22 – 30 June

Tuesday 22nd June

Major Mitchell Lagoons.

Again, I am captivated by this place

My campsite is lovely,

Overlooking the site, set amongst Box Forest and Goborro.

The area today, is remarkably similar to 174 years ago, with the exception that the lagoons are Dry, and overgrown with spindly eucalyptus saplings. The landform still exists, and it is amazing to walk around.

Many of the original trees are still here, alive and well!- three, four and five hundred years old!! Clearly the same trees, as depicted in Mitchells drawing – Etching: “Backwater of the Murray”

Even 25 years ago, there was water in these Lagoons/ anabranch. A situation which has changed with ‘the drought’.  Also, now  there are orchards & vineyards occupying the land for miles around.

This site is seriously in need of an ‘Environmental Flow’.

As well as Eco-thinning.

To me, this is a classic Mitchell Site.

As well as being named after him; it was admired , described and recorded by him.

(Mitchell journal  from 17th June)

PICTURESQUE SCENERY ON THE RIVER.

“The margin where the box or “goborro” grew was in many parts hollowed into lagoons or ana-branches of the river, so that it was desirable to shape our line of

route as closely by the base of these bergs or sandhills as possible.

On crossing the point of one of them we came upon a most romantic-looking scene where a flood branch had left a serpentine piece of water, enclosing two wooded islands of rather picturesque character, the whole

being overhung by the steep and bushy slope of the hill. The scenery of some lakes thus formed was very fine, especially when their rich verdure and lofty trees were contrasted with the scrub which covered the

sandhills nearest the river, where a variety of shrubs such as we had not previously seen formed a curious foreground. Amongst them was a creeper

with very large pods, two of which were brought to me last year, while on the Darling, by one of the men, who could not afterwards find the tree again, or say what it was like. We also found one Eucarya murrayana with young unripe fruit.

Image: Plate 28 Backwater of the Murray

Drawn by Major T L Mitchell at time of Journey, 1836.

Transformed into etchings in England for Publication in 1838 & 1839

Thurs 24th

Return to Swan Hill via Mitchell sites: Wood Wood, Andrew Peace Wines, etc

Booked in to Caravan Park, to avoid cold wet weather: modern convenience.

Fri 25th June

Spoke with John from Parks Vic in the morning, in regard to possible works on the Lagoons!  Collected Simon from Swan Hill Train station, shopped, and headed for Caravan Park.

Cold, wet weather.

Sat 26th

Visited Pioneer Settlement. Fantastic!! Fascinating, and very well done.

Then, back to M M Lagoons!

Set up camp, Great Fire, and lovely to share this special place with another.

Sunday 27th

Morning walking the Lagoons, and to the River.

Introduced ourselves to ‘locals’, Sue and Greg, who invited us to return for lunch,

As they had friends coming. Very nice!!

Another walk in the afternoon. Lovely campfire and bottle of wine.

Monday 28th

Hit the road for a drive North to Boundary Bend and Passage Camp, where Mitchell had made his crossing over the Murray.

More walking in the Lagoons during afternoon. It is so intriguing to walk through the lagoons, and feel the landform.

The Trees are magnificent- difficult not to be a little overwhelmed by the age and size of these giants.

Tuesday 29th

A day around camp. Photos to sort, Journals to read, writing to do.

Wednesday  30th June

Return to Swan Hill. Dropped Simon at the Train, and headed south-east, meandering through the country, following Mitchells path where possible.

All of the land is taken up by farms, and it is far more closely settled than NSW side of the river.

Travelled via Lake Boga, and ended up at Lake Charm. This area is amazing for it’s lakes. Unfortunately the country is criss-crossed with channels (once creeks) feeding the water to farms – lots of Dairys.