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Devils Elbow at Congarinni towards Bowraville


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Hi everyone,


Four of us ( the three Bill’s & myself) enjoyed an absolutely beautiful paddle on Wednesday from Devil’s Elbow at Congarinni towards Bowraville.


Despite what the information plaque states, the paddle was 12.14 kms return & we could not get all the way up to Bowraville due to a fallen tree.


We had not done this paddle for years and had forgotten just how beautiful it is along this section of the Nambucca River. Everything was so green, there were flowers everywhere and it had to be azure kingfisher ‘central station’. It is such a special paddle with so much variation along the way. The big trees are camphor laurels with a variety of others thrown in. There were cattle mooching around under the expansive boughs of the trees, plenty of ‘white sandy beaches’ along the way and constant birdsong. The weather was perfect and the rain did not arrive until we were safely back at Macksville enjoying lunch at Café Cha Cha where we could actually sit down inside at a table (some cafes are still doing take away only).
Enjoy the photos.


Cheers
Caroline

                     

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Cooperabung Creek


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Hi everyone,


Well last Sunday’s paddle saw us thwarted with access to the anabranches, but we still enjoyed a lovely paddle, in particular Cooperabung Creek  which was just beautiful.


We paddled from Hacks Ferry straight up to where the Maria joins the Wilson River & veered right to follow the Maria. The first anabranch we usually take closest to Hacks (Torrens anabranch) had a blockage and also the Maria anabranch. Luckily Cooperabung Creek did not disappoint & we paddled on up the Maria and turned into where the two anabranches meet. A few decided to tackle the Torrens anabranch; they got through but it was difficult & not for everyone ( or their kayaks!!). Bill W had advised that the Maria anabranch had a blockage right up this end. I checked it out & it was a no go also, so we paddled back to Hacks via the Maria, a paddle of approx.. 15.17 kms.


Bill W, Colin and Peter paddled up from Fernbank & met us back at Hacks. I think there were 15 of us on Greg’s paddle which is another great roll up.


Thanks Greg for leading this paddle.
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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Haydons Creek to Sancrox


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Hi everyone,


Hope everyone is doing ok with the state wide lockdown. Shame about our scheduled paddle last Sunday but let’s hope the situation improves soon and we can get back on the water together as a group in the not too distant future.
This report is on the last paddle we did on Haydons Creek, a lovely deviation off the Hastings on the way to Sancrox.
When we arrived at the paddock at the end of McMillan Drive, Blackmans Point we were pleasantly surprised to see that the area had been cleared (presumably to remove flood debris) and a better access ramp into the river created which makes launching much easier and safer.


We paddled across the river, checked out what boats were at Birdons & then paddled up river, under the two bridges towards Sancrox enjoying the scenic panorama up towards Comboyne. The island just past the new bridge seems to have shrunk since the floods. Being right in the main flow of the river it would have been subject to a lot of pressure from the onslaught of the floodwaters. A beautiful sight along the way was two majestic white bellied sea eagles sitting side by side on a branch overhanging the water. I have never seen two sitting so close; usually they commandeer their own branch!!
When we turned into Haydons Creek we saw that the little white wharf just inside the creek had also fallen victim to the floods, but some repair work is underway here also.


Haydons Creek was just as peaceful and picturesque as usual; so quiet and secluded after the wide open expanses of the main river. Birds were singing In the trees and it was so pleasant just meandering along. We seemed to get a fair way up the creek…..further than on previous paddles.


After enjoying the creek we paddled back out on to the main river & back downstream for a bit of lunch back at the cars.
I have not been able to find much historical background on Haydons Creek. It rises near Sancrox and runs for about 5kms before joining the Hastings River. I could not find any information on who it is named after, but a possibility could be ‘Big’ Bill Haydon, often referred to as the Cedar King, a legend of the timber industry on the North Coast in the early 1900’s. Other places in the district have the Haydon name. Material I accessed described Haydon as the classic Australian self-made man. He left home at 15 years of age with two shillings and two years later purchased the first of fifty bullock teams, becoming the youngest person known to own such a team. He went on to construct 10 sawmills in the Camden Haven, Hastings & Macleay districts.


Bill Haydon disappeared in the Willowie Scrub in North Washpool (Washpool National Park) in 1965. His body was never found. A plaque at the big cedars (trees over 1000 years old) on the Washpool Walk record his story.
Hope our eight paddlers enjoyed this outing which is approx.. 12 kms return.


Cheers
Caroline

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Stingray Creek to Queens Lake


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Hi everyone,


Fifteen of us enjoyed another cool but beautiful morning on the water last Sunday.
Greg led us on a paddle around Stingray Creek down to Queens Lake. We had good water & not too many tinnies which was a blessing given it was a long weekend. This is a lovely, relaxing paddle and we meandered through side lagoons and along the creek towards the lake and the large inlet just before the lake. Surrounded by hills, this is a protected paddle and feels like a little world all to itself with lovely old mangroves here and there, glimpses of houses through the trees and wading birds in the shallows.
At the launching spot I was interested to see a sign for the Cod Grounds Marine Park. I had not heard of this before and it has an interesting story.


The Cod Grounds Commonwealth Marine Reserve was established in 2007. It is approximately 5.5kms offshore from the Camden Haven, covers four square kms with depths ranging from 21 to 46 metres. It is one of eight parks managed under the Temperate East Marine Parks Network. The primary reason for its establishment was to protect a significant aggregation site for the critically endangered East coast population of the grey nurse shark. It is also a biologically important area for the protected humpback whale, vulnerable white shark and a number of migratory seabirds. In 2017 it’s status changed to a Marine Park and it is wholly zoned as a national park. (Wikipedia) The Stingray Creek bridge has a history too. The original crossing from North Haven to Laurieton was made via a ‘pack-horse’ punt which was pulled across by hand. It was said to have been installed by teamsters who hauled logs from Green Hills ( now Bonny Hills) to Limeburners Creek for transportation by the old log punt to Longworth’s Mill in Laurieton. When disaster struck and the old punt sank, for three years all supplies etc had to be rowed across in a boat to Laurieton. The first bridge was opened officially in 1931. It was  a one way wooden bridge referred to as the Humpty Back bridge. The next bridge, which replaced the Humpty Back bridge, was opened in 1961 followed by the current bridge which came into being in 2017. (Camden Haven Courier).


Thanks Greg for leading this paddle.


Cheers
Caroline