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Salt Creek in Flood

With an abundance of rain across much of Victoria, I decided to head out to see the impact of the heavy falls on my local waterway.

Yesterday, my personal weather station recorded 51.8 millimetres of rain. That’s a lot of rain for January. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, my area typically receives 45.0 mm of rain in a month at this time of the year. As has been reported, the El Niño has not resulted in the hot and dry summer that we’d all been expecting.

Frankly, I am relived.

Of course, the heavy falls have lead to some devastation in some parts of Victoria but luckily I am okay where I am.

Given the soggy weather, I decided to head out to a local park, the Gresswell Nature Conservation Reserves (there are technically three of them) in Macleod in Melbourne’s north-east. This reserve is managed by Parks Victoria and covers an area of 70 hectares. The largest part is known as Gresswell Forest and this is the portion that contains the Salt Creek.

A map of the Gresswell Nature Conservation Reserves showing walking tracks and the paths of the Salt Creek and the Strathallan Creek. The Salt Creek flows south.

Normally the Salt Creek is a minor tributary of the mighty Yarra River that runs all the way to Melbourne’s CBD. You can normally leap over most sections of it without any problems. Within the Gresswell Forest, the Salt Creek is branched but it all comes together before it is forced into a pipe at Vincent Street in the Dunvegan Estate. It doesn’t re-emerge until it gets to Rosanna Park several kilometres south.

Gresswell Forest was once part of the vast Mont Park “psychpolis” mental hospital, before it was turned over to La Trobe University and then Parks Victoria. It’s not hard to spot all sorts of wildlife in there, including kangaroos and many birds. It’s peaceful and quiet, which is why I love it.

Water gushing over a path.
The Salt Creek in the Gresswell Forest in Macleod, spilling over a walking path.

After the rain yesterday, it was full of fast-flowing torrents. Water was not just flowing down the normal paths of the Salt Creek, but along many of the little tracks that people have made throughout the forest. The magpies and the currawongs looked sodden. A kangaroo limped heavily away when I approached, his fur coat adding countless kilos to his mass. I had to place my feet very carefully in some places to prevent wet socks.

Water in a creek weaving through the forest.
The Salt Creek had been transformed from a small trickle to a fast-flowing creek after the deluge.

I didn’t have a lot of time to wander about. If left to my own devices, I could have spent hours there. Instead I had to use my lunch time carefully to have a quick wander about.

I shot a 5-minute video, which you can watch on YouTube. It’s not a master-class in cinematography, but it gives an idea of the situation. The video was taken on my Canon 5D Mark II dSLR camera rather than a phone. This produces much nicer video, but it is harder to use. In hindsight, I wish I’d taken my tripod.

If you listen carefully, you will be able to discern many familiar bird calls, as well as some frogs. Enjoy!



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