Sutherland Creek, Brisbane Ranges National Park

I guess I’ve got to play the ‘where’s the next Grampians post’ game again? As you probably already know, in my last entry I mentioned how this entry was going to describe a small off-track excursion that resulted in a cataclysmic tumble.

Unfortunately there’s going to be a delay, as I need to put together a few more photos. I was going to do it, but time has got away and it’s not helped by the time of the year. Just going to the shops lately is like a scene from Lord of the Flies. Fighting to survive whilst selecting a ham. I must say, the sooner December is over the better and the world can return to normal. Then again, am I wishing my life away? No, it’s only two more weeks, so I’ll take a punt and wish them away quite happily.

Before I get into this entry, I’ve just remembered one other thing that came to my notice last week. Grammar. I’ve been advised I should never use the word ‘perusal’ or ‘utilise’ again. They don’t sound so bad do they? Well, apparently not. When I asked what the problem was, I was told, “When you use them you sound like a wanker”. A bit harsh?

So from now on, ‘perusal’ is look and ‘utilise’ is use. That’s not all though, as I was also told to not slip into third person mode. Why? Well, the reply had a similar ring to it. “Because you sound like a wanker”. Fair enough. I can see what they’re saying, as I hate it when that Fiasco bloke writes that way.

Oh, lastly on this point of all things grammatical. I should be congratulated for some things, such as never using the phrase ‘per se’. When did that suddenly appear? There was a bloke at work who would use it in EVERY CONVERSATION. As an example, “This isn’t really coffee per se…” or “That’s not really a turnip per se…” along with, “That lump in the front of my pants isn’t my phone per se…” When I hear that phrase I’m not sure whether I want to put the head of the person saying it in the oven or mine. It’s a hard decision.

Now that’s out of the way, what’s this post about if it’s not the Grampians? As is the theme with a few of my entries, it’s a multiple trips combo. Actually, setting the scene for this write up has done my head in a little. I’m confused and I walked it, so how do you feel?

Firstly, I did two trips that incorporated Sutherland Creek in the Brisbane Ranges National Park. Right. There’s the first problem. The name alone can throw people out. Even the bloke from Queensland Tourism who emailed me and wanted to use a photo from my Ted Errey post. A lovely landscape shot was needed for a brochure, which sounded great, until I told him the picture was taken 1737 km away from where he thinks it was. Isn’t it funny how when someone emails you with a query, you give them an answer and they don’t even acknowledge you got off your arse to actually give them a reply? All I’m saying is I never heard from him again.

Okay, so the overall name of the place is one description problem. The second is both the walks I did, went in and out of another place called the Steiglitz Historic Park. So is this walk in the Brisbane Ranges or Steiglitz? You’ve got me stuffed, as it’s both, yet in the heading I went for one. You know how it is. Google like the one heading in their titles for searching purposes, so I just tossed a coin and picked one.

Oh, I also know what you’re wondering about and I should clear this up now. Steiglitz Historic Park was not named in honour of Hugo Stiglitz at all.


Okay. To sum this up, on the first trip, I started at the Steiglitz Court House and walked along South Steiglitz Road to its end. Then I powered down to Sutherland Creek and followed it all the way back to my car.

On the next trip, I again, followed South Steiglitz Road, but instead of walking to the end, I zipped down to Sutherland Creek a bit earlier. Followed it again, before heading out for a bit of a loop walk around various tracks, before returning to the start.

Where did I get these walks from? Yep, you guessed it. GT’s books ‘Daywalks Around Victoria’ and ‘Melbourne’s Western Gorges’. Considering the last post was nearly 4000 words, I’ve decided this will be a shorter affair, as I don’t have the mojo for excessive crapping on. Hey, don’t blame me, blame Christmas.

The key to the two trips was the weather. Both were warm with the first under a blue sky, but the second was one of those washed out overcast days, so this’ll explain the variations in photos.

Anyway, here we go. Heading to the Brisbane Ranges that are nowhere near Brisbane, I passed a lonely tree. Sensing an image opportunity, I slammed on the anchors, hopped out of the car like a crack-addled sloth and took a number of photos. Do you remember it from a different angle? Yes, you’re right. This is it here.


Actually, this entire drive is coming back to me. The reason being is it was the one and only time I used Apple maps for directions. There I was, casually cruising along like a bastard when I almost ploughed straight on through a T-intersection. Huh? Wasn’t Mr Map Talker meant to warn me? As I’d come close to death by driving into a field of long grass and succumbing to extreme hayfever, I stopped to peruse look at the map to work out what went wrong. Yes, the T-intersection didn’t exist and instead was marked as straight road. Now you can see why I’ve never utilised used those maps ever again.

Upon arriving at Steiglitz, I parked where I’ve done so on every trip. At the old court house. I must say, I think I know every brick of that building, as there have been quite a few Steiglitz trips over the years.

Heading off, there was a bit of a wander on the bush tracks before hitting the highway style South Steiglitz Road. It’s not too bad though, as I’ve never seen a car on it and it’s a nice, gentle opening to get the legs into gear.


It’s also not a long wander. The time taken is roughly as long as my train trip when I was working. A ‘one song journey’ on the iPod. Okay, don’t get carried away, as I’m not talking a standard single length of a few minutes. I’m thinking more like Sister Ray by The Velvet Underground, which clocks in at 17:29.

I’d press play when the train left North Melbourne station and see if I could make it to my destination before it finished. See how I used to live on the edge? Invariably it would fail, but it’d run close. Especially when randomly the train wouldn’t stop at a station it was meant to. That happened on a few occasions and it always left someone with a bemused look on their face, whilst they gripped the exit door handle expecting a quick escape for when the train stopped, but instead watched their station pass by at about 60 kph.

Anyway, why would I listen to that particular song over and over? I’m not sure, but it’s not for the repeated line ‘too busy sucking on my ding dong’, but more for the sound of those tortured instruments. How can you not be mesmerised by an organ, which sounds like it’s coming from a submarine that’s imploded after being hit by a depth charge?

Continuing on, a number of tracks peel off, which all lead to Sutherland Creek. The savvy reader will recognise the name as well, as I wrote about the very same place, way back in 2011.

Times have changed though. Back then, there was water around and I remember the creek walk was laborious, as we had to continually criss-cross it to avoid getting our feet wet. Not any more. On my visits since, it’s always looked like this.


There would be the odd pool of stagnant water, but generally nothing else. I guess it makes the walking easier, as it’s now just a matter of heading straight up the middle of the creek. Water gives a sense of life though and the couple of occasions I’ve been back, it’s felt a bit too dry and depressing.

There are things to see though if you’re attentive. I won’t even provide the links, as I’ve mentioned this next find in about four million previous posts. Without fail, in either my Goldfields or Steiglitz wanders, I’ve spotted a broken piece of Willow pattern ceramic.

This trip was no different and the creek always comes through with the goods. Here’s one that was in a sandy section of the creek.


What’s the go with this stuff? Did the ye olde gold-miners like to party hard and smash their plates once they were tanked? Sort of like an 1850’s Greek restaurant? A round of kebabs, smash your plates and then hurl your empty cans away?

I’ve formed this opinion from the next photo. Clearly this can was discarded over 150 years ago, as it has a ring-pull. Certainly it’s an amazing relic from the past and I’ve contacted the Melbourne Museum about this find, yet I haven’t heard a reply from them just yet. They’re probably busy?


I was going to include the next photo from the second trip later on, but whilst I’m on the theme, I might as well leave it here. Yep, if you’re having a good look, the blue pattern certainly stands out amongst the dry creek bed.


It’s not all man-made stuff though. I spotted this colourful feather and normally I’d take a picture from above and save my knees the trouble of bending. On this occasion though, I thought I’d lie on the ground and try a new angle. It came out okay, but it’s the last time I’ve done this. Firstly, I got covered in dirt which automatically adhered to my sweat covered shirt and secondly, I didn’t enjoy standing up from the prone position, as I thought my joints would explode.


Besides the feathers, there are quite a few bones to be found along the creek. I assume they’re always animal. I think.


As I strolled further, I noticed this rock and it stood out amongst the others. It almost looked like a piece of aluminium or if you’re really being inventive, the Rosetta Stone. Except the hieroglyphics have washed off.


It’s easy to see there hasn’t been much flow in the creek, as I kept coming across scrub, which you’d think wouldn’t have taken hold if the water kept flowing. It made for some annoying ‘creek-bashing’…


…but I’d come prepared.


In the last photo, you might be thinking I’m just sitting down, having a rest. Actually, I’m not. I took this photo mid-stride and as you can see, I do have an unusual walking gait.

Oh, I might be bragging about being prepared for creek walking, but I shouldn’t get too ahead of myself. On the second trip, guess what? I don’t need to say anything else, as the next picture is self-explanatory.


Although the creek can be a bit run of the mill, I still find these occasional rock walls, carved out by water, quite interesting. When there was actual water of course.


It’s hard to believe that 150 years ago, the area was a hive of activity. It’s always been deserted when I’ve visited and along the creek there isn’t much to see indicating a human past. Well, more or less. The occasional old piece of tin can be found…


…and sometimes, something more modern will reveal itself.


During this wandering, I did note something I’d like to revisit at some stage. A distinctive rock wall would surely be a reasonable waterfall if it ever rains again with enough force to put some flow into the creek? It’s certainly large enough and as I clambered up it…


…I entered its location into the GPS for future reference. It could be an interesting sight photographically, but it’s a long haul from home, so I’d only make the trip after some substantial rain. I reckon I’d have to wait until something like 2011, when Cyclone Yasi hit North Queensland. There was a ton of rain that summer and I remember places like Werribee Gorge and Lerderderg Gorge being affected by flooding. I’d assume Steiglitz had its fair share, so really, I’ve got to sit it out until another big storm hits. Not that I’m wishing for one!

At least the occasional pool can be found to spice up the photos a little, such as this one…


…and another on the bend of the creek.


What can I say? That’s about it for the creek. On the first trip it was way too hot, so even though I considered some further exploring, I curtailed the idea and headed straight for the car. The northern end of the creek is a more interesting affair, with a number of rock pools and steep walls, which always look great…


…but on a warm day, the heat really seems to settle in the confined space and frequent bends, so there never seems to be much of a breeze along the waterway. It was way too easy to give it away for the day.

On the second occasion though, I left Sutherland Creek and headed off for an amble along various tracks. The exit from the creek isn’t always clear, but it has been marked by rock cairns. Except on this visit, someone had decided to kick them over.


From previous visits, I knew where the spot was, so it wasn’t a problem. I’m not sure why people do that though? I have read about people removing rock cairns as it affects ‘their wilderness experience’. Do you notice one word in that sentence? ‘Their’. Yes, the world revolves around them. How’s this for a thought. If they want a wilderness experience, then how about walking 100 metres to the side of where the walking track is. That way they’d have as much wilderness as they could ever want. Then again, maybe this idea is a bit too logical?

Anyway, after the creek exit, I climbed away and followed a number of tracks that I’d walked before. They’ve all had some attention in the blog before, so I’m not going to provide much detail this time, so I’ll wrap this whole thing up with some photos.

Cockatoo feathers are dime a dozen, but I don’t see many from kookaburras…


…so they’re always worth a closer inspection.


This pink object on a marker pole was interesting. I’m not sure if it’s an enormous piece of bubble-gum, something from the movie The Blob (spoiler alert: Steve McQueen wasn’t the blob) or a deflated balloon. I think it’s the latter.


There were a few roads to wander, but they’re closed to vehicles, so it’s relaxing walking. I guess some people would find them a little dull, but when you least expect it, some surprising sights can occur.

This track looked quite nondescript, except for an unusual looking, spiky rock…


…that revealed an echidna. No doubt he was cursing being spotted in such a crap digging location. This was as far as he could burrow to avoid me.


Besides the occasional hunkered down echidna, the tracks also reveal some smaller items. I was waffling on about the Willow pattern ceramic earlier, but I noticed this different piece along the way. I’m no expert in these things, so I’m not sure if this shard is circa 1850’s or circa 2015’s.


It’s funny though, as whenever I walk in this place I’m always scanning the ground for the smallest of objects, which means I run the risk of missing something a little larger. I’ve lost track of the amount of Steiglitz/Brisbane Ranges visits and thought I’d seen it all. Except for this. Off the track, an old car caught my eye…


…so it warranted a closer inspection.


I assume in the 1960’s and 1970’s the place was a ‘do whatever you want’ type of park, before tracks were closed off. This old rust bucket has been there a while and I’ve a hunch you’re not meant to see it at all. Just a few feet away is an old mine digging and I can imagine whoever dumped it, tried to deposit the steel beast into the hole, but either missed or couldn’t get it up the small rise.


There’s not much more to add, as the tracks eventually return to the few remaining buildings in Steiglitz itself. Near the end, the path passes paddocks and invariably without thinking, I take a photo of this tree. As a subject, I always off-set it. I really should try a different approach now and again, as essentially I have the same photo about 10 times. Here it is again.


Remember how this was meant to be a quick post? I’m not sure what happened, but as I’m about to hit 3000 words I’ve concluded something went wrong. Ah, but it’s all over now. The final to this post will be where I started. Steiglitz Court House. Here it is amongst the trees on a sunny day…


…or maybe it looks a bit moodier when lit by torch at night…?


There you go. All done. This 15 km walk incorporating Sutherland Creek, Brisbane Ranges National Park and the historic Steiglitz area is a dour affair, but interesting nonetheless.

Okay, now I assume with the Christmas hullabaloo going on, I might not post again until the New Year. You never know, but as usual, I’ve no idea what the next entry will be.