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Supplement to the “Education Gazette and Teachers’ Aid,” 2\st May, 190(3.
X A T U R E - S T U I) Y.
WERE. I.BEE GOUGE, BACCHUS MARSH,
STUDENTS OF THE TRAINING COLLEGE, EDUCATION
J )E FA RTMENT. MEL] K)URN E.
In the Gorge.
Three classes can he seen making their way to their stations.
At the Werribee Gorge.
On Saturday morning, a special train, with two engines, took the pupils of the Continuation School and the Training College—numbering between 400 and 600 to a point between Bacchus Marsh and Ingliston to studv physical geography. They alighted at a place described geologically as being part of the Ballarat lava plateau, which stretches beyond Portland, but which, to those unlearned in rocks and their story, seemed to be just good sheep pastures. The 400, or 600, as the case may be, were the boys and girls—some of a slightly larger growth—who are to be the teachers of the future, and who will teach a good deal less of what Attica was or was not, and a good deal of what Nature has to show to men and women in their immediate surroundings. Immediately upon leaving the train, Mr. J. A. Leach gave the pupils a a patch of real mallee, though how these things had detached themselves from their natural habitat and migrated so far south no one could conjecture. He pointed out that, in the Werribee pools under them, and in a quarry in the side of a green hill over against them, would be found proofs that this continent was once linked up by land with South America—and the proof was only little green minnows swimming in the water and the print of weirdly-named fern leaves left in the heart of the rocks.
lesson upon the broad geographical asj)ect, telling them that the ground upon which they stood was the third greatest lava plateau in the world—a fact that at once appealed to Australian patriotism and the passion for records. Mr. Leach described the lava plateau, and ¡>ointed out that they were upon the edge of the Melbourne basin —the lower lands between these and the Dandenongs— which was once the sea bottom, and out of which sea bottom volcanoes afterwards sprang, and are known as Mount Cotteril and Mount Misery. The pupils laughed at Mount Misery, not knowing, perhaps, that the early explorers who spent a miserable night in the lee of it without water regretted the foolish name given to it, and afterwards asked Governor La Probe to rechristen it with his own name. But Misery it is—and Misery it will be.
Mr. Leach gave his lesson on the rocks, with little touches of humour that made it human, and little bits of other sciences that made for variety. lie pointed out that the pines below them were the Murray pines that beautify northern sandhills, and that further down was
It seemed so little to prove so much, yet to the geological mind it was evidence more convincing than anything that has been sworn “ upon the book ” in a prosecution for Sunday-trading. He told them, as an aside, why Bacchus Marsh land sold as high as ^130 per acre because it was once the bed of a lake, until it broke out and emptied itself by another gorge below Parwaji, but not until the springs oozing out below the plateau had carried down the potash and other chemicals that made
it so rich in plant life. “ Do you know any other land,” lie said, “ that sells for £ioo an acre foi agriculture?— o? ^¿50?”—and at 50 an arm in a white muslin sleeve went up amongst that host of youngsters 'so depressed by the poverty of their homes. It was the arm of a girl from Bungaree.
Then, with the broad geological aspects of the position impressed on their minds, the 400 at least, or 600 at most, were taken down a hill a quarter of a mile steep into the wild Werriliee Gorge to study its lessons in detail. To those who love the human elements in life, it was as strange a sight as the Werribee Gorge has ever seen. The boys were first- the boys are always first—down hill, and some, with a lively anticipation of favours to come, carried large lioilers to make the tea for lunch. One round lunch-basket broke away, and went bouncing down the hills. The geologists, believing it to contain Cornish meat pasties from the cooking school, seized upon it as an illustration of glacial action -the progress of an irresistible Uxlv meeting things which believed themselves to be immovable. And after it had rolled down into the creek, it turned out to be not a pie, but a pine-apple.
The moraine of humanity, dribbling down the hill from crest to foot, was a picture—all young, all straight as the rushes in the Werribee underneath, all full of youth and zeal. If the spirit of the gorge could have so spoken—so wild a gorge must have its spirit—it would have said, “ What is this that has come to me in the new century ? I knew them long ago, the race that has gone, but they wore furs, and were not pink, and blue, and white. Then the geologists came, and discovered that 1 had one of the mdst interesting haunts in the world—so interesting that no geologists anywhere else would believe in my glaciers, that look like rockv plum pudding or haggis made of quartz, and granite, and basalt. When the geologists fell in the water and illustrated the laws of displacement and buoyancy, they only exclaimed guttural lv—they were just mammals. But these are different; most of them shriek and make echoes that have slumliered ever since the glaciers shot the chute down here.”
