Traveller’s Tales John Blay talking about the Bundian Way at Leichhardt Library this Thursday evening 15/9/2016

August 28 2015 Canberra Times

South Coast author John Blay believes Bundian Way is path to eco-tourism glory

It’s a picture-perfect late winter’s day on the sparkling southern shores of Eden’s Twofold Bay. The waves are gently washing the oyster-covered rocks, the pelicans are cheekily chasing the cormorants, and along with a few fluffy white clouds, the imposing peak of Mt Imlay holds up the western horizon. From my vantage spot on a headland near the historic Davidson Whaling Station, rays of afternoon sunlight flicker off thousands of tiny white shell fragments which are scattered around my feet, and which form the top of a  three-metre high ancient midden.

“This spot really makes my heart sing,” beams naturalist and writer John Blay as he invites me to join him sitting on an old log, which fell long ago on top of the midden, making a tailor-made seat.

John Blay shares tales of the Bundian Way with Tim near Twofold Bay.
John Blay shares tales of the Bundian Way with Tim near Twofold Bay. Photo: Dave Moore

“We could sit back here and tuck into some fresh abalone, or sip a glass of wine, knowing that people have been coming here, feasting and enjoying this same view for thousands of years,” suggests Blay.

I fossick around in my backpack; all I’ve got to toast this unforgettable vista is a bottle of stale water. But accompanied with an outlook like this, even water left sitting in the sun of the yowie mobile for most of the day somehow tastes refreshingly good.

Ravens flock to the high country's moth places in their  thousands to feast when it's time for the bogongs to leave.
Ravens flock to the high country’s moth places in their thousands to feast when it’s time for the bogongs to leave. Photo: John Blay

Between sips, Blay points towards a gap in the distant hills, and confidently states “after you ford across the Kiah Inlet the Bundian Way then makes its way to the south of Balawan [Mt Imlay].”

If anyone can pinpoint the exact route of the Bundian Way, an ancient pathway used by Indigenous peoples for thousands of years which links the far South Coast to the roof of Australia, Mt Kosciuszko, from this distance, then it has to be Blay. The quietly spoken 71-year-old dedicated the best part of a decade traversing some of the nation’s wildest, most remarkable landscapes searching for and rediscovering the 360-kilometre historic pathway which had become “lost” after more than two centuries of European settlement.


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