Legal ramifications when driving through private property?

Submitted: Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 07:29
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Hi there
Did the Caves to Caves drive (jenolan-wombeyan) yesterday. Then, somehow we ended up on the PARLIAMENT CREEK track just before Mt Werong, which was on my map and eventually would lead us back to the fire trail track.
However about 2/3 driven we came upon a closed gate (NO TRESPASSING). Doing the right thing we drove all the way back to Mt Werong.

We did considered however to drive trough that private property.
What consequences are to be expected if the owner reports it to the authorities?

Thank you for clarifying

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Reply By: PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 07:50

Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 07:50
I would say that it's plain old trespassing to start with. Then if any damages are done you have to fix them.

I do not think that he can come after you with a gun though. Even though if it was a regular intrusion he may like to.

The big trap is insurance. Hire car insurance and deposits as well. You may also void and car, caravan/trailer or travel insurance. This can happen no matter where you are and the old "ignorance is not an excuse" thing doesn't let you off. If you even go on a closed road or track in an NP or the back restricted area or a service station or cattle station, the insurance may be voided.

Personally I would have turned around as well.

A trap is a road closed sign that has been moved aside by someone else. It may look like it has been opened but with me Murphy is just around the next corner. So If I see one in the ditch kind of out of the way and it could be understood that the road is open, then without touching the sign I take a photo and continue. Five seconds delay then away.
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Follow Up By: Tonyfish#58 - Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 09:00

Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 09:00
The problem is a lot of these signs are a bluff, if it is on a road reserve you can not restrict access providing they stick to the road reserve.

The other issue you have is how do you know there is an official Road reserve through the property?

Most modern Navigation units are based on the DCDB. In the background is all the official Road Reserves (As long as it is up to date). This is why the cheaper units will send you on a route that does not exist. It has found a road reserve that connects a to b and will send you that way even if there is no constructed road.

Now the problem with them is that they will not necessarily keep you on the road reserve as they are set with an error factor. The unit may show you are driving down the road reserve when in fact you could be 50mtrs away from it. (You see this on the units when they are plotting your track next to the road you are driving and have an arrow connected to the road reserve you should be on.

Asa stated below there are a lot of roads constructed off the official road reserve and a lot of roads not yet constructed on road reserves.

Regards Tony
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 10:54

Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 10:54
Hey Tony your comment:

Now the problem with them is that they will not necessarily keep you on the road reserve as they are set with an error factor. The unit may show you are driving down the road reserve when in fact you could be 50mtrs away from it. (You see this on the units when they are plotting your track next to the road you are driving and have an arrow connected to the road reserve you should be on.

Isnt quite accurate in my experience. Roads are almost always built on the road reserve. If a GPS shows you travelling 50m away from a road then that is the inaccuracy in the GPS base mapping, not in the GPS location, whioch is usually accurate to around 4-10m or in the road surface you are driving on.

Sometimes the maps are redrawn using the incorrect datum, WGS84 for example and this can produce that error you mention above. Sometimes its lazy map rendering, not allowing for the lattitude - longitude difference in lengths of one grid.

Basically if you are driving on a road the the GPS says you are in a paddock, the GPS is the thing that wrong.

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Follow Up By: Tonyfish#58 - Monday, Jul 09, 2012 at 15:42

Monday, Jul 09, 2012 at 15:42
Bonz - FYI - I am glad in your area roads are always built on a road reserve:-)

I work with the DCDB on a daily basis with a Council and other Councils in FNQ and have roads mapped in relation to the DCDB for over 20 years. I can show you plenty of Roads which are not on the road reserve :-). There is in fact hundreds & Hundreds of roads/tracks which deviate from the road reserve which are in use today. (I am not talking about Main Roads who have spent some time putting their roads back on to or purchasing road reserves as the case may be).

The information given above is very accurate for FNQ :-)

Disclaimer - No responsibility is taken if the information provided is not suitable for your area :-)

Cheers Tony
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 at 22:24

Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 at 22:24
FNQ and other outback type places seems a different deal Tony. Around here any inaccuracy is likely to be in the GPS datum or map datum or map itself.

I thave worked for years with the cadastral databases as well as the old parish plans etc and find it to be very reliable here
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Reply By: Tonyfish#58 - Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 08:51

Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 08:51
Depends if the closed Gate was on an Official Road Reserve.