Looking down the Gorge.
.V class is at station No. S, on the left of the view. A class at station No. 7 is a little lower down.
In the bed of the river- on the bedrock of the continent —the hundreds were formed up into classes, and at ten different points each telling its own physical facts in the conformation of a world—ten different teachers were stationed, and they pointed out the facts that geology had to show until all the classes had heard every teacher’s story. Some were from the Field Naturalists, some from the schools, some local men, who had studied the wonderful gorge for a lifetime, and were just beginning to grasp all its story. Mr. C. C. Brittlebank, who has hands that can chop down trees, or milk, or paint in colours, and with most wonderful fidelity to nature, the most delicate of insects, the most beautiful of birds or apples, rich in the colour that autumn, the master-painter, gives to fruit, speculated a's to the age of the gorge. Tt took about t,200,000 years for the Werribee to wear its way down to its present lied. The odd 200,000 vears did not seen to matter the pupils were already outside the realm of their young imagination. Once, when Mr. Brittlebank was studying the rocks here, an old lady asked him what he was looking for. 11 For traces of ice glaciers.” he said, “ avalanches of ice.” “ it’s no use,” the good lady assured him, “ I have been in the district for 40 year's, and never saw any glaciers about here—the ice doesn’t last a day. ’ The teachers were Messrs. T. S. Hall, T. Brittlebank, G. B. Pritchard, A. O. Thiele, C. O. Brittlebank, D. McLennan, O. and J. Wj Gray, R. Lidgett, and R. W. Armytage. Thev told how and whv the gorge had been carved into its present fantastic outlines, and the evidenced of glacial action were plain enough for all to see. They showed the tracks of the glaciers how the tremendous mass of ancient ice, carrying stones and litter, had moved down over the bedrock, cutting its softer seams into deep-polished grooves, riding over and rounding off its harder ridges. Thev speculated as to the origin of these glaciers, which have left so few footprints in Australia. Thev had not come south from the great divide, then a greater divide, because the evidence of movement was all on the southern Hope of the gorge. They had not drifted from the Antarctic and been cast up upon the shores of the old inland sea, which is now the Melbourne land basin, because there were upon the glacier rock no marks of barnacles, or worms, or any of those sea animals which would have left their traces for ever upon submerged rock. So theorv was reduced to the existence at one time of a mountain range further south than the present land, from which the glaciers had slid into the Werribee Gorge. Where are those mountains now? The rock that formed the pinnacles is now ocean floor, the skate skates over it, and big-eved cuttlefish sec no glimmer of daylight in its depths.
It was both a picnic and a lesson in physiography, not the less valuable a lesson because it was associated with a picnic in one of the most interesting localities in Victoria. Most of the pupils brought their own luncheons, and, for some, a lunch was "served from the kitchen of the Continuation School, where there are cookery classes. The lunch was as good as the appetite, and showed that the girls, at any rate, learn something b side geology. Before leaving the gorge, Mr. Frank late, the Director of Education, said how pleased he was with the results of the excursion, and thanked Mr. Hocking, Mr. Iyeach, and others of the staff, for the success of their organiza tion, and the pupils for their attention. Cheers were given for the gentlemen who had so kindly given up the day to teach a lesson, which was fascinating because of its reality. The Werribee for that occasion was ever so much more interesting than either the Amazon or the Ganges, or maps. Brofdssor Ewart, the new lecturer on botany at the University, was asked to speak. He said, (< T have never seen anything like this before, or like that,” as t\\V> boys with a boiler— which had obligingly rolled down hill, but refused to roll up again all fell in Ihe water together.
The residents of Bacchus Marsh are anxious that their famous gorge should be a national park. Tt is lit for nothing else than to be a picnic-place, a picturesque sanctuary for Nature, and a continuation school for the teaching of physical geography. 'Though not permanently devoted to this purpose, there is little chance of its Ix'ing used for anv other the old time glaciers have seen to that.
Donald Macdonald in The Argus.
A SCHOOL EXCURSION TO WERRIBEE GORGE.
In the geography course at the Continuation School, a series of field lessons is included as the most important section of the work.
The pupils see things for themselves, and discover a meaning in the features and objects lying about them. They delight in this original investigation, and, although these excursions are voluntary, there is always a very large attendance.
