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PMHCC 13th Anniversary


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Happy 13th anniversary Port Macquarie Hastings Canoe Club Inc!

Last Thursday we celebrated this landmark with a lovely cake ( thanks Greg for organising this ) after our paddle.

Hard to believe it was that long ago that we had a public meeting in the outdoor bbq room at Hibbard Sports Club to discuss interest in forming a canoe club in Port Macquarie. A lot has happened since then & we have a solid membership base thanks to the hard work of our various committees & dedicated members over the years. We have paddled lots of beautiful creeks & rivers, made good friendships, enjoyed good times & shared sad times.

Thanks everyone for your ongoing support.

Keep paddling
The Committee, PMHCC INC

Blog

Limeburners Creek to Saltwater Lake


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Hi everyone,

What a top day last Sunday was. It was great that 17 of us enjoyed perfect conditions on the water in Limeburners. Greg’s group of 13 enjoyed a
13.5 km meander through the lagoon areas & Shallow Lake while Bill’s four had a great 27 km return paddle down Limeburners Creek to Saltwater Lake. This area has a great history dating back to pre European settlement ( the known period of Aboriginal occupation is 5 – 6000 years ), through to the exploitation of middens for lime for building purposes in the penal colony to the development of the oyster industry in the 1880’s.

In 1971, Limeburners became the first nature reserve established on the north coast of NSW. In 2010, 9,223.3ha, including the reserve, was declared a national park. Since then an area of 8360ha within the park has been declared wilderness under the Wilderness Act, 1987. (Wilderness areas are defined as large, natural areas of land that, together with their native plant & animal communities, are essentially unchanged by human activity ). One of the major reasons for the declaration of Limeburners as a national park was to protect a butterfly found only in the Port Macquarie area. This unique hybrid butterfly, Tisiphone abeona joanna, is dependent on the Ghanian ( mangrove ) swamps of Saltwater Lake. The park also includes an endangered plant species…Allocasuarina defungens ( see photo ), a dwarf heath casuarina, a species of casuarinaceae or ironwood native to the north coast of NSW.

Most of Limeburners consists of extensive wetland. 70% is identified as coastal wetland & there are eight wetland areas identified within the park. Limeburners includes the coastal strip around Big Hill & Point Plomer headlands, the hinterland country surrounding Saltwater Lake & sections of the heath woodland sandplains west of the Maria River Rd. The park also includes Saltwater Lake, part of the bed of Limeburners Creek & a number of islands within the creek & part of Barries Beach & North Shore Beach down to the mean low water mark.

After departing Tom Dick’s Hole Bill’s group paddled down to & across Shallow Lake & then paddled into the creek proper. The smell of mangrove blossom & birdsong greeted us almost immediately & we saw a majestic sea eagle, osprey & at least 10 azure kingfishers darting just above the surface of the water at breakneck speed. Schools of little fish skittered across the water while in the canopy glossy green elk ferns hugged their tree hosts. I spotted a tiny, fluffy thumbnail orchid on an old branch & the whole environment looked green & healthy. Two young swans stayed just ahead of us for some distance until they found a hiding place amongst the mangroves. We had a quick morning tea stop just past the old camp before the final run down to the lake. The usual obstacle course of fallen timber in this section was not as bad on this paddle & we noticed lots of downy feathers all along the banks. The reason for this became clear when we reached the lake as we were greeted by lots of swans gliding about, adults & juveniles. While paddling out on the lake, Ken & Bill spotted a deer flying across the shallows…as if walking on water…from the island to the mainland. It is always both humbling & exhilarating to emerge onto the lake, after the seemingly endless twists & turns of the creek, & to sit there in splendid isolation enjoying both the beauty & remoteness in the knowledge that very few people get to experience it. But time & tide wait for no one so we did not linger long. As the old scout camp has been dismantled & is now overgrown, we paddled back & had lunch at what used to be Roger & Barb’s morning tea spot. It would be an understatement to say we missed the sight of Roger in his battered old hat & the smell of his billy of green tea brewing on a little campfire. Good memories on what was their favourite paddle. The creek environment changes constantly from closed in areas with old, over hanging trees to corridors of river & grey mangroves, casuarinas, gums & dense back vegetation to open seagrass meadows. Closer to the lake the vegetation thins out, the tree trunks are skinnier & the sky more visible through the foliage. The lake bursts through the tree line in all its vastness & is always a sight to behold. It will always be the classic paddle, or as Ken commented….that’s what I call a paddle.

