Due to the incredibly ridiculous prices and constant price rises from the website provider, Dundas. (The Final Chapter) will be the last story for a while but the adventures will continue here.
This trip to Dundas has been on the cards for a while now and it didn’t disappoint, Bradley got bogged, we found a waterfall, walked up a hill that never seemed to end, got a tour through a mine, found some gems and strange alienlike underground fungi and stumbled across a lot of history.
After months of waiting the first camping trip of the season was finally upon us and the location was Dundas. We hit the ground running and started exploring as soon as we set up camp on the Dundas Rivulet. First stop was a waterfall on Concert Creek that I spotted while browsing maps so we jumped in the Zooks and climbed our way up some steep slippery tracks until we got to the general area then scrambled down the side of the hill on foot to the falls and they didn’t disappoint.
The usual rule also applied here (where there is one there is 2) and less than 50m downstream there was another fall.
Unfortunately getting to the bottom of this one was going to be rather dangerous so decided against it, instead, I took a photo from the top but because my tripod is in a rather well-used condition one of the legs got jammed so I reached into my pocket to grab my keys to use as a leaver and in the corner of my eye I saw something drop into the water and disappear over the edge of the falls, on closer inspection I realised that my central locking button had disappeared over the edge never to be seen again.
After gathering myself after the loss of the buttons we climbed back up to the Zooks and found we had some phone service so Bradley called Dirk and Michelle to find out where they were and low and behold the triton had broken down again haha (caravan issues more to the truth) so unfortunately they couldn’t make it down on the first day. By this time it was getting close to lunch so we head back to camp to grab a feed. After this, we decided to check out the start of the Mt Dundas walk for future reference, on the way to the start of the track something on the map caught my eye so on the way back we decided to check it out. I was expecting maybe a small waterfall but instead, we stumbled across some impressive history of the area.
At first, we weren’t too sure if it were an old mine cutting of maybe even a diversion channel but on further investigating found it was an old tramline.
On later investigation, I found that this was built for logging and was in operation in the 1940s (thereabouts). From what I can see on old maps it doesn’t appear to be very long so I’m guessing there may be the site of an old sawmill not far from this location but will investigate that on a later trip.
After this unexpected find, we decided to head back towards camp and suss out a few potential campsites on the way but we got distracted.
And Bradley didn’t take much convincing.
After an impressive amount of time, the Zook completely got bogged so after a quick winch we got Bradley out only to realise the track finished another 200m further up so I got out of it haha. Problem was this was also the only way back too.
After this, we had a slight ‘petrol vehicle water issue’ but was quickly rectified so we head back to camp. On the way, Jacinta and I took a quick detour up Missery Hill as the track looked pretty interesting but the view on offer was probably better than the track.
By the time we arrived back at camp Nathan and family had arrived and set up camp so we decided to try and find a track that linked up with The Montezuma 4wd track, we got close but a washed-out bridge stood in between us and success so we took the alternate option that took us back onto the Murchison Hwy. After we got back to camp and started to settle in for the night we got a visit from Eleanor (owner of the last house in Dundas) who very kindly invited us up to there house to look at the museum they have and mine. This changed our plans a bit for the following day but to say everyone was a little excited was an understatement.
After a very very cold icy night everyone was up reasonably early keen for what lay ahead in the day’s adventures. First was a walk to a nearby hut built and maintained by the local scout group. The walk starts at the base of Carbine Hill and then just goes up and up and up and up and then just when you think you can’t go up anymore you go up some more until you get to an old Tramway and I don’t think I have ever been so excited to see a tramway before (generally as they are on flat ground). This one was also in very good condition.
This has been mapped in 1931 but may have been in use for a lot longer than that????
Not far up the tramway, you get to the hut.
After catching our breath and regaining our energy and taking in the scenery of the area we started our descent back down the hill and within no time were back at the Zooks. From here we head back to camp for some lunch and then took Eleanor up on here offer and got ready for our Dundas Tour.
When walking up to the house we were greeted by a horse of a dog barking at us and I know I was getting pretty nervous but turned out the dog was very friendly nearly as friendly as Eleanor’s husband Michael that greeted us and gave us a tour. First of was the little museum they have set up in their yard with the original Map of Dundas on the wall and lots of other histories of stuff they have collected and found over the years of living at Dundas.
From here Michael took us up to his active mine (Dundas Extended) where he is mining Crocoite and gave us a tour.
One of the first noticeable things you see in the mine are these great white egg sack looking things hanging from the roof and my first thought was there is a scary number of spiders inside that thing or some alien lifeform or something but Michael informed us that it is a fungus which only occurs underground and in a few mines around Australia including Broken Hill. Not far after this, the walls started glistening in the light in spots and this was the Crocoite.
It is very brittle but pretty substance and Michael sent kids and adults alike into a tiz when he said we could keep anything we found on the ground, we were like vacuum cleaners. After showing us this particular area where there was quite a bit of Crocoite I was talking to Michael and he said he started digging above the area to see where it was all coming from and he said ‘you can go up and have a look if you want’ so like a kid at Christmas I disappeared around the corner and up the rise about 6 meters and on the way up I was thinking this is bloody hard work and all I had was a camera and tripod and then I had seen what he had been dragging up there and thought wow I shouldn’t be complaining.
(Due to new rules and regulations he isn’t allowed to use explosives so all the digging in the mine has to be done through hard yakka and manual labour).
After all, the excitement had calmed down a bit and I realised where I was and what hole I had climbed up I thought to myself I have to somehow get down and due to the steepness it was easier said than done but after a bit of sliding and grazing and worry at times I made it back down the little rise that wasn’t much bigger than myself.
After the tour of the mine, Michael realised that we were pretty keen 4wders / explores so he gave us the key to Dundas and off we went like kids in a candy store exploring as much as we could behind the locked gates of Dundas in the little time we had.
The comet mine was an old mine that was recently re-mined again in the late 80’s early 90ies. I think that initially when mined from 1911 to 1949 they backfilled unused parts of the mine with a valuable commodity that was unable to be processed in the day so more recently another mining company has come in 1991 to 94 and taken and processed the backfill and closed of the mine again.
After exploring everything we could before it started to get dark we returned the key and head back to camp for a few beers and a feed.
The next day we filled in some gaps of the trip that we had missed earlier and checked out an old Battery that was hidden in the bush around the old townsite.
Then not far from this there was an angled concrete slab with water running over it but we weren’t really sure what it was for.
After this, we packed up and started heading home but not before checking out a couple of other things that have been on the list for a while, the first been Argents Tunnel. We have driven over this countless amounts of time but have never stopped to have a look so today was the day.
I do believe this is still used on occasions so it’s pretty impressive considering its nearly 120 years old. I’m not 100% sure on length but at a guess, it would be between 3 to 400m in length and straight through a mountain. Not far from here there was a road I wanted to check out too but we didn’t find anything too exciting apart from a very expensive pile of logs.
At the time we didn’t realise but we came across the hydro logging site where they are harvesting logs of the bottom of Pieman Lake and the closer you got to the pile the easier it was to tell what the timber was the smell gave it away within a few meters, Huon Pine.
Special thanks to Michael & Eleanor Phelan for showing us around their mine and and muesum. Much appreciated.
Hope you enjoyed.