Victorian Alps

Victorian Alps, Australia

Continuing the journey through the Victorian high country ... Crooked River, Dargo, burnt out forests along the Basalt Knob Track, the Blue rag Range. These photos were all taken in 2004, after the fires in 2003.

The effect of the fires on the forests in the high country is great, and there is great debate on the ways in which the damage can be mitigated. Some of these pics may show scenes that have significantly changed since they were taken.

For a discussion on the causes of bushfires and how we can limit their dangers, read Bushfire!.

More info on bushfires in Victoria at State Library of Victoria.

Aussie Stories - telling about Australia in words and pictures

Joe Mortelliti's life long love, from when he was first given a Brownie camera as a boy, was photography. It was the focus of his work life for many years. He loved to travel with his wife Marion to as many parts of Australia as he could. He had the ability to 'see' the beauty of our land in such a way that he could photograph it for the delight of others. These photos are a legacy that he has left us. Used by permission and with appreciation.
Aussie Stories - telling about Australia in words and pictures

Morning mist on the Crooked River, near Talbotville, alpine Victoria, Australia
Morning mist on the Crooked River, near Talbotville, alpine Victoria, Australia. New gold discoveries were found in 1864 at Crooked River which resulted in an influx of people throughout the area. The inhabitants of Ram Town at a public meeting voted to change the name from Ram Town to Talbotville.

The township site is now a camping ground on the river bank flat to the right of this misty morning scene. February 2004.

Copyright © Joe Mortelliti Photography

For sale as Greeting Cards, Photographic Prints, Matted Prints, Mounted Prints, Canvas Prints, Framed Prints and Posters

Sunrise on the Crooked River, near Talbotville, alpine Victoria, Australia
Sunrise on the Crooked River, near Talbotville, alpine Victoria, Australia. In 1860 AW Howitt in charge of a government prospecting party discovered gold along the Crooked River. Talbotville was one of five gold rush settlements along the Crooked River.

In 1946 members of the Melbourne Walking Club visited the town and found 3 houses still standing. In 1947 the last remaining residents of Talbotville, the Stouts, moved to Dargo. February 2004.

Copyright © Joe Mortelliti Photography

For sale as Greeting Cards, Photographic Prints, Matted Prints, Mounted Prints, Canvas Prints, Framed Prints and Posters

Historic Dargo Hotel, alpine Victoria, Australia
Historic Dargo Hotel, alpine Victoria, Australia. The original hotel was first built in 1898 during the gold rush era. It was rebuilt on the same site after being burnt down by fire caused by a kerosene lantern.

Owen Cummings was born at Dargo flat in 1874. The Australian Encyclopaedia names Owen Cummings as a candidate for having inspired the poem, The Man from Snowy River. February 2003.

Copyright © Joe Mortelliti Photography

For sale as Greeting Cards, Photographic Prints, Matted Prints, Mounted Prints, Canvas Prints, Framed Prints and Posters

Old shed, near Dargo township, alpine Victoria, Australia
Old shed, near Dargo township, alpine Victoria, Australia. Dargo is a lovely pioneer town first opened up by prospectors searching for gold. The Dargo Hotel was first built in 1896 during the gold rush. The town features many old buildings and relics from the past.

The summer grazing of mountain cattle on the Dargo High Plains has been in continuous operation since 1860 by the Treasure family. February 2004.

Copyright © Joe Mortelliti Photography

For sale as Greeting Cards, Photographic Prints, Matted Prints, Mounted Prints, Canvas Prints, Framed Prints and Posters

Old suspension bridge over the Crooked River, near Talbotville, alpine Victoria, Australia
Old suspension bridge over the Crooked River, near Talbotville, alpine Victoria, Australia. Crossing over the Crooked River an old suspension bridge is a local landmark. Above the bridge an interestingly shaped large lone cloud had formed making for a key feature, tucked in between the hills. February 2004.

There is another suspension footbridge at Lorne in south western Victoria. And another at Inverleigh, known as the Federation Bridge.

For sale as Greeting Cards, Photographic Prints, Matted Prints, Mounted Prints, Canvas Prints, Framed Prints and Posters

Blackened Alps, on the Basalt Knob Track, alpine Victoria, Australia
Blackened Alps, on the Basalt Knob Track, alpine Victoria, Australia. Travelling along Basalt Knob Track the ground cover is starting to return, but the trees are dead.