For successful nature study or geography work, the first requisite is to let a pupil see that there is something /worth looking at, and worth thinking about, in his own country, and in his own surroundings. 'Then he will look and see for himself. This excursion was undertaken to enable the pupils to stand on classic ground, to wander where scientific leaders have worked. For the future, thev cannot think of their intensely interesting country as being unworthy of study, and as containing nothing worth seeing.
Of course, if it became necessary to travel to the Werribee Gorge, and such distant places, to see something to interest us, nature-studv would quite fail. We find abundance of good material in our school surroundings. An excursion such as this only deepens the desire to further examine our own district by letting the pupils see that their own land has something worthy of investigation by even the greatest scientists.
Before visiting this famous wonderland of the Werril^ee Gorge, fortnightly excursions had been taken nearer home. Sedimentary rocks had been studied on many outings, and their mode of formation determined. Evidence of a cooling, wrinkling earth had t>een obtained from the foldings of the older sedimentary rocks seen in the various cuttings and creek sections alxmt Melbourne. Lava had been examined in quarries and creek cliffs ; and river work at various stages studied on the Yarra, Saltwater, and on several creeks not far from the school, as well as in the school yard after heavv rain. Canyons had l>een sr*en in the making at Coburg, East Kew, and other places; coast features and the sand drift, together with the formation of sand dunes noted at Port Melbourne; marine erosion at Beaumaris; coastal plains, old plains, young plains, flood plains, river terraces, lakes, and meanders, observed, so that geography has become a living subject closely related to the lives of the children
a subject in which knowledge is gained at first hand by the pupils themselves.
During the study of Victoria, the most important of all countries for us, many references were made to Bacchus Marsh, scientifically the most famous spot in Victoria or, indeed, in Australia. Many inquiries were made by the pupils as to why an excursion was not undertaken to give them the opportunity to see for themselves a famous place. Financial reasons and the difficulty of getting to the exact locality (five miles from Bacchus
Marsh) without loss of time put it out of the question. However, this year the increase of the number of pupils to 400 rendered the chartering of a special train possible. The persuasive powers of the Principal, Mr. Hocking, secured permission from the Railway Department to detrain at the desired spot, so it was decided to leave the matter to the pupils. Not one in the school objected to paying half-a-crown for a geo-graphv lesson in the Werribee Gorge. Splendid autumn rains had clothed that beautiful district with green, and everything was favorable for a good field lesson.
It was intended to be an ordinary school excursion, the only difference being that the whole 400 pupils were to go, instead of the usual 200 taken at one time—the junior pupils, of course, having their excursions apart
No. 1. Murray pines growing on the edge of the lava plateau.
The boulder below the two sheoaks is at the site of the main introductory lesson.
from the seniors. Also, on account of the large number and the difficulty of movement in the narrow, rock-strewn canyon, the pupils had to be divided into groups, as it was not possible for a large number to see properly in a small space. It was hence impossible for me to do the whole of the teaching myself. It was arranged that the school staff should accompany the excursion, and that geologists, and those interested in nature should be requested to assist by taking charge of the ten stations previously selected (as explained later).
Dr. Smyth, the lecturers, and the students of the Training College were then invited. It was arranged that Inspector Dean, several teachers, and a party of pupils from Ballarat should join us at Bacchus Marsh; and that a small party of pupils from the Bumlev Horticultural Gardens, with their teacher, Mr. A. G. Campbell, should also accompany us. Many metropolitan teachers, as well as several parents and friends, brought the party to the large number of 550.
Educationally, it was a strong party, comprising, as it did, the Director of Education; Mr. Fleming, M.A., Chief Inspector of Wellington, New Zealand; Mr. Hocking, B.A., principal of the Continuation School, Dr. Smyth, principal of the Training College; Inspectors Fussell, M.A., and Dean, M.A. ; the lecturers of the Training College; the staff of the Continuation School, about 30 adult teachers; over 70 College students; 400 Continuation School pupils, mostly teachers in the making ; and about 30 junior teachers.
Scientifically, it was equally strong, for it included many meml>ers of the Field Naturalists’ Club; Dr. Ewart, Professor of Botany, Mellx>urne University ; Messrs. T. S. Hall, M.A., lecturer in Biology, Melbourne University; Mr. Charles French, jun., Assistant Government Entomologist; Mr. G. B. Pritchard, F.G.S., lecturer in Geology, &c., Working Men’s College; Mr C. C. Brittlebank, the famous naturalist artist, geologist farmer of Mymiong; Mr. T. Brittlebank, brother of the above and an ornithologist of rejpute, also a naturalist farmer; Mr. A. D. Hardy, F.L.S., Lands Department; Mr. Donald Macdonald, whose Nature Notes are so much appreciated by all Victorian nature students; Mr. A. (1. Campbell, Horticultural Gardens; Messrs. A. O. Thiele (East Brighton School), R. W. Aimitage, and others.
