I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane. I love bushwalking, kayaking, wildlife, history and travel.
Published July 11th 2019
An interesting bushwalk
I've walked around Enoggera Reservoir and kayaked on the dam there many times, but until recently I'd never been to Gold Creek Reservoir. I previously wrote about bushwalking around Enoggera Reservoir and the history of that dam here.
I recently had the opportunity to walk from Enoggera Dam to Gold Creek dam. It took a bit of organising, including a car shuffle. A group of bushwalkers met at the Gap Park and Ride early on a Sunday morning in June. Five drivers took their cars to the Gold Creek Reservoir car park at Brookfield. They left four cars there, and one driver brought the other four drivers back to the start of our walk at Enoggera Reservoir.
Soon after we started walking, we had to give way to a large number of trail runners. It was the Fifth Running of the Walkabout Creek Trails Race by the Trail Running Association of Queensland (TRAQ). I didn't envy the runners as they passed us, running up a steep hill close to the Enoggera Dam wall.
After walking a few kilometres around Enoggera Dam, we turned off the main track and headed off on the E Break dirt road. We walked along this road until we got to the junction with South Boundary Road. We then followed South Boundary Road to Gold Creek Road. South Boundary Road is the Southern Boundary of Brisbane Forest Park. It is a combined walk/horse/run and bike path.
Just before we turned off onto the Gold Creek Road track, we saw a log with a sign "Keith's log" on it. I haven't been able to find out who Keith was, so if any readers know please let me know. He might have been a road worker or timberman. Someone has put a shiny new sign next to an older one. I would love to know the story about why that particular log is "Keith's log".
The last short bit of our walk was off track along a creek bank. The stone steps of the Gold Creek dam loomed out of the rainforest, looking like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. The dam spillway is a unique design, which has 12 steps. It was the world's first concrete stepped spillway.
The trail around the dam is approximately 4.5km long. There were a few hilly sections, but nothing really hard. The bushland around Gold Creek Dam is part of Brisbane Forest Park and contains plants and wildlife of regional biodiversity significance. It contains platypus and native fish species in the reservoir.
John Henderson for the Brisbane Board of Waterworks designed the Gold Creek Dam. It was built in 1886 to increase water supply for Brisbane. It was the second dam to be built. The Enoggera Dam was built first in 1866.
In 1928, a tunnel was constructed from Gold Creek to Enoggera Creek and the two reservoirs were operated as a single connected storage. Gold Creek Dam continued to supply water to Enoggera Dam until the pipeline was decommissioned in 1991.
We could hear Bell Minor calls throughout the beautiful green forest on our walk. I used to love hearing these birds, but I found out they are causing damage to forest trees. Linda told me all about Bell Minor Associated Dieback (BMAD). Bell miner associated dieback is spreading through forests on public and private lands from South-East Queensland to Victoria. These forests are regionally and nationally important for plant and animal conservation, tourism, water catchment management, and the production of honey and timber.
Dieback is a condition in which trees progressively die, from the top downward. It spreads through the leaves and branches and often the whole plant will eventually die. The dieback is strongly associated with sap-feeding insects called psyllids and psyllids are strongly associated with the native bell miner or bellbird.
Bell miners are a natural part of eucalypt forests, and they normally have a minor (and positive) impact on forests. However, bell miner populations have increased in size, and the birds have become more widely distributed and have been implicated in the spread of dieback.
A highlight for me was seeing a Stony Creek Frog (Litoria wilcoxii) at the end of the walk as we were walking to the car park. It was sitting beside the creek and I managed to get a photo before it hopped away. It was the first time I had seen one of these beautiful frogs. These ground-dwelling tree frogs found in Eastern Australia can be varied colours from grey to brown. They have a thin, black line running from their snout to their eye, which widens from the eye, and continues uninterrupted until the base of the arm. The frog's groin was yellow with black blotches and the backs of the thighs have a black and yellow pattern.
We went for coffee and snacks at the Brookfield cafe. After we got back to the Gap Park and Ride I discovered I had left my walking poles back at the dam. I drove all the way back and amazingly, even though there were lots of people around the dam, my poles were still standing up by the tree where I had left them.
It was a lovely walk and I really enjoyed it. It was filled with an interesting history and lots of wildlife and birds. We walked a total of about 13 kilometres. There was a lot of variety, including forests, rainforest, creeks, dams and reservoirs. It was very pleasant walking along the wide bush forestry roads chatting to each other and listening to the birds.