Inspired by Australia's natural, developing and fun environments.
Get some inspiration.
Published July 22nd 2017
The Hidden Parks of the Adelaide Hills
As an avid walker and a moderate explorer, I am always on the lookout for something new, and every so often one does stumble across something, this time almost literally in my own backyard. In the back blocks of the Adelaide Hills, midway between Carey Gully and Balhannah, I found some new walking trails, all part of the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park.
Unlike many other parks around Adelaide which are named after regions or persons who have made significant long term contributions to society, the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park was created in 1990 to honour a gentleman whose life was taken early. A gentleman who had a positive story to tell about a stock market experience.
Kenneth Stirling was born in 1935 in Adelaide, and studied at Quorn Public School and then Scotch College. Kenneth then went on to study accounting at the University of Adelaide before securing employment with Broken Hill Associated Shelters, Pak Poy & Associates and finally becoming a part owner in a small copper company called Samin Ltd in 1969. Samin didn't do too well on the copper front, but it held a considerable shareholding in another company called Poseidon Limited. Now as many of us know, Poseidon's journey on the stockmarket was legendary, and Samin / Stirling were in at the beginning. In early 1970 as Poseidon's shares were skyrocketing, Stirling elected to cash in.
Not happy with the riches from a mining boom that he hadn't earned, Stirling became a generous benefactor, donating monies and time to the Nature Conservation Society of SA, the Libraries Board, the University of Adelaide to open 5UV and the Australian Conservation Foundation much of which was used to establish and extend the national parks at Montacute and Mount Scott in the Adelaide. Unfortunately, at the young age of 37, Stirling passed away, and in 1990 the State Government acquired lands in the Adelaide Hills to create a park in his name.
The Conservation Park consists of four separate parks and has a primary goal of conservation with plenty of overgrown shrubbery and trees, a few kangaroos, numerous birds, very little signage and even less people. In fact being 500m away from Greenhill Road on either side means that not many people, even many Hills locals, know about the Parks.
The largest of the parks is the Filsell Hill park on the northern side of Greenhill Road. Access to the Park is via one of several fire gates throughout the boundary, and access through the Park is via a series of fire tracks, and a number of narrow walking trails, some which see little foot traffic and hence are overgrown in part. The bide hides are common features in many of the trees, and while I don't observe many, the constant chatter, tweets and tones suggest many of them are around and are perhaps watching me more than I am of them.
The main fire track at Filsell Hill rises up out of the deeply forested valley to a steep rocky ridge, offering views of the Onkaparinga Valley and some hidden vineyards. Towards the top of Filsell Hill, the track passes an old dam before stumbling across a small disused quarry where a monument marks the loss of another young life, this time in a workplace accident.
The return from Filsell Hill via the eastern boundary is largely on narrow overgrown paths with the occasional fire track, and heads down deeper into the valley with a dry creek crossing. Another small sign indicates that Annie Knill passed away aged 90, but with scant other details as to her life. Following the fence line ensures that I end up where my car is parked at the end of an enjoyable 5km walk.
The Kenneth Stirling Conservation Parks are open all year round (excepting fire ban days), and are a must for nature and bird lovers. Access is predominantly along fire tracks which are relatively easy to walk upon, while the narrower paths can become challenging for infrequent and irregular hikers. Maps to the Filsell Hill and Wottons Scrub part of the Conservation Park are available from the Walking SA website.
Hello Steve...my bushwalking days are over...had heard of the name Kenneth Stirling...these walks appear to be ideal...liked the scenic photos.Pak Poy is a name I am familiar with.Doug Pak Poy and I were students at the same college...his parents ran a corner grocery store on Magill Road as I recall.They came from Darwin,but originally from somewhere in Southern China.