Walhalla Goldfields Railway crossing the Thomson river,

Baw Baw NP and Walhalla, 2012

Week of Walks 2012 – Baw Baw National Park and Walhalla

Text and photos by Duncan Crockett

Base camp for our Week of Walks in 2012 was Rawson Village giving easy access to both Baw Baw National Park and the old gold mining town of Walhalla.  The township of Rawson was established in 1977 to provide accommodation for workers involved in the construction of the Thomson Dam which was completed in 1983.

We walked sections of the Australian Alpine Walking Track (AAWT) within the Baw Baw National Park visiting Mushroom Rocks, Mount Erica and the ruins of Talbot Hut (destroyed in the 1939 bushfires).  Also on the Baw Baw plateau we trekked to Mount St Gwinear and Mount St Phillack.

On another section of the AAWT outside the National Park we ventured to the Poverty Point Bridge, originally built in 1901 to allow timber trams to access the forests on the west side of the Thomson River to supply the gold furnaces in Walhalla.  The bridge was restored in 1976 to form part of the AAWT.

The final section of the AAWT we walked was the 5 kilometre section from Mormon Town track into the town of Walhalla.  This final section of the AAWT is easy walking because it follows the route of an old timber tramway.

A highlight was a walk to the Horse Shoe Bend Tunnel about 6 kilometres from Rawson.  The 220 metre long tunnel was constructed in 1912 to divert the whole flow of the Thomson River under a spur thus exposing the alluvial gold in the bed of the river where it passed around the spur.  The river still flows through the tunnel making a very interesting spectacle.

A non-walking highlight of the week was a concert organised by Christina MacCallum.  The venue was the conference room at Rawson Village.  Christina persuaded many of our group to contribute an act.  We had talks on different subjects, songs, recitations and a recorder solo from Marion: the leader of the jazz band “Sweet Ade”.  Similar concerts have become a feature of our Week-of-Walks expeditions when a suitable venue has been available.