herons creek

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Herons Creek


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Hi everyone,
Eight of us enjoyed a perfect Autumn morning last Sunday on our paddle up Herons Creek. Queens Lake was calm & serene & there was just a light breeze, not like the Antarctic chill that has blasted up the river the last few days.
Herons Creek never disappoints. This wide creek which runs off the lake is wide and meanders gracefully, bordered by beautiful stands of tall timber and farming land.  There were some lovely reflections and sea eagles & osprey were engaged in fishing expeditions. Needless to say, everything is very green & lush after all the rain. The water is very discoloured at present but that did not detract from the surroundings & the atmosphere.
On our way home we deviated into Herons Creek village for a look around & found some very interesting information about the area’s early European history.
The area was home to the Turpentine Tramway and a very informative historical information board and sculpture tells the story.
In the late 1800’s & early 1900’s timber from the turpentine tree was highly sought after for wharf & jetty piles because it resisted marine borers better than other timbers. It was also largely termite resistant and difficult to ignite & therefore a valuable commodity. Large stands of this timber were known to exist around the headwaters of Cedar Creek and they became the target of what became known as the ‘Turpentine Tramway’. In 1895 one Justin McSweeney established the Federal Timber Company & built a sawmill at Homedale (near Kew). In order to avoid the delays caused when bullock teams were unable to work after heavy rain, he had built a 6km tramway in the heart of the turpentine country. The rails were hardwood spiked onto locally split wooden sleepers; logs were loaded onto small rail wagons & hauled to the mill by a horse team.  In 1897 the Australasian Timber Company bought the Kew mill but both it & the tramway were short lived as the company went into liquidation in 1898. The mill was sold & relocated to the Concord mill at Laurieton. The tramway ceased operation in the early 1900’s. This tramway was not without incident and on March 2 1899 a tragedy occurred when a 14 year old youth, who had been employed as a horse driver for only a week, was killed on the job. Rain had apparently made the rails slippery, and his trolley became unmanageable ( it was a practice that the horses were unharnessed & walked behind the trolleys on steep down hill sections & re harnessed on the flats). Instead of ‘abandoning ship’ as advised, he tried desperately to apply the trolley brakes harder but fell off and tragically was dragged under one of the wheels. He died from his injuries & is buried at Kendall cemetery.
Thanks, Peter, for leading this trip and to those members who came along for the paddle.
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