On this trip our aim was to check out some of the old Gold Mines around Black Bluff but the climb up proved more challenging than what we thought.
So on Saturday after weeks and weeks of beautiful weather we where up early expecting much the same but because we had a trip planned the weather had decided to turn, it has never stopped us before so this time would be no different. We have been in the area before to check out Winterbrook Falls so there was no time wasted finding the area unloading the ‘Slug’ and Zook and setting of.
We got all but 100m before we had our first issue, half way through the first creek crossing the ‘Slug’ decided to stop.
….. someone might of forgot to turn the fuel on. So after getting the fuel issue sorted we continued on. It wasn’t long at all after that and the Zook was lifting wheels
and Jacinta was squealing like a little girl because of all the angles and decided to walk and then winged about that.
The track was very undulated and rocky so the zook in particular ended up in some pretty spectacular positions. The downside to this is it required a lot of winching but luckily we had some great helpers to help out.
Cruz had all the zooks winching issues sorted with some good advice along the way.
The Higher we got the worse the track seemed to get and this was where a few issues seemed to happen. I got the ‘Slug’ in another precarious position one where I couldn’t go any further up and down wasn’t an option because another role would be imminent and there was to many people in the firing line for that to happen.
Luckily though this time I had some helpers and we where able to safely get it up the rock step with little issue once it decided to start again.
This was also the spot where the zook started to have some issues, whilst winching up this rock step a horrible splintering grinding noise started to come out from underneath it and because we where at the point were the top was only 100m away backwards wasn’t an option so after completely loosing all drive to the rear we where relying solely on the winch and front wheel drive to get us the rest of the way to the top.This wasn’t the end of our issues though the front wheel decided to throw all but to studs and was only hanging on by a thread. Luckily it had spacer so we got it into a position where the wheel was off the ground pulled the spacers out and put the wheel back on with not much issue.
Once we finally made it the last 100m we were rewarded with some stormy but great views of Mt Roland and the surrounding area.
After taking in the views and having a late smoko we where off again in search of the Devonport Mine. We tried to get the Zook a little further but with no rear wheel drive it wasn’t happening so whilst the rest walked I took the easy option and continued on the ‘Slug’. The Further up we got the better the views where you could just about get a full view from the North Coast to Mt Roland and then right around to Cradle Mountain.
Not much further on we came across the Hut near the Devonport Mine. (This was still standing until recently) There is also another Hut site directly north of this which has nothing but the ruins of a fire-place left. I’m guessing this would have been the living quarters for the miners back in the day. A bit further south you come across what I think is an old steam valve and possibly a rail cart and what’s left of a flywheel sitting beside the track
I’m guessing all this would have been part of the rail and winch system to cart the ore after processing from one side of the Devonport Creek to the other. Down near the creek is the foundations of an old bridge and hidden in the bush is a plate of an old separator (not 100% sure if this is correct) and further up is the separator itself.
It’s hard to believe that the flywheel on this still spins like it was just greased. The Devonport Mine started production in 1913 so it is potentially 80 to 100 years old (INFO). Just goes to show they don’t make things like the used too.
Not much further up from this is the winch which was once again in relatively good near working order.The brake still worked and the foot pedals still moved even the wooden brake pads where still in position. On the same level as the winch we found the Adit.
Unfortunately our gumboots where left back in the zook so we didn’t get a chance to check it out but that gives us an excuse to come back at some stage.
Not far from the Devonport Mine is the Devonport Falls so this time I parked the ‘Slug’ and set off on foot with the others to try to find them. We fought snakes off in sodden button grass forced our way through thick tee-tree slid down moss-covered rocks and scaled down the side of a mountain all within 200m but we where well rewarded for our effort as it was a very pictures place to find. Unfortunately I didn’t have my tripod and didn’t check the Histogram so the photo is a mess of under and over exposed but I did get some ok photos of the creek. From here we scaled back up the mountain slipped up the mossy rock and fought our way through thick tee-tree and snake infested button-grass back to the track and made our way back to the Zook, Jacinta and Heidi found another waterfall on the way back so we checked it out and it was rather big and doesn’t seem to be listed on List map or anywhere so it was a bonus find. It also looked like a suicidal slippery slide.
From here we made our was back to the 4wd’s loaded up enjoyed an ice-cold beer planned some more trips and headed home.
Hope you enjoyed
Full video here.
Brendan & Jacinta