Probably one of the best kept secrets in the hills is the forest of Californian Redwoods, Sequoia sempervirens, a few kilometres outside Warburton.
Dogs cannot be taken in the Redwood Forest as it is a National Park.
The following is reprinted from an entry in the Victorian Heritage Database:
‘The Californian Redwood trees were planted by the Board of Works about 1930 following clearing of the original eucalypt forest. Trees planted were: Bishop Pine, Douglas Fir and Californian Redwood. Further plantings of Radiata Pine, Western Red Cedar and Redwood took place in 1960–63. The plantations were selected for experimental purposes as part of the Board’s hydrogrogy research program.
The Cement Creek plantations provided small lots in which to study the canopy interception results in comparison with native forest trees in the Coranderrk area. The results of experiments are not known.
Why are they significant?
The Californian Redwood trees are significant because of the history and extent of the plantation. There are over 1476 trees ranging from 20 metres to the tallest being 55 metres. They are in good condition and as they are planted in a grid are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. They are a contribution to the landscape by the sheer number of trees as well as containing possibly the tallest and most interesting Sequoia sempervirens in Victoria.’
You can find this fascinating area by driving through Warburton, following the Warburton Highway until it becomes Woods Point Road. After about 7 km, look for Cement Creek Road on the left. This is unsealed and a little rough in places, but 0.7 km along you will find a small parking area on the right along a fenceline and small gate barrier. Walk through the barrier and there you are! Some great photo opportunities here.
Additionally, walking through the plantation will lead you down to the river where there are walking tracks each way.
The following is information collected by Bob Padula. This is one of many walks that he has collected information about.
“The Cement Creek Plantation is of State significance due to its associations with the extensive revegetation program conducted by the MMBW in the 1920s and 1930s, following clearing of areas of the forested catchments through fires and logging.
It is now Heritage Listed within the Victorian Heritage Database.
It is located about 8 km east of Warburton, on the Cement Creek Rd, and a small car park is located outside the gated entrance to the Plantation Reserve.
It demonstrates the scientific knowledge and availability of seed at that time, when the understanding of mountain ash regeneration was not well developed and the attitude towards revegetation with exotic tree species probably also reflected nineteenth century cultural attitudes towards aesthetic plantings.
The plantations are of particular interest for its use as part of the Board's forest hydrology research program, established in the 1940s and commenced at Coranderrk in the 1950s. The plantation represents the Board's utilisation of conifer species already growing in the Cement Creek catchment, in order to acquire comparative data on canopy interception.
The conifer plantations in the Cement Creek Catchment were established by the Board of Works from 1930, following clearing of the original eucalypt forest.
By the late 1920s, the cleared areas had become overgrown with scrub and other weeds such as blackberry.
Between 1929 and 1934, exotic conifers were progressively planted, basically as a weed control measure. The species that thrived included Bishop's pine (Pinus muricata), Douglas fir and Californian Redwood.
The Board undertook an extensive regeneration program in the Catchments at this time, particularly in areas that were failing to revegetate naturally through destruction by frequent fires. A wide variety of species were used but, in general, the Board utilised the seed and technology that was available for forest regeneration at that time.
Further areas were planted with Pinus radiata, Western Red Cedar and Redwood in 1960-63, and assessed in 1976. While the redwood species grew vigorously, the Radiata pine was of poor quality. The conifer plantations effectively suppressed any understorey vegetation.
The plantations were selected for experimental purposes as part of the Board's forest hydrology research program begun at Coranderrk in the 1950s.
The Cement Creek plantation provided small plots in which to study the canopy interception results in comparison with the native forest trees in the Coranderrk area.
The main aims of the research were to establish the relationship between vegetation type and water yield, and to evaluate the effect of forest operations on water yield and quality. Whilst the main focus was to establish data for different types of native forest catchment qualities, conifer plantations were included to give comparative data.
The experiments undertaken at Coranderrk and Cement Creek included recording hydrological processes such as throughfall, stem flow and canopy interception. In all, the 1960s-70s program involving Cement Creek included five native forest communities and three conifer plantations.
Throughfall was measured by division of the plots into a square grid of 16 positions in each plot. All positions were numbered, troughs placed to collect throughfall, and measurements carried out weekly. Stemflow involved collecting water running down the stems of selected trees by a collar diverting water into a collection hose at the front, or by a spiral wound around the tree.
The extensive plantation contains plots of Californian Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and Pinus radiata, with access tracks intersecting the plantation.
I visited the Plantation on August 26, 2012, for a 3 km hike. The Cement Creek (West Branch) is adjacent to the Reserve. A caretaker's residence once existed on the Reserve, but little trace remains.
Hiking paths pass through and around the Plantation, which were originally the access tracks.
Please note there are no public toilets at the Redwood Forest.
The closest public toilets are located at the East Warburton Public Hall.
03 5966 9600
Cement Creek RoadEast Warburton VIC 3799
Phone03 5966 9600