Yesterday, we returned to three of my favourite photo locations near Melbourne to see how far autumn fungi had progressed and to see if there were any good specimens to photograph.
Near the little town of Toolangi (not far from Healesville) is the Wirrawilla rainforest boardwalk which follows the side of Sylvia Creek. Some of the boardwalk is currently closed for renewal but we still had access to this delightful Myrtle Beech rainforest around the other side of the circular track. There were plenty of fungi specimens and some good forest landscapes. I had my doubts about the presence of fungi as this yer has been so dry. We have only had about 55 mm of rain this year, here in Melbourne.
Near Healesville is Donnelly’s Weir – It diverts water from Donnelly Creek, a tributary of the Watts River just downstream of the Maroondah Dam, into the Maroondah Aqueduct. It is a part of the system that supplies water to the city of Melbourne and is managed by Melbourne Water. It is often visited by students studying Melbourne’s water supply because of its easy access and information signs. It was heavily impacted by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires and was closed for many months afterwards. The immediate areas were burnt out and all of the facilities had to be replaced after the fires. It was too early and dry for any fungi there, but the weir looked nice with some good reflections on a still day.
Further along the highway towards Narbethong is a picnic area called Fernshaw. It’s the site of an old town that was settled in the 1860s. It originally provided good country for orchards and berry growing. The location was at the foot of Blacks Spur, with Mounts Juliet and Mondah rising on either side, providing spectacular scenery. There were nearby fern gullies giving rise to the name – ‘shaw’ is old English for thicket or wood. By 1875 Fernshaw had a post office (1865), two hotels, a school (1871) and stores. It was famed for its beauty, attracting many tourists. In 1886 the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works began work on the Watts River water catchment scheme – later to become Maroondah – and the Board obtained approval for the catchment country to be reserved and kept free of settlement. This required the removal of the Fernshaw township, which was completed by about 1890.