Meeting point, Tom Groggin Dog Shooters hut.
Day 1 - 25th December 2003
Julie and Darren got to the meeting point on late xmas day, after
xmas lunch at the swimming hole/billabong at Omeo.
Day 2 - 26th December 2003
The flies were worse than normal, though the breeze was helping
keep the warm day more comfortable while we waited for the rest of
the crew to cross the Murray and meet up with us at the Dogmas
hut. A few people got on the radio and expressed some concern on
the Murray River, but the water was murky, but only top of the
wheel deep, and everyone was across over the Boxing day safely,
and without a hiccup.
Day 3 - 27th December 2003
The Yatras Clan were going to be a day behind, so we left on the
heading for Davies plain morning tea, leaving the Gordon's in the
Dogmans hut camp to meet with the Yatras' and catch us up on the
day at Limestone Creek. The drive was easy on the well maintained
track over Davies Plain, and the hut made a good smoko stop. From
here we headed for Charlies Creek, where the hut was destroyed by
last years fires for a look. We then headed to the Poplars for
lunch, but they were closed due to fire damage also from the year
before, so we went straight to Limestone creek, camping on the
river, for a late lunch.
We were spending 2 days here, so everyone made themselves comfy,
though getting comfy in the waters of the creek were made a little
more difficult after Darren had a snake swimming downstream
follow the water between his knee's before heading for the bank
Day 4 - 28th December 2003
The Gordon and Yatras stragglers made it to the Limestone creek
camp the next day, following our route from the day before, while
we took a drive over the Cobbora's, one of the most remote parts
of the High Country, to walk the 6km to the start of the Mighty
Murray River, but the 4wding was very slow going, and although we
had lunch at the start of the walking track, we decided to drive
the rest of the Cobbora's and get back to camp at a reasonable
time, which worked out to be a good move, with one climb from one
of the silted creeks climbing over 700m up, with only one
switchback and hardly a change in angle before cresting the top at
Indeegoodbe Track, where we headed for "the lighthouse"
lookout, where we could see snow on Kozi, and the Snowy river. It
was dirt roads from here to camp, and the day had seen us driving
8 odd hours, but the 4wding and views had made it a great day.
Day 5 - 29th December 2003
We followed Native cat track to Tea pot creek track working our
way into Benambra and then Omeo for lunch and restocking supplies,
with Travis wishing he had restocked with fuel at least, before
getting just into Native cat track and Steve and Mrs Warwick were
able to "donate" a jerry of diseasel to get Travis
mobile again. Everyone enjoyed a pie or ice cream, at the
billabong in Omeo, before we headed through Ensay, and turned
right at Wattle circle, onto Sterling track, and along the Haunted
stream, where after some searching we found a good little camp at
Dogtown, but along the way, Mr Gordon managed to get 2 new
stickers for his car, one which said "left" and one
which said "right" stuck on the dash, with the
"right" one stuck on the passenger side to match his
ability at not being able to tell the difference....8-)
We were Joined By Craig, Kristen, and family, the Andersons, GC,
and Roly before midnight, and apart from James Y being ordered to
bed, and Hans running out of his camper yelling "who's the
f%#@*g A$$*^&e who's parked in my tent [Roly was parked 6 ft
away] it was an uneventful night.....8-)
Day 6 - 30th December 2003
The next morning the 90 boys and campers passed our camp before
us, and although Hans had trouble on one creek pinch, we managed
to get to Dawson city without a hiccup for smoko, where the boys
played in the creek crossing, before moving on to Upper Dargo,
Grant for lunch, Bulltown Spur, crooked river, a few splashing
through the Wangungarra after going through Talbot Ville, and into
camp at the 2001 High country spot, where there is plenty of room,
and good swimming in the Wongungarra River. Once in camp, I think
a few felt the heat as we alighted from our air conditioned
vehicles, as it was 40 deg, the flies were thick, and the cicada's
noisy, but we were all in the river for a dip quickly, and the
kids surfed the current from the top of camp to the still swimming
hole, while the adults paddled, and kept the can holders full. The
Somerville's the Gouldens and the Braggs joined us as well for a
night or 2 at this spot.
