The November excursion was changed to the Wombat Forest area in the hope of seeing more flowers as reports were that Mt Beckworth was too dry. The first stop was at the site of Wombat Station (Rocklyn), where there was once a thriving gold mining town. We parked on the site of the platform. All that is present now is a rotunda built by the Great Dividing Trail Association (GDTA) and a track that follows the rail line. One of the attractions is the deep rail cutting.
Before we set off to explore the cutting we crossed the Dean-Barkstead Road for a brief foray to see beard and bird orchids, milkmaids, trigger plants, a few different pea flowering plants and many patches of the Creeping Grevillea, Grevillea repens.
After morning tea we began to walk down the old rail line. The first section of the walk is built up with the material from the cutting and gives an elevated view through the forest. It leads onto the cutting with its 20metre high walls. It was an opportunity to marvel at the amount of rock and material that would have had to be moved with only basic equipment.
There were a few members who had not been to this site before but others remember Les leading a fungi excursion a few years ago. One of the botanical features is that there are about 5 different types of ferns present and a few healthy populations of Bush Club Moss. There were lots of flowers and a few birds to see as we made our way to the end of the cutting stopping to read the sign erected to mark the opening of the trail opening by the GDTA.
At the end of the cutting there is an intact red brick culvert and a few members scrambled down to see it. We returned via a track that runs parallel to the cutting on the north side and observed a few different plants. To the disappointment of a few, when we returned to the vehicles it was not time for lunch as that was planned for the picnic area at Sailor’s falls where there are a few more amenities.
The shelter, toilet, mineral spring pump and interpretive signage has had a facelift in recent years so is a great place to stop off. Fortified by lunch we headed down the several flights of steep steps to look at the falls. There was a small amount of water still flowing. One could venture further on from the falls and complete the walking trail and the number of cars in the car park indicate quite a few others had, but we had another site to visit.
We headed back towards Spargo Creek and went into the Spargo Creek Reserve. It hadn’t been planned as a tour of mineral springs but there is one here as well which is of the sodium bicarbonate type. We walked through the reserve noting a few similar plants to the Wombat Station site but we also observed a few more birds one being a spotted pardalote that was seen coming out of a hole in an embankment.
According to the signage this reserve was a popular picnic area. After the Korweinguboora Reservoir was built south of the reserve in 1909 the Geelong Water Board tried to discourage development of the reserve but the Shire of Bungaree however continued to add to and improve the reserve. Fran could remember attending events there.
Some members headed home from the reserve and a few of us continued on and stopped off at Moorabool Reservoir to observe the birds.