Had the excursion been a week later, two trains would probably have been necessary to carry the large number ■who wished to go, as it grew so quickly from an ordinary school excursion into the biggest school journey vet attempted under the auspices of the Education Depart ment. It is a matter for congratulation that men of scientific standing are recognising our efforts in this work, and are so ready to help us in getting it and keeping it in right channels.
Bv special arrangement, the train stopped on reaching the top of the plateau after its long climb up the great
No. 2. The main introductory lesson.
A fine view is obtained of the canyon part of the valley backed by the level Myrniong Plateau.
horse-shoe bend. Bacchus Marsh station is 343 feet above sea-level. Where the party detrained was 1,180 feet above sea-level. Work began immediately the empty train moved off. The substance of the four lessons on the plateau is included in the following notes.
On looking around, it was seen that the party was on a very level, but narrow tract of volcanic country—a lava plateau, the long lava flow from Mount Ingliston.
in front lay the Werribee Gorge, behind was the Parwan Gorge.
In rainy weather, the country becomes a sheet of water which, overflowing, trickles down into the Bacchus Marsh Basin. Thus this area represents a young plain —the streams are narrow and steep-sided, ami the watershed is a swamp. The drainage water has not yet cut even a gutter or any water course in the central part of its almost level surface. Being composed of recent volcanic rocks, it is devoid of trees.
A very short walk, and the party stood in amazement as the beautiful view of this wild gorge burst on them. Below, far below, was the river. What a change from the dead level just behind us ! A few yards up stream, the country was rangy and well timbered with eucalypts, &C. Plere, on the plateau, there was no timber; but, on the side of the valley, could be seen trees of great interest. As seen in view No. i, the Murray pine flourishes in this sheltered spot It is not found south of the Divide at many other places. Also, in this same district, within a few miles, is a patch of wild mallee scrub. Most things of interest in V'.ctoria seem to be represented at Bacchus Marsh.
A move to a prominent point enabled us to look either up or down the Gorge. Seats were quickly taken just below the two sheoaks shown on the point in view No. i. This was a natural lecture theatre, the seats consisting of small columns of basalt at the edge of the lava flow. Here, the main introductory lesson to the whole party was given by Mr. Leach.
Looking up the Gorge, the hard bed rooks, consisting of very much folded shales and sandstone had withstood the weather, and given steep, almost vertical sides to the canyon. Still further up on the other side
could be seen the level basalt (lava) plateau of Myrniong—a plateau similar to the one we were seated on. On the hill almost opposite our point, a small patch of lava could be seen capping the summit of the hill, and preventing its being worn away ; since the lava cap is harder than the rocks around and under it.
Straight before us, there was no lava cap. Hence the country was much worn down, and had boon dissected
No. 3.—Across the river, showing the old plain.
Tho rann led hill to the right of the ploughed field is referred to in the text. SomeMf the party arej’shown ascending the steep slope.Tj
into a series of ridges and valleys, and stood at a much lower level (see view No. 3). Our side was protected by its lava cap. We were on a young plain. Opposite ■was an “ old plain,” and vet both were obviously of the same age; so “old” and “young” as used by geographers are seen to be adjectives of condition. That is, they do not refer to age in years. It is possible to get an “old” plain in soft rock actually younger in years than a “young plain” in hard rock. The plain opposite had its drainage perfect. Each watershed was a well-marked ridge, and no lake or swamp was on it. On the other hand, the right bank had no definite watershed, and it was a series of pools and small lakes in wet weather— a young plain.
Consider now the volcanic rocks we were on. They reached their present position in a liquid state, flowing here from Mount Ingliston. The question is then: “ Why did they not flow on, and fill the deep Werribee
Gorge so far below our feet?” Necessarily, that valley was not there at that time. Tt has l>een formed since.
I he query now is, “What formed the gorge?” There is but one answer—the river. The water running down from the plateau from an elevation of over t,ooo feet to the basin beneath acquires great velocity. Tt rolls
No. 4. Grooved floor of the valley.
