Last updated 30Sep22
Mt Majura sites
Many thanks to Joachim Zeil, Waltraud Pix, Mark Butz and Chris Mobbs for generously responding with various information sources. Huge thanks to Mike Lavis for the investigative survey work.
Origin of the name Majura
“The Campbell family had links with the East India Company. With these merchant interests and interests on the Indonesian Isles of Madura and Cheribon it is possible that ‘Madura’ is the origin of the name ‘Majura’.” Majura’s Treasures p14.
There are a number of sites in the Mt Majura Nature Reserve:
Boundary post and rail fence with stone foundation
The extant fence and foundation is located on the high western flank of the Mt Majura northern spur. It is approximately 240m long.
Location: Southern end GR 55H FA 98247-98857 (MGA94), Hall 8727-4S 1:25000 | S35.233643 E149.178557
Location: Northern end GR 55H FA 98292-99093 (MGA94), Hall 8727-4S 1:25000 | S35.231507 E149.178999
• Majura’s Treasures p14. “A post-and-rail fence in the Mt Majura Nature Reserve pre-dating 1886 is one of the few boundary fences of this type in the ACT. This fence line was probably built by Hope and Ginn, to separate their land from the Darmody blocks.”
• pers comm from Waltraud FoMM 9/22. “Over the past years the post and rail fence and the rock wall to hold it all fell apart – we had once a work party there to remove fallen trees (in case a fire comes through to save the remnant posts and rails) and we submitted to Government to at least document the heritage item but nothing happened.
The rock wall was built to put horizontal posts or timber blanks with holes into it; the upright posts were inserted into those holes and the rails were inserted into the vertical posts. The attached photo shows an example of a horizontal post with a vertical post inserted. The steep slopes of Mt Majura were too rocky to dig fence post holes. the amount of work always puzzled me – labour must have been cheap when these fences were built.”
• Vegetation of the Ainslie-Majura Reserve by F Ingwersen, O Evans and B Griffiths, Department of the Capital Territory, Canberra 1974, pp 40, 41. Boundary between block 117 Parish of Canberra and block 200 Parish of Pialligo.
• pers comm from Mike L, surveyor 27/9/22. “One plan shows where the old NSW portions lie in the vicinity of Mt Majura. You will also see that the rock wall and post and rail fence you took us to is on the eastern boundary of Portion 117 Parish of Canberra, and along part of the western boundary of Portion 200 Parish of Pialligo. There is actually an old NSW Reserved Road separating these two portions, and the wall is along the eastern boundary of this road. (These roads were what we call ‘paper roads’ created to allow legal access to each portion, but often they were never used as roads because they crossed rugged terrain and it was physically impossible to get a horse and cart along them.) Often one side of the ‘road’ was fenced and one of the adjoining landowners got the use of the land within the road reserve for grazing. Nowadays, NSW landowners can purchase these old roads and include them within their title, because most blocks use different means of accessing their properties. The background map is the Detailed Feature Map from 1915-1930 from the Historical Maps area on ACTMAPi. It describes the fencing along this part of the boundary as a “Rail and Log Fence”, but does not mention that it is built on a rock wall. Continuing north along this boundary the fence changes to a “netting fence”. There is lots of other interesting info on these maps, including where old fences, houses, yards, dams, etc, were located around 1915.”
“The second map roughly shows where the Portions sit over your trail map. You can see “… that the rock wall lies on the eastern side of the road aforementioned.”
• pers comm from Mike L, surveyor 25/9/22. “Also the old stone wall and post and rail fence you located heading north plots on another boundary between Portions, and it is also the boundary between the Parishes of Canberra and Pialligo, as you stated from your notes. You can see that it ends at a corner where another boundary heads west, which makes sense if the land owner to the west build the wall/fence, as it is the north east corner of his land. You may recall I said that these old Portion boundaries were originally surveyed using magnetic bearings based on magnetic north. Looking at your trail map you can see that these boundaries run slightly east of grid north – in fact, in the Canberra region, they are about 9 degrees 16 minutes east of grid north. Get out your old school boy protractor (surely you’ve kept it somewhere amongst your stuff!) and you can check it.”
The peg is located beside an old fence line that runs west 155m down from the sheep camp junction on the main track to Mt Majura.
Location: GR 55H 697979-6097642 (WGS84), Hall 8727-4S 1:25000 | S35.244766 E149.175931 (WGS84)
Visit: 25 Sep 22.
• pers comm from Mike L, surveyor 27/9/22. “One plan shows where the old NSW portions lie in the vicinity of Mt Majura. The Parish boundary between the Parish of Canberra and the Parish of Majura is shown. On it you will see that the old peg and rock cairn we found near the fence line is not a line peg, but a corner peg located at the south-east corner of Portion 120, Parish of Canberra. I’m surprised that rock lockspits were not placed heading north and heading west from this peg, indicating the directions of the Portion boundaries at this corner. That is why I thought at the time that it might have been a line peg along a Portion boundary, especially because the nearby fence continued east and west at that location.”
