Scrubby Creek Cave
The Geology and Early Exploration

Scrubby Creek Cave holds a special place for Victorian cavers. Scrubby Creek in its upper reaches for the most part is dry, its water having been captured from seepage along the contact of the volcanics and the limestone. The water emerges at the foot of a bluff depositing extensive tufa as it flows down a waterfall to rejoin Scrubby Creek on its way to the Buchan River. Tufa is the term for the calcite deposits which form once the cave stream emerges from underground. These tufa deposits are some of the best in South East Australia.

This spring at the foot of a small bluff was recorded by A.E. Kitson in 1907 and Frank Moon in the 1930’s tried to free-dive it. However, it was not until 1960 that the Sub Aqua Speleological Society (SASS) tried to dive the resurgence with little success, but then Peter Matthews looked at a small hole slightly above the outflow at the base of the bluff. With a bit of enthusiastic digging, progress was made and several trips later SASS managed to get back down to the water that disappeared into a sump after several hundred metres of beautiful passage. Water levels were high and it took several trips before this sump was passed. Several more trips were needed to get as far as a muddy passage known as Trog Wallow. This led to a large rock fall through which it was difficult to find a way on; but which opened into a large chamber now known as Christmas Hall. Along the floor of Christmas Hall the stream can be followed to where it emerges from rocks. The cave now extends for some 1.5 km of passage, including the high level extensions.

Since these first major discoveries, several high level decorated galleries have been discovered, as well as a passage which leads to Siren Sump which is related to Storm Water Tunnel cave, a related cave which takes a lot of water after rain events. There were a series of unsuccessful attempts to climb to what appeared to be some high level passage in Christmas Hall and various cavers have to no avail poked at the rock fall at the end of Christmas Hall from where the stream emerges. SASS, and subsequently Victorian Speleological Association (VSA), have worked with the owners, the Woodgate family for some 50 years to ensure that all caving is responsibly conducted.

Author - Nicholas White

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