Mount Strickland and Mount Ritchie logging track - Marysville area

ajohnmore <ajmore@...>

I found this snippet in the current edition of Bushwalking Victoria News and thought it might be of interest in regard to the loggging history of the Marysville area:
Lowering Gear track Reopened after 2009 Fires
One of the welcome (very few!) outcomes from the 2009
fires is that some of our old walking tracks are now
accessible to walkers for the first time in many years. One
of these tracks is the Lowering Gear Track located south
of Marysville, off the Acheron Way about 4km past the
Granton Rd turnoff
This track was used to lower timber taken from the Mt
Strickland and Mt Richie areas, and there is evidence still
to be seen of the old winch apparatus and special
channels cut into the hillside to facilitate the gradual
lowering of what were clearly huge timbers.
Kim guided his grateful acolytes straight up, a climb of
around 600m in conditions that proved to be colder and
wetter the higher we climbed. At the end of this little
adventure of over 18km, there was the usual pedometer vs
GPS debate about how much the walk exceeded this
Edited from Footnotes, Vol 30 No 9, Oct 2010
Maroondah Bushwalking Club

the reference to Mt Richie is a typo.


Peter Evans

I don't think this track has ever been closed to walkers except after the
fires. It was certainly open prior to the fires - at least it was in October
2003 when I was field-checking the feeder tramlines at the head of the
incline (and another one which junctioned some distance below the top of the

The tramway incline which forms the route of "Lowering Gear Track" was in
use by Feiglin & Sons from late 1934 until about 1944, when supplies of
timber on top of the range had been exhausted. The mill it fed on the
Acheron Way was burnt down in 1955 and the machinery shifted to Narbethong,
where it continued to operate under a number of owners until burnt down in
the Black Saturday fires of 2009.

The incline was technically interesting, in that it had a single line of
steel rails laid to a gauge of 3-ft for 440 metres, had an average grade of
1 in 4.5, and was operated by a twin-engined internal combustion winch.
There was a small mill and several huts at the top of the incline, and food
for the workers and fuel for the crawler tractors had to be hauled up the
hill. A gearbox and engine compression were the primary method of braking on
the downhill run, with a manual brake for fine speed control where required.
Most of the other inclines in the Marysville area were of the three-railed
"balanced" type which required three rails with a passing loop and the
weight of the lowered logs to haul up the empty trucks with any supplies

Judah Feiglin and his sons were masters of "bodging" the equipment needed to
keep their enterprise running smoothly, including this lowering gear system.
They would have excelled at "Scrapheap Challenge"!



Peter Evans

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