Thanks to Greg & Bill for leading the paddles & we hope everyone enjoyed their day. Limeburners is special & we are so lucky that it is still in such pristine condition.

Information gleaned from the Limeburners National Park Plan of Management. I have included a photo of a hand drawn map of Limeburners with early placenames which I obtained from the library. Also, a photo of the endangered dwarf heath casuarina.

Cheers
Caroline                                 

Blog

Upper Manning River at Wingham Brush


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Hi everyone,

20 of us turned out last Sunday on what was a glorious morning on the upper Manning River down at Wingham Brush.
It is both a beautiful & historic stretch of river & we paddled down & into Cedar Party Creek & then on down for a way towards Tinonee. Along the way there were some old timber shacks perched on top of the high banks & some amazing trees roots hanging on for dear life.

Sadly it was too shallow to get all the way up the creek, but it was just lovely being out on the water. The old wharf ( see photo ) is one of only a few remaining remnants of the Manning River’s historic past ( if you are interested in the history of the area, a visit to the Cundletown Museum is well worth the trip ).  The wharf was built in the 1830’s from turpentine timbers & went on to become a major shipping port in 1835. Timber & farm produce from surrounding areas was transported downstream from the wharf, at first by punt & then by sailing vessel. Later, steamers ventured upriver allowing timber to be shipped directly from Wingham to New Zealand ( see historic photos ). Butcher, baker & grocery boats regularly departed the wharf providing vital supplies to isolated farming families. Cream boats collected dairy products & transported them downstream to the Taree Butter Factory. The local paper of the day carried reports of up to 400 people making their way to the wharf on many a New Year’s Day for the annual excursion to Harrington, collecting more people along the way. The steamers were decked out in bunting & awnings & a brass band entertained the passengers while funds were raised at the same time for the Manning River District Hospital.

Adjacent to the ramp, wharf & picnic area is the Wingham Brush Nature Reserve which has an interesting history. A boardwalk takes you through this lovely shady Reserve which includes a giant Moreton Bay fig tree. The Nature Reserve comprises 9ha of lowland tropical rainforest. This remnant, plus the 5ha of Coocumbac Island Nature Reserve are the most southern representatives of this type of rainforest of which less than 100ha remains in NSW today. I extracted the following information from the Australian Association of Bush Regenerators website ( www.aabr.com.au ).

Wingham Brush was the first Australian attempt to restore a rainforest. It was funded by the local council & grants. John Stockard & his team started restoration work in 1980. A team of six put in 24 hours per week & the program began under the auspices of the National Trust. This article stated that the major goal of rainforest restoration was to gain a weed free canopy & close it in. While acknowledging that the bush could never be returned to its Dreamtime state, a lot could be done to keep the ecological processes going. Exotic trees such as Camphor laurels presented the team with a long term management problem & were subsequently cut & milled, yielding a profit which was ploughed back into the project. Exotic vines in the crowns of the trees, such as Cats Claw Creeper, Madeira Vine & Balloon Vine presented a huge challenge & Stockard described the project as “like a war on weeds”. He went on to say that..” the most exciting time was in the early stages when we rescued living trees from under the vines enabling them to survive”. A bicentennial grant enabled the reserve to be fenced & the brush turkeys that wander about were brought in without any consultation. Stockard goes on to say that one of the biggest problems working in the Brush was floods. For kms upstream the valley is choked with weeds & floods bring these downstream into the middle of the Reserve. From 1991 – 95 the Brush was affected by drought which thinned the canopy & stressed the trees. In 1995 the worst frost in 25 years froze most of the young trees to the ground. The giant Moreton Bay figs are home to a permanent breeding population of the endangered grey-headed flying fox & Wingham Brush is an important ‘maternity camp’ for them. The flying foxes transport seeds of a wide variety of rainforest plants up to 40 kms between camps connecting isolated remnants of other rainforest gene pools. So, this Nature Reserve has its own fascinating back story, thanks to those regenerators who have put so much work into it.

In non COVID times, Wingham host two large annual festivals; the Wingham Akoostik Music Festival & the Bonnie-Wingham- Scottish Festival.

After our paddle we enjoyed a picnic lunch in the shade above the old wharf.

We hope you enjoyed the morning.
Cheers
Caroline & Bill