Day 7 - 31st December 2003
We were up and about, for a 930 head off, to Grant, to walk the
mines, visit the town site for smoko, before we went past jungle
falls, onto Conway track, across Kingswell bridge, and did the
climb up Billy Goats Bluff, and lunch at the Pinnacles fire tower.
The fire tower was manned, and the spotter welcomed everyone,
explained the view, and allowed everyone to use his binocs for a
We retreated back down Billy goat from her, left across the
river at the bridge, and followed the crooked river back to the
bottom of Collingwood spur and back to camp, another great 4wd
day. Once back the new years eve celebrations started in
earnest, and a few of the northern most group did a great job of
setting up the fireworks show on the bank of the river, and
everyone was impressed, upon dark, with the last stragglers
hitting the cot about 330am....8-(
Day 8 - 1st January 2004
It was a late start with only a short drive today, and the radio
very quiet while we headed over wombat spur and down Herne spur
into Wonnangatta to camp at our usual swimming hole.
Everyone was in the water before long, and being in camp for
lunch made for a very relaxed swimming afternoon, and fireside
that night, with some retiring early for a big drive home the next
Day 9 - 2nd January 2004
We headed out early visiting the homestead site and cemetery at
Wonnangatta, before heading out Zeka Spur, but we didn't get to
smoko at Howitt high plains without the Yatras vehicle being one
corner short of working brakes, though vice grips and some more
fluid got the car mobile quickly, and we were able to hit
Helicopter point and wait for those who followed the "LEEDER"
the wrong way at Brocks Rd at Lovicks hut while we had lunch.
We stopped at Bluff hut for a look on the way, before Roly, GC
and Scott turned toward Mansfield and home, while the convoy
headed down 10 mile jeep track, and into Pikes Flat, where we sat
in the river, sipped a few cans, and prepared the fire for a roast
in the oven. The nights activities were enhanced with some steelo
pad fireworks, and a BLEVY as well as a biiiiiiig fire with all
the wood thrown on.
Day 10 - 3rd January 2004
Everyone was looking rather relaxed by today, and packing up took
a little longer, but we meandered our way to Binderee hut, and had
smoko at Binderee Falls, where the bridge was out, before hitting
Monument track, and Craigs Hut for lunch. After soaking up the
glorious day, and the view, we visited Razorback hut, and found a
great spot on the Dalatite river near the Mirimba shop to camp the
last night, but not before sitting beneath the tree's in the
river, cooling off with a wine, a beer or 2, and some nibblies.
TJL was supposed to make a damper, but B2's firewood collecting
skills meant everyone had to go look in the dark, to scratch up
enough wood to cook the TJL damper, which ended up quite ok by all
Day 11 - 4th January 2004
Everyone said the goodbyes, and managed to pack up just before the
rain arrived, thinking of the trip, and the week that was,
wondering how quick next xmas, and the next High Country trip will
take to come around.
Terry, Travis and I arrived at Tom Groggin from Sydney to find
most daunting river crossing - The Murray! Most rivers in NSW are
moving at the moment so to find a raging river waste deep was a
bit tricky for those of us who hadn't crossed it before. This
turned out to be the main theme of the week as we crossed river
after river up to around bonnet depth. So different to NSW and its
low and slow trickles.
It was great to meet so many excellent people from Melbourne and
Brisbane and all the other places people arrived from. Travis and
I were the odd ones out with our DX's but we held the flag high
and kept our turbo envy to a minimum.
I loved the steep stuff, and although it was fairly easy driving
as it was
so dry the mountains are just awesome to see and drive through.
Highlights for me were The Pinnacles and Billy Goat Bluff Track,
and the Wonongatta Valley, it seems so close to civilization but
is some 8 or 9 hours driving from the nearest town centre. I also
loved just hanging out with a wide range of characters (the name
Warwick springs to mind here) and swimming in rivers etc.
This area is really very close to Sydney.. Only around 5 hours to
Groggin and 7 hours to Mansfield so its more accessible than
people think. I'm certainly planning to head back in and try some
things again in the near
After a short introduction, myself, with my mate Cameron as
passenger, and TJL set off from Guildford, Sydney for the NSW/VIC
border, travelling down the Hume and through the NSW ski resorts.
