HOBBS, QUOIN & BROWN MTS
by
Keith Lancaster
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Note: The reports have been scanned in as written. I have included the height and distance indications, e.g.:
(1000'- 12m.- 4.45p.m.)
which read as follows: height in feet - miles for the day - time.
On Monday, 18th. Nov. 1991 I left Launceston via the Midland Highway, turned off on the Stonor Road to Baden, then via the Tunnack Road to the New Country Marsh Road. Along this gravel road I missed the Woodsdale turnoff as it was unmarked and thus the easier branch road to Mt. Hobbs. The New Country Marsh Road had been ex-tended into a forestry road since the map sheet was printed and event-ually ran into the Buckland Road far beyond where I had planned to go. Here a passing motorist advised me that I was just a short distance from Woodsdale where a branch road might help me to reach Mt. Hobbs.

On the corner of this branch, just through Woodsdale, I con-tacted the resident of the house there. He was the owner of the cleared property leading up to the northern base of the mountain and gave me permission to drive up the mile of road leading thereto. It would then be a trackless walk from there. I gratefully took advan-tage of his offer and reached the top of the clearing at 11.40 a.m. and had lunch.

The afternoon was pleasant with a few clouds on the move. At 12.22 p.m. I set off on foot in a southerly direction. For one hundred yards there were only tussocks but then light scrub took over. There were often clear breaks in the vegetation as I ascended and soon dolerite outcrops and large fallen timber of years long past hampered progress. I was on a substantial north-south ridge which led ever southward from one dolerite outcrop to another, and the final goal was reluctant to appear. Eventually the Mt. Hobbs lookout tower suddenly appeared and I was on the 823m. (2695') summit at 1.30 p.m..

The natural summit was just a short distance south of the high tower which gives an excellent view of the adjacent area. The good road that the Forestry Commission had built from the western side scornfully mocked my endeavour, but there was no sensible altern-ative but to return by my outward route.

Leaving at 1.45 p.m., I returned to my van at 2.40 p.m. and began the road journey towards Brown Mt. my next objective. Driving down the Buckland Road, I turned off on the Cutting Grass Road, then the Levendale Back Road to come down the Woodsdale Road to Runnymede. Here I failed to locate the quarry from which I was told that a for-estry road ran in towards Brown Mt.. So I continued south down the Tasman Highway to the Fingerpost Road which took me across to the Colebrook Road from which I reached the Brown Mountain Road beyond Campania. This I followed to Ferniehurst from where I hoped to gain directions but no one was at home.

I briefly explored the road into the farm paddocks but found no evidence of a good route. Driving a little farther along the Brown Mt. Road I encountered two vehicles just coming out onto the road and again sought information. It appears there is a patchwork of roads along the mountainside belonging to the Forestry Commission but permission would be needed to use them. However, if I was pre-pared to wait until the morrow, they could assist me in making a start to which I happily agreed. So I drove back to Ferniehurst where I was eventually able to receive permission to park overnight on the property.

There was a light sprinkle overnight and the new morning was heavily overcast. I waited around hoping that my friends of yesterday would arrive to assist in locating a nearby ascent track, but the weather had probably daunted them. I left as the rain began and it increased as I drove towards Colebrook to such an extent that I abandoned hope and drove home.

It was on the following Saturday, 23rd. Nov. that suitable weather induced me to try Brown and Quoin Mts. again. Leaving Launceston at 8 a. m., I drove down to Colebrook where I turned onto the Yarlington Road. This is a narrow gravel road and rather windy, although in good condition. Continuing beyond Yarlington, the road climbs steeply and I halted near the top of the ascent to seek direct-ions at a rather primitive domicile. The sole resident was not brim-ful with information, but stated the eminence just ahead was Quoin Mountain.

This rather surprised me as it lacked height, but I chose a parking spot 200 metres farther on and, hoping that a higher top may be concealed beyond, I set off on the climb at 10.15 a.m.. The ascent was reasonably steep through a mixture of bracken and 10' high vegetation below the eucalypts, their fallen remnants providing quite a proportion of the obstacles. The summit was quite a rocky crest from which I obtained a broad outlook of the surroundings. The higher wooded hill over to the south-west was obviously Quoin Mt., so I was able to conclude beyond doubt that I occupied the top of Little Quoin (800m. - 2625' - 10.25 a.m.). The Yarlington area and the artificial "lakes" offered most interest in the landscape.

Leaving at 10.35 a.m., I drove a little farther along and halted to seek directions at a newly erected forestry hut (?) but it was unoccupied. It lay in a broad opening which had been cleared by fire a few years previous, and some light re-growth was taking over. An ascent of Quoin Mt. from this clearing looked a feasible route, but first I decided to explore the road which bifurcated on the left to see if it offered better. However, it didn't, so I returned to a point from which I planned to pick up the edge of the "clearing" and make the climb from there.

It was 11.15 a.m. before I set off on foot through light underscrub and fallen trees. Cutting grass and head high tea trees grew amongst the fallen timber on the southern edge of the "clearing", but I was able to reach easier going along an old truck roadway. This followed up the edge of the timber and finally turned away to the left where I vacated it and chose a direct route up the mountain. There was rock, scrub and fallen logs all the way but ample clear leads to make the course satisfactory. The day was warm and perspiration responded generously. The rugged summit eventually emerged with four rock outcrops, the westernmost gaining a close decision (900m. - 2950' - 12.10 p.m.).

