Discovering The Hidden Camp of Mundowi Trail

I was looking over my maps for new places to walk in my local area when I spotted two strange little symbols on a firetrail. The symbols usually meant artefact and in this region that more often than not meant aboriginal artefacts. It was a very odd spot for such things though so after checking with my local community walking group and finding out that this would be an interesting spot, I headed on out.

The Mundowi firetrail started out in an industrial area of Mt Kuringai but soon led away into the bush. I passed an interesting cave with lots of loose rock in it and evidence of fire. I passed an unusually flat rock face that had some vertical lines in it – likely construction lines from the creation of the firetrail, but it could also be an area where sandstone blocks were removed for use in houses.

There was a lovely view at one point and a quick check of the map showed the artefacts were further down the trail. Near an old discarded sofa, the trail ran out. I was confused for a moment and tried a couple of tracks which soon vanished. The map had shown no bend in the track and I had moved at a right angle based on where it seemed to lead, so I walked back a few meters then walked forward and miraculously a trail appeared! It’s entrance was lined with hand-placed rock and even had steps so it was well used. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed it first time.

I followed it down and it was quite steep. Soon enough I came upon the first artefact. Carved into a vertical sandstone rockface was a large scout symbol! I had been told it was here but was surprised at its size. There was a small arrow carved into the rock on the ground so I followed it further down.

I heard water trickling and came upon a small constructed dam. Further exploration revealed numerous camping spots and it became clear that this was an active camping area. I had thought that it was a disused scout camp but it looked very much in action. Later queries online showed that scouts still used the area and had a forty year agreement in place to allow them to do so without issue.

I explored a little further. There were some enticing cliffs that I wanted to climb but I knew there would not be enough daylight for that. There were odd taps sticking up out of the ground but they didn’t seem to work. This confused me a little bit and later queries again yielded answers. There was a tap on a nearby road that would allow water to flow into the valley but the pipes themselves had rusted and the setup no longer functioned. This was again part of the scout camp. The dam that I found was apparently once deep enough to swim in but had silted up after construction in the nearby area. It didn’t look big enough for that to me but I didn’t really spend any time exploring upstream.

Light was now failing so I headed back up away from the camp feeling pretty satisfied with the evening of discovery. I had never been in the scouts and had always wanted to do the Duke of Edinburgh award but a nomadic family life prevented that from happening. I often think that it was something I missed out on. I was right! The folks who came to this place must have had heaps of fun!

I took one last side trial before I returned to the car and was rewarded with a lovely lookout but the views were a little obscured by smoke from the recent backburning operations in the area. I really enjoyed this little walk and it might be fun to do with the kids one day!

5 thoughts on “Discovering The Hidden Camp of Mundowi Trail

  1. The details on maps are so enticing. Good find! Any idea when scouts first started using Mt Kuringai? The first Australasian Scouting Jamboree was held in Dec 1938 through to Jan 1939 in Bradfield – I wonder if there were any excursions to Mt Kuringai at the time (my then 14 year old father was a Victorian rep at that Jamboree).

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    1. I can’t seem to find any history of the local groups online – the website talks mainly about scouts in general.
      The site would be big enough for a troop but not for any bigger gatherings. It’s possible that large groups could have attended up the hill before the industrial estate was built as I’m told there was once a music festival held there (in the 70’s).
      Such a fun find!

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  2. The details on maps are so enticing. Good find! Any idea when scouts first started using Mt Kuringai? The first Australasian Scouting Jamboree was held in Dec 1938 through to Jan 1939 in Bradfield – I wonder if there were any excursions to Mt Kuringai at the time (my then 14 year old father was a Victorian rep at that Jamboree).

    Like

  3. It is interesting finding more recent artifacts and it is good to know that the Scouts still use the area. My childhood was spent going on scout camp every year as my father was a Scout master. My brother and sister loved it but I was always a bit of a wimp and was in awe of all those big boys! My mother did the first aid and helped with the cooking on large jamborees.

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