G'Day. I'm Donny Hobbs, a local bushman and local history preserver at Mudgee. Some time ago I was taken to see a bushranger's cave at Mt Pomany - fascinating stuff. So this year, I took my nephew, Corey Bayliss on a trip to show him the cave, starting from the National Trail that goes from Melbourne to Cape Town, high above the clouds at the top of Nullo Mountain.
Corey is taking the photos, so you will see his horse's head and my back as we head into the scrub. It was a bit hard to take photos at times - the horses mucked up a bit when they smelt wild pigs and some of the territory was a bit hard to get through.
We headed into rough country, from Nullo Mountain, heading for Mt Cox in the distance. In the second mountain photo you can see Putty in the far distance.
We came off the mountain and headed into the scrub below, and sometimes it was tough getting the horses through the undergrowth.
Sometimes saplings had to be cut out of the way.
We saw some interesting views, like the volcano lava on the side of this mountain, pure basalt rock that nothing can grow on.
We came to a place called Heel 'em boy point for obvious reasons when you realise this is infamous cattle duffer country. We looked up and saw one of the many caves used by bushrangers in the past for an overnight camp or hideaway.
Nearby we found an old set of cattle yards, probably used by cattle duffers.
We came to a Cain of rocks in the shape of Mt Cox, which marked the way through a very narrow pass to Mt Pomany. At the point of the pass, oldtime bushrangers have cut a tree down with a cross cut saw to get past it, using the stump and rocks as an arrow to point the way to the pass. This is the only way into Mt Pomany and once in, the cattle duffers were safe, only having to guard the very hard to find entrance.
Once in, the trail is narrow and dangerous, with long drops from the pinnacle about 80 feet on one side and a 200 feet drop on the other.
We carved our initials, D over H for Don Hobbs and CB for Corey Bayliss in a bit of sandstone with an axe to prove we've been there.
The scrub changes after the rocky surfaces, the soil is richer and the forest thicker.
At last we found the site of the bushranger's camp. Unfortunately, since my last visit, the area has been burnt out by National Parks fire control, burning the old shack with it. But there are still some remains nearby that escaped the burn. Top left photo is of the water race made out of hollowed out tree trunks. Local folklore says the bushranger grew potatoes and made whisky, which he took to Rylstone to trade for food. There is still evidence of the terrace gardens there. The second photo is the spring water hole at the hut. The old stone fireplace is still there as well. The shack stood on what was once 30 acres of freehold land in the middle of National Park, but NPWS bought it. As I remember it on my last trip, the old bushranger shack was made from timber and hessian bags. It was about 10 feet by 15 feet with the ceiling about 8 feet in the middle. It had a timber shingle roof made of very thick shingles about 4 inches by 10 inches. The bushranger had added tins of sheet he brought in by pack horse by cutting the sheets in half so his horse could carry them. It had hand made furniture hewn out of nearby timber. One side of the shack was a row of trees on which hung hessian bags, forming shelving and hammocks for sleeping. On my last visit, I hid some old utensils in a cave, knives, pans, razors, mirrors, a hand basin and other trinkets, to preserve the history. Just as well. I strung some remaining old tools lying on the ground out on some wire between some trees to mark the spot.
The bushranger once made a cattle trap to gather some of the wild cattle bred from Jessie Hickman's cattle duffing efforts. The trap had poles from tree to tree with a big gap that had a swinging gate with big spikes on it. The cattle pushed their way in to get at some salt that was put there, and when they went to get out again, the spikes on the swinging gate prevented their escape. Most of the remains had now gone from the fire, but the chains from the gate were still there.
We prepared a camp for the night, hanging our saddles and camping gear on poles to keep them away from ants.
Then we built a campfire and put out some old hessian sacks and slept the night.
It took us 13 hours travel to get to the campsite, but only about 6 to get out as we had cleared the track. We broke the journey with camps, so all in all, we had a very pleasant 3 day horseback adventure. This track is not for the faint hearted, it is wild and dangerous, but an experienced and sensible bush walker would do it. Mt Pomany is 1,110 metres high and sits on top of a volcano. Water oozes out of the top and travels down the mountain. It is an interesting, historic site.