Home' Hunter Its People : Hunter Our Backyard June 2011 Contents 31
Q: What do you think is special about Dungog?
A: ''It is a nice safe area with good sporting facilities.
It is a good place to bring up kids. Mum still lives there
and I still get up there. I still call it home.''
-- Doug Walters, one of Australia's most famous and
popular cricketers who was brought up on a Dungog dairy
farm. He was only 19 when picked to play for Australia
and scored 155 in his first Test. He played 74 Tests
scoring 5357 runs at 48.26 and took 49 wickets.
THE LAST WORD ...
To see the scenery and history of Dungog,
plus try a few places to eat or parks for
picnics, tackle a scenic drive, perhaps to
one of its beauty spots -- say, Ladies Well
swimming spot on the Allyn River.
From Maitland, the drive steers you
through Paterson and along the Paterson
River to Vacy, where you can stop for a
nibble at Bunna Bunoo Olive Grove (their
shop is open Fridays, Saturdays and
Sundays). Then it's alongside the Allyn
River past a turnoff to Torryburn, where
Dorothea Mackellar was inspired to write
My Country, and on to East Gresford,
where on the village outskirts Camyr Allyn
Wines has a cellar door for tastings.
Staying with the river past Allynbrook
and Eccleston, the road snakes right on an
unsealed section to the Williams River Valley. About
halfway across the unsealed road a left turn takes you
over dirt road to the delightful Ladies Well. There's
four crossings on the way, dry when there's no rain
but probably best not attempted when wet. Strangely,
in the middle of nowhere, there's a place the locals
call Boot Hill -- a wire fence with hundreds of shoes
hanging from it.
After Ladies Well you can cross into the Williams
Valley via Lagoon Pinch Forest Road and Williams
Top Road, rough dirt but not bad enough to require a
four-wheel-drive. In all there's 25 km of dirt road that
ends were Barrington House once stood, and then
it's on tar down Salisbury Rd along the Williams River
through Salisbury, Dungog and Clarence Town. To see
Chichester Dam take a left a few kilometres before
Stops can include Fosterton Farm Biodynamic
Bakery, just out of Dungog on the Williams River,
which produces biodynamic/organic food including
sourdough bread, sweet and savoury pasteries,
organic museli and flour, or you can pick up their
wares at the IGA store in Dungog on Wednesdays and
Sundays. Glen William, between Dungog and Clarence
Town, is home to Johnson's Farmgate, a boutique
market garden and citrus farm that offers fresh
Nature has been kind to Singleton in that
it is watered by the Hunter River and the
picturesque Wollombi Brook, among other
waterways, and is the southern limit of rich
''black earths'', the only soils in Australia with
reasonable levels of soluble phosphorus, with
the result that upstream from Singleton lies
very rich pasture land.
South of Singleton, stretching over 70 km
from Wisemans Ferry to the Hunter, is Yengo
National Park, a wild area of steep gorges and
rocky ridges rich in Aboriginal and cultural
heritage, especially Mount Yengo, the place
Aboriginal lore says Baiame left for the skies
after finishing his creative tasks during
Dreamtime, flattening the mountain top when
he stepped on it.
The historic Old Great North Road, an
example of early 19th century convict road-
building, follows the south-east boundary of
the park, which is included in the Greater Blue
Mountains World Heritage area that covers
one million hectares - around twice the size of
Yengo is home to wet and dry eucalpyt forests,
remnants of rainforests and open woodlands.
There are around 50 species of mammals in the
park, more than 200 bird species, more than 30
species of amphibians and 49 species of reptiles.
About 50 km north of Singleton, Mount
Royal National Park conserves 3340 hectares
adjoining the edge of Barrington Tops National
Park, proclaimed in 1996 to protect a wilderness
that is about 20 per cent rainforest and home
to rare and threatened species including the
Hastings River mouse, rufous scrub bird and
rough-scaled snake. Mount Royal is easily
accessible and provides a scenic place for
picnicking, bushwalking and bird-watching.
The magnificent Brokenback Range, 446
metres above sea level, provides the eastern
border between Singleton and Cessnock while
the picturesque Putty Valley winds its way
between the hills of Wollemi and Yengo parks.
Dungog is rich in natural assets, known for its
clean air, forests, mountains and scenic drives
that pass freshwater streams and magnificent
It is bordered on the north by the Barrington
Tops, a vast, basalt-capped plateau almost
1600 metres high and full of mountain streams,
waterfalls, forests, cliffs and a diverse range of
plant and animal life.
Two main rivers flow through the area into
the Hunter, the Williams and the Paterson, with
its major tributary the Allyn.
Mount Allyn is known for its panoramic views.
page, Joy McKean
at Singleton. This
page, left, Ladies
Well, top, Singleton
Convent chapel, and
Joe Governor's grave
Can you imagine this in your backyard?
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