While travelling through the Sydney suburbs TJL's first radio
problem surfaced and then magically fixed itself shortly
thereafter, TJL must have hit Ctrl-Atl-Del on the Alinco UHF by
accident that time. After a leisurely 6 1/2 hours drive with lunch
and grog stops we arrived in a camp ground on the NSW side of the
Some time was spent letting the Cruisers cool down before
assessing the higher than normal Murray crossing. TJL tried to
peer into the middle of the river, but it was clouded with dirt
(and the air clouded with flies!), after 5 minutes of deliberation
on the river bank, TJL who'd been through in years past said
"Stuff it" and took the plunge with me following. The
current at just under wheel depth was strong enough to help the
Cruiser make a left turn around a fallen tree to the exit point. A
few minutes drive and we were welcomed by Darren, and a few more
flies, at Dogman Hut, Tom Groggin.
Set up, stay out of the sun and heat, all while swatting flies
was the next job, this was all very familiar by the end of the
trip and most had the operation streamlined as everyone was eager
to get to the last step in setting up camp - 'put chair out, sit
down and open beer'. We struck our first drama which was the
freezer wasn't doing its job, TJL responded with the answer which
was not to have the thing cranked all the way up, this proved to
be correct the next morning.
The spring-like pollen levels and gusty breeze had also set-off
some of the most severe hay-fever I've experienced. During the
afternoon we were joined by Scott and son Samuel from Cambelltown,
B1 & B2
from Camberwell, Mark & Trina from Brisbane, Steve and Warrren
from Yarra Valley.
A convoy of Prado, Defender and 4 x 80 Series started towards
Davies Plain Track for the first full day, leaving Mark to wait
for James Yatras and family to arrive. Lots of good scenery and
driving for today, and lots of learning on my part being a newbie
to the LCOOL group.
Davies Plain Hut was very interesting and the stories that went
with it, as were stories of the track and area in general, many
told by Steve and some by Darren. During the first few hours of
the day we entered what was to be four days of fire devastated
bushland. By lunchtime we were a short distance from the Limestone
Creek camping area so decided to push on before having lunch and
we arrived there within the hour.
We had lunch at the grassy camping area which was overgrown due
to farmers disallowing their livestock out to graze in bushfire
affected areas. While we ate Darren scouted around for a suitable
camping spot as some other campers were using the spot he had in
mind. A few minutes later a group of Discovery's moved on and we
took their spot a little further back along Limestone Creek. I was
pretty happy with this shady and leafy spot as it offered some,
but not much, relief from the heat.
Standard setup then open a beer followed and we could
relax for the
rest of the day and cool off by wading around in the river. Even
Darren was pretty relaxed when a snake swam between his legs as be
stood in the river. TJL provided some much needed hay-fever relief
in the form of a saline eye bath, it seemed to do the trick -
thanks again Terry!
28/12/03 - Rest day
Not sure who calculated today's 'short trip', but we did
possibly the longest drive time-wise of the whole trip to the
walking track that went to
the start of the Murray River.
The round trip started a few minutes after 10am and took almost
8 hours. At the lunch stop we were at the beginning of the walking
track and after a little re-calculation it was decided that we'd
better pass on the walk and head back to camp or we'd over-shoot
dinner time. Good decision as we got back to camp after 5:30 with
Mark and James who had caught up during the day left wondering why
we'd moved on and left our tents behind!
Out of the car and straight down to the river to cool off and
wash our faces, then TJL bringing in the tail end saw us and
charged... we were just able to run out and avoid the wall of
water coming of the stern of his multivalve as it ploughed through
the shallow crossing.
All in all, a great days 4WDing, plenty of interesting terrain,
but a shame not to have seen the main purpose for the drive.
With the convoy growing we set off past Limestone Creek
camping area and towards civilisation. Only engaging 4WD a handful
of times today, the trip covered many kilometres and lots of
magnificent scenery. Drama number two - what seems to be a fuelling
problem saw my Cruiser choke to a stop on one of the wide fire
trails. A big helping hand was offered by Steve and Warren in
(gulp...) the Defender with a jerry of diesel to get me into Omeo,
big thanks to Steve. This opened the gates for plenty of
Cruiser-bashing on Steve and Warren's part who had been defending
the Defender since day one.
