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Gong Gong Reservoir park reserve ballarat public BBQ & bushwalks + address GPS location

Gong GongWP_20170826_15_32_12_Pro reservoir park is located less than 10 kilometers outside of Ballarat, along the Daylesford-Ballarat road, just past the brewery tap road turnoff.

Technically, the address to tap into your GPS is:

255 Daylesford Rd, Gong Gong VIC 3352

The public recreational park in Ballarat is operated and maintained by Central Highlands water.

Tours and community educational activities are run by CHW on a regular basis on the site

Call CHW on 1800-061-513 for more information.

http://www.chw.net.au/community/gong-gong-reservoir-parkWP_20170826_14_57_36_ProWP_20170826_16_26_54_Pro

The reserve contains large open grassy areas among european style gardens, gas BBQ facilites, and outdoor numerous sites featuring  smoky woodfire BBQ and site heating pits, picnic facilities including tables & chairs, drinking water fountains, public toilets and sufficient car parking for your family and friends.

If you have a fishing license, you can even fish for trout in the gong gong reservoir, but you cannot use any burly to attract the fish, as this will contaminate the drinking water supply.of Ballarat.WP_20170826_16_16_05_Pro

Gong Gong park Ballarat is a favorite venue in Ballarat to host wedding ceremonies, receptions and other family   functions, and includes paved, flowering vine draped pergolas positioned against beautiful natural bushland backdrops, perfect for wedding ceremonies.

You have to book if you have a party of more than 30 people planned,, and there is a no confetti, and take home rubbish policy to adhere to however.

Your friendly pooch however, is not welcome, due to the population of native animals in the park, some of which are rare or threatened species and for the quiet enjoyment of the facilities by other patrons who would not appreciate misbehaving dogs rampaging noisily though their picnic, or blatantly stealing sausages.

Attached to, or within the Gong Gong park are a number of great bushwalks-

  • Yarrowee river Catchment Habitat and Water Trail
  • Waterwatch Wetlands Trail
  • Native Nesting Box trail

gong_gong_reservoir_ballarat_bushwalking_map_trails

All walks are leisurely walk along and over the river, or through bush land with regular interpretation panels at intervals explaining and highlighting the diverse and wonderful native flora and fauna that the river and park supports.WP_20170826_15_27_15_Pro

Inexplicably thought however, access has been limited to many parts of Gong Gong reservoir for an unstated reason with walks fenced off, and signs proclaiming “no public access” in areas where ballarattians were free to venture. Why parts of Gong Gong reservoir has been closed is a bit of mystery.

The Gong Gong reservoir itself is one of the oldest elements of the Ballarat water supply infrastructure, and was built in 1877 has a capacity of 1902 megalitres, (1902ML) and is up to 22 meters deep.

Gong gong reservoir forms one of the largest dams of the white swan system.

The reservoir was named after the Chinese water god Gong Gong, who is considered to be responsible for enormous floods- this naming highlights the importance of the Chinese community’s influence and contribution in ballarat during the gold rush years.

http://www.chw.net.au/interactive-maps/water-storage/gong-gong-reservoir#zoom=9&lat=-37.33963&lon=143.87698&layers=00BT

The new upgraded spillway, pictured below was built  by Engineer-in Chief for the Ballarat Water Commissioners 1945-1970, A.E. Stohr

More details on the infrastructure can be found in the book

The Ballarat Water Commissioners report concerning water supply to Ballarat and district with special reference to the White Swan Reservoir Project / by A. E. Stohr.

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Rat Lane Ballarat CBD aka McKensie Street (Situated at 208 Sturt street, between GMBHA and Stephen & Turner Travel)

Tucked between stephen & turner travel associates a 206 sturt street, and GMHBA health insurance at 208 is Ballarat’s very own “Rat Lane”. – It may well be an extension of Mckensie street, as no official maps appaer to refer to it as such, but theres the sign, and it’s sort of cool and quirky.

WP_20170813_22_05_15_ProFor Ballarat, the iconic, and ironically named Rat Lane is clearly one of the most Auspicious addresses in the central business district, clearly!

