Long Marsh Dam
Eight vehicles motored along the Tasman Highway from Sorell, through Orford, to Little Swanport where they turned off into Bresneham Road (M Road). The weather was threatening when leaving the start point but cleared as the convoy moved east resulting in a cool but pleasant day.
It was noted that the M Road appeared to be lacking recent maintenance as there were many patches of stoney surface along this forestry arterial road but the convoy was not discouraged from proceeding and continued until the turn off to the Long Marsh Dam was reached. The narrow formed side road soon turned into a wet bush track slowing the vehicles to a crawl before turning off to a small clearing where the marked walking tracks started.
After erecting a new sign to indicate the start of the tracks to the sandstone quarry in one direction and the dam a in another, most of the party headed down in the valley to find the quarry and the large squared stones scattered about left by the convicts over 170 years ago. The orange markers along the track were renewed as necessary along the way.
At the same time a couple of the party headed for the dam abutment clearing the track and checking the markers as they went. The main group soon arrived at the dam abutment and following some expressions of amazement at the task the convicts would have had in finishing the dam the party returned to the vehicles to drive further along the track to the other side of the valley. Some trouble was experienced climbing the bank out of the creek (Macquarie River) due to a fallen tree over the track having been cut leaving a gap too narrow to allow easy access. This was soon rectified with two large chainsaws and all vehicles except one was soon parked in the rough car park at the top of the bank. One vehicle had backed down away from the tree and was left at the bottom of the bank.
Lunch was enjoyed before the party walked into the western side of the convict dam again checking and renewing track markers as required. Two other new directional signs were erected, one indicating the way to the dam and the settlement ruins and the other to the lonely grave of Thomas Collins who was killed by a falling stone at the dam site.
All three sites were inspected before returning to the vehicles to head home.
It was thought that the continuation of the narrow formed road travelled to access the dam site would lead to Ross providing an alternative route back home but after driving a short distance a barrier of large stones placed across the road stopped further progress. Two vehicles managed to negotiate the barrier but it was considered that some damage may be caused to others and a decision was made to turn around and return home the way they had come.
The day was considered a great success as several participants had not been to the site before and really enjoyed the experience. The erection of the new directional signs was also a worthwhile task to enhance the experience of future visitors to the area.