Jul-Nov 2022


The long planned and twice deferred weekend at Lithgow finally happened, starting with a dinner at the Lithgow Workies attended by 45 of us (including a small number of non-member spouses). It was a very happy occasion, and there was much chat and laughter.

 22 9 23 Lithgow Pete dinner

It was very much Mary’s show, and she put an enormous amount of time and effort into it. Others on the informal organizing committee were Barbara R, and Peter who looked after the comms and had to do it three times! Don B helped with planning for the walks, and recruited Ron S (a former HVB member now living in Orange) to help lead one of them.



22 09 23 Lithgow Margaret P M M SCA20220924 101033

The main activity on Saturday was to climb and look around on the Airly Turrets plateau in the Mugii Murum-ban State Conservation Area. Ron S, with his son Granton (another accomplished bushie) and grandson Liam (bushie in training) met us at the Capertee car park. After car-pooling, a small convoy took about 35 of us to the track-head. 

22 09 23 Lithgow Don Wo briefing Capertee  22 09 23 Lithgow Don Wo prepaation at trackhead  22 09 23 Lithgow Don Wo prepaation at trackhead 2                                            3. Capertee gathering                                                                          4,5    Preparation at the track-head

We were greeted by towering cliffs and a steep, very muddy track - but luxuriant bush and fabulous scenery. Ron and Don B outlined the proposed route, some of which was across land recently part of a private holding but now part of the SCA, and which involved a climb of about 350m. It was one of those situations in which “everyone goes at their own pace” so it was a long straggling line of walkers that headed up the hill.

             22 09 23 Lithgow Don Wo leaders laying down law      22 09 23 Lithgow Margaret P starting the climb IMG 20220925 WA0005                                                                                              6. Leaders laying down the law                                                              7.Starting the climb

                   22 09 23 Lithgow Anne R starting the climb    22 09 23 Lithgow Margaret P scenic climb20220924 104149                                                                                                                       8,9 Some parts not so wet ...........                                                          ..but all very scenic


                        22 09 23 Lithgow Deidre 104549   22 09 23 Lithgow Don Wo rare reversal olf slopeJPG                   

                                                                 10,11 Reaching a crest................                                       .......but more to come!


       22 09 23 Lithgow Anne R short rest for the weary   22 09 23 Lithgow Margaret P interesting cliffs 20220924 104502                                                                                      12. Short rest for old codgers                                                               13. Interesting cliffs


       22 09 23 Lithgow Don Wo glimpses of distant cliffs      22 09 23 Lithgow Don Wo step and muddy                   

                                     14,15 Glimpses of distant cliffs............                                                             .......through thick forest

We stopped for morning tea at, believe it or not, an abandoned diamond mine not far from the top of the plateau. It did not give the impression of having made a fortune for too many people.

22 09 23 Lithgow Don Wo wasa diamond mine  22 09 23 Lithgow Don Wo happy group after m t                                                              16. This was a diamond mine once!                      17. Morning tea must have been  good - everyone looks happy after it

After MT we walked more or less around the contour on an interesting route via masses of wattle and other wildflowers, a communications mast complete with a battery of solar panels, and a variety of mining relics now part of the SCA. A highlight was a view from a point at the edge of the plateau across the valley to the neighbouring Mt Airly, where Ron explained the geography.

           22 09 23 Lithgow Don Wo walkiong in the wattle  22 09 23 Lithgow Don Wo wattle and thryptomeme                                                                                            18,19 Walking past wattle........                                                               ........... and  over thryptomene

22 09 23 Lithgow Don Wo was moiniong gearJPG  22 09 23 Lithgow Deidre OldHut 121626 3  22 09 23 Lithgow Deidre interiorofoldhut 121322                                                     20. Abandoned mining gear                                                           21,22 Miner's residence - inside and out


                                                              22 09 23 Lithgow Margaret P Ron IMG 20220925 WA0021                                                                                                                                                       23 Ron explaining the view of Mt Airly from the Airly Turrets plateau


We had lunch on a rocky ridge with the remains of burnt scrub showing signs of regrowth, and views of spectacular distant cliffs.

  22 09 23 Lithgow Don Wo recovering burnt lunch spot with a view

 Some adventurous souls (about half of us) were tempted by Ron and Don B who suggested an exciting descent via a narrow cleft, a steep scramble, and some bush-bashing.

