The land in the Quarry Road area was originally owned by the Pogson family, orchardists, woodcutters and graziers. Quarry Road, Dural, is named after a white metal quarry situated just after the Rural Fire Services station.
White metal, a metamorphosed sandstone, was used as road surfacing as it is harder than blue metal.
The Quarry Road fire trail at the start of the walk was originally a public road or pony track from Dural to Hornsby, used by
Dural farmers. Although evidence suggests that drays and other wheeled vehicles may have taken this route, after the opening of the bridges in Galston Gorge and the expansion of the goods yard at Pennant Hills Railway Station the
track became less popular. It is known locally as Tunks Ridge Track for the reason that it follows the ridge separating Tunks Creek on the left and Berowra Creek on the right.
Locked gate to Pogson Trig
Quarry Road, Dural, is off the Old Northern Road just beyond the junction of New Line Road. The walk begins at a locked gate at the end of Quarry Road, and proceeds northwards following Tunks Ridge for about 2.5 km.
2000, the left-hand or north-western side of the fire trail had not been burnt since about 1970; the south-eastern or right-hand side was burnt in May 1994.
Along the first section the vegetation is typical sandstone heath
and scrub woodland. It contains examples of both coastal and mountain plant species. There are two scribbly gums here, the Narrow-leaved Scribbly Gum Eucalyptus racemosa and the Broad-leaved Scribbly Gum Eucalyptus haemastoma.
Since the introduction of the European honey bee there has been some hybridisation of the two. Nearly all the ridges in this area display this intersection of coastal and mountain vegetation.
The scribbly gum on the
right hand side of the gate is covered with trails of the larvae of the scribbly gum moth and of termites. As with many other scribbly gums that you will encounter, this specimen was severely damaged long ago, leaving exposed its
On the left hand side of the fire trail are examples of Silver Banksia Banksia marginata, which has clear yellow flower spikes in autumn-winter. Halfway up the slope, which begins at this point, a Hairpin
Banksia Banksia spinulosa can be seen on the left, together with Old Man Banksia Banksia serrata, familiar from May Gibbs’s stories of Australian bush flowers and animals.
Heath-leaved Banksia Banksia
ericifolia is also present, its red-gold flower spikes standing out in autumn-winter against white-backed, deep green leaves. Banksia oblongifolia, a shrub about 1 m high with velvety brown new growth, completes the five species
of Banksia that occur in this section. This area is one of the best places in the Park to see Banksia.
Further along, the Red Spider Flower Grevillea speciosa and Sweet Wattle Acacia suaveolens grow on either side of the
Many of the plants are harsh: touch the leaves and you will find that some may look soft but feel tough and prickly.
At a small clearing some 500 m after the locked gate, at the point where a track enters from the east, there is a trig station marker. The steel plate on top indicates north. Do not take the track leading off to the right at
this stage. Stay on the fire trail, pausing to see the trunk of another scribbly gum set at odd angles.
In the area around the trig marker, Broad-leaved Scribbly Gum Eucalyptus haemastoma, as well as Old Man Banksia Banksia
serrata and Heath-leaved Banksia Banksia ericifolia, Dwarf Apple Angophora hispida and Conesticks Petrophile pulchella, predominate.
The trees are widely spaced with a medium cover of shrubs underneath. Soon the fire trail
passes through bushland where the shrubs become very dense. This may be due to an increase in water availability at this point.
All Australian plants are grey-green - or are they? Notice how many bright green plants there are,
and that it is mainly the leaves of the eucalypts, the gum trees, that are grey-green. This colouring is often due to a coating of white wax that can be scraped off to reveal a bright green leaf underneath.
The small tree
with fine branchlets and woody, brown, seedbearing
cones is Black Sheoak Allocasuarina littoralis. It has male and female plants, only the female having cones. When the male plants produce pollen, the plant looks brown all
over as if it were dying, but this is just the pollen-producing structures.
The fire trail follows the ridge for some distance, and is fairly flat.
