The day begins at Russells Road near the Comaidai CFA, one of the entrances to Lerderderg State Park – Paul’s first trip as trip leader in training. Luckily for us, it was a gorgeous, sunny day with only a light wind. Still pretty chilly though at the tail end of winter.
Once all 8 cars had arrived, Paul called in the troops for a trip rundown, also handing out a refresher on Australian 4WD convoy procedures. Tim and Jamie conducted the vehicle inspections as part of Jamie’s Tail End Charlie (TEC) training. Paul then arranged the convoy using the old “draw a number from the hat” method.
The group has a few new leaders in training and its great that the load will be shared more evenly, and the new leaders will each bring their own style and ideas to the mix, as well as variety in trip destinations. Paul was exceptionally organised and had put a lot of effort in to the planning.
About half an hour into the trip, Lloyd realised he’d made a serious error. He had forgotten to put his pies in the Travel Buddy. Definitely a modern day 4WD problem!
This time of year most of the 4WD tracks in Lerderderg and Wombat are closed so we made our way to O’Briens Crossing via dirt roads and were there by about 10.30.
There’s a nice walk to an old mining area called The Tunnel where you can see where miners cut a tunnel through a hill in order to re-divert the river. Today more people were interested to go check out some nearby mines. Maybe another day we can do the hike…. After a cuppa and a chat we were off – minus one car who had to head home early.
First up was Struck Oil mine where we had lunch near a deep mine shaft (but not too close).
Pink heaththe floral emblem of Victoria) was everywhere to be seen. A sure sign that spring is near.
Some of us has a sausage sizzle and I hear Lloyd’s pies (home made by Linda) were cooked to perfection.
The road was pretty rutted on the way down so we had to pick the driving lines carefully. Not a lot of room to park at the mine and it’s a return trip so we only took 3 cars down. Just as well as a couple of fellow 4wders we’re having lunch down there.
You can walk straight in to this mine for about 120 metres until you come to a cave in. It must have taken an incredible amount of back breaking work to get even that far. A torch is a must for anyone venturing in – make sure you watch your head as the ceiling varies in height and also take care where you put your feet.
Goint to these kind of places always makes me think about how tough life must have been back then and how the mining boom changed the entire landscape within the Golder Triangle, stripping the hills bare of trees and leaving behind mullock heaps and shafts.
Heading back up the track, Larry provided an excellent opportunity for a recovery when he got a little caught up on one of the deep ruts. A quick winch up and the Patrol was out, after which Larry decided changing in to 4WD might be a good idea.
From here we headed to Red, White and Blue mine, enjoying some muddy puddles left over by recent rains.
I was surprised to see Lloyd parked at a dead end but then realised the mine entrance was actually a small hole in the ground. The rest of the group had parked up on the higher road and walked down. I was a little reluctant to go in but people who had been there before told me it was definitely worth a look. Getting in there wasn’t as hard as I’d thought and yes, it was worth it – it opened up into a tunnel similar in size and distance to Struck Oil, with plenty of old beams and tracks inside.
Back up at the cars was the other end of the mine, impassable due to a long ago cave in.
This is where the trip called and we all thanked Paul for a good day out. Can’t wait for the next adventure!!
Stats and map of the day below: