15 July – Plus Walk – Great West walk Section 1 (in reverse) Blacktown to Parramatta

Twelve plus walkers converged at Blacktown eager to explore the first section of the Great West Walk on such a gloriously sunshiny day. 

2022 07 15 Plus BarbaraR P2232314 1880                                                                                      The walkers 

Heading eastwards back along the railway line, we passed through parks and playing fields alongside Blacktown Creek. At Seven Hills we crossed a weir over Blacktown Creek, then followed green verges beside the railway line before crossing over it to McCoy Park. This is where Blacktown Creek joins Toongabbie Creek before it flows across an impressively extensive flood basin designed to mitigate flooding in the western suburbs and Parramatta. From this point onwards the route (first as Settlers Walk and later Redbank Walk) meanders alongside Toongabbie Creek through Toongabbie, Old Toongabbie, Northmead and Westmead where it meets Darling Mills Creek. We took a short side trip to see the Head of Parramatta River, although sadly this spot is now poorly maintained, where there are information signs about Samuel Marsden Mill and  Governor Phillip’s Camp (somewhat defaced). The final stretch of the walk was a stroll through the Cumberland Hospital complex (including the Edwardian splendor of Glengariff), wisteria gardens (which will be glorious in spring) and historic Parramatta Park. 

2022 07 15 PlusPeterT Map with Track

                                                                                                         The map of the walk

                                   2022 07 15 Plus BarbaraR P2232314 1881  2022 07 15 Plus BarbaraR P2232314 1882 1                                                                                                                                                                                            The weir near Seven Hills Station               The weir on the recce, July 5th


                                         2022 07 15 Plus BarbaraR P2232314 1884  2022 07 15 PlusPeterT 130854 Copy                                                                                                                           Darling Mills Creek joining Toongabbie Creek to form the Parramatta River 

                                                                  2022 07 15 PlusPeterT 130334   2022 07 15 Plus BarbaraR P2232314 1885                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Nick managing to squeeze into his boot (expertly repaired by Peter)

Overall, a relatively level walk through Cumberland River Flat forest, reserves, and parklands with a heartening evidence of regeneration and bush care activity and a pleasing diversity  of birdlife. The track was muddy in places, which is hardly surprising as the (mostly plastic) flotsam and jetsam clearly showed that that we were often walking well under recent tumultuous flood water levels. It also encompassed a couple of short forays into suburban streets, while it was interesting to see the remnants of Rogans Hill Railway over Toongabbie Creek shortly before we crossed the new light rail lines over the Parramatta River at Cumberland Hospital.

                                         2022 07 15 Plus Polly 122419           2022 07 15 Plus Polly 144829                                                                                                                                        Barbarba R on the reccie                                                                               

2022 07 15 Plus BarbC 134611                                                                              Parramatta Park

                                               2022 07 15 Plus BarbaraC 140502  2022 07 15 Plus BarbC 133641

2022 07 15 PlusPeterT 135620

We had morning tea at picnic tables in Reynolds Park Playground, lunch on a boardwalk overlooking Toongabbie Creek and a welcome end-of-walk coffee at The Bean Chamber. A big thank you to all the walkers for sharing this journey of discovery and your convivial company. 

2022 07 15 PlusPeterT 124758

                Walkers: Wendy C, Barbara C, Jenny C, Carol, Kas, Rick, Hazel, Steve, Nick S, and Peter

              Leaders: Polly and Barbara R

               Words: Polly

               Photos: Barbara C (11, 12, 13), Barbara R (1, 3, 4, 5, 8), Peter T (2, 6, 7, 14,1(), Polly (9,10)