At the top of the'picture, a little of the glacial drift can be seen.
and carries great quantities of stone, sand, mud, Ac., along with it. You will see some of these rolled stones directfy. With these, it files away and wears away its bed, constantly deepening it, until, at length, the bed will acquire a gentle grade downward. Thus the Werribee has worn out the gorge before us, and the Parwan the gorge behind us. Neither stream has vet deepened its l>ed to the desired grade, so each is, in this locality, doing the first stage of a river’s work deepening its bed. Further down the Werribee has, as you can see, passed that stage.
The little patch of lava seen opposite also adds further evidence that the river has cut this valley since the lava came; for that patch was once continuous with this lava. So was the top of Trig Hill which vou see some distance down the valley (view No. 8). The river has cut between these two small /portions and the main plateau, and thefv are left lying out from it. Hence they are called “ outliers ”—evidence of the former greater extent of the lava plateau.
But the great interest of this famous spot <Iocs not lie in the mere fact that it is a river canyon. The cutting down of the river has revealed the rocks beneath. Under the lava is seen a series of sands, clays, and gravels — old lake deposits. At the base of these is, as vou ('an see, a tunnel put in by gold-miners to discover, if possible, an old river vallev in the hope of finding gold in it. In many parts of Victoria, miners have discovered, under the lava cappings of the hills, that gold lx:aring river gravels exist. The former hills at the side of the old valleys, down which the lavas flowed, have been removed as they were softer than flic hard “Milestone” (lava). Thus we sec a fulfilment of the prophecy that 11 every vallev shall be exalted and everv hill shall be brought low.” Snowden, the highest mountain in England and Wales, is an old lava flow in an ancient river valley. So are the Dargo High Plains, Mount Useful, ihe Kangaroo Grounds near Elth-am, and many other Victorian mountains. All over Victoria, teachers will see lava flows ending suddenly on the side of a vallev, and they will know at once that the valley has been formed since the lava came there.
Under our feet at Bacchus Marsh, the old lake deposits rest on a peculiar series of clays and sandstones. In these, in many places, large boulders and angular stones are embedded in the fine clay. Evidently this is not a water deposit, for there is no sorting of the materials. Running water does not leave clay mixed with large boulders. On examining the boulders and stones, grooves and scratches are seen on them, and they are also ground into flat faces or facets. Often the edge bounded by two of these flat faces is keel-like. “ Water-worn " stones are not faceted. They are rounded and smoothed, but not grooved or scratched. Thus, some other agent has formed these beds. Ice is the only agent known that could perform the work represented here.
At first, it was thought by some that floating marine ice -icebergs—was responsible, but the floors and sides of the vallev where the ice passed over the old bed rock are grooved, rounded, and deeply scratched, where stones frozen into the bottom of the ice have been dragged across it. The stones are also scratched as they are forced over hard rocks in the floor of the vallev. They are often knocked loose, turned over, and again frozen into the bottom of the glaciers, so another side is faceted and scratched. Further, there are no remains of marine organisms, worm tubes, &c., on the boulders, so it is evidently land ice that has performed the work.
As to where the ice came from, we cannot yet speak with certainty. Professor Gregorv inclined to the view that it came from the Central Divide, and moved south. More evidence on this point is necessary, as the direction of the grooves and scratches points to a probable southern origin. Tt has been suggested bv Mr. C. C. Brittlebank, who has examined these deposits very care-fullv. and has collected a mass of evidence, that the glaciers probablv originated in the old land to the south of Western Victoria which has disappeared, for, in those davs, and indeed long afterwards. Australia was much more extensive than at present This is shown bv the fact, amongst manly others, all pointing in the same direction, that the little minnow or mountain trout sporting in the waters below is also found in the streams of .South America. It is a, fresh-water fish and does not go to sea. Also, the marsupials so common once about here, the 'possums found in those trees, the kangaroos, and bandicoots find, in South America, their nearest relations outside the Australian region. The evidence of lampreys, earthworms, frogs, &e., all point to an extension of Australia to the south. Evidence of other extensions will be given directlv.
Interesting as it is to find evidence of glaciers in a countrv now quite free from permanent ice, it is the particular age of these rocks thaf lends such great interest to their presence. Of course, it is not possible to fix their age in vears ; but thev were formed in the u dim distant past." Fortunatelv, there is conclusive evidence as to the period in which thev were formed.
