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.



Sancrox to Sarahs & King Creek

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 Hi everyone,

Well we had a full contingent for last Sunday’s paddle from Sancrox upriver to Sarahs & King Creek. It was a lovely morning weather wise & thanks to Di’s friends Keith & Liz Charles for allowing us to launch from their property. It is a beautiful spot just before the Rawdon Island Bridge ( coming from Port ) which they had kindly slashed for us. We welcomed Bruce & Lynne back to Sunday paddles & new members Grant, Steve & Kevin ( & Kevin’s daughter Natasha who was visiting).

Due to the numbers, we split into two groups with Stephen & Greg as leaders. At various times when I was taking pictures along the way, the kayaks looked like an Armada advancing up the river. As the tide was low, we got  excellent close ups of where the treacherous rocks are situated under the bridge & up near Narrow Gut. It was pleasant paddling up around the islands before linking up with the main river again, but we did not get far up Sarahs Creek  due to a fallen tree. A few of us paddled on to King Creek & had better luck but did not paddle all the way up. We crossed paths with the second group on the return trip & all made our way back down to Sancrox. Lunch was back at the launch point overlooking the delightful little ‘Monet’ lilypond.

Sancrox is approximately 12 kms west of Port Macquarie. Records from the Mid North Coast Library revealed that surveys of land around Port started in the 1830’s with a view towards opening up land for free settlers.
The survey here commenced in this area in 1831 & the starting point was the south west corner of the township named Hay ( named after Colonial Under-Secretary Robert William Hay ). It was known as Portion 1. There was a plan for a town but it never eventuated & for generations the area was referred to as Haytown or Haytown Reserve. By the end of the 1800’s there was a timber mill, a wharf & a punt across the river to Rawdon Island. The river at the time was impassable past this point for shipping due to a reef of rocks ( the remnants of which you see at low tide ). The area was, in the beginning, variously called St. Croix, St. Rocks & San Roch ( the latter meaning ‘saint on a sunken rock’) & was the site of a government farm run by a Frenchman. The name Sancrox survived all others, possibly as a misuse of the word San Roch, & was gazetted as such when timber mill workers cottages stood thereabouts. Eventually, the rocks were blasted through, the river dredged & from 1835 onwards ships were able to travel up as far as where Bain Bridge now spans the river.

Sarahs Creek flows from Cowarra Forest & is named after Sarah Allman ( wife of Captain Francis Allman, Commandant & Magistrate of Port Macquarie ) & her first child. Sarahs Creek Bridge was built in 1886 & is purportedly named after one Sarah Suters, wife of local farmer James Suters. 

Thanks to everyone who turned out to support this paddle & to Stephen & Greg for leading.

Hope everyone enjoyed their morning on the water

Cheers Caroline