If the gate was on a road reserve then it can not be locked/closed for entry and you would be in your right to move on through as long as you keep to the road reserve, you would not be trespassing. No trespassing does not mean you can not enter the property, unless there is a lock on the gate. You have right of entry to the front door to see the owner, or if you remain on the road reserve.

A gate or grid on a road reserve needs to be licensed and still available for use to all road users (Of course we leave the gate open or closed as we find it).

In saying this there are issues to consider.

Is all the road on the road reserve? This is not always the case and not easy to determine. You would need an accurate DCDB map from DERM to determine this.

I have my local DCDB loaded on to a GPS and I can safely say there are a lot of roads in my area that are not on the official road reserve.

There is a good case to look up and that is Palmerville Station VS Cook Shire Council. The owner of this station locked all His gates as the roads that were used for 100s of years were not actually on the road reserve. This ended up in the Court for Years and why that happened access to these roads was not available and if you did attempt to drive them it was dangerous.

Palmerville to Maytown Road

This issue has now been resolved and resulted in Council placing the roads on the official road reserves and they are open for business.

Cheers Tony
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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 09:38

Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 09:38
Tony has highlighted a major problem with these crown roads and that is that many are not on their correct alignment. You are therefore traversing someone elses property.

Now if these roads, and I have several on my property, are not part of the general road system of the area then, as a property owner, you are entitled to lock the gate if you so wish but must somehow maintain access for the relevant authorities who may have to access that section of Crown road for whatever reason. It sometimes requires those relevant authorities to provide a lock so that it can be locked through our lock as in the case of our front gate.

Further to this in NSW the State Government has enacted a policy of allowing landholders to purchase these Crown roads where they are not required for access to another property or area. These so called "Paper Roads" still apear on the older maps and may be some current maps if the information has not been updated.

You see the most significant thing is in most cases these paper roads are being rented from the State Govt. by the landholder and they have to pay rent to the Govt. every year for that road unless they fence it out of their property.

Some GPS devices want to take you down these paper roads as well.
They are called paper roads as they only exist on paper. There is no actual physical road. Some also want to take you along private roads also merely because they apear on maps.

As other have said, you need to check your facts before you enter these roads.

The simple rule of thumb is, if you need to go through them ask the property owner. All most of us want is that we know if someone is on our property and that they are bonafide travellers or at least respectful.

There is so much rural crime these days that it is causing paranoia, to some extent, among the farming community. Not only that but some people have no respect for other peoples property that some property owners are saying "Stuff the lot of them" end quote.

If someone was in your back yard without your permission you would feel slighted and downright angry if they were up to no good. We are no different.

On the other hand if someone came to me and asked if they could camp down by the dam provided they left it pretty much as they found it I would not hesitate to say "Yeah, go for you life mate, enjoy." I might even join them for a beer at days end. But then I am not everybody.

Cheers, Bruce.

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restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: Tonyfish#58 - Monday, Jul 09, 2012 at 16:12

Monday, Jul 09, 2012 at 16:12
I Like your attitude Bruce :-)

It would be a cup of tea for me though :-)

I would like to ask all property owners if I could. I say this as have you ever tried to find some phone numbers for some properties?

You can find most after a frustrating search (the net has made it easier), then when you call you have to be rude as you can not get anyone on a working property during the day :-) So it is either early or late to call.

Now there may be a good App for the smart phone :-)

Cheers Tony
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Monday, Jul 09, 2012 at 16:46

Monday, Jul 09, 2012 at 16:46
Tony, Most property phones are in a persons name unless a business name and so finding a specific property phone number is difficult.

The problem with after hour phone calls is the number of phone beggars we get these days looking for a handout or wanting to sell us something we don't want.

I can see your problem, I like the personal approach myself.

Regards the beer, I am a tea drinker also and mainly drink beer when I am holidaying in the van and that is mainly just to be sociable.

A carton a year would be about what I consume.