After lunch, and a breather while we waited for Hans at the
beginning of the Angora Fire Trail we were back into the bush
heading towards the Haunted Stream Track and Dogtown. Driving
though lots of lush greenery it was a pleasant change of scenery
from sparse undergrowth and burnt, black trunks and branches.
Craig and Hans caught up along the way and the afternoon saw plenty
of confusion over the radio as the winding tracks and now large
convoy meant the front and rear were out of range of each other
and messages were being relayed right, left and centre.
Everyone handled what could have been a very frustrating
afternoon very well. After few U-turns, including assisting James
and camper trailer half turn around before hearing a radio call
that said continue in the same direction, we finally arrived at a
small camping area which was a cosy size for the convoy with
enough room to squeeze in a couple of late arriving vehicles (GC
and Roly), bringing the total to 11 vehicles. A dip in the cool
water of the creek and a much needed wash was bliss especially
after discovering the air-con in the DX had packed it in with
temperatures nudging 40C. Our somewhat non-domestic living
arrangement even allowed some 'domestic' behaviour later that
evening... no need to go into details there! *tongue in cheek*
The need to go to bed was countered by the beers being donated
from the back of Roly's Poo-trol, we finally hit the hay to the
tune of TJL's chain-snore just after 1am.
Last day of 4WDing for Cam and I, once we were through
Historical Grant and after yesterday's brush with civilisation,
fire trails and logging areas, the drive became very interesting
and challenging with many creek crossings, steep climbs and descents
and even cows on the road near Talbotville. An absolute pleasure
for any 4WDer to see the varied terrain and a new challenge around
every corner. The icing on the cake was the final crossing for the
day, a wide section of the Wongungarra River, which put a bow wave
up my windscreen! The most memorable part of the trip for me.
Thanks to Darren for making it all the more exciting by telling
me it was wheel depth... WHEEL DEPTH my a@$e!! The campsite
offered ample room for all, including the arrivals of the Bragg
family (and my front-left wheel flare which had jettisoned itself
in the river crossing - thanks Ian) and others who we missed the
following day having left for home. A good hour swim in the cool,
fast-flowing Wongungarra River followed by setting up, then
another swim before dinner and beer-aided relaxation and fairly
early bedtime in preparation for the drive home tomorrow.
The most notable part of the Wongungarra River campsite was the
volume of the cicadas chirp and how early they started, it was
deafening! It was loud enough to wake me at first light, around
5am this morning, had to be heard to be believed.
After finally rising just before 7am, packing up and breakky we
said our goodbyes and thank yous to everyone who was up (most
people), and set off for Sydney at around 8:15am. Took the shallow
route back through the river, took the long and steep Collingwood
Spur track through the Grant area, Cruiser was complaining about
the early start as the temperature gauge crept up a millimetre or
two, but moved straight back down - still puzzled by that one.
Then back out to the bitumen heading towards Mt Hotham and then
Bright. Plenty of great scenery on the windy drive out to Wodonga.
After doing all the driving, dropping Cam and his gear off and
arriving home at around 7:30pm I was ready for early bed. BUT...
it was new years eve, so partying hard was on the menu and that's
what followed - gees its easy to get drunk after an 11 hour
drive... cheapest new years ever.
Whole-heartedly looking forward to doing it all again in the
trip, great company and a fantastic piece of OZ.
Total kms - Around the 1,600-1,700 mark, but only between 200-300
Fuel bill - Too much. Efficiency testing begins at my next fill.
Breakdowns - Running out of fuel, air-con failure.
