The Yimbun Tunnel, over a hundred years old, is a magnificent piece of old railway infrastructure on the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail (BVRT) north of Toogoolawah. Today we decided to pay it a visit, and close some of the gaps in my ride map.
Toogoolawah bustled with a local market, friendly live music, and the tangy aroma of sizzling sausages. We slowly rolled northwards out of town along the remains of the old railway line.
There are several beautifully preserved old wooden bridges along this section of the BVRT. Whenever I pass them I can hear the clickety-clack of old trains in my imagination.
This amazing old signal is in great condition. I really don’t think Jason was supposed to climb it – it’s old and needs to be preserved. But it was solid, and Jason was very careful. He assured me no trains were coming 🙂
Numerous rusty old railway spikes litter the trail. These were used to secure metal rails to the wooden sleepers. We rode past a few, but eventually curiosity got the better of us, and we had a closer look.
There are no railway lines here any more – only well-worn dusty bovine single-tracks. The cow tracks were smoother than the grass, so we followed them whenever possible.
After about ten kilometres the railway line passed under the Brisbane Valley Highway. I was relieved we didn’t have to ride on the highway at all.
The terrain around here is hilly which made it difficult for railway builders to lay a reasonably flat line.
Ahead of us stood Mount Williams at over 270 metres. Back in 1910 when the line was being built, the designers could have opted to follow the Brisbane River around the back of this mountain, but this would have added an extra four kilometres along sandy flood-prone river banks…
Instead, they built this remarkable tunnel…
It’s just over 100 metres in length, and took almost a year to build.
If you look up it’s still possible to see soot marks on the roof – a reminder of steam engines that once chugged along the line last century.
We chugged through on our bikes.
The rail trail stops at this point – there is still work to be done between here and Harlin. But lovers of the BVRT are excited that a recent commitment from the Qld State Government could soon help complete this section of the trail.
The name “Yimbun” is an aboriginal word meaning “bulrush”.
It’s from the Jinibara / Dungibara language of the indigenous inhabitants of the upper reaches of the North Pine River.
The name “Yimbun” was originally used by the North Pine River tribe to describe a lagoon on Yebri Creek which runs through the present day Amcor Paper Mill / University Site in Petrie.
The roots from bulrushes which grew in the lagoon were harvested for food.
In 1916 the Queensland Railway department decided “Yimbun” would be a good name to use for the nearby railway station, which is how the area got its name.
We retraced our tracks back along the railway line towards Gregors Creek Road.
We were again able to avoid riding on the Brisbane Valley Highway by leaving the rail trail at Harvey Road, and joining a dirt track on the other side of the highway.
The dirt track followed the fence line towards Gregors Creek Road.
We followed the paved road to the Brisbane River at Alf Williams Bridge.
The river crossing here has a fascinating history…
It’s possible to see the remnants of the old bridge which was washed away in the 1974 floods.
This spot is very close to where Gregors Creek flows into the Brisbane River.
In 1829, Allan Cunningham came through here following the Brisbane River as far north as Linville. As he returned down the river he saw about fifty aborigines camping on the river banks opposite its junction with Gregors Creek.
In unfamiliar territory, Cunningham was scared of being attacked and kept his distance. He was able to record that many of the people here had bags made of rushes, yamsticks, skin cloaks, long barbless spears, long clubs and small shields. He also noted the how the men were well-built, their bodies reddened with ochre.
We decided to set up our own temporary “camp” on the banks of the river in the shade of the bridge and had a quick bite to eat.
The water here is clean and looked like it would be ok to swim in, but we decided to stay dry today.
We followed the tarmac a little further east towards a familiar track…
We had ridden down Pohlmans Range Road a few weeks ago as part of our adventure in Deer Reserve. Today we thought it would be fun to ride up the hill for a while.
It wasn’t as difficult as we thought it would be. We took the climb nice and easily, while Calum left us in his wake.
The view was as good as we remembered.
We didn’t reach the very top but decided to catch our breath at a good vantage point with panoramic views about halfway up the hill.
(Photo: Adam Lynch)
And then came the wonderful descent.
Tyres crunched on gravel, dust fan-tailed behind us as we accelerated towards the bottom of the hill.
Here’s Jason’s video of the descent
From there we retraced our steps back over the river to the rail trail.
Back past former railway stations, bridges and signals…
Back to town for a well-earned lunch.
Total climbing: 757 m
Average temperature: 30.9
Total time: 04:06:27
We rode 45 kilometres in about 4 hours.
During that time we climbed about 500m and I burned 1,500 kcal.
I’ll rate this one 5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter. It’s an easy relaxing ride with plenty to see.
Thanks Jason, Adam and Calum for another fun day on the bikes.