                                 22 09 23 Lithgow Barbara C cnyon20220924 132618  22 09 23 Lithgow Barbara C fern canyon 20220924 133749  22 09 23 Lithgow Wendy C start descent                                                                                                                     25,26,27,28 The approach

22 09 23 Lithgow Barbara C Granton and Liam20220924 132726  22 09 23 Lithgow Barbara CLiam 20220924 132758  22 09 23 Lithgow Wendy C tight squeeze  22 09 23 Lithgow Wendy C full pof ferns                                    29,30,31,32 Welcome visitors showing their paces                                       Tight squeeze                                Plenty of obstructions   

The remainder walked back down the steep muddy track we had climbed up earlier in the day, taking great care not to slip. After re-grouping at the track-head, the track back to the road was negotiated successfully by all the cars, including the 2wd sedans whose owners were a bit confronted by a couple of good mud patches.

                           22 09 23 Lithgow Don Wo but not without risk                        22 09 23 Lithgow Don Wo claude in mud                                                                                             33 Care needed!                                                                                         34 Claude escaping



                 22 09 23 Lithgow Margaret P murrii grojup 20220924 120306                                                                                             35 The mob (except Margaret P the photographer) on the plateau                                                     


A few of the group elected not to go on the Mugii Murum-ban walk, but had a less vigorous time catching some of the local highlights that Mary had suggested in her bespoke tourist pamphlet.

2022 09 24 Deidre Bird HouseWallMainStreetLithgow 174232          22 09 23 Lithgow Rosemary S20220924 120045  22 09 23 Lithgow Rosemary S 20220924 115741                                                                         36 Wall seen in Lithgow                                                                           37,38 Rydal Railway Station, with daffodils


                            22 09 23 Lithgow Elaine E Lyn T IMG 6402        22 09 23 Lithgow Hazel Hassans walla IMG 9626                                                                                                                         62,63  Two members enjoying Hassans Walls 



There were two main groups on Sunday, with some people constrained for time because of the need to return to Sydney that evening.

Mary was the designated leader of one group. On the day Nick S stepped forward to co-lead, and his advice and help were integral to the success of the walk.
Mary and Nick led this group of 22 into the lower part of the Wolgan Valley along the Maiyingu Marragu track (formerly Blackfellows Hand track), for great views of the valley and some good pagodas. About half of them, not constrained by a need to return to Sydney, went with the leaders to find the Temple of Doom. Mary has offered the following description:

                                                                        22 09 23 Lithgow Deidre MaiyinguMarraguSign 130546 


"From the cars a 600m walk along the Maiyingu Marragu Trail took us to a narrowing gully of fern and moss encrusted pagodas and 11 of our 22 starters, after many photos, returned to the cars for an early return to Sydney with some diverting to the Maiyingu Marragu Rock to see the Aboriginal art gallery of stencil art which has been preserved on the overhanging rock.


                                      22 09 23 Lithgow Lyndy another sloshy track 20220925 094018                                                                                                          40 Another muddy track                                      41 Starting group

   22 09 23 Lithgow Deidre MaiyinguMarraguWalk 093442   22 09 23 Lithgow Lyndy disappeating into the ferns 20220925 101316                                                                               42,43 On the way up....................                                                                             ....and into a narrow gorge   

The remaining 11 rock scrambled out of the gully to our first objective of the expansive view of the Wolgon Valley with the Emirates resort nestled discretely below.  It took map and grid reference to achieve our next objective which was the elusive Temple of Doom – a string of pagodas (reminiscent of the shapes of Angkor Wat) barely visible from the trail.  A short careful off track scramble took us to the pagodas on top of one of which was a perfect place for lunch.

We completed the circuit back to the cars via the trail and enjoyed that first 600m again from an even better view point.

We started what was carefully described as an Exploratory walk as neither leader had been to the lookout or the Temple of Doom with only a sketchy idea of how long the walk would be.  Nick’s device revealed that it was 7.3km  with 215m ascent – an amazingly rewarding for effort walk."

            22 09 23 Lithgow GardenOfStoneStateConserationArea TempleofDoom 120713                22 09 23 Lithgow Deidre MaiyinguMarraguWalk Pagodas 095600                                                                                                                                                                                    44,45 Gardens of stone

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           46 This group made the top!



