Location - Townsville, North Queensland, Australia
The Hervey Range area, usually said as "Hervey's Range", has much history to offer, and it doesn't take you too far off the beaten track. Barringha is the local Aboriginal name for the Hervey Range, which is also their name for the Western Silver Wattle. The mountain range and the locality were both named after Matthew Hervey of Dotswood Station in 1861 by Phillip Somers who was co-owner of Dotswood Station and also a member of Cunninghams Expedition.
The Aboriginal paintings at Turtle Rock and the bottom of the range, the graveyard and archaeological materials beside the old highway up the range, and the old drain pipes and train tunnels along the old Greenvale Railway Line all represent interesting places in history. There are also some fantastic rock climbing areas out this way, including Frederick Peak and Harvey's Marbles.
Here's an interactive map of the area:
This lookout is located at the top of the range, just off the road. The gravel pull off area provides magnificent views of the landscape back towards Townsville and out to the ocean. Travel up Hervey Range Road from Willow, past the suburbs of Rangewood and Rupertswood to find the lookout at the top of the range.
Hervey Range Heritage Tea Rooms
Herveys Range Heritage Tea Rooms is a part of the early European history. The heritage-listed Tea Rooms was previously known as "The Eureka Hotel" and was built at the summit of Thornton's Gap in 1865. While in the area
Waterfalls in the area (Bridal Falls)
There are many waterfalls in this area that only show themselves after heavy rainfall, and many people do not know they exists. The best, and most known waterfalls in the area is Bridal Falls.
Hervey Range was an important indigenous route with several rock art sites in this area. Turtle Rock is probably the most well-known site and located atop Hervey Range on Table Top Station.
The Greenvale railway line started in the 1970s with the main purpose of transporting nickel from the Greenvale mine to a smelter at Yabulu near Townsville, which was called the 'Palmer Nickel and Cobalt Refinery'. Eventually the mine ran out of ore, and the Greenvale Line was closed. Interestingly, some of the longest trains in Australia were pulled along the Greenvale Line. This area has become increasingly popular with social media and photos of Palm Tree Lookout.
The old Hervey Range Road, also known as Thorntons Gap Stock Route and now known as Page Road, is one of the few surviving examples in the region of a roadway dating from early European settlement. This was the initial route from the port of Townsville to the hinterland and was used by the miners in Paluma Range in the late 1800s. The road is thought to have been constructed in 1865. Remains of historical accommodation at the bottom of Hervey Range was the Range Hotel (a.k.a. the Range Inn); at the top was the Eureka Hotel. The Range Hotel has the oldest headstone in the entire Townsville region. A dense concentration of archaeological material is located south of the former Hervey Range Road.
The Kitchen & L's Labyrinth
Large black and grey granite boulders scattered across the gully make home to semi-evergreen vine thickets and Aboriginal arts, rock shelters, as well as boulder caves, and some rock climbing. One particular cave is 40m in length with several openings and squeezes - L's Labyrinth (-19.361147, 146.484414).
Patterson's Gorge is part of the Black River catchment. The upper reaches of Black River are filled with boulder-lined creeks with steep valley sides. The headwaters then trickle down the range passing under the Greenvale Line bridge and reaching the bottom of Hervey Range where the river turns into a sandy bottom. Gulbaru Gecko (Phyllurus gulbaru) are endemic to this gorge.
Some know Keelbottom Creek from their four-wheel driving along Forestry Road, others may have heard of the bush camping and dirt biking at Hervey Range, however there's much more to this area than just that. Keelbottom Creek stretches across the landscape and has many large tributaries that flow into the creek. Points of interest are Bog Hollow with it's unusual top of the range reasonable water availability, Junction Waterhole (also known as Junction Lagoon) which is where Keelbottom East and Keelbottom West meet and makes for a popular campsite with a taste of inland Melaleuca lined waterways with adjacent plains that expand outwards.
Mount Luke Mine
The Mount Luke Mine rises approximately 189 metres above sea level. It is an abandoned lead, silver, tungsten, and zinc mine just off Black River located on private property only.
Situated atop of the range, Harvey's Marbles is littered with a myriad of granite boulders amongst scrubby eucalypt bushland ranging in sizes, with some as big as houses. The altitude helps keep temperatures and humidity pleasant, in winter at least. You can easily lose countless hours exploring this vast area, and that's not counting all the potential bouldering time. The pleasant dry forest area is scattered with a wide variety of flora and fauna and provides a tranquil setting for climbing.
Fanning River Waterfalls
The area is now Defence land and no longer accessible to the public. Norma Falls is located in the Fanning River West Branch, the other waterfall is located in Fanning River East Branch. There has been a study done on Aboriginal rock art nearby.
Native and introduced vegetation dominates the area, with Moreton Bay ash (Corymbia tesselaris), poplar gum (Eucalyptus alba), blue gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis), and narrow leaved ironbark (Eucalyptus crebra) being the most common species. There are thick grasses in the woodland understory, comprising black spear (Heteropogon spp.) and kangaroo (Themeda spp.) grasses. Cocky apple (Planchonia careya) and native gardenia (Kailarsenia ochreata) are common woodland species in the area. Introduced species include Lantana spp., mango trees (Mangifera spp.), and Agave spp.
Note: permission/permits may be required to access parts of this area including, but not limited to the Greenvale Railway Line, The Old Highway, The Range Hotel, Mount Luke Mine, and Tabletop Station.
We would like these historic sites to be remembered, and we would like the relics and artefacts to stay at the site and not fall victim to collectors and trophy hunters. There are few places remaining like this in Australia, let alone the world, to explore that have not been pillaged. There is no reason to remove objects from any of these sites. Please be responsible, respect the history, and respect the importance of this site for future generations. Take photos and leave only footprints.Cover photo by Neil Olsen