Cheers, Bruce.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 18:00

Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 18:00
Private roads may well be on your GPS. The internal track on our 100 acre property is on mine. Despite having come through an open gate where the gravel access roads ends, i have caught people driving down this internal track. They are trespassing, as if they were lost, they can see the house as they come in through the gate and come to it, as people sometimes do and get help to find the person they are looking for. As these days things do go missing from farms, i treat any such intruder who continues on through the second gate with suspicion. They have given excuses such as "But this road continues to xxx where i am going on the map" "Sorry, you cannot get through on this private track" - wanting to add your map reading skills are not good. They even argue :O. Another excuse is that they thought they were some one else's property - like they don't know what their friend's place looks like ~. We don't have many near neighbours and none at all like our bush track access.

We do have public liability insurance, and do not have the right to prevent hawkers and the like coming to our door, short of a locked gate. On my family farm on the Blackwood River, we had to allow access to the river, as below high water mark it is public access property. A gate, maintained track and billabong crossing was provided and maintained by us. Friends and neighbours generally phoned ahead to ask or let us know. This is now no longer used as the sort of community picnics we had are a thing of the past. This sort of access comes at a risk of unauthorised campfires and wildfires as well as those who bring dogs which can chase or damage sheep. These things have happened. Private property is private - respect it or ask permission.

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Follow Up By: get outmore - Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 18:06

Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 18:06
farms can be awfully tricky where theve swallowed up previous bush land. i was trying to find Dragon rocks at night, had ozi explorer on and it showed a trackm that seemed to lead where I wanted

it became clear I was entering a farm but the track still seemed as a track and some of them do pass through farms/stations


it was when i ended up in the hayshed area surrounded by fences i figured the map I was using was too old,

didnt go through any closed gates or past any sighns

ah well turned around no harm done
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 18:22

Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 18:22
Dragon Rocks on the Holland track route get outmore? It was tricky to find the track even in daylight. I don't recall if i was using the GPS, but if i was, it did not help. Our software is outdated.

Mh
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Follow Up By: equinox - Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 18:46

Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 18:46
I came across a closed gate just south of Dragon Rocks last year (not locked). The map clearly showed its was Dragon Rocks Road.

I'm almost certain it was just the farmer having a lend, a bit of deterrent to keep people away - and it did, as I went around. Very annoying and disappointing as I wanted to follow the Holland Track as closely as I could.


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Follow Up By: get outmore - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 09:23

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 09:23
I looked up my plot file and thats exactly where I went except there was no closed gate, my plot file showed I was following dragon rocks road exactly and ended up at the hay shed
I back tracked and took a road to the east then west then got back onto the drtagon rocks raod to the north of the farm and followed it south towards the farm. it was late and my map showed that was where the rocks were so camped there. There was no visable rocks to speak of and further research showed their isnt really. sort of like Nallerine rocks
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 09:29

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 09:29
another example is the snake hill/walling road. I was heading East on it after visiting Karrajong gorge and came to a "locked" gate
- I say "locked" because it was locked with nothing much more than a suitcase lock - bit strange
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 12:34

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 12:34
We went as a guess about five kilometres (travelling NE) past Dragon Rocks before finding an unsigned track which turned sharply and ran roughly parallel to the road back to Dragon Rocks. The track continued on a short way to farmlands so probably back to the road through these farms and may have been the way others here had followed. We did not investigate as we just took a walk a little way along the track from the rocks looking at wildflowers. The rocks are at the southern end of the reserve and close to the farms. Another EO member who had been through the Holland track shortly before us had discovered a species of tiny frog living in just one of the Gnamma holes on the rocks. All very interesting. We did not positively identify the so called remnant wagon wheel ruts on the far side of the rocks.

Mh

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 15:24

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 15:24
I recall the closest Gnamm hole in the first photo was the one with the tiny frogs
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Follow Up By: The other Norm C (WA) - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 21:42

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 21:42
Hello All
I was out at Dragon Rocks on the June long weekend.Camped the night
on the side of the rock.I was looking for a track a bit North of the rocks location
I think the Hay shed Get out More is referring to is just South of Dragon Rocks Reserve.I followed a road from Pingaring Valley road down to Dragon Rocks Road
Norm
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012 at 01:15

Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012 at 01:15
Hi Norm

I just looked at Google maps satellite view, and there is certainly a farm track just south of the nature reserve which goes to a hay shed, then continues back to Dragon Rocks Road prior to the reserve, and i cannot see any road entering the reserve from this direction. However neither can I see the access road we used from the north east (no doubt the same one you used) nor the rocks visible on the image. I do recall that the track continuing south past the rocks did appear to enter the farmlands, although we did not walk all the way to be certain. Our visit was back in 2007 and is outlined in My Blog.