Carnage - Detached front-left wheel flare with damaged clip
A trip report from the LCOOL Poet in Residence - who didn't
There was movement on the mountain
cause the word had got around
that the shed guy and his prado were away
he had joined the wild bush 80's
though he made a different sound
cause the petrol not the diesel made his day
There was gc in a turbo and some others in the pack
the track was wild and twisty as they found
But the shed guy was the leader so there was no turnin back
Till each and every one had reached high ground
Now the gear that these guys sported
Would of shamed the national debt
And they really had to use it on that trek
Cause with his sense of humour
He led them over ground
That threatened each and every bloody neck
Most of em were newbies to the country there on high
Delighted at the vistas that he showed
But shorts and thongs from Queensland
Just aren't the gear to wear
As they found out when the mountain snowed
There was one there with some tyres
that were lookin pretty good
He'd brought em for this gig but what a bummer
For the country taught him quickly that the pattern was not
He brought em in the winter not the summer
When they camped around the campfire in the evernings early
Twas all fun and frivolity its true
Yes the newbies had become
part of that magic scene
Instead of just some email from a few
And soon we'll get a trip report
But nobody will tell
exactly how the shed man got his name
the reason for this silence
Is as simple as its true
Cause every body wants to go again !
After some valiant attempts at reciting the Man From Snowy
River, below is information that should be of interest to all
those who attended.
BELOW IS JACK RILEY AND MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER DETAIL.
How did a tailor from Ireland become an Australian legend?
Jack Riley was born in Ireland to Daniel Riley and Anne (nee
1841. He was thirteen when he emigrated to Australia,
arriving in Sydney on the Rodney on March 15, 1854. He later lived
with his sister, Mrs. Mary Anne Jones, and operated a tailoring
business at Omeo.
Jack left Omeo to work in the Monaro district for the Pendergast
Freebody families, and at a station called Eulamuna near the
border of NSW and Victoria. He quickly acquired a reputation
as a brumby hunter and horse breaker. In 1994 he was appointed by
John Pierce to look after cattle at Tom Groggin, an Upper Murray
pastoral run of 20,000 acres.
Jack lived alone in a log cabin on the station for nearly
twenty years and
drove cattle out of Tom Groggin every summer to graze on the high
country. Riley developed a reputation as a skilful brumby hunter
and horse breaker, but these tales would probably be long
forgotten if Walter Mitchell had not introduced Riley to Banjo
Paterson Walter is the late father-in-law of Elyne Mitchell who
wrote the internationally renowned Silver Brumby series.
Elyne has heard the story about the night Banjo Paterson met
Jack Riley many times since she married Tom Mitchell and moved to
the Upper Murray over sixty years ago. Walter took Banjo from the
Mitchell homestead at Bringenbrong to Riley's Hut at Tom Groggin
in 1890. A bottle of whisky emerged in the hut that night and it
is said that there
was none left in the morning. "Riley just kept talking",
Elyne said. "Those were the days when a person who
could tell a good yarn was always popular because there was no
wireless and no television."
It is believed Riley's tales included his experience with an
thoroughbred stallion which had joined mob of wild horses.
Riley was among a party of stockmen who attempted to recapture the
station, and was the only rider brave enough to pursue it down a
treacherous slope on Mt Leatherhead.
Presumably, the night of Riley's tales about his own exploits,
adventures of other rides, left a lasting impression on the great
poet. Later that year Paterson's "The Man from Snowy
River" was published in the Bulletin. In October 1895
Paterson's "The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses"
Riley continued to live on Tom Groggin station until he fell
seriously ill in July, 1914. Respected for the horsemanship
of his earlier years, Riley
had befriended many peoplethroughout the Upper Murray. When
news of his declining health reached Corryong, concerned friends
organised a party of riders to transport him from his Tom Groggin
hut to Corryong Hospital.
Inspired by mateship, they endured rain, snow and treacherous
their endeavour to take the ill, elderly man to safety. But for
Riley, the journey ended in a deserted mining hut near Hermit and
Surveyors' Creek junction where the party sheltered from the snow
for the evening.
The Corryong Courier later reported, "He seemed to rally a
little, and spoke to his friends, but his weakness reasserted
itself and shortly afterwards, he swayed over, and would have
fallen had his mates not saved him."
"The journey was over as far as old Jack was concerned.
The game old heart had ceased to beat, and out there among the
great silent trees, with the rain falling softly on the roof of
the hut, his spirit went home to its long rest."
