Gathering at Rowleys Orroral Valley Hut site | photo Rod G

Sunday 29 October 2023: NPA/* – L/E-M. Many would have visited ‘new’ Fishlock Yards in the upper Orroral Valley. Historical documents place the original Fishlock Yards possibly further up the valley, but more likely somewhere beside the Cotter Hut Road. Walk the Orroral Valley Circuit – grassland going up the valley with views to granite tors on both ridges; wet feet crossing Sawpit Creek; hard surfaced Smokers Trail and Cotter Hut Rd. Around 20km and 400vm climb.


From Garmin Connect (Epix Gen 2) – Distance: 20.80km | Climb: 430vm (Elev Corrections Enabled) | Time: 4:23 moving + 2:10 of stops = 6:33 | Grading: L/E-M; M(10).


View photographs here.

gpx file

Download the gpx file here.

Track Maps

Track overview Searching for ‘old’ Fishlock Yards on Corin Dam 1:25000 topo © 2003

Track detail Searching for ‘old’ Fishlock Yards on Corin Dam 1:25000 topo © 2003

Trip Report

I was last searching for old Fishlock Yards on 19 Aug 23.

The first objective was to stay off the hard Cotter Hut Road as much as possible, so we headed through the roos towards the white weather station.

The Belfry on the Orroral Ridge of Stone, above the Orroral Valley weather station

From there, generally NW to cross the Link Track and pick up the slashed Orroral Valley Circuit Trail. Crossed the boardwalk over James Creek. That got us to Rowleys Orroral Valley Hut site. Like many Namadgi National Park sites, it’s documented in both Jonathan Winston-Gregson’s 1978 MA thesis from ANU and the National Capital Development Commission’s Sites of Significance in the ACT published in 1998-1990.

Here we turned S-ish up another old fire trail which climbs gently to join the Cotter Hut Road. It passes by, so we stopped at, a stockyard site, labelled OR13 by Winston-Gregson. What sort of cans are they in the photo?

Cans and bottles at Stockyard site W-G OR13

We endured a kilometer or so of the Cotter Hut Road. Nearing the switch-back corner, we took the shortcut up through the bush. A lot better than last time, this time paralleling the drainage line, but up above it on the true left side. The last 2 metres of going were the worst, before we popped out on the road.

Next stop was the junction where the Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT) intersects with Cotter Hut Road. Note on the © 2003 map segments above, the AAWT is shown as the old alignment. Smoko was taken.

We wandered across the road to inspect the large tor complex, identified by Winston-Gregson as indigenous shelter site OR18.

Indigenous rock shelter opposite the AAWT-Cotter Hut Rd intersection W-G OR18


Rod inside the rock shelter opposite the AAWT-Cotter Hut Rd intersection

Although not the same shape as the perhaps stylised sketch of the rock at Fishlock Yards, this site takes my money. The sketch is lifted from Around Australia’s Capital Vol3 by Jefferis and Whelan.

Photo of page from Around Australia’s Capital Vol3 by Jefferis and Whelan

Continuing along the Cotter Hut Rd we came to the old intersection with the AAWT. Nothing significant.

Old junction of AAWT and Cotter Hut Rd from Corin Dam 1-25000 topo dated 2003

A few wild flowers about.

Poorly focused Purple Eyebright (Euphrasia collina) beside the Cotter Hut Rd

A bit further along we headed up into the bush to scout the largest rock formation in the area that I could find on Google Earth. No joy.

A boulder identified via GE that could have been the rock beside old Fishlock Yards

Back down on the Cotter Hut Rd we tromped along over Sawpit Creek.

Rice flowers (Pimelia linifolia) beside the Cotter Hut Rd

Heading generally NW, had views to ‘Dutchies Peak’, (to the W) ‘De Salis Knobs’ and (to the SW) Split Rock.

Turning right onto Smokers Trail, we walked around 2km to the Orroral Valley turnoff. Various options chosen to cross Sawpit Creek.

Deciding how to cross Sawpit Creek

Lunch beside the flowing creek.

Winston-Gregson identifies Old Fishloch Yards as site OR16 in this upper part of the Orroral Valley. Although I believe the appellation to be incorrect, there’s a photo of substantial yards in his thesis. Split the party to search, two going E nearly down to the Orroral River and the remainder scouting around under SH1339. No joy. Although Noelia did report lots of wild roses in an area of her E search – could this be near OROR17? – looks like I might have to go back!

Searching for Winston-Gregson’s Old Fishlock Yards OR16 up under SH1339

Nice walking on the slashed Orroral Valley Circuit track, with grand views up to the Orroral Ridge of Stone.

Orroral Ridge of Stone from Orroral Valley – Sentinel Rocks, Trojan Wall, Mushroom and Toadstool Rocks, Legoland

Just to prove to my companions that there was a Fishlock, we visited the map-marked new Fishlock Yards!

New Fishlock Yards (OR15) on 19 August 2023

Down to the Orroral River for a look-see.

Orroral River down from ‘new’ Fishlock Yards

We walked along the valley, then rejoined the Orroral Valley Circuit track. Continuing huge views to the Orroral Ridge of Stone.

Orroral Ridge of Stone from Orroral Valley – Sentinel Rocks, Trojan Wall, Mushroom and Toadstool Rocks, Legoland, Tower Rocks, The Belfry

A brief stop at OR14 Patrick McLaughlin’s Hut site (438 tag), through to cross the Link Track, and on to the ‘concrete thingy’. What is it?

Concrete thingy

Back to the start, coming in from the N via the minitrack area.

Remnant Tracking Station components at the minitrack area

I think I’ll give up on old Fishlock Yards. Thanks to NPA people for all the material, hints and encouragement.

If you want the gory details, have a look at Fishlock (Fishloch) Yards.

Thanks all, trust you enjoyed or endured the tour and search.


9 walkers – David C, Rochelle C, Rod G, Julienne McK, Noelia P, Alice Q, Sandra T, Khuong V, me.


The AllTrails map is here, where you can pan and zoom.

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