With eucalypts over 100 ft. occupying the whole ridge, a distant view was impossible. After contributing to the cairn construction, I began my retreat to the E.N.E. at 12.22 p.m.. I made good headway down to the old truck track and was able to follow it out to the road just 200 metres above where my van was parked. Back there at 1.8 p.m., it was time for lunch and a respite before making the drive towards Brown Mt..

It was 3.30 p.m. when I arrived at Ferniehurst on the Brown Mountain Road and met the owner John Marshall. He talked me into tackling Brown Mt. from his private road which leads well up into the hills but did not link with any timber road leading towards the peak. He gave me directions on how to cross his paddocks and enter the road, and I set off on that trail.

The course took me behind his house to the tiny creek below and then up to his cleared ground and across his top paddock to a gate from which the mountain road starts. A short distance along this steep rocky road the bullbar of the van struck a couple of loose rocks rather heavily. I halted progress, realising I would have to do something to overcome the problem or turn back. Consequently I spent the next 1 hours walking up the roadway clearing the impeding rocks off the read for a considerable distance. Back to the van I drove cautiously up the steep, winding ascent without incident. Even beyond where I had cleared I had no difficulty in continuing, until I reached the crest of a high ridge where a cluster of timber logs were stacked at a good turning point.

I was five kilos. up from Ferniehurst and it was 6.15 p.m. and an excellent place to park and stay overnight. Firstly, I reconnoitred ahead to find the road descended down to a creek crossing from which it climbed around an adjoining ridge. A few clouds were gathering, but the day was still warm and pleasant as I retired.

I was astir early on Sunday morning and set off from the van at 6.53 a.m. carrying a light lunch, camera, compass and notebook. The road curved on its descent to the small creek crossing (7.1 a.m.) and then turned back eastward to ascend steadily to a loading ramp (7.10 a.m.) and then curves back to the N.E. and ends at a final loading ramp (7.17 a.m.- 1 mile).

Visibility of Brown Mt. hadn't occurred and the move to lo-cate its whereabouts was up to me. An exploratory track pushed ahead from the end of the road and offered some assistance. I followed it to where it joined a nearby ridge on the south and fol-lowed its crest up to cross a wire fence (7.30 a.m.) and continue weakly as a foot track S.S.E. to reach the ridge top and continue southward alongside the wire fence. I gave it away at 7.47 a.m. and returned, looking for higher ground northwards. The only higher ground was W.N.W. from here, so I doubled back to the road terminus.

Here I took to the bush on a N.W. course, passing a couple of recent log chutes. At 8.10 a.m. I reached a low open crest from where timber had been taken recently. Higher ground was visible at N.W. by N. and N.N.E. from here, so I headed for the former at 8.15 a.m.. I reached an old timber road at 8.28 a.m. and I followed it to the left a short distance. Re-entering the bush at a red marking, I continued N.N.W. and crossed an old road formation soon afterwards. The further ascent was hindered by a proliferation of fallen logs and the hill summit was gained at 8.57 a.m. to find a much higher em-inence well away to N.N.W. with a gully between.

Resuming at 9 a.m., I reached a timber road in the gully at 9.5 a.m. and followed it to my left where it continued to ascend around the west of the hillside and reached its crest at 9.20 a.m.. Here I abandoned it to climb the eminence on my right at E.N.E.. Only fallen timber and loose rocks remained to hamper my ascent to the trig. point on Brown Mt. (792m. - 2402' - 9.37 a.m.). A broad view of hills, clear plains and settlements was available and photographic records were taken as well as a contribution to the record jar.

At 9.53 a.m. I vacated the summit and returned to the tim-ber road at 10.2 a.m., following it back southwards, passing my entry point at 10.10 a.m. and continuing hopefully onward. At 10.20 a.m. I left it as it swung S.E. and I feared it may not unite with the other timber road I had crossed. I entered the bush on a S.S.W. course and reached a small netting wire compound at 10.27 a.m. and the old logging road at 10.30 a.m..

I checked it out by following it downhill to E. & E.S.E. to find it unite at 10.35 a.m. with the better road I had just vacated. I returned to my entry point on the branch road at 10.40 a.m.. Again entering the bush on a S.S.E. course at 10.48 a.m., I deviated to the right to inspect an abandoned tractor that appeared to have come down from a steep track above it (10.52 a.m.) which would not be far below the old branch I had just left.

I continued on the tractor pad downhill and reached the road terminus at 10.55 a.m. alongside the point from which the initial ex-ploration track had begun. Off at 11 a.m. I trod vanwards, passing the creek on the bend at 11.10 a.m. to make contact once again with my van at 11.20 a.m..

After devouring the light snack and coffee, I drove off at 11.50 a.m. to cover the 5 km. out to Ferniehurst at a careful and leisurely pace. A chat with the residents ensued, but there was no call for hurry as I had ample time in which to reach home before the evening meal.
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