Summary: Venturing beyond the Wilkins Track in Duffys Forest, this partly off-track bushwalk explores what might be an old farm, and an Aboriginal engraving site.

The Wilkins Track is one of several trails that branches off the Perimeter Track, in Duffys Forest. As I’ve gradually discovered, while the Perimeter Trail and Wilkins Track are not the most exciting trails, they provide access to many interesting historical sites hidden in the bush. Normally I start at the western end of the Perimeter Trail, at the end of Cullamine Road. Today we’re setting out from the eastern end of the Perimeter Trail. Despite the perfect weather, we only encounter a handful of mountain-bikers – the Perimeter Trail being a popular mountain-biking track.

Perimeter Trail in Duffys Forest

There are a few unofficial MTB tracks that criss-cross the wide Perimeter Trail, and after 2.2km we veer onto a horse-riding trail that runs parallel to the Perimeter Trail. (Hidden in the bush between the bridal track and the Perimeter Trail is TS4763 WILKINS, an old trig station.)

The bridal track re-joins the Perimeter Track after 0.7km; directly opposite is the Wilkins Track (another wide service trail). The Wikins Track is only about 0.6km long, following the ridge to an informal lookout along the ridge. There are filtered views of Smiths Creek from the end – but as far as views go, they are much better from the Cowan Trail and Long Trail.

Although the Wilkins Track finishes here, the fun begins as we continue along the ridge. There’s an initial steep but short drop through a gap in a low cliff line, and then relatively easy walking through the scrub along the ridge. After a few hundred metres, we reach a long rock platform. I’ve been told about an old farm along the ridge, beyond the Wilkins Track, but haven’t found any references to a property or farm on the old parish maps. It’s pretty hostile country, being a fair way from any water source, and a long way above Smiths Creek. However, along the rock platform there are obvious signs of an old fence, with square fence posts in the sandstone and weathered fence posts.

At the end of the rock platform there is a small rock cairn. We see a few more of these as we continue along the ridge. They are not particularly useful as the route along the ridge-top is fairly obvious, but it’s a sign others have made this same journey. On the last rock platform at the end of the ridge is a particularly large cairn.

Rock platform at the end of the Wilkins Track in Duffys Forest

Along the large rock platform is an Aboriginal engraving site, which was first documented by W.D. Campbell in 1898. Included in the small number of rock carvings are two large emus, which are over four metres in height.

IMG 0521 LR Beyond the Wilkins Track

Having explored the rock platform for more engravings, we eventually return the same way. It’s been an enjoyable afternoon, and having left fairly early we’ve plenty of time to wander back to the car before dark – which makes a nice change 🙂 I would love to know more who built a fence so far from civilisation, and whether it did form part of a farm.

More information on the Wilkins Track

The Wilkins Track is a shared-use firetrail suitable for horse-riding and mountain bikes as well as bushwalking, until just before the lookout at the end. The last 50m or so to the lookout is a walking trail. If continuing off-track to the end of the ridge, please have a detailed topographical map and GPS.

For more bushwalks (as well as swimming spots and other activities) visit the Guide to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

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David Sowden · August 8, 2021 at 5:55 pm

Hi Oliver. Wilkins Track and beyond. The fence posts holes and wood posts are the remains of a animal fence constructed by the Kuring-gai Chase Trust from the deep headwaters of Smiths Creek to the deep headwaters of Cowan Creek. The fence would allow the protection of marsupials, deer and other animals as may be placed therein. The fence was erected during 1906-7 and created an enclosure of about 3500 acres. The fence was 6′ 6″ highplain and barbed wires with a cleared track on either side of the fence. Fortuneately no deer ever made it to the enclosure. In 1914-15 some kangaroos and emus were given to the Trust but it was reported the emus escaped by swimming across Cowan Ck and the kangarooes died. David. S

    oliverd :-) · August 8, 2021 at 6:41 pm

    David, many thanks – that’s really intereresting. Will update my post with this extra information!

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