Garden of St Erth

Just left to the entrance of Garden of St Erth, a Digger’s Club garden and cafe/restaurant, is a fantastic looped bushwalk. It will take you a couple of hours and will be rewarded by something delicious at the cafe maybe. I walked it recently and learnt a New Thing. Part of the paths are actually old water races, created to lead water to wherever it was needed in the goldmining boom. They were back in the day extended to cross gullies with timber extensions, but today only the carved paths remain.

A Frenchwoman, Madame Pauline Bonfond, was chiefly responsible for these. A marvellous thought, in the mining days when women were scarce up here. A woman, making a living from water races! I would like to know more about her. All I can find out is that she was known to be quick with hitting miners with her shovel so that no one got the better of her. Something must have done though, as she only lived to 47. She is buried in nearby Blackwood.  Around Blackwood are over 80 miles of these races. If I didn’t know better, I would just think of them as nicely levelled paths. Here is one, see what I mean?
st erth3You can tell when you are walking on a water race or just a path. A path moves up and down a bit, but a water race would lose water if it did. Hence, it just gently inclines. Nice bit of engineering, Madame Bonfond!
st erthThe walk around St Erth is great because it changes so much. Part of it winds around permanent wet areas which means a rare sighting for this area of giant tree ferns.
st erth2There is also plenty of Victoria’s State flower, Pink Heath.
st erth5If Pink Heath is not suffuciently exciting to lure you out on a bushwalk, there is plenty of thrilling exploration possible in mining remains. You see this kind of thing frequently here. There is also a good creek following the walk, in my amateur opinion very likely still able to yield gold.
lerderdergPack your walking boots and get out there!