Pristine Waterfall

Pristine Waterfall
Tanjil River West Branch Waterfall

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Where is Tanjil Bren?

Tanjil Bren is a very tiny village in Victoria, Australia. It is 165km north east of Melbourne in the Tanjil State Forest.

16km up the road is the Mt Baw Baw ski resort which is the closest ski resort to Melbourne. A small resort, it is ideal for beginners, families and cross country skiing.

After several years of traveling and working about Australia the opportunity arose to work and live in Tanjil Bren......a privilege indeed.  I like to think that my job and lifestyle rivals that of Ben Southall who was chosen as Tourism Queensland's Islands Caretaker, or what was called the 'Best Job in the World'.
The difference being he had the ocean and all its critters and I have the mountain wilderness and all its critters. 
His was in Queensland, sunny one day and perfect the next, and mine is in unpredictable Victoria, warm and sunny one day then cold and snowing the next. 
Apart from the environment and climate my lifestyle is just as beautiful, peaceful and relaxing.

Oh! and the pay of course...mine is miniscule, his was mammoth. A trivial difference really when it comes down to it considering that there are no shops, no pub, no fuel, no restaurant, no school and no medical services here to spend money at. 

As well as not having any of the above there is no mains power electricity either.  The one real concession we do have to signal that we have not been forgotten by the rest of the human race is that we have a solar powered public phone booth in the town square.

The other difference between the two lifestyles would definately be the see the permanent population here in Tanjil Bren is 8 on a good day!

We are a self sufficient assorted bunch of odd characters who do have the best drinking water, best mountain fresh air and best tree fern studded mountain ash forests at our doorsteps.  Our trusted friends of the forests are possums, rosellas, king parrots, rainbow lorikeets, kookaburras and a couple of foxes we get to hand feed on a daily basis.

Our surrounding forest is studded with little known walking tracks, crystal clear streams, waterfalls and cascades and many hidden forestry roads ideal for dirt biking, 4WD and mountain biking.  In winter if it snows on our doorstep we can toboggan down the winding driveways, otherwise it is a short 16km to ski at the Mt Baw Baw Resort.

Our drinking water comes directly from a flowing mountain spring.
Our rivers and creeks are filled with trout and platypus.

Tanjil Bren is steeped in history from a properous bygone era of quartz and gold mining.  It is mostly reknown for the logging of the huge mountain ash gums.  Today some controlled logging still goes on but not on the grand scale of the 1930's. That came to an end when the prosperous town and the sawmills were destroyed by the fire of 1939, along with several lives.

So what exactly is my job here.  I manage three holiday lodges which are mostly only busy during the winter ski season.  For some reason most people are unaware of Tanjil Bren's existence. That is not astonishing as it isn't shown on most maps.  So its hidden beauty is one of Victoria's best kept secrets.

When driving here via the town of Moe one could be forgiven for thinking that they had magically been transported back in time to the Jurassic age.  The first time I drove up here I wouldn't have been surprised to see a dinosaur happily meandering through the mountain ash forest with its dense undergrowth of huge tree ferns. fact I almost believed a dinosaur had to be
hiding under the ballet tutu made up of the fronds
of the graceful tree ferns.

Aside from managing the alpine holiday lodges I have finally started to write about my working holiday which zigzagged haphazardly around Australia.  I commenced my working holiday in 2002 at the ripe old age of 46 when my youngest child left home to live with friends in a unit near to the university she was attending.

What better place than Tanjil Bren to harness the inspiration to write, paint, photograph or bring to life a creative project. 

Apart from dinosaurs, the winter flora makes it possible to believe in fairies and elves too.  To be able to remember what it was like to have the imagination of a child is so liberating and refreshing. 
                                  When something seems too good to be true it usually is.....
there is a danger lurking here.......
threatening to take over the forest floor.............

the sprawling, spreading and thorny blackberry vine!!

It does have a sweet little flower, but it is tough and invasive.  It is encroaching onto the banks of our creeks and rivers.  At the moment it is in flower and soon the seeds will be borne on the autumn winds to spread even further throughout the forest choking even more of the understorey. 

So what can we do about this obnoxious weed?  The shire doesn't seem to be too interested or able to control it.  I don't know much about weed spraying, but it seems to me that you couldn't spray it along the waterways for obvious reasons.  Maybe there is a new safe spray available that I or the shire don't know about.  Regardless of how safe a spray may claim to be, can anyone take the risk of spraying Tanjil Bren's waterways as I am led to believe that these streams and creeks empty into Blue Rock Lake which is Melbourne's water supply?  

These waterways are also home to platypus, trout, yabbies and goodness knows what else.  Wild deer, kangaroos and birds also rely on this water to drink. 

The Friends of the Forest group, a meagre membership of maybe 10, held a 2009 Christmas Raffle to raise funds to beautify and clear the existing walking track to our beautiful waterfall as well as tracks along our creek banks. 

We would like to put a picnic table and seating in the clearing at the waterfall as well as bench seating along the walking track as it is an 11km return walk.  

However, the rotten overgrown blackberries will have to be attended to first, at least along the creek banks.  Fighting blackberries to throw a fishing line in or just to meander along the bank of the West Tanjil River is unpleasant to say the least.  I suppose it will be up to about 4 - 6 people to go along and cut out these rambling, thorny vines.  The fruit tastes very good though, a bit like mulberries.  
I am starting to ramble like the blackberries now so I will finish this post with a photo of a couple of the locals............Paul, Jenny and Scotty who sure do know how to stop traffic to strike up a yarn.