Mh
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Reply By: member-PradoMad - Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 22:52

Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 22:52
Well, this is all confusing, but thank you for all the feedback.
JS.
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Reply By: pepper2 - Monday, Jul 09, 2012 at 10:18

Monday, Jul 09, 2012 at 10:18
Does anyone have knowledge of something called "Queens Way" i think it suggests that the public has right of access for a certain distance along the banks of a watercourse ?
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Jul 09, 2012 at 16:29

Monday, Jul 09, 2012 at 16:29
I have not heard of that. As far as I understand (and I may have some of the detail wrong) access along waterways, at least in NSW, depends on land title. Under the old system of titles (pre Torrens title) many property boundaries followed a watercourse, and the boundary would be in the middle of the watercourse, so no public access - sometimes even by water. Where there have been more recent subdivisions and the land is held under Torrens title, property boundaries stop at the high water mark, in which case access may be possible along the waters edge, especially if that land is a declared public reserve.

But its a contentious issue - along the Murrumbidgee River not far from where we live there is reserve land, but because so many city folk go out there in summer for a swim, then light fires, litter etc, the locals do everything they can to prevent access.

Cheers,

Val
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 09:35

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 09:35
when living in the country it was always my experience although the locals liked to blame people from the city it was usually the local young fellas making the mess.

Its the same as city folk get blamed for the high death toll on country roads because there not used to the speeds/distance etc

however its been well and truly proven by far and away its country people that die on country roads.

Same as croc atacks

yea the odd one is on southerners and tourists by by far and away its local people being taken even though they keep saying its the dumb southerners
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Reply By: ozjohn0 - Monday, Jul 09, 2012 at 10:32

Monday, Jul 09, 2012 at 10:32
Many road reserves are leased to land owners who may restrict access to the public for any reason The lessee must erect a gate and can padlock the gate if they desire.
I had one for quite some time on a 99 year lease. The lease transfered to the new owner when I sold the property.
Ozjohn.
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Follow Up By: Tonyfish#58 - Monday, Jul 09, 2012 at 16:06

Monday, Jul 09, 2012 at 16:06
Ozjohn - Not sure where you are from but in FNQ and road License Lease is put on the current DCDB. (I would think this aussie wide)

Thus if one obtains the current DCDB then the road as you stated would not show up as Road Reserve but as a property #.

I think the intent of the post was if the gate was still on a legal Road reserve could they use it?

To be fair the road reserves were put there for the traveling public. It is a shame a lot of people have to shut their gates to the Majority that are Honest and will do the right thing for the few that are not Honest.

Regards Tony
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Reply By: Member - Richard W (NSW) - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 07:14

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 07:14
Can't help with the legalities, however was that you guys camped at Mt Werong on Sunday morning.
I drove in about 10am to air up after camping at Yerranderie for the night.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 12:52

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 12:52
We have found signage and/or gates erected by mining companies far more intimidating, and they may be on roads we are following from a public road map. I understand the safety issues and needs to close mine sites to the public.

One was Tallering Peak north of Mullewa. We went to a natural 'pound' once used for holding cattle on a stock droving route and the map showed the road continuing to Tallering Peak as a lookout. Not far past the pound was a gate with No Entry signs from the mining company. I suggested to my husband we open the gate and travel only as far as we could find somewhere to turn around. We were quite some distance from the mining activities. He would not do so, and did a 33 point turn with the small caravan on the narrow track, feeling quite annoyed that there was no warning of the gate nor any place to turn around once reaching it.

Near Kalgoorlie we took a drive to the east, and the road (Bulong Road) we planned return from this loop now had intimidating signs of no entry from a mining company. There was no gate, and although there was mining activity off to either side of the public road. Another tourist said take it anyway - it is a public road. Both parties travelled without incident.

Motherhen
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 14:26

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 14:26
fortunatly minesites only take up relativly small areas. Ive driven 000s of kms with every part of the road lined with these sighns.
If minesites did this there would be a heck of an outcry



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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 14:58

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 14:58
We will always differ on our opinions on this one get outmore. You know my thoughts and i know yours so i won't take it any further. Just like i respect your right to have your opinion, i respect the landholders rights and agree with them.

Mh
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