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Monday, August 24, 2009

Big Pat's Creek - the Walk into History

The Walk into History is a 38 km trail extending from Big Pats Creek to Powelltown, mostly in the Yarra State Forest.

The Walk starts at the small settlement of Big Pat's Creek, about 80 km east of Melbourne, not far from the town of Warburton.

The trail is considered by a number of forest planners to be one of the best scenic forest walks in Victoria.

The two day walk follows old tramway tracks passing through Mountain Ash forests, via old mills and past old logging equipment. The walk can be undertaken in small sections from several access points.

The timber tramway, known as the Federal Mill Tramway, linking Big Pat's Creek and Starling Gap, ceased to operate in 1950, but a few relics remain. Big bushfires in 1983 destroyed most of the remaining infrastructure.

I hiked the northern route of the Federal Mill trail on August 23 2009, as a late-winter review of track conditions. My hike started at the junction of Big Pat's Creek Rd and Smythe Creek Rd, at the old bridge, and followed Big Pat's Creek, crossing it at several points.

A small picnic ground, with facilities, suitable for camping, is located about 1 km from the start of the walk.

I left the track at the Burns Rd intersection, and continued along this road for about 2 km, through tall timber. Some noisy trail-bike riders passed me, as well as a heavy 4WD which had come down from Starling Gap.

Total walking was about 6 km.

I have completed the southern section of the Walk into History, from Powelltown to the High Lead car park - the remaining section north to Starling Gap will be done at another time!

I had driven all the way along Burn's Rd from Starling Gap to Big Pat's Creek on an earlier trip during summer, but in winter the road can become blocked by fallen trees.

Very little evidence remains of the former tramway infrastructure along this section of the walk. Some iron rails are exposed at the side of the track, near Big Pat's Creek Rd. Remains of the timber sleepers are visible on the track, near the footbridge.

See all of the Photos of my trip!

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