 

 

 

It is questionable about whether rat lane is truly called rat lane, or a local  subversive stencil artist dubbed it as such in timeless paint, (which has not been removed in years, I note, as cheryl muir’s / cole mcallister’s photo below from 2015 indicates), but it seems apt that our great city celebrates the pesky rodent, and its fondness for dark alleys.

https://www.pixoto.com/images-photography/buildings-and-architecture/other-exteriors/rat-lane-5722120687452160

rat_lane_ballarat_cbd_208_sturt_street_mckensie_street_photographer_cheryl_muir

 

 

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Birdlife of Lake Wendouree Ballarat – Musk Ducks

Lake Wendouree in the centre of ballarat supports a plethora of beautiful and important avian life, great for an every child wins a prize sort of bird watching experience, as there is always plenty to see- as the lake rarely disappoints by beiing devoid of life. It’s always rather the exact opposite- full of life, both creature, and human. (Obsessed joggers and bikers could possibly also be classed as strange creatures also)

Not half bad considering that lake wendouree is a man made lake, which is essentially filled with class A treated water. A.k.a treated sewage.

http://business.ballarat.vic.gov.au/lae/lakes/lake-wendouree/lake-wendouree-water-supply.aspx

According to the city of ballarat council website, our favorite lake wendouree is essentially around ~25% genuine sewage pond. Nonetheless, we love it in all its recycled and slightly pongy glory, even though only rowers and musk duck lake wendouree underbill wattleunsuspecting birds are the only ones who ware willing to brave swimming in it.  (no wonder the acquatic weed grows so fast!!!)

While walking and picnicking on the lakes banks this weekend, we encountered quite an unusual, and distinctly different duck.

Otter like, and greasy in appearance, with a distinctive flap of skin, or wattle beneath its bill, and a spiky, but muscly beaver like tail, was a short billed, banded duck.

I’m quite a fan of ducks in general, and I couldn’t decide if it was the most interesting looking duck i had ever seen.. or.. well.. the ugliest.

Watching it attempt to flop out of the water, and over the shallow lakebank, I don’t think I have ever seen a more awkward and ungainly duck than the musk duck.

It was absolutely and utterly useless on land, and pretty much tripped on its own feet, doing an almighty beakplant into the mud after two ungainly and wobbly steps.

Apparently, these WP_20170820_14_28_27_Producks can be quite aggressive, and are shunned by other lakelife.. i didn’t see any real evidence of this, as we followed it about, trying to figure out if it was a strange mutant, or a genuine rare breed.

It’s fat tail, and muscular body did suggest that the musk duck is a rather meaty and tasty bird however.. and we speculated how it would be served in a Chinese restaurant… the reality is its probably as tough as old boots though, like every he native bird that isn’t extinct yet.

Looking on Wikipedia, a few interesting facts about this odd looking and awkward bird are:

That it is an excellent diver and can submerge for 60+ seconds, but is absolutely hopeless on land, so will rarely exit the water (which we saw ample evidence of, both on land, and on the water, where it vanished with a slight ripple, and miraculaously popped up again 20-30 metres away a number of times.

Their name emanates from the fact that the musk duck absolutely reeks of a musky odour during breeding season and are promiscuous, are lone wolfish and antisocial outside of it, eat yabbies, small fish, and the eggs of other birds, and can live and breed for in excess of 20 years.

In confirmation of our thoughts on this duck’s culinary potential, wikipedia also reports that they are bad eating, and are not prized at all for their edibility.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musk_duck

The courier ran a story on the musk duck a couple months ago, describing the male musk duck as a “prowling” scary creature that was shunned by the rest of the bird community on the lake, as it is so aggressive it would even pick a fight with a black swan…. a bit of an exaggeration.

http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/4771911/lake-birds-wary-of-prowling-musk-duck/

Ian Simsen also showcases some wonderful photos of the musk duck, like the one below on his blog, which is well worth checking out:

 

 

 

 

 

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