Friends of Lyrebird Forest Walk – Wednesday Warriors – March. 2011

It’s hard to imagine we are already into March of the new year and two years has passed since heat and bushfires dominated our hearts and minds. Last Wednesday the Warriors were pleased to welcome the return of a few members, so we had a good roll up of willing workers who split up into two teams. Some of us worked along the Rail Trail close to the Boolarra end. Our president Neil Cartwright (bless his soul), on behalf of the Friends of the Rail Trail asked us to help clear up a small historic site (circa late 1800’s).

Warriors complete restoration work to reveal the beautiful 100 year old hand-made bricks

This site comprises a beautifully crafted hand-made brick drain, still largely intact after more than 100 years. The drain runs down the steep side of a railway cutting and under the track to the lower side, thereby allowing storm water to drain away without harming the track. The site was seriously covered with undergrowth and long lengths of tree bark. The drain pipe under the track (also hand-made brickwork) was blocked with years of silt and rubble. Just the sort of challenge us Warriors can deal with in an instant.

As the drain began to be revealed amongst the flurry of Warrior activity, we were all impressed by the original craftsmanship and the fact it has survived largely undamaged for all these years. Whilst admiring their handiwork one can’t help feeling a little sad that the era of artistic craftsmen is a thing of the past.  Hopefully we have adequately repaired the small amount of damage to this piece of history and it will survive for a further 100 years.

Similar to other isolated historic places we have visited, I’m sure I heard the ghosts of those master craftsmen chattering away as they went about their work so many years ago. I’m sure they would be pleased to know people still admire their workmanship. It is a good thing that future Rail Trail users will now remember these men and wonder at their skills as they pass by this little bit of history. I understand the hand-made bricks used on this site came from the (long abandoned) quarry and brickworks near Darlimurla.

We noted that the Boolarra entrance to the Rail Trail is in need of a good tidy up, as is the rest of the Trail. The Warriors hope to return in a few weeks as the  appeal of the Entry Arch to the Rail Trail is a tad lost amongst it’s somewhat untidy surroundings. Hopefully it will all be cleaned up by the time the new bridges are opened.

Not to be distracted by the sentimental nostalgia of the Rail Trail platoon, the rest of the Warriors stayed behind at our shed to continue cutting and splitting more firewood, ie., they did the ‘real’ work for the day. The resultant firewood was loaded onto Ron’s big truck and delivered  to some of those people patiently waiting for their firewood. There are still lots of big post-bushfire logs on site waiting to be cut and split into firewood, so we are not likely to run out of work in the near future. Sometime in the future we may even get back to doing more great things at the Lyrebird Forest Walk.

Digby Watson,
News Facilitator,
Friends of Lyrebird Forest Walk.