Squire Hike – Lal Lal State Forrest

29 September – 1 October 1989

After an eventful Friday afternoon and evening, a party of three consisting of Euan, Andrew and myself left Melbourne at 10:15 pm. We finally reached Lal Lal Falls Picnic Area after twelve Saturday morning. (I’m sure the travelling distances and time would have been a lot shorter if it hadn’t been for my navigation!)

Following a quick look over the picnic area by torchlight and to our surprise discovering some Sleeping Beauties (Venturer’s) in the open we erected the tent and slept relatively soundly till 6:30am. Cereal and scrambled eggs and bacon was succeeded by an early morning walk down to Lal Lal Falls – A very picturesque setting.

Euan in front of Lal Lal falls

Realising it was going to be impossible to start the hike from Lal Lal Falls Picnic Area due to private properties along Carey Road I decided to begin the hike from the Picnic Area in Lal Lal State Forest, just south of the lookout. Having a look over Lal Lal Reservoir and Pumping Station from the lookout, the actual hike commenced at 8:50 am.

We hiked south along Iron Mine Road and supposedly turned right up a walking track to Champion Hill. However, as a result of incorrectly reading the map, we ended up at the new mines. Hence, an exploration fo one of the mine shafts took place.

Euan down one of the mine shafts

Discovering at the end of the track that we weren’t where we should have been, we continued south; this time along Heatherbell Road.

On we walked taking in the flora and fauna and so on until we reached the side of an Old Village after walking through the Mullock (which we passed almost a kilometre back.)

Andrew and I beside one of the ruins

Although there was little left of the Village, Euan and Andrew eyed an old car body a few metres on which took their fancy! This was where we rested and had morning tea.

Euan and Andrew eyeing an old car body

Once we were on our feet again we back tracked to the turn off and headed north-west towards Anderson’s Road.

Reaching the junction at 12:20 pm we terminated our terribly exciting, adventurous and most exploitative overnight hike to have lunch! Sandwiches and fruit, a most wholesome and lavishing lunch at that with our friendly chums – The Mighty Mozzies!

Forty minutes later and we were travelling west along Anderson’s Road until we reached a major intersection which divided into three. We chose the middle one! This would take us to the top of Mount Doran. Once there we were all fairly disappointed with the magnificent view that wasn’t! So we walked right back down again and continued along the same track until we reached Mount Doran Road; here we turned right. By the time we reached Mount Doran Egerton Road it was getting onto late afternoon and necessary to find a suitable campsite for the night, We eventually found one just south of the Old Village Site after walking to teh end of Mount Doran Egerton Road and back again.

In minutes of setting our packs down, it began to rain. Up went the tent and up went the roaring fire. We were all in for good and close company that night including “Curly” the Koala overhead.

Curly the Koala

All in thye name of fun we were being engulfed by rolling grey clouds, roaring thunder, spectacular lightning and pelting rain. Soup was followed by lasagne and sweet and sour beef. Alas everyone was too full for dessert… Next time!

Morning and the majority of us would have preferred to stay in bed whilst the howling wind stayed outside. Nevertheless we eventually rose at seven to have cereal and toast for breakfast. We left at 8:15 am.

Back on the trail, we headed north via the Old Village Site and east to Heatherbell Road. This road was followed until we reached a small walking track, which followed a small creek, here we turned left. This track was pursued until we reached the top of Champion Hill. On teh way up we stopped to explore one fo teh two mine tunnels. Once at the top, we had a look at an old chimney and numerous mines.

Euan and Andrew in front of an old chimney

On the way down the hill, we visited various other mines and ruins. We continued east until we reached Marabool River and another Mine Tunnel.

After a small break and a snack we headed up hill along a walking track along the ridge and back onto Iron Mine Road. It was all up hill from here and the end was in sight.

Andrew and I taking in the scenery

We reached the picnic area at 11:55 am where it came down in buckets – perfect timing! Here we had lunch and waited for the rain to stop so we could venture down to the Blast Furnace.

The old blast furnace

Home was via Moorabool Falls and surrounding towns such as Mount Egerton, Gordon, Ballan and Bacchus Marsh. We arrived home approximately at three o’clock. The trip was interesting, relatively successful and worth recommending.

words by Katrina McPherson