Master General. In 1946 the official name change from the Village of Camden Haven to Laurieton was formalized. 


Other points of interest include  film producer Baz Luhrmann who was raised in Herons Creek township and attended school in Port Macquarie. In 1944 American entertainer Bob Hope was forced to land in the Camden Haven Inlet when his seaplane ( a Catalina Flying Boat ) experienced difficulties when returning from Guam. He and other entertainers had been touring the Pacific entertaining US troops serving in WW2. Hope and members of the group put on a show for the locals who had helped to dig the plane out of the sand spit The area is presided over by beautiful DOORAGAN (North Brother Mountain) and on a clear day the view over the Camden Haven district and its waterways is spectacular.


Thanks Leon and Bill for leading.


Cheers
Caroline         

                  

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Kundabung: Pipers Creek


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Hi everyone,

You can’t help but fall in love ( all over again if you have paddled it before ) with Pipers Creek on a clear, sunny morning.

Nestled down amongst some magnificent trees, this perfect little paddle never disappoints & remains one of my personal favourites.

No matter the conditions, it is always picturesque & atmospheric & there is always a reflection ( or two or three or four ) which takes your breath away.
This gorgeous creek is very secluded & located at the end of a tree lined dirt road in the sleepy hamlet of Kundabung ( which translates to ‘Black Apple Tree’ ).

Unfortunately there were quite a few campers set up there when we arrived…all 23 of us plus kayaks…so it was a not as ‘secluded’ as usual!! However, once out on the water we had the creek all to ourselves.

To comply with social distancing we divided into three groups with one electing to paddle down to the Maria River & the other two paddling up north…the pretty end of this creek.

I could rave on about the beauty of the natural landscape along Pipers Creek, but I will let the photos speak for themselves. Instead, some history as it has a fascinating back story.

Believed to be names after one Captain Piper who was involved in survey work, it was on an exploratory & survey expedition in 1831 that Surveyor Ralfe discovered a stratum of limestone of a very superior quality about six miles from the head of navigation of Pipers Creek. The Police Magistrate at Port Macquarie provided 20 convicts to make a road from the Wilson River to construct a kiln for the burning of limestone. Cells were built for the convicts to sleep in at night. Some kilns still remain ( I have included two photos ). The limestone was burned up on site & conveyed to the loading wharf at Kundabung ( where we launch  ) on low wagons with wooden wheels hauled by a team of convicts. Lime from these kilns was used in the construction of many of the convict-built buildings in Port. Once the lime was loaded onto barges at the wharf, convicts were again used to row those boats all the way down Pipers Creek, into the Maria River, then into the Wilson & finally into the Hastings & into Port Macquarie!!! So if you think you do a few long paddles, spare a thought for these poor convicts!!!
Pipers Creek rises within the Ballengarra State Forest & flows east by south then south before reaching its confluence with the Maria River. It descends 177 m over its 32 km course.

The first European settlers in the Kundabung district were engaged in the timber industry. Logs were brought out of the bush on skids & then hauled by horses to the wharves on either side where Smiths Creek enters Pipers Creek. They were then transported via a log punt to Hibbards Mill in Port Macquarie. The early settlement was referred to as Smiths Creek; the name change came as the settlement got bigger.

After enjoying our paddle, which was cut short by a fallen tree which we could not negotiate as the tide was turning, we headed up to Kundabung where we had our picnic lunch in the grounds near the community hall. Sorry we could not enjoy our usual campfire, but the reserve was too crowded. Hopefully next time, once the ‘tourists’ move on.

Hope everyone enjoyed their paddle. Thanks Barry for organising the paddle.

Cheers
Caroline

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Balyngara & Stony Creek


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Hi everyone,

Further to Leon’s report on the Balyngara & Stony Creek paddle, here are some photos & extra information. Sorry I am running late!!

Twelve of us put in at the old ramp on the private property on Little Rawdon Island. This paddle is like a package deal as it comes with a pleasant Sunday drive through the green farming land of Rawdon Island with its sprawling properties, sleek cattle & peaceful vistas.

Rawdon Island was named after Francis Rawdon Hastings, the 1st Marquis of Hastings. The locale is made up of two islands…Rawdon & Little Rawdon Islands. The communities once boasted 27 dairy farms, two churches, a school, community hall & a footy team! The beautiful buildings of the old school are now a heritage function house. We are always grateful to the Galloways for allowing us to use their property to access the river up here as a starting point for our paddle.

After launching we paddled to the right under Little Rawdon Island bridge which always makes me think of Huckleberry Finn with people sitting fishing, their legs dangling over the edge of this narrow, one way bridge. We then veered right into Munns Channel with Quetta Island on our left. At the end we crossed over the main river & into Balyngara Creek, a wide creek flanked by farming land & lovely trees, before veering left into Stony Creek. It was perfect weather & calm water with nice reflections. We have not done this paddle for quite sometime & it was great to become reacquainted.

When a small group of us got back to the junction with Balyngara, four of us decided to paddle down to the end of this creek exploring. The remainder elected to wait for the others to catch up & then head back, & this is where Leon’s story starts.

We paddled right down Balyngara & into Loggy Creek but were pulled up in our tracks quick smart by a fallen tree. Back on Balyngara we paddled down to the Pembroke Rd. bridge. The spot where we used to have a cuppa now has a ‘pop up’ bush camp ( a bit ‘deliverance’ looking ) which I don’t think is quite legal as this area is Cairncross  State Forest. Our paddle back was uneventful & we enjoyed the peace & quiet & feeling of remoteness in this part of the river.
After making contact with the rest of the group by phone when we got back, we enjoyed a quiet lunch before helping the ‘wanderers’ back up with their kayaks.

Cheers
Caroline

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