On a beautiful sunny Autumn day 8 OFF members assembled at the State Forest Information Centre at 9:30 am to explore the only State Forest in the Sydney metropolitan area, albeit a small one at 40Ha. Most of it had been cleared prior to State Forests purchasing the area in 1938 and then planting the majority of the tall trees. “Thus, the forest which now provides an island of greenery in a sea of suburbia is mostly only 60 years old or less” (Alan Fairly and David Waterhouse, West Sydney Wild, 2005).
Due to family circumstances, the leaders were late, but never mind, there was plenty to look at in the nursery and information centre before setting off. Of course, when all participants were there, the appeal of the attractive on-site café was too strong, so it was decided to have morning tea there before moving off.
After wrenching ourselves away from the café, the Forestry Trail was attempted, all 1.3km of it. This trail may be short but there was enough to look at to take about an hour and a half to complete. It meandered along through gullies and past tall Sydney blue gums, Blackbutts and an interesting mix of native pines, eucalypts and other plants, some native to the area, others from outside the area. Some time was also taken up watching the king parrots and satin bower birds. All in all a quite (and quiet) beautiful ramble.
We then stopped for lunch near the information centre, where there are a number of facilities including the open hut we used. This appeared as if it was set up to run demonstrations and talks, which the State Forest officers put on periodically.
Two of our group then left, before the remainder tackled the Palm Gully trail. The highlights of this short track were the many very tall Bunya and Hoop Pines. This track was closed until the day of our walk due to the danger of falling cones from the Bunya Pines. These cones are the size of a football, as could be seen by the large number of smashed ones at the base of the trees.
Report by Graham Lalchere April 1st2012
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