Splendour Rock ANZAC Dawn Service – Apr 2019

As a group of 7 Venturers, 3 Scouts and 5 adults, we arrived at Dunphy’s car park at in the morning and began the hike to Splendour Rock not long after. The weather was clear and warm and continued to be throughout the hike. As we walked along Carlon’s creek towards its intersection with Breakfast creek, we encountered the stinging nettles and leaches that we had been warned about. After escaping this area, we came to Black Horse Ridge. Here we faced a tiring climb of 350 vertical meters up the ridge. Upon reaching the top, we continued along the ridge towards Mobb’s Swamp, where we had a well-deserved lunch. After lunch, we navigated through to Warrigal gap and continued along the ridge past Mt Merrimerrigal until reaching Dingo’s Gap. It was just to the left of Dingo Mountain and once more along the ridgeline that we found ourselves at Splendour rock at sundown, tired but satisfied.

We arrived at the Splendour Rock site at dusk and there were only a few small spots for camping left unclaimed, but we settled for what we could find and pitched our tents just as all light was disappearing. We started a small, modest fire and cooked dinner straight away. Once we had all eaten, we had a look at the site of the service and even in the dark, the view was incredible. We gazed at the stars above and the distant lights of faraway cities on the horizon. However, the real show was in the morning and we knew we had to be up early, so we made sure to be in our tents by around 9pm. At around 5:15am the next morning, we were woken up by the shaking of our tent by the leaders. We got dressed in our uniforms, hoisted our flag onto a suitable stick and headed off to the service. There were approximately 120 people at the service honouring bushwalkers who had fought in the war and especially the ones who had lost their lives. The last post was played by a rover and we sang the national anthem. We also had a minute of silence to honour those who gave their life protecting Australia and the story of how the Splendour Rock ANZAC Day service came to be was read. The story had been written by someone who was at the first service back in 1948. It was a short but effective service and finished just as the sun was coming into sight from behind the distant mountains. Lots of people got group photos and we handed out Anzac biscuits to those that were there (a tradition upheld by the 1st Tambourine Bay group). We soon headed back to camp, ate breakfast and packed up our camp making sure we didn’t leave any litter behind and at around 8:15am, we headed off from the site and were on our way back to Dunphy’s campsite.

After the ceremony, we packed up our camp and readied our packs for the walk back to Dunphy’s car park. We began this by backtracking from Splendour Rock to Dingo gap, and, after spending an hour or two exploring the ridgeline in search of a less trodden path, we eventually continued on with our original plan and walked along the fairly flat Wombat Parade path. We continued along this path for several kilometres, until, in the early afternoon, we reached the intersection of the trails with the Medlow Gap fire management trail. It was around this intersection that we had lunch, before walking again, this time following the fire management trail. On this trail, we crossed Breakfast Creek and Slip Rail Creek before turning left at the trail’s intersection with Bellbird Ridge fire trail. We continued along this trail until reaching Dunphy’s Car Park in the mid-afternoon, having walked a total of 25-30 km over the 2 days. The hike was exhausting, but simultaneously very rewarding.

Duncan Loane

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