Friday, November 11, 2011

Bellthorpe Camp

Happy Bellthorpe Campers with David Clark
Twenty-one exhausted but exhilarated people had a wonderful 3 days at Bellthorpe Cottage, the property of David and Wendy Clark. The weather was perfect and the views stunning.

David was an attentive host, leading all the outings, whether on the property or further afield. On the first night he also gave a talk on Bellthorpe, the cottage and the district; people, history, geology, wildlife and farming practices.

Jim, Maria and Diane 
at the shed
Glenda not only supplied us with desserts and yummy slices, but had organized some interesting activities, and everything went like clockwork. Facilities were set up in the shed making everything very easy and civilized.

Our first walk was through the rainforest down to the waterfalls. On the way David showed us points of interest and explained the difficulties in building the tracks. In true Nats style people wandered off into the bush to check out fungi or birds, or anything else that caught their eye. Diane got a glimpse of the Paradise Riflebird which made her day. 
Bellthorpe was also affected by the January deluge, and the Bellthorpe Road is still closed. The picture above was taken when a few of us had a recce in November 2010. The one at the right was taken on the camp. You can see how large logs were just swept aside like small branches. (Remember to right click on an image and open in a new tab for an enlargement.)
Happy hour
After 3 hours we were more than ready for happy hour. Good company, tasty nibblies plus a little restorative beverage soon had us ready for the evening's activites. 

Wednesday dawned bright and clear to the sound of bird song. Some early risers went on a walk down near the dams and were rewarded with good sightings of Wompoo Pigeon and Green Catbird. 

One of the dams along the creek

Rose-leaf Bramble, Rubus rosifolius

At 8.30 we were ready for the day and we set off for Bellthorpe Environmental Park where the Bellthorpe Progress Association has been clearing exotic weed. At the end of one of the tracks was a lovely view of the Glasshouse Mountains with Pumicestone Passage behind.
Glasshouse Mountains View

From there we backtracked to the Bellthorpe State Forest. After squeezing us all into the 4WDs we wended our way along a forestry road until it was time for morning tea including more of Glenda's scrumptious snacks. From here we walked along the track  which meandered through rainforest grandeur with huge trees towering above us, wildflowers sprinkled at our feet, and treefern tracery.

Lunch  was at the Bellthorpe Conservation Park on the site of the old Brandon's Mill. There is very little left of the mill now, and none of the town at all. While we were there all the exotic pines were being cut out and we scavenged some of the wood for our camp fire. David had shown us photos of the mill in its heyday so this virtually empty 14 ha paddock was difficult to picture as a thriving community with a school and homes as well as the mill. In 1998 it was recommended that the area be heritage listed as one of the best preserved sawmill communities, however this obviously didn't happen. There were plenty of birds, butterflies, and flowers to keep us happy as we strolled around the site and surrounding roads.

That night after happy hour and tea we went into the rainforest searching for fireflies. It was eerily beautiful to see them flickering through the trees. Then it was back to the camp fire where Phil played some tunes on his penny whistle.
Coming back from the rainforest walk
Despite the late night we were ready at 8.30 for another walk on the property. This time to the waterfall from the upper track and back past the shed. All that was left to do was say our thank-yous to David and Glenda. David was presented with a gift and an honorary membership for 12 months. This was followed with much acclamation and determination to return. 
Looking from the eastern boundary
 to the western boundary with cottage and camp site
For more information on: 
Bellthorpe National Park - 
Bellthorpe in the 1950s. This is a lovely website of one man's life and family. During the 1950s they lived at Bellthorpe. He writes a good story -

All lists compiled from members’ sightings 
8-10 November 2011
Bellthorpe Cottage and Cabin Bird List: (26° 49’ 46” S, 152° 42’ 55” S – Bellthorpe Cottage ) Australian Brush-turkey, Pacific Black Duck, White-headed Pigeon, Spotted Dove (Spot Turtle Dove), Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Bar-shouldered Dove, Wonga Pigeon, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Topknot Pigeon, White-necked Heron, White-faced Heron, Straw-necked Ibis, Brown Goshawk, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Galah, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Australian King-Parrot, Crimson Rosella, Pale-headed Rosella, Eastern Koel, Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Southern Boobook (heard), Laughing Kookaburra, Sacred Kingfisher, Dollarbird, Noisy Pitta (heard), White-throated Treecreeper, Green Catbird, Regent Bowerbird, Satin Bowerbird, Superb Fairy-wren, Red-backed Fairy-wren, Variegated Fairy-wren, Yellow-throated Scrubwren, White-browed Scrubwren, Brown Gerygone, Fairy Gerygone, White-throated Gerygone, Brown Thornbill, Eastern Spinebill, Lewin's Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Scarlet Honeyeater, Eastern Whipbird, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Cicadabird, Crested Shrike-tit, Golden Whistler, Grey Shrike-thrush, Grey Butcherbird, Pied Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Spangled Drongo, Rufous Fantail, Grey Fantail, Torresian Crow, Leaden Flycatcher, Satin Flycatcher, Black-faced Monarch, Paradise Riflebird, Eastern Yellow Robin, Silvereye, Welcome Swallow, Red-browed Finch. 67 species
Bellthorpe Environmental Park: (26° 51’ 50” S, 152° 44’ 48” E) Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Crimson Rosella, Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Noisy Pitta (heard), Satin Bowerbird, Yellow-throated Scrubwren, Large-billed Scrubwren, Brown Gerygone, Lewin's Honeyeater, Eastern Whipbird, Rufous Whistler, Grey Shrike-thrush, Australasian Figbird, Pied Currawong, Spangled Drongo, Rufous Fantail. 17 species
Bellthorpe State Forest: (M=Old Brandon’s Mill Site only, 26° 49’ 21” S, 152° 40’ 46” E at Crane Pivot) Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Wompoo Fruit-Dove (M), White-faced Heron (M), Purple Swamphen (M), Masked Lapwing (M), Australian King-Parrot, Crimson Rosella, Pale-headed Rosella, Laughing Kookaburra, White-throated Treecreeper, Satin Bowerbird, Red-backed Fairy-wren, Variegated Fairy-wren, Spotted Pardalote, Eastern Spinebill, Lewin's Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Scarlet Honeyeater, Eastern Whipbird, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Cicadabird, Grey Shrike-thrush, Olive-backed Oriole, Pied Butcherbird (M), Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Grey Fantail, Torresian Crow, Paradise Riflebird, Welcome Swallow (M), Red-browed Finch. 31 Species
Miscellaneous in the Bellthorpe Area: Cattle Egret, Buff-banded Rail, Willie Wagtail. 3 species Total species: 78

1 comment:

Bob Davies said...
Anyone wishing to read more about Bellthorpe will find the latest version at the above site.
Bob Davies.