|There are a number of walking trails around Tarnagulla including:
Tarnagulla Town Heritage Trail
In 1852 a group of miners, headed for the Korong goldfield, stopped to camp near the creek opposite where the Tarnagulla golf course is now located and discovered gold.
The area quickly developed into the “Sandy Creek diggings” and attracted over 5000 miners. The goldfield proved to be fabulously rich and soon stretched for more than 2 miles along the main lead. A ‘canvas town’ quickly sprang up, and as a sign of the growing wealth, more substantial buildings were eventually erected, many of which are still standing today.
These buildings and other points of interest can be enjoyed on the Heritage Trail which comprises a series of loops plus an amble up and down Commercial Road. The walks range from 750m to 1.5km return distance and in combination may be up to 5km.
Originally known as Sandy Creek, the town was renamed Tarnagulla in 1860. Today the town supports only a few hundred people but the Heritage Trail offers the opportunity to explore the history and imagine the scenes and activity of much busier times. Enjoy the architecture of the surviving buildings as you wander through this fascinating and remarkably well preserved goldfields town.
Things to see - The five churches of different denominations indicate the central role that religious faith played in the community and also illustrates the diverse origins of the early settlers. The hotels, theatre, business houses, court house and old gaol speak of the community infrastructure necessary to support a rapidly growing population drawn by the lure of gold.
The loop walk to the east of Commercial Road encircles the old Poverty Mine. The Poverty Reef was named by Mr David Hatt after Poverty Bay in New Zealand where he was saved from drowning by a Maori woman whom he later married. This mine reached a depth of 1150 ft (350m) and was closed in 1908. The ironically named Poverty Reef was allegedly the richest pocket of reef gold ever recorded and once yielded 13.5 tonnes in 13 months from an area 3 metres wide and 120m deep.
The loop trail to the north of King St surrounds an old sluiced gully where alluvial gold was extracted using a variety of techniques. Vegetation is characteristic of disturbed ground in goldfield areas with a mixture of exotic garden plants and local species. The mounds also have some Lemon Scented Gum and Monterrey Pine, added as part of a
wood-lot planting. The trail offers a very pleasant ‘bush walk’ and a range of flowers will be in bloom at different times of the year.
This is a Grade 2 track; no bushwalking experience is required. All sections of the trail have hardened surfaces and there are some gentle hill sections.
Tarnagulla Cemetery Track
The Cemetery Track adjoins the Heritage Trail on Welsh Street between Commercial Road and Gladstone Street. It provides a pleasant 1.8 km linear route to the historic Tarnagulla Cemetery with a slightly longer return via the eastern side of a central loop.
The return distance is around 3.6 km not including your investigation of the cemetery. Most people can walk comfortably at 4-5km per hour. The old bridge across Sandy Creek on Lytton Street is not safe to cross so please stay on the trail.
The Tarnagulla cemetery contains many old graves, some dating back to the mid 1800’s with inscriptions hinting at stories of hardship and tragedy. Soldiers’ headstones can also be identified and often reveal tales of sacrifice and heroism. A casual stroll around the cemetery can provide you with a small insight into the lives of past residents of this fascinating little town.
Things to see - This track will take you through Grassy Woodland and Sandstone Ridge Shrubland vegetation communities which support a variety of plants and animals. Depending on the time of year wildflowers such as Everlastings, Cranberry Heath, Native Peas (often referred to ‘egg and bacon’ plants), Wattles, Bluebells and others may be in bloom.
The bushland is alive with a variety of bird species including Choughs, Treecreepers and Honeyeaters, as well as pretty Pardalotes who make their homes in the steep banks of
the Sandy Creek. Animals such as kangaroos, wallabies and reptiles may be present.
Tarnagulla’s history is closely tied to gold mining and evidence of the old mines is all around the town. This walk takes you in the vicinity of the old Tappit Hen Mine (named after a type of wine bottle); keep your eye out for any nuggets that may have been overlooked!
This is a Grade 2 track; no bushwalking experience is required. All sections of the trail are located on good quality bush tracks or road shoulders.
Tarnagulla Reservoir Track
The Reservoir Track joins the Heritage Trail on Poverty Street between Sandy Creek Lane and Gladstone Street. It is a loop track and provides a variety of short walks up to 3km. The tracks take in the bush around the historic Recreation Reserve.
A route taking in the Recreation Reserve and a circuit of the Reservoir would be
approximately 3.0 km. Most people can walk comfortably at 4-5km per hour.
Besides the occasional cricket match the Recreation Reserve is no longer used for regular sports events but is available for day visitors and campers to use the facilities. Where the oval is today was once the town swimming dam and many large public events were held in the Reserve.
The cannon, now located at the entry to Soldiers Park near the Victoria Theatre on Commercial Road, once stood in the Reserve. A celebration in May 1900 for the ‘Relief of Mafeking’ saw the cannon fired with interesting results. History records that the cannon shot backwards in a cloud of black smoke, knocking over an elderly lady before coming to rest itself in the bathing dam. A team of horses was required to retrieve the cannon from the dam.
The oval was created in 1915.
Things to see - Many interesting and beautiful wildflowers may be found in the nearby bushland including Wattles, Flax Lilies, Parrot Peas and Everlastings. Birds such as Honeyeaters, Kingfishers and Parrots may also be spotted. Kangaroos feed on the oval and other animals such as lizards, frogs and wallabies can be seen around the reservoir. You may be fortunate enough to spot an elusive phascogale in the surrounding forest.
This walk offers the opportunity to experience the beauty of box-ironbark forest and explore the history of Tarnagulla.
This is a Grade 2 and Grade 3 track; no bushwalking experience is required. The track to the Recreation reserve is formed quartz gravel and around the Reservoir the track is well used but unformed. Uneven terrain will be encountered. Overall the track
has a compacted surface with a gentle hill section.