High country farmers say bureaucratic land managers have not managed the land properly. Parks Victoria and Department of Environment failure to burn off and ignoring of local knowledge are just two reasons why governments have failed to manage the bush properly.

The National Park is around 646 000 hectares; 465 000 hectares have been reported burnt. February 2004.

Copyright © Joe Mortelliti Photography

For a discussion on the causes of bushfires and how we can limit their dangers, read Bushfire!.

For sale as Greeting Cards, Photographic Prints, Matted Prints, Mounted Prints, Canvas Prints, Framed Prints and Posters

Burnt out Alps, near the Basalt Knob Track, alpine Victoria, Australia
Burnt out Alps, near the Basalt Knob Track, Victoria, Australia. Mountain after mountain completely burnt, eerie and still as no bird or animal life can be seen or heard. The ridge line of burnt trees beyond the foreground take on the look of a mohawk haircut.

Written reports indicate that between1.2 million up 1.7 million hectares of National Park and farm lands burnt in 71 days of fires early in 2003. February 2004.

Copyright © Joe Mortelliti Photography

For a discussion on the causes of bushfires and how we can limit their dangers, read Bushfire!.

For sale as Greeting Cards, Photographic Prints, Matted Prints, Mounted Prints, Canvas Prints, Framed Prints and Posters

Blue Rag Track, alpine Victoria, Australia
Blue Rag Track, alpine Victoria, Australia. Spectacular Views along Blue Rag Track. The damage caused by the 2003 fires is reported will take 100 years to recover.

Press reports from High Country people point out that if you fly over the Bogong High Plains, a little further north from the Blue Rag Range, you will see everywhere that the areas that have been grazed are not burnt, and areas where there are no cattle, these areas are totally burnt. Parks Victoria refute such claims. February 2004.

Copyright © Joe Mortelliti Photography

Hmm. That'd be an interesting drive to tackle. Not much margin for error, and the price of a mistake could be high! It's a long way down if you get it wrong.

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View from the Blue Rag Range, alpine Victoria, Australia
View from the Blue Rag Range, alpine Victoria, Australia. At the top of Blue Rage Range at 1500 metres high. The forest to left lies dead after the summer 2003 fires. A couple of valleys over lies the historic Wonnangatta Station and Wonnangatta valley, surrounded by mountains.

As we travelled through this area which is no longer grazed we could not help but notice the weeds that were taking over. People commented that they could not work out why this had to be so, why the politicians think they are doing the right thing. It would be only a matter of time before a fire started and all would be destroyed for years. February 2004.

Copyright © Joe Mortelliti Photography

For sale as Greeting Cards, Photographic Prints, Matted Prints, Mounted Prints, Canvas Prints, Framed Prints and Posters

Crooked River valley near Talbotville, alpine Victoria, Australia
Crooked River valley near Talbotville, alpine Victoria, Australia. View from the East Pinnacles lookout. The Crooked River flows through the valley below. Just to right of the middle of this picture you can see a small clearing at the very top of a peak. This is a helipad for helicopter landings.

Our ascent to the Pinnacles lookout was via this peak on an extremely steep and rocky 4wd track called Billy Goat Bluff Track. Of the 600 km of travelled fire trails this was the toughest climb. February 2004.

Copyright © Joe Mortelliti Photography

For sale as Greeting Cards, Photographic Prints, Matted Prints, Mounted Prints, Canvas Prints, Framed Prints and Posters

High Country Ranges, alpine Victoria, Australia
High Country Ranges, alpine Victoria, Australia. Billy Goat Bluff Track climbs the sweeping range. This track is one of the more challenging steep climbs in the Victorian High Country and not for the faint hearted or for a vehicle not set up for difficult work. We travelled up and down this track and it had some very difficult sections. Two weeks later we read that it was considered in very bad condition. Following a 4wd rolling on it, Parks Victoria closed it to upgrade it’s condition.

The small clearing at the peak on the lower left side of the picture is a helipad, used for helicopter landings in emergency situations. February 2004.

Copyright © Joe Mortelliti Photography

For sale as Greeting Cards, Photographic Prints, Matted Prints, Mounted Prints, Canvas Prints, Framed Prints and Posters