 The other Sunday walk had a select group of 5 including leaders Barbara R and Kas, and tackled another 300m+ climb to the Glow Worm tunnel from the car-park on the Newnes Road. But this time there was a good track (the old coach road) for the steep part. Barbara has offered the following description:

“With the threat of having to ford the Wolgan River, most people opted for an easier life. As a result, only five reckless walkers fronted up for the Newnes Valley walk from Wolgan Road to the glow worm tunnel & back on a perfect spring day.Normally this walk can be done as a circuit but the route following the 1907 railway line is closed due to landslides so it became an out & back walk.

As predicted after recent rainfall, the Wolgan River was running strongly & relatively high so it was an interesting!, though not dangerous crossing to the Old Coach Road .

                 22 09 23 Lithgow Don Wostarting group at Wolgan River          22 09 23 Lithgow Wendy C wolgan River crossing                                                                                      47 Four plus the photographer                                                                       48 Wet feet - dry boots

Then there was a slightly challenging ascent on a fire trail with views to the valley & distant escarpments. On the whole walk, there was an abundance of hardenbergia with its cheerful purple flowers. Evidence of the early 2020 fire was there but the landscape is again green.       

       22 09 23 Lithgow Hazel commencing the climb P1020635         22 09 23 Lithgow Don Wosteep garde dry track                                                                                                                                                                           49,50 Scenic climb

         22 09 23 Lithgow Don Woleader not scared of heights   22 09 23 Lithgow Don Wo bare mt dead trees regrowth                                                                                        51 Leader not scared of heights                                                     52 Regrowth by seeding and shooting

 22 09 23 Lithgow Don Womore hardenbergia  22 09 23 Lithgow Don Wowhat is this blue flower  22 09 23 Lithgow Hazel blue flowerP1020653                                                        53 Masses of hardenbergia                          54 What is this blue flower?                    55 Nodding Blue Lily, Stypandra glauca 

     22 09 23 Lithgow Hazel bell miner P1020693    22 09 23 Lithgow Hazel native bees P1020725    22 09 23 Lithgow Hazel pardelote P1020710                                                56,57,58 Flying things large and small spotted by eagle-eyed Hazel -      Bell  Miner, Bees ,Spotted pardelote                                       

After morning tea, on convenient logs, the steady ascent was resumed to a ridge from where a long descent took us to, and along, a bush track (Pagoda Track) leading to the 400m long & curved glow worm tunnel. Eventually the track became a stream which flowed through the dark tunnel where torches & concentration were required. The effort was well rewarded when torches were switched off & the magic of glow worm bioluminescence was revealed. Most of us continued to the southern end of the tunnel with a huge glade of large tree ferns below the moist cliffs

                                              22 09 23 Lithgow Hazel glow worm tunnel entranceP1020766  22 09 23 Lithgow Hazel glowing worms P1020771                                                                                                                            59,60 Entrance to Glow Worm Tunnel                   Glow worms glowing (look carefully!)

The tunnel was traversed again before an ascent to a grey gum forest lunch spot, a return to the ridge & an easy descent on the rather steep track to our watery river crossing.


                                           22 09 23 Lithgow Hazel majestic escarpment P1020813                                                                                                                                     61Our descent was watched over by the towering escarpment of the Wolgan Valley

There was a sense of satisfaction in completing the 12km & over 400m ascent/descent - much more than advised by NPWS & other sources!”


A dozen or so hardy stayers remained at the Workies for dinner on Sunday evening and all agreed it was a highly satisfactory base for an enjoyable weekend.

Thanks and congratulations to everyone who participated, especially to Mary, Barbara R, Peter, and Don B. 

Words: Don Wo, Barbara R, Mary.

Photos: Pete (1); Margaret P (2,7,9,13,23,35); Don W(3-6,11,14-20,24,33,34,47,50-54); Anne R (8,12); Deidre (10,21,22,36,39,42,44,45); Nick S (25,41,46); Barbara C(26,27.29,30); Wendy C (28, 31,32,48); Rosemary S (37,38); Lyndy  (40,43); Hazel (49,55-61,63); Elaine  (62)              

































































































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