Kroin where we are seated, you can see that rounded green hill, three or four miles awav (view No. 3). It has a quarrv on the side of it. In this quarry, in a freshwater sandstone which is used for building sfone (the old Treasury in Melbourne is built of stone from that hill) are found the impressions left by a fern-like plant
Gangamopteris (Gr. pteris, a fern). These sandstone beds rest on the glacial rocks, and so are younger. The same fossils are found m New South Wales in rocks resting on beds of coal. Coal is also found above these fossil-bearing rocks. Hence this fossil belongs to the coal period. So here in Victoria, since we find glacial deposits below the fossil-bearing nocks mid also al>ove them, as Mr. C. C. Brittlebank assures me, these glacial locks were formed in the coal period. This fossil—the remains of a land plant—is also found i.n India and in South Africa; so here is some evidence of other extensions of Australia, a north-westerly extension to India, and a westerly one to South Africa,.
We have seen that Victoria had glaciers, and in the coal [>eriod. Now, to account for the presence of great de posits of coal in many widely-separated countries of the world, and all formed in this one period, some scientists assumed a universal tropical climate hot and moist, in order to explain the luxuriant vegetable growths necessary for these enormous coal deposits. Bacchus Marsh supplied the death blow to that theory, as it was the first place in the world where glacial rocks of that age were discovered. Hence, outside Victoria, Bacchus Marsh is a very famous place. Victorians, needless to say, have hardly heard of it. “ Distant fields look green," so America is the wonderful country. Fortunatelv, nature-study is removing that idea.
These glacials are not the oldest rocks found here. The rocks seen in that steep part of the canyon are much older. Thev form the bed rock of the district. Thev consist of sands and clavs—sediments deposited i;n. the sea. long, long ago, in a very early period of the earth’s historv. As the earth’s centre lost heat and contracted, the crust, being already cold, could not contract; hence the rocks forming the earth’s crust must wrinkle. The original horizontal, or almost horizontal, 1 avers of rock— strata—must fold up and down. The up folds—saddles
have the legs sloping against one another, hence they are called anticlines (anti, against ; clinos, a slope). The down folds have the lavers sloping into ope another, and are hence called svnclines (syn. together). The wrinkling, pressing, and twisting has hardened and altered these old sediments, so that the sands have been altered into hard sandstones, and the clays into shales, and even into slates. You have seen some of these wrinkled and altered rocks before : but vou will see them up in the can von part of the gorge again directlv.
Tust to sum up the historv of this spot. First, the old sediments deposited in a sea long, long ago. Then these were folded and wrinkled, when the true fold mountains of Victoria, were formed. These were worn down bv river action—the action of running water. Then great glaciers covered this part of the country, and left over 1,000 feet vertical thickness of the well-marked glacial drifts in the neighbourhood of Bacchus Marsh. They also occurred at Heathcote, in the T.oddon Valley, and other places in Victoria. Tong periods afterwards, a large lake covered this district, and thick deposits of sand, gravels, &c., were laid down on its floor. Then the lava flows, so common in Victoria (for Victoria is one of the great lava countries of the world), flooded the land, and the flow we are sitting on even kept on down the old cliff face, and reached the basin of Bacchus Marsh. Next, the surface waters flowing from the plateau to the basin worked out the narrow gorge—a work that has not yet been completed.
To connect this romantic spot to our school life, a general view was now taken of the country around. Across the gorge, a little to the west, and some miles away, stands Mount Blackwood, 2.340 feet high. It is a fine volcanic cone, a few miles south of the Main Divide. A few miles along to the east is Mount Bullen-garook, a similar volcanic mountain. Next, on the Main Divide is the bold mass of Mount Macedon 3,300 feet, with the Camel’s Hump, probably the site of the old vent plugged with harder rock. It is said, by Professor Gregory, to l>e the base of an old volcano whose lavas, instead of spreading out in thin sheets like the lavas al>out us, formed an immense dome. The higher and softer parts of this have Ix^en removed by weathering until the base or stump of the old volcano has Ivon ox-]>osed. Further along are the Hume Ranges, and round to the east is Mount Dandenong, a similar volcanic mass to Mount Macedon. Between us and Mount
No. 5.—Looking up the Gorge.
This is near the beginning of the canyon part near station No. 6. Note the angular blocks broken off An irrigation aqueduct
is shown on the left.
Dandenong lies the low Melbourne Basin, most of the western half of which is covered by volcanic rocks discharged from numerous volcanoes. Several of these small volcanoes can be seen. Mount Cotteril is the square-topped one on the plain, and Mount Misery is a little north of it; its bare, brown lava-capped top showing distinctlv.