Jack Riley was buried at Corryong Cemetery and a
granite headstone has been erected in his memory.
There was movement at the station, for the word
had passed around That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses - he was worth a thousand
pound, So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.
There was Harrison, who made his pile when
Pardon won the cup,
The old man with his hair as white as snow;
But few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up -
He would go wherever horse and man could go.
And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a hand,
No better horseman ever held the reins;
For never horse could throw him while the saddle-girths would
stand - He learnt to ride while droving on the plains.
And one was there, a stripling on a small
and weedy beast;
He was something like a racehorse undersized,
With a touch of Timor pony - three parts thoroughbred at
And such as are by mountain horsemen prized.
He was hard and tough and wiry - just the sort that won't say
There was courage in his quick impatient tread;
And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery
And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.
But still so slight and weedy, one would
doubt his power to stay,
And the old man said, "That horse will never do
For a long and tiring gallop - lad, you'd better stop away,
Those hills are far too rough for such as you."
So he waited, sad and wistful - only Clancy stood his friend
"I think we ought to let him com," he said:
"I warrant he'll be with us when he's wanted at the end,
For both his horse and he are mountain bred.
"He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko's
Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough;
Where a horse's hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones
The man that holds his own is good enough.
And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,
Where the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to
But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen."
So he went - they found the horses by the big
They raced away towards the mountain's brow,
And the old man gave his orders, "Boys, go at them from
No use to try for fancy riding now.
And, Clancy, you must wheel them, try and wheel them to the
Ride boldly, lad and never fear the spills,
For never yet was rider that could keep the mob in sight,
If once they gain the shelter of those hills."
So Clancy rode to wheel them - he was racing
on the wing
Where the best and boldest riders take their place,
And he raced his stockhorse past them, and he made the ranges
ring With the stockwhip, as he met them face to face.
Then they halted for a moment, while he swung the dreaded
But they saw their well-loved mountain full in view,
And they charged beneath the stockwhip with a sharp and
And off into the mountain scrub they flew.
Then fast the horsemen followed, where the gorges
deep and black Resounded to the thunder of their tread,
And the stockwhips woke the echoes, and they fiercely
Fromcliffs and crags that beetled overhead.
And upward, ever upward, the wild horses held their way,
Where mountain ash and kurrajong grew wide;
And the old man muttered fiercely, "We may bid the mob
No man can hold them down the other side."
When they reached the mountain's summit, even
Clancy took a pull -
It well might make the boldest hold their breath;
The wild hop scrub grew thickly, and the hidden ground was
Of wombat holes, and any slip was death.
But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his head,
And he swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer,
And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its
While the others stood and watched in very fear.
He sent the flint-stones flying, but the pony kept
He cleared the fallen timber in his stride,
And the man from Snowy River never shifted in his seat -
It was grand to see that mountain horseman ride.
Through the stringy barks and saplings, on the rough and
Down the hillside at a racing pace he went;
And he never drew the bridle till he landed safe and sound
At the bottom of that terrible descent.
He was right among the horses as they climbed the
And the watchers on the mountain, standing mute,
Saw him ply the stockwhip fiercely; he was right among them
As he raced across the clearing in pursuit.
Then they lost him for a moment, where two
mountain gullies met
In the ranges - but a final glimpse reveals
On a dim and distant hillside the wild horses racing yet,
With the man from Snowy River at their heels.
And he ran them single=handed till their sides
were white with foam;
He followed like a bloodhound on their track,
Till they halted, cowed and beaten; then he turned their
heads for home,
And alone and unassisted brought them back.
But his hardy mountain pony he could scarcely rase a trot,
He was blood from hip to shoulder from the spur;
But his pluck was still undaunted, and his courage fiery hot,
For never yet was mountain horse a cur.
And down by Kosciusko, where the pine-clad ridges
Their torn and rugged battlements on high,
Where the air is clear as crystal, and the white stars fairly
At midnight in the cold and frosty sky,
And where around the Overflow the reed-beds sweep and sway
To the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide,
The Man from Snowy River is a household word today,
And the stockmen tell the story of his ride.
Andrew Barton Paterson - "The