The purpose of today’s ride was to fill in a “missing link” on my map between Walloon and Hardings Paddock. I’ve done some fun rides with friends at both places in the past. Today’s wet weather provided an ideal opportunity to complete the 27 km gap between the two places and enjoy some scenic country out the back of Ipswich in South-East Queensland.
In typical mtb style I headed south out of Walloon looking for a dirt track I could follow. It wasn’t long before I found Mount Elliot Mine Road – a road casement which runs along sone one of the many mines around Ipswich.
The track was a bit muddy in parts, but was very rideable despite the wet weather. It eventually led me to the small town of Willowbank near the RAAF base at Amberley.
After battling some busy traffic along the Cunningham Highway for a couple of hundred metres, I turned south and followed another dirt track past some beautiful properties with some gorgeous horses galloping around. They were pretty curious and galloped up to me as I rode past. A bunch of horses galloping towards you is a wonderful sight.
This small cemetery is a couple of kilometres from Hardings Paddock. It’s unusual in that it’s a reserve dedicated specifically to Aborigines. I had a bit of a look around and was gobsmacked by what I found….
Passed away 21 May 1976
Go our beloved
Be free in the land
From whence you came
Harold Blair was a a world-famous Aboriginal Singer and activist. He was born in Cherbourg Aboriginal Reserve and grew up in Purga, south of Ipswich. The Australian federal electorate of Blair is named in his honor.
Hardings Paddock borders on a military firing range. As I rode past I saw these kangaroos huddled by the fence. They looked like they wanted to get out. Who knows? Perhaps they had decided that the military life wasn’t for them? Who can blame them?
This was a pretty easy ride – flatter than what I’m used to, and with a large amount of quiet bitumen roads. It was ideal for a wet day, but I imagine it might get a bit hot on a fine summer day. The short stint on the Cunningham Highway was unpleasant, but the rest of the ride was quite enjoyable. I’ll rate this one 6.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.
Best of all, my map has one less missing gap 🙂
Max elevation: 101 m
Min elevation: 16 m
Total climbing: 421 m
Total descent: -434 m
Average speed: 17.58 km/h
Total time: 03:29:55