That basin from here to Mount Dandenong was the floor of a sea, when the rocks in which we found the fossils at Royal Park, at Koilor, and Beaumaris, wrero being deposited, and this scarp was the southern coast
of Australia. An uplift of the land has caused the sea to retreat, and this district below a portion of the great valley of Victoria, has become dry land. To the
south of us, the You Vangs can be seen- a solitary granitic mass rising from the plain. 'This mountain was ascended by Flinders, so that he could obtain a view of the country. To the west of that are the Anakies the Three Sisters- and the Brisbane Ranges. Th’s joins on to the plateau which continues to and beyond Ballarat ; while the lava plain, with scarcely a break, sweeps on until it reaches away past Portland.
Several questions were asked and answers suggested.
A move was now made down to the lunch ground in the lx)ttom of the valley, where three coppers, transported hy sturdy boys, were already boiling. The steep climb down was safely accomplished.
The hard climbing, the bracing air, and the glorious sunshine had developed a big appetite, so that lunch was vigorously attacked. For the visitors, a hamper had been prepared by the cookery students at the Continuation School, and, to judge from the way in which Cornish pasties, sausage rolls, sandwiches, cakes, &c., disappeared, the work there has reached a high standard of excellence. The lady teachers, .prefects, and elder pupils worked with a will, and soon every one was supplied 'with tea.
The lecturers for the ten carefully selected spots to l>e examined by the pupils as evidence of the mode of formation and structure of the Gorge and its “ storied ” rocks were then acquainted with the plan of campaign. Each was to point out the one or two features l>efore him, explain them clearly and definitely, and finish exactly to time. The result was most satisfactory in every case, the attention of the pupils was secured, and highly profitable work done.
At No. t, Mr. T. S. Hall showed a cliff of typical glacial rocks, contrasted these with water-formed rocks which had been studied elsewhere. The conclusion was irresistible as to the agent of formation ice, and land ice necessarily. Glaciated stones were picked out of fine clay and examined.
At No. 2, Mr. D. McLennan, State School, Myrniong, dealt with the large boulders rolled down by the stream, contrasting river and glacial stones.
No. 6.—A class at station No. 7.
At their feet is the smoothed and grooved bed rock over which the glaciers passed.
No. 3 enabled Mr. A. O. Thiele, State School, At No. 4, Mr. Pritchard, F.G.S., a leading Victorian Brighton East, to lead up to the formation of a big geologist and palaeontologist, showed1 large boulders of gorge from the study of a small lateral tributary. granite embedded in coarse glacial conglomerate (pud-
clingstone.) Some of these large boulders were well grooved and scratched. The essentially glacial character of these rocks was emphasised.
At No. 5, Mr. C. C. Brittlebank, who knows this famous gorge from end to end, pointed out the stratified character of some of the glacial drifts. He was also able to show evidence of the probable southern origin of these deposits.
At No. 6, Mr. T. Brittlebank, at the entrance to the canyon proper, showed how its different form was due to the marked difference in the structure of the rocks. The old folded rocks are traversed by well-marked, parallel cracks called joints (view No. 7). The angular blocks of rock break awaV (view No. 5) giving a very definite and characteristic outline to the gorge. The sides are now no longer sloping, and it is almost impossible to
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No. 7- In the Gorge.
The rocks are much folded, crumpled, and very distinctly jointed. Station No. 9 is on the left; station NO. 10 in the middle of the view. The river rushes through a narrow “ gut " at this part of its course. The rushing waters can he seen near tin* li^ln.
scale them. One face of 615 feet frowns down on the awe-inspired student. Nature is grand here, and man feels his puniness.
At No. 7 (views Nos. 4 and 6), Mr. J. W. Gray, Continuation School, showed that the floor of the valley is rounded, grooved, and striated. This is the famous “ roche moutonnée,7’ so called because, according to some, the sides of a valley, being rounded, look like sheep’s backs (moutons). According to others, moutonnée means “curled,” the resemblance being to the rounded curls in a lawyer’s wig. Models of this roche moutonnée have been made and sent to different museums. It is a valuable bit of evidence, famous in the scientific world. 'The pupils are. seeing material on which original work has been done.
At No. 8, the valley is wilder still, and the folded rocks are showing the severity of the* enormous pressure they were subjected to when the crust of the earth wrinkled. Synclines (downfolds) and anticlines (saddles upfolds) follow one another rapidly here. A tributary creek falls into the main gorge over a fine example ol a syncline, the gently-curved (concave) stratum of much hardened sandstone forming the creek bed. A few )ards below this, the thick glacial deposits rest ujx*n the side as well as on the floor of the ancient valley in which lhe\ were formed. Mr. R. Lidgett, a well-known local naturalist was in charge of this spot.
