Sunday, January 24, 2010
Weddin National Park or the tale of bushrangers and ghosts
Weddin National Park is located approximately 25km from Grenfell, a small, quality, rural town in the wheat belt of NSW. The Weddin ranges were a popular hideout for the Bushrangers that robbed the stage coaches, banks and post offices during the gold rush of the 1860's. One in particular, Ben Hall made the caves in the ranges his home and with this piece of history in mind we chose to explore the park, as well as a historic farm nearby.
The Weddin Ranges. Home to Bushrangers, kangaroos, and birds.
The drive is pleasant and mostly tar. 2wd access is assured at Ben Hall camping area. On this particular day the temperature was up in the 40's, and setting up camp was hot, to say the least. After 1/2 hour with the tent and awning set up. Dave and I decided to ride our bikes to Seaton farm. The farm itself reminded me of the building methods used in the 1800's, where corrugated iron was beaten flat to stretch it and make it go further. Where wire was used to join frames together and where the homes floors were dirt.
I was surprised to learn that the farm was constructed in the 1940's. With a small avenue of Kurrajong trees, visiting each out house, shed, the main home and the bunker was an enjoyable experience. We entered the main house. Not much more than a shed it still had the bottles and papers left on the table when it was handed over to the national park. David commented that it smelled of fresh damper- and it did. The old home gave the impression that, at any moment, the owner would walk through us and pour himself a drink.
The home just as they left it. The ghosts of things past. (Worth clicking on the photo)
Everything was done by hand and by one man. Including the digging of the dam, the well and all construction. We left feeling we were being watched by the owners ghost. After the short ride back to camp we had a drink and a short rest in the shade and chose to walk up to Ben halls cave. The track is easy, although rocky. Upon reaching the summit thew views are simply spectacular and we could see why Ben Hall chose it as his look out- you would see a man on horseback miles away. The campsites are pleasant. clean loos and electric bbqs are available. The ground itself is sparsely covered in tufts of grass, and the soil is loose- plenty of dust. There were very few people about.
The view of the district from Ben Halls cave
Even though it was hot we saw on this trip:- White winged chuffs, Apostle birds, Willy wagtail, Australian raven, Little raven, nankeen kestrel, galah, pee wee, Bell miner, Grey butcherbird, Wedge tailed eagle, Sulphur crested cockatoo, Australian magpie, Black faced cuckoo-shrike, Yellowtailed cockatoo, Australian wood duck, Pacific black duck, Black shouldered kite, red rumped parrot, Boo Book owl, Pied currawong, Crested pigeon, Diamond dove, Hoary headed, grebe, Emu, Yellow throated miner.
A very tiny Gheko!
As the sun set we enjoyed our BBQ and sat and chatted until 10.30 when we decided to go to bed and be up at dawn for further walks and birding. However, at midnight an extreme wind storm erupted, with such strength as to rip the awning off the tent and we could hear the sound of trees crashing. We spent a sleepless night. At dawn we were up to survey the damage. There was camping equipment strewn everywhere. With the wind still extreme we decided to pack and head out. We were disappointed to cut the trip short and are determined to re visit the park in April or May, but to be out and about is really exciting as always.