Saturday 12 March: Barrer Hill * – M/E. Barrer Hill and environs are located on the true right side of the Molonglo River, opposite Denman Prospect. A peninsula, sometimes called Misery Point, causes a sweeping U-bend in the river. The area has been extensively replanted (“since 2012, more than 50,000 seedlings have been planted at Barrer Hill, including 10,000 trees and shrubs”) and there is great interpretive signage. Walk from Weston Creek Pond to cross the Molonglo via Clos Bridge. Walk on management trails beside the river to the Barrer Hill track head. Complete the Barrer Circuit and Barrer Summit tracks for huge views over the area. Walk the Barrer Track out to Misery Point and 50m or so further down to the Molonglo River. Return the same or, if Southwell Crossing is navigable, cross the river and return under Coombs. Around 11km and 200vm climb.
Distance: 9.8km | Climb: 161m | Time: 2hrs 30mins moving plus 45mins of breaks | Grading: S/E; E(6).
Download the gpx file recorded via AllTrails here (in AllTrails, activate …, Download Route, Select the file format GPX Track, OK).
A perfect electronic/technobabble walk after putting my phone in a cover (as advised by my dear wife) – so no more random screen activations to muck up the AllTrails recording; new Panasonic eneloop pro 2450 mAh batteries (the best ever rechargeable Ni-MH batts) in my GSPr.
We got ourselves organised by the side of the NE Weston Creek Pond, followed the edge of it north then, via a bit of bike path, onto the short footpad down to the little bridge over Weston Creek near where it joins the Molonglo River. Across Clos Bridge and into the old pine forest area. A turn to the west to follow the river downstream. Where the management trail turns north, we popped down south to see if Southwell Crossing was passable for the return. It was – the Molonglo has gone down a lot in the last 2 weeks. Some colour as we walked north.
Instead of the planned clockwise walk on Barrer Circuit, we took the first signposted turn to the right. We saw several of these.
I’d surmised that they were old, repurposed telephone posts, although Roger pointed out that they had solid metal and concrete bases. Now I photograph signs to read later, which I often don’t do. Pays to do so, as a later ‘Pillars for Wildlife’ signage revealed:
“A novel restoration technique has been trialled here involving the relocation and resurrection of ten vertical habitat structures (five intact trees and five utility poles). These structures are designed to mimic some of the important habitat functions of mature trees, providing benefits to wildlife in the short term. All structures have been safely secured in underground concrete pads and have been enriched with cross perches, artificial hollows and artificial bark.”
We turned onto the Barrer Hill route and climbed to the top for good views east …
… and west down to Misery Point.
Another sign tells us that:
“In 2014, Barrer Hill was named in honour of the late Canberra-based ecologist and environmental advocate, Dr Peter Maling Barrer (1942-1997).”
We headed back down the hill and continued our anticlockwise journey around the hill. Near the Barrer Hill track signage, we turned right onto the Barrer Track. A little colour again.
More habitat structures …
… with explanatory signage.
We stopped by the great sculpture for morning tea.
Then wandered down to the bank of the Molonglo River. Certainly less water than my last visit. You can notice quite a change in river height (like in the drop, not less water) from upstream to downstream.
We retraced our steps to the signage that explains all the tracks in the area.
It was then homeward bound, via Southwell Crossing and under Coombs.
A brief look at Coombs Pond and a peek through the fence at Stromlo Cottage on the west side of Weston Creek Pond opposite the cars.
Faded signage says:
“The former Sewerage Attendants Cottage (also known as Stromlo Cottage) was built in 1926 as accommodation for the senior officer of the Sewerage Treatment Works.”
We’d passed the disused and fenced off sewerage ponds at the beginning of the walk near the bike path.
Back over the seemingly over-engineered concrete spillway between the two ponds and back to the cars.
The AllTrails recorded track map is here, where you can pan and zoom. And here’s the track laid out on my old TopoView 2006 map segment.
And, thanks to Roger, in case you don’t believe the old name of our destination, here’s a 1914 map he gave me clearly showing Misery Point.
A great bunch of old and new friends. 11 walkers. Ailsa B, Thushara De Z, Gavin F, John G, Roger H, Laisarn L, Julie M, Karen M, Phillip S, Teresa Z, me.