We left Wombat cottage to continue our journey, todays destination was the Township of Marysville and the noted Steavenson falls. I specifically wanted to revisit Marysville, a beautiful small township nestled at the base of the Victorian Alpine region, primarily as it was the centre of a great part of my younger days. I would camp out for days and wade the crystal clear mountain streams searching for the hideout of the beautiful yet elusive rainbow trout, wearing waders with pipe in mouth I would wade those streams for hours. My aim was to catch trout, but as my wisdom grew I soon learnt to appreciate the beauty that surrounded my solitude in those high mountains. The sight of a platypus swimming from its nest in the bank and cavorting beneath my legs in those mountain streams, a solitary deer drinking water at the edge combined with the beautiful sounds of the leaves rustling in the winds to the accompaniment of the beautiful birds. Ahh the memories of my younger days came rushing back in nostalgic reverie. The second reason I wanted to revisit Marysville was to see how the township had recovered from the 2009 bushfires that destroyed 90% of the town and claimed 45 lives. I was saddened driving into Marysville as it bore no resemblance to what I remembered in my younger days. After three years, new homes and buildings are still undergoing rebuilding, the town is alive with workmen but the rebuilding reinforced the sentiments of the residents after the fires in that they stated, Marysville will be built, a great testimony to the stamina of those high mountain people. I decided not to take any pics of the town but to keep its memory in a young boys mind as I remembered it, so we headed off out of Marysville to visit the Steavenson waterfalls. Steavenson Falls are one of the tallest in Victoria, with 5 cascades, a total descent of 122 metres, the last having a clear drop of more than 21 metres.
The Steavenson Falls are definitely Marysville’s main claim to tourism fame and have been since European arrival in Marysville.
Residents cut a track to the falls in 1866. Since then the natural environs of the Falls and their approach have not altered dramatically.
The falls and the river were named after John Steavenson who first visited the site of what is now Marysville in 1862. He was carrying out a survey of the area to try to find a new alignment for the road to the gold fields at Woods Point.
The 190ha. Steavenson Falls Scenic Reserve was proclaimed in 1959 to protect the falls and their surroundings.
Steavenson Falls is 350 meters from the car park and is flood lit from dusk until 11.00pm.
The Reserve is jointly administered by the Department of Primary Industry and a Voluntary Committee of Management, who continue to develop and maintain the reserve.
Walks commencing at the falls reserve are – Keppel Walking track – De la Rue lookout, a 1 km walk – Oxlee lookout a 1.5 km walk and Keppel lookout a 4.00 km walk. To the top of the falls return, which is steep takes 40 minutes.
A turbine driven by water drawn from the weir at the base of the falls generates power for the floodlights and the lights along the paths. Funding for these works was obtained by the local Tourist Association from the old Tourism Victoria. The floodlighting was formally turned on by the then Minister for Tourism – The Honourable Murray Byrne MLC. on 3 November 1972.
The water that is drunk in Marysville is drawn from below the falls and is gravity fed to a large Reservoir, (Aub Cuzens Reservoir) which can be seen alongside the road to Keppels Lookout.
Eucalyptus – Dense forest covers the entire Steavenson Falls Reserve in the steep-sided valley of the Steavenson Reserve.
Pure stands of Mountain Ash which regenerated after the disastrous 1939 bushfires grow in sheltered places.
Elsewhere the forest contains a mixture of eucalyptus species, notably Mountain Grey Gum, Messmate and Narrow-leafed Peppermint. Other trees growing in association with the eucalyptus include Myrtle Beech which has small, shiny, dark green leaves and is restricted to areas of high rainfall such as the central highland, Blackwood, one of the wattles, a tall tree with masses of pale yellow flowers, and Silver Wattle.
The sheltered river margins are the ideal environment for Soft and Rough Tree-ferns, their height bearing testimony to their considerable age.
Lyrebirds are often seen in the morning and after rain searching for insects and worms. It’s easy to see where they have been by the prominent scratch marks in the leaves and twigs on the ground.
The Lyrebird is an outstanding mimic and can imitate the calls of many other birds, they can also imitate an axe. or chainsaw. Named for the lyre shape of the males outer tail feathers, they are quite common throughout the Mountain forests of the Central Highlands.
Steavenson Falls is now a major tourist attraction with some 180,000 visitors a year.
Cheers till next time my friends