Aboriginal People have lived in or around this area for thousands of years. From about the 1820’s Europeans started to explore this area and from about the 1830’s cattle grazing commenced, initially on a transhumance basis. Slowly remote and isolated grazing properties were established. When Canberra was chosen as the site of the National Capital of the recently established Federation of Australia, the borders of the Australian Capital Territory had to be established and in June 1910 surveyor Percy Sheafe was instructed to commence the border survey. All this has been well told by historian Matthew Higgins in his book “Rugged Beyond Imagination“. in which, on the fly leaf, he quotes from a poem by Judith Wright :-
“South of my days’ circle
I know it dark against the stars,
Full of old stories
that still go walking in my sleep.”
In his book, Matthew tells many stories. He also says that ” this is a powerful place, that it is on a grand scale, is a land of bold ranges, tall forests, and clear streams. After snowfall it forms a splendid white backdrop to the national capital, but is a dominant feature at any time of the year.”
All along the border one may find the border survey markers, a line of stones hiding in the undergrowth, or sometimes in full view on rocky areas, the mid point of which conceals a survey post hammered into the ground. Nearby one can often find a large blaze cut into a tree with the surveyor’s marks on it. Unfortunately some of these no longer exist, the trees having succumbed to old age, wind, or fire.
On this blaze part of the surveyor’s symbols have been burnt by fire.
The high country of the A.C.T would , I guess, be that which is higher than about 1300 metres for that is about where the sub-alpine woodland starts. This woodland is largely comprised of Snow Gums with an understorey of snow grass, perennial herbs and scattered low shrubs. The higher one goes the more sparse become the Snow Gums (Euclyptus pauciflora) and the more stunted is their growth.
Flowers are “everywhere” in spring and summer and where bad fires have recently burned (such as in 2003) the understorey shrubs have created dense thickets.
The highest ridge in Namadgi, in fact in the A.C.T., is the Brindabella Range, the crest of which forms the A.C.T.’s western border with NSW. The highest peak of this Range is Mount Bimberi, (1913 metres, 6276 feet) closely followed by Mount Gingera and Mount Ginini (1857 metres or 6093 feet, and 1762 metres or 5781 feet respectively. The higher points of this range are right on the tree line. In winter, snow will often lie here for weeks.
As one get higher, the trees thin out, until one is on the treeline.
After a bad fire the regrowth usually becomes very dense
During spring and summer wildflowers abound.
Snow often falls on the high country and may lie for weeks. Sometimes snow falls in summer, too. However, climate change is having an effect : snowfall is far less than in the past, and given that these mountains are not very high, many plant species my die out as they have nowhere higher and colder to go. Our fragile earth. Will we save it? I doubt it. In this world, politicians and developers and miners are in league and are motivated by greed.
There is great beauty in Namadgi, but especially in the high country.
My book, with further photos of Namadgi and a plea for wilderness and its importance to life on this planet, titled “A Night on a Mountain in Namadgi National Park”, may be viewed at and purchased from Blurb.com