“The second map roughly shows where the Portions sit over your trail map. You can see that the “Survey Post” is located exactly at the Portion corner mentioned…”
• pers comm from Mike L, surveyor 25/9/22. “You will notice on your trail map that the survey peg and rock cairn we found located just off the fence line plots exactly on an old boundary running east-west on the underlying map. That boundary coincides with the boundary between two old NSW Portions (I’ll need to search up the adjoining Portion numbers later). Therefore I can safely say that this is an old Portion line peg placed by the original surveyor at the change of grade to allow the land owner to fence along his boundary between line pegs and corner pegs, which should be intervisible for this purpose. Unfortunately, he built the fence a few metres off the boundary for some reason. Just as well for us, because most line pegs (and corner pegs for that matter) get destroyed when the fencers build the fence exactly on the boundary. Pull out the corner peg and whack a big strainer post exactly in the same spot.“
The tree is located on the NW flank of Mt Majura.
Location: GR 55H FA 97997-99142 (MGA94), Hall 8727-4S 1:25000 | S35.231130 E149.175752
• pers comm from Mike L, surveyor 27/9/22. “The second map roughly shows where the Portions sit over your trail map. The big surprise for me when I plotted the Portions here was that the Blazed Tree does not lie near an old Portion corner! It appears to lie along the southern boundary of Portion 101 Parish of Canberra (not to be confused with the modern identifier for this land, which is Block 522 Majura District.) I am confident that it is a survey reference tree, but they usually only placed them to reference a Portion corner, and not somewhere partly along a Portion boundary. The mystery haunts me!”
• pers comm from Mike L, surveyor 25/9/22. “Concerning the blaze, it is a reference tree placed by the original Portion surveyor, who placed it so that future surveyors could re-establish the position of the corner should the corner peg be destroyed. I need to determine which Portion(s) corner this tree references. These trees provide crucial evidence for surveyors today, but not in the ACT so much because most of our old Portion boundaries have been re-surveyed already or they have been superceded by new/different boundaries. The exception is the ACT/NSW border, where over 1,600 reference trees were blazed adjacent to bends in the boundary, of which less than 4% survive. Hence the Mouat Tree project initiated by Matthew Higgins.
That is another reason why we don’t blaze reference trees any more, apart from being time consuming. They die and fall over, they get cut down during clearing, and they can start to lean and lose their accuracy if the ground is unstable due to erosion, etc. A galvanized iron pipe (GIP) buried vertically just below ground level is quicker to place, will last forever, and remain accurate. If we find one with a slight lean indicating that some machine has pushed it over a bit, you can still straighten it up and re-establish the position of the corner within a few centimetres – pretty good for the bush!”
Yards site (or woolshed stumps?) and loading ramp. Tim the Yowie Man’s ‘great wall of Watson’ (or just a rock pile)
These sites are located beside Clancys Track.
Location Yards site: GR 55H FA 97669-99118 (MGA94), Hall 8727-4S 1:25000 | S35.231405 E149.172152
Location Loading ramp: GR 55H FA 97530-99126 (MGA94), Hall 8727-4S 1:25000 | S35.231367 E149.170627
• pers comm from Waltrud 9/22. “… but assume some had to do with horse jumping and cross country riding in the area. There were many obstacles built; we notice them often by the amount of weeds that follow disturbance”.
Location ‘great wall of Watson’: GR 55H FA 97834-99048 (MGA94), Hall 8727-4S 1:25000 | S35.232003 E149.173977
Sheep camp site(s)
This site is located at a track junction 860m SSW of Mt Majura.
Location: GR 55H FA 98018-97423 (MGA94), Hall 8727-4S 1:25000 | S35.246616 E149.176393
Mt Majura Limestone
Sites 1 and 2 are located around 100m N of Oldfields Lane.
Location: Site 1: Latitude 35° 13.83’S, Longitude 149° 10.42’E Geocentric Datum of Australia (GDA94) Grid Zone 55H, Sector FA, Easting 97 796, Northing 99 173 | Site 2: Latitude 35°13.79’S, Longitude 149° 10.43’E Geocentric Datum of Australia (GDA94) Grid Zone 55H, Sector FA, Easting 97 806, Northing 99 258 Topographic map sheet, 1:25,000 scale – Hall.
Site 3 is located around 100m west of the Canberra Centenary Trail/Majura Horse Trail and around 200m NNW of the junction of this trail with the main trail from the Antill St car park in the Hackett Horse Paddocks.
Location: Site 3: Latitude 35° 14.37’S, Longitude 149° 10.42’E Geocentric Datum of Australia (GDA94) Grid Zone 55H, Sector FA, Easting 97 732, Northing 98 252 Topographic map sheet, 1:25,000 scale – Hall.
Visit: 25 Sep 22.
• paper from Geological Society of Australia, D M Finlayson author. GSA (ACT Division) places no restrictions on the use or reproduction of the information for educational purposes, not–for–profit purposes, or public information purposes.
• Sites of Significance in the ACT. A 9 volume set, pre-cursor to the ACT Heritage Register. Published in 1988 (Vols 1-7), 1989 (Vol 8) and 1990 (Vol 9); pp28-29. Site NC5c. See extracts of the relevant pages in the photos above.