Boundary of Hornsby Rifle Range Safety Zone
When the fire trail reaches the Rifle Range Safety Zone a warning sign identifies the boundary. Turn back now.
The Fire Trail does continue for authorised users only along Tunks Ridge to Galston
Gorge. See Mangement Challenges for further information about the dangers of crossing the Safety Zone.
When you arrive back at Pogson Trig, take the track on the left.
Pogson Trig to Sandstone swamp
The final several hundred metres from Pogson Trig are marked not only by Banksia oblongifolia but also by small red rosettes close to the ground. These are carnivorous plants that eat insects trapped on the reddish leaves, and
which are digested there by secretions from the leaves. Sundew Drosera spatulata is the name of the most common of them. If you look closely, you will see the remains of its last meal. As well, at all times of the year you can
see the Lesser Flannel Flower Actinotus minor, similar to the well-known Flannel Flower but only about 15 mm in diameter.
The sandstone swamp encountered on the left in about 350 metres is made up
of sedges, shrubs, grass trees and small plants. The terrain may be soggy after rains, or dry at other times. At its bottom edge you can walk into it from the right-hand side of the track, using side tracks. Once you enter the
swamp you can look right across it. Tracks lead to a flat exposed rock expanse.
The section of about 400 m of the Pogson Trig Track between the Trig and the swamp is reputed to have been constructed in the early 1960s or
1970s, to reach a light-aircraft crash site. The fragility of the swamp is apparent with parallel wheel marks originally made by the heavy loader when removing the light aircraft still visible decades later. The Bush Fire Brigade
afterwards extended this access as a walking track to link up with the Benowie Track at Fishponds, to assist in fire control.
The swamp is the only substantive sedgeland in the Park. It has shrunk by at least half the size
shown on a map made in 1970 by Macquarie University botanist Dr Frank Burrows, and local people suggest it was once larger still.
Old pictures show that the sedges are being replaced by shrubs such as Hakea and Banksia. One
reason for this may be a lowering of the water table because of increased drainage along the fire trail. Another may be changes to the fire regime: research on other sedgeland indicates that a regular burning regime is needed to
stop proliferation of shrubs.
Aboriginal people burnt these swamps almost annually, which cleared them of shrubs; and shrubs lower the water table. Burning also reduced rubbish, so helping to maintain clean water and
eliminate mosquitoes, other biting insects, and leeches. There is evidence that Aboriginal people used this swamp as part of a trading route from Prospect and beyond to Palm Beach. Local people speak of their grandparents seeing
Aboriginal people passing along this route; this must have been around the middle of the nineteenth century.
Return to Quarry Road gate
Retrace your path to Pogson Trig and then turn left along Tunks Ridge Fire Trail to your original starting point at the Quarry Road gate.
Walkers will note from the
map that the fire trail extends beyond the sandstone swamp towards Berowra Creek and Fishponds. However, there is no formally constructed track down from the end of the fire trail to Fishponds because the area is a habitat for
sensitive and threatened plants. The Park managers also do not encourage regular use of this undefined section because the terrain is steep and has an unstable surface.
Text may have been abbreviated. See “Guide to B
erowra Valley Regional Park” for complete text
Broad-leaved Scribbly Gum Eucalyptus haemstoma
A fine pair of ‘bad banksia men” the fruit of Banksia serrata showing the gaping “mouths” of expelled seeds. Fire is the
normal trigger. Banksia cones also behave much like incendiary bombs during wildfires. Violent updrafts lift the fiercely burning cones into the strong winds preceding the fire front, setting more spot fires.
The Pogson Trig station marker
One of the warning signs at the boundary of the Rifle Range Safety Zone
The carnivorous Sundew Drosera spatulata - a beautiful little insect eater
Grinding grooves, evidence of use by indigenous people
Juvenile leaves of Eucalyptus camfieldii a threatened species
Hakea propinqua has large warty fruit and needle-like leaves.