Sunday, July 29, 2018

Fairy Dell Gully - Neil McKilligan

Our member Jan Veacock did a good piece of detective work in unearthing a map locating Fairy Dell Gully (FDG) in the western Helidon Hills. Judged by E.A.R. Lord’s October 1956 map, reproduced in the Darling Downs Naturalist, the FDG Creek discharges into 15-Mile Creek a short distance upstream from where Para-dise Creek joins 15 Mile. Its tributaries originate on the eastern slopes of White Mountain.
These are my impressions of this fascinating rocky terrain from having walked its length several times (as have some bush walking members of the TFNC). My topographic map Murphys Creek 9343-33 shows Fairy Dell Gully but does not name it. Veteran bushwalker Bill Hoogendoorn named it Bum Bum Creek, presumably after some discomfiting accident on its steep slopes. My book Bush Walks in the Toowoomba Region (McKilligan and Savage 2009) identifies FDG as part of Walk 14 and shows the walk route following much of the length of FDG and one of its tributaries. Along most of its length it is steep walled and its sandstone floor is gently sloping and clear of debris and other obstacles to progress. Its tributaries are steep and narrow but sculpted by erosion into a series of stone steps that make for easy climbing. This area has an abundance of native wild flowers but I have seen no fairies!
One can access its tributaries from the slopes of White Mountain but more easily locate its mouth as follows. Drive from Murphys Creek township via the road that would eventually take you to Hampton, but after 2.4 km turn right into Paradise Creek Road and follow it to where it turns and goes sharply downhill. You can ignore the Keep Out signs as this is a public road. Park at this bend and enjoy the view across 15-Mile Creek to Red Rock, a high, red coloured cliff favoured by assailers. Wild flowers are prolific on this rocky ridge. Walk or drive the steep, rough track down to near the junction of Paradise and 15-Mile Creeks. Fairy Dell Gully Creek is roughly 100 metres upstream. Due to the 2011 flood its entrance is partly obscured by fallen timber but it is still accessible.

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