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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Scenic Yarra Brae,Warrandyte State Park

On September 23 2008 I visited the remote Yarra Brae Section of the Warrandyte State Park, 20 km east of the Melbourne CBD.

I completed a 5 km hike along the Market Garden Track, starting and finishing at the Clifford Activity Centre, reached from Clifford Drive.

This is one of the best walks in the Park, with excellent views towards the Yarra Ranges and across neighbouring farms, grazing properties, and equestrian centres.

The Track ends at the Yarra River, at a location known as the Bend of Isles. Immediately opposite the river is the small municipality "Bend of Islands", an Environmental Living Zone.

Yarra Brae was one of the original grazing properties, acquired by the Hon. L. Clifford in 1940. After being a war-time army training area, Clifford made it available for Australia's first Pan Pacific Scout Jamboree in 1948.

Clifford Park, now owned and managed by Scouting Victoria, also hosted jamborees during the 1950s and is available for conferences, meetings, conventions, school groups, education and activity-based camps.

In 1972 Yarra Brae was the site of a proposed lower Yarra River reservoir, but residents of Bend of Isles persuaded the Victorian Government to abandon the proposal. The allied Sugarloaf Reservoir at Christmas Hills went ahead.

Yarra Brae was incorporated into the Park in 1977.

The Track is shared with walkers and horseriders, and is steep and rocky in parts. During summer, it can be fiercely hot and dry, and caution is advised.

See my Album of the Photos, which includes an image taken in 1942 showing he Yarra Brae homestead and buildings as they existed at the time, now part of the Activity Centre.

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