At No. 9 (view No. 7), Mr. Oliver Gray, mining geologist, from Wedderbum, pointed out a well-marked anticline, where the rocks had been strongly cleaved to form slate, due to the enormous lateral pressure. The almost vertical joints (the big parallel cracks) can be clearly seen in view No. 7, which also shows the planes of slaty cleavage at right angles to the joint planes, and across the divergent strata. These rrx'ks would split into slates the planes along which they would split are not the planes of the original bedding, but they are formed later by the greit pressure.
No. io can be seen indistinctly in the centre of the same view. The river here rushes through a narrow “ gut” in the older much-folded and crumpled rocks, and many of the party stood with one foot on either bank of the river. The water can just be seen rushing out at the foot of the “ narrow.’’ Mr. R. W. Armitage, Continuation School, was in charge of this—the furthest spot dealt with. Here also was a fine example pf a pot hole worked out by the river in the hard slates by causing stones, &c., to revolve rapidly.
The plan of procedure adapted was that twelve minutes were allowed to a class at each station. On the first signal given by bugle, each class gathered round the class teacher. On the second, they set off for their appointed stations. The next signal set the ten lessons in full swing. At the end of twelve minutes, another signal stopped the work. Classes at stations 5 and 10 turned back to stations 1 and 6, respectively. The other classes moving up one, the lessons went on as l>efore. Another twelve minutes sent the classes again from 5 and 10 back to 1 and 6, and the others moved up one as before.
After five lessons, the lower classes (1-5) changed to the canyon part of the gorge, while the other classes (6-10) went down to stations 1-5. The same programme
No. 8.-The Director addressing the Party.
'I'li« flat summit of Trig Hill can be seen in the distance.
being repeated, each pupil was able to visit the selected stations. After the ten lessons, the retreat was sounded, and all flocked back to the luncheon ground, where full justice was done to a second hearty meal. Each child had taken two meals and his own mug with him, so that the catering gave no trouble, other than the supplying of tea. Three large coppers were brought bv train and carried by the boys down to the river and back up the precipitous scarp. One pair of boys showed particular grit in sticking to their heavy burden after it had rolled them over into the river. They carried it right up the bank, and over the plateau to the railway line.
Tea over, the bugle summoned all to gather; and view No. 8 show's the party being addressed by the Director, Mr. Tate. In a vefy happy speech, he expressed his pleasure at the great success of the day’s outing, thanked Mr. Hocking, Dr. Smyth, Mr. Leach, and the staff of the school for their organization and the work done, and complimented the children on the great interest they had taken, and the fine attention they had paid. He also thanked the gentlemen who had given up the afternoon’s enjoyment to take charge of a station, and repeat their interesting lesson. lie asked the pupils to show their appreciation of the work of these gentlemen bygiving three hearty cheers. This they did with great gusto.
Professor Ewart addressed a few w'ell chosen remarks to the company, eliciting further cheers. With many-wild attempts at a real Australian cooey, the party faced the steep scarp that stood grim and seemingly vertical between it and the railway line.
The behaviour and steadiness of the pupils elicited remarks of warm approval from the visitors. From the beginning, the behaviour on these field lessons, which :s but a reflex of the school discipline, has been excellent. It has sometimes happened that I have been alone with about 200 pupils, but they are interested and are out for business, so that it is always a pleasure to take them afield. Of course, more detailed and more thorough work could be done with a smaller number, say, 20 or 25 ; but, taken even in classes, at least ten visits would be necessary to let all see one locality. Under that plan, it would not be possible for each to get more than two or three lessons a year. It is preferable to let the pupils see a large number of localities and go more often, although they perhaps derive a little less benefit on each single excursion.
Phe excellent organization tor the safe transport of the large party was the work of the principal of the Continuation School, Mr. Hocking, while the field arrangements were, as usual, in the hands of the teacher of geography and nature-study. 'The Lady Principal, Miss Robertson, and the other members of tlie school staff did yeoman service in carrying out the details of transit and refreshments, and in managing the classes under circumstances far from normal. The gentlemen in charge of the stations handled their .interesting matter in a thoroughly effective manner, adding much to the profit derived from the outing, and to the knowledge of the pupils. All passed off smoothly, and no accident happened to mar the recollection of what undoubtedly was to all a memorable day.
J. A. Leach, B.Sc., Teacher of Geography and Nature-study Continuation School, and Lecturer in Nature-study, Training College, Melbourne.
By Authority: Kobt. S. LIkain, Government Printer, Melbourne.