Forrest drive back to MarysVille

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 07:54
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Just in last the 2 weeks Marysville (Victoria) has been re-opened to the public, along with a single track thru the Toolangi forrest so we went on a mild mostly 2wd loop thru these areas in our RAV4 (which I'm in trouble over, for not washing).

Leaving Yara Glen early we went via Healsville up over the Black spur.

That classic view of the tall trees is now almost back, if a bit blackened.

Down into Narbethong and the first of many burnt out properties appears.

Coming into Marysville though things become very depressing.

Our family had a guest house complex there in which there was loss of life and it was quite a shock to see how little remains.

Even now, 2 months later some guests have significant guilt feelings over why some, but not all escaped.

Just standing there amongst the rubble, the contrasts in life seem to leapt out at you.

Next to me was a rusting tub of a commerical dish washer I had spent hours on trying to make work properly. Nearby two large trees that snapped in half lay across a corner of the charred buildings remains.
On the north end, a mostly empty untouched swimming pool complete with unburnt plastic chairs, and a submerged straw hat.

Amongst the blackened trees, vivid green re-growth is appearing on the many ferns.

There are a few buildings left in town but from where we are your view would expect to encompass over 50 houses, and not a single one was standing.

The classic old structure won't be re-built and all we could do was take some plant cuttings to propagate as a reminder of Mountain Lodge.

We then went down to the bakery. An incredible lone survivour of the carnage.

We sat there enjoying great cappicino's and apple pie whilst immediately across the road an excavator smashed its huge bucket into the remnants of the Cumberland resort. The damage will take a long time to clear as before each swing of the bucket a fire truck would move in and douse the area with water
to reduce hazardous dust.

I'd encourage anyone to take this drive, buy something at the bakery, and also drive around the streets.
Just like in normal times though, don't enter others properties and thats all you need to be aware of.

Take the drive also because telling people doesn't really lock in the fire safe message like actually experiencing the devastation.

From Marysville we went to Buxton and down to Narbethong again via burnt out properties of two other friends.
On the way passing a line of untouched poplar trees, so beautiful and green in the sunlight that its hard to re-concile them with Marysville.
From the devastation of Narbethong you turn east on to plantation rd and the dirt road of the forrest drive proper.

Here the scene changes damatically, all the fire damage is gone and your back into the beautiful state forrest and adjoining young pine plantations.

It easy not to get lost as almost all other roads are signed "Road closed"

A few little 4wd tit-bits remain like Anderson track and a few short dead end sections.

Again, its easy to get lost in this forrest but all you have to do now is not drive past any road closed signs (mostly A4 sized signs on short pickets).

Sticking to the obvious main dirt road you wind up to the top of the range.
Black range road is closed and you swing right onto Yellowdindi rd and via Xylophone Bridge.
South down Murrindindi rd and onto Sylvia creek rd which comes out onto the bitumen of Myres crk rd just east of Toolangi.

We hear that an estimated 1 million animals are dead thru Black Saturdays fire-zone and it was hearting to again see some lovely untouched forrest and also several wallabies and even the odd Lyrebird.

West of Toolangi the fire damage begins again as you head towards Kinglake.

If you can't do the whole drive just get to Kinglake via Yarra Glen.
Its in bad, but better shape, but I warn you the cappicino's aren't as good as in Marysville or Buxton.


Total Time 4 hours Yarra Glen/Yarra Glen.
Reference map Rooftops Toolangi- Black range.
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Robin Miller

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Reply By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 09:33

Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 09:33
G/Day Robin

Interesting photos, the Landscape and the Fauna will recover in time, I worry about the lasting Memories of the Residents and the various Services that were involved in the fires, we all know that most people down there are resilient,and should recover as well.

Cheers
Daza
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Follow Up By: Member - Julie P (VIC) - Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 09:47

Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 09:47
Thanks for that Robin - friends of ours have lived in Marysville probably all their lives - they also had a business - called Crystal Journey - on the Buxton Road - you would have passed it - their house was burnt to the ground along with outbuildings and a new caravan they had recently purchased - but they saved the Journey - due to really good fire plan - hoses, sprayers, tanks etc., I have not wanted to go there since the fire - but will make the trip very soon.
A few weeks ago we drove up to Yea for lunch - hardly recognised the Melba Highway - - missed the Castella quarry completely - have memories of it - company I worked for built it, had guys living in Yea for about six months at the time, driving a 10t crane down the highway to the quarry site on icy roads etc., we left Yea and headed off through Toolangi past the Discovery Centre - thankfully still there - down through Chum Creek to Healesville - the range of this fire was astonishing - but in the midst of blackened trees and ground - here and there stands a house, surrounded by green grass - grass trees sprouting already, sprigs on some of the gum trees - though I reckon some will be very lucky to survive the devestation. Seeing it first hand brings it home well and truly - and it is important that we still visit these towns - spend some money - doesn't have to be a lot - lunch at a bakery - petrol - afternoon tea - whatever keep the places viable.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 18:48

Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 18:48
Hi Guys

It will take a long long time Daza - according to a police briefing anyway.

I think I know - or used to know that place Julie.

I'm kicking myself now , because we haggled to much over an ornament from the gift shop , and didn't get it - would have been a focal point for pre-fire memories
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Reply By: Nic I - Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 13:31

Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 13:31
Hi Robin,

Do you know if the Acheron Way survived ?
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 18:44

Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 18:44
No it was burnt Nic , from about 10km out of Warbuton right up to Marysville end - but I think it was not the firestorm but lower level fire over much of it.
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Follow Up By: Nic I - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 08:21

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 08:21
Hi Robin,

So all those magnificent Mountain Ashes and tree ferns have gone ? That's a shame, the Acheron Way was a mandatory scenic deviation in and out of Melbourne on every trip there.

Nothing, however, to the human destruction, which is far worse.
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Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 15:32

Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 15:32
Yes went up to Marysville and Kinglake at Easter

Was full of tourists poking around like us. Was amazed at the devastation.

According to the map they were handing out at Marysville there are 33 properties that survived the fire.

Hope to go back in a few months and see what it looks like then.

They say go and spend some money there and help the locals.

Well apart from the bakery and the pub there is nothing else and I feel sorry for the poor buggars that are burnt out and have no income and no prospect of having any for a long time if ever.


Hardly seems fair does it but thats the way the wind blows (No pun intended)

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Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 15:33

Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 15:33
Woops forgot about the motel sorry.





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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 18:45

Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 18:45
Thats good Graham - but it actually hard to spend much in Marysville isn't it.
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