Boondall Wetlands via the Moreton Bay Bikeway

Boondall Wetlands via the Moreton Bay Bikeway

Boondall WetlandsBoondall WetlandsBoondall Wetlands

We spent an hour around sunset yesterday riding through the Boondall Wetlands along the Moreton Bay Bikeway.

No cars, lots of open space, and great views. What more could you want?

The Bikeway goes for miles, and for a lot of it, you can’t hear anything except wind!

I was impressed by this Aboriginal sculpture in the middle of nowhere. It’s framed by boomerangs and has a plant motif on one side, and a bird on the other.

These wetlands were used by Aborigines as pathways from the hinterland down to the sea.

Bell's Scrub, Lawnton

Bell’s Scrub, Lawnton

This is the only remaing parcel of virgin rainforest in the Pine Rivers district. It’s never been cleared, and apart from a few noxious weeds like Lantana and Umbrella Trees, it’s pretty much the same as it was before Europeans arrived 200 years ago.

Ironically it’s in the middle of a gravel quarry. The ground around it has been excavated to such an extent that it’s almost an island.

Before Europan settlement, all the land around our neighborhood along the river looked like this. I half expected early 19th century elder, Dalaipi, to peer out at me from behind the trees.

Environmental reports suggest that the salinity of the soil is increasing due to the surrounding excavation, so its lifetime is limited.

I just wanted to capture a glimpse of pre-colonial Australia before it disappears.

And to touch it.

Here’s an excerpt from the Australian Heritage Database about Bell’s Scrub:

Bell’s Scrub is one of the very few remaining patches of lowland rainforest in the Pine Rivers Shire and one of few in the wider area of south-east Queensland. However, the site is small and not in good condition. Bell’s Scrub represents the southern limit of distribution of brown pearwood (AMOPHOSPERMUM ANTILOGUM), and the crown of gold tree (BARKLYA SYRINGIFOLIA). The fig trees on the site are utilized by brown (MACROPYGIA AMBOINENSIS) and topknot (LOPHOLAIMUS ANTARCTICUS) pigeons.


Bell's Scrub, Lawnton

Short Cut to School

Short Cut to School

The Short CutThe Short CutThe Short Cut

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, hundreds of small "Provisional Schools" sprung up around Queensland.

Kids needed to be educated, and schools needed to be within walking distance.

The deal was that if a community could guarantee at least 12 children, and a suitable building, the government would supply books, and a salary for a teacher.

One of these schools, set up in 1894 was the "Short Cut Provisional School" built at what is now Joyner near the present site of the North Pine Dam.

The school was used until 1915.

Many of these schools were rationalized in the early twentieth century as transport became more reliable and children were able to get to larger schools in the area.

Up and Down the Mountain

Up and Down the Mountain

Moore to Benarkin Rail TrailMoore to Benarkin Rail TrailMoore to Benarkin Rail TrailMoore to Benarkin Rail Trail

Here’s some pictures of our ride on the Moore-Linville-Benarkin section of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail yesterday.

It took us a couple of hours to get up the mountain on the old railway line, and about 30 minutes to ride down the highway, racing off the cars and trucks.

The salad roll I had in the Benarkin Store was the best I’ve ever had. I can’t beleive how hungry I got after two hours riding.

Benarkin is the highest point on the ride. We had the option of riding another 5km down into Blackbutt and back, but decided against it.

Steve B did really well on the ride. His seat wasn’t adjusted properly, so partway through the ride he was pretty sore and ended up having to stand on his pedals quite frequently to get some relief. To his credit he persevered. Harrison did well too. Even though the climb was gradual, it was unrelenting. After a couple of hours, looking up the line at another kilometre of long slow hill climb can be quite depressing. He kept riding which is what counts.

The other thing that made the ride hard work is that we came across lots of locked gates. So we had to lift the bikes over the gates, and climb over.

And then there’s the ravines. When Qld Rail ripped up the rails, they also took out the bridges. So instead of rolling over bridges, we had to ride down steep gullies and up the other side. It’s fun – what Mountain Bikes are made for. We had to be careful riding down and push like crazy to pedal out of the ravine. If we didn’t keep our momentum up we’d end up having to walk the bike out of the gully which is harder than pedalling out.

At the top, we decided we didn’t want to battle the deep gullies and locked gates again, so we rode the hghway down. In some places the highway is pretty steep and we found ourselves keeping pace with the cars. It’s exciting, but there’s no room for mistakes. Luckily we made it without any incidents.

As usual on long rides, the battery on my N95 mobile phone / gps ran out. So I’m very thankful to Steve G for giving me a copy of the GPS data from his Garmin so I could share the map below.

Crossing the South Pine River

Crossing the South Pine River

South Pine River Crossing
South Pine River Crossing
South Pine River Crossing
South Pine River Crossing

I discovered this pedestrian crossing of the South Pine River with Harrison last week end.

It’s at the southern end of Leitches Road, Brendale, and lets you cross the South Pine River by foot (or cycle) into Albany Creek.

I had no one to share it with this morning except for a few horses and a couple of skittish cows.

Absolutely beautiful, and a pleasant contrast from the horrible traffic on South Pine Road.

"Strathpine South A3 Field" at Brendale

“Strathpine South A3 Field” at Brendale

A3 AirfieldA3 Airfield

In previous posts I told you about the A1 Airfield at Lawnton and the A2 (Spitfire Avenue) Airfield at Strathpine.

Today we visited the last of these three airfields – the Strathpine South A3 Field.

It’s in Brendale near the corner of South Pine Road and Linkfield Street.

An industrial estate mostly occupied by warehouses, the council has set aside one corner of the former airfield as a croquet field.

The airstrip was mostly used for emergency landings when the main A2 strip was unavailable due to wind direction.

Echoes in the Vineyard

Echoes in the Vineyard

Ebert VineyardEbert VineyardEbert VineyardEbert Vineyard

Just north of Lawnton Station, in a quiet back street, you’ll find an old grape vine growing on a chainwire fence next to the railway line.

It’s all that remains of a vineyard that Nikolaus and Christina Ebert planted on this spot in the 1860’s

His house was about 100 metres north of these vines, on what is now Ebert Parade.

Nikolaus, Christina and other members of the family are buried just up the road in Lawnton Cemetery alongside some of the other pioneers of the area.

The vineyards were ripped up before the railway line to Petrie and Gympie was laid. This vine re-grew and is a beautiful example of how the echoes from a bygone era may still be heard today.