Friday, 28 March 2008

Surprise, surprise

In 1836 the explorer Major Thomas Mitchell climbed Mt Napier and saw a little hill to the south that he named Mt Eeles. Major Eeles and Mitchell were veterans of the Peninsula War. The name stood until 1855 and then a Surveyor General's map showed it as Mt Eccles, a typographical error that has stayed with us ever since.

Mt Eccles is only a little bump on the horizon. In the photo below it is the hill on the right.

In fact, it is a volcano, and there is a lake in the crater called Lake Surprise. It is a suprise too, because you can't see the lake until you are standing on the rim of the crater. It's normally about a kilometre long and 30 metres deep and you can walk down into the crater and 'do a loop' on a well-maintained track. The mountain is now a National Park, a very popular picnic and camping spot. The information centre is pretty good too. The photo below, taken from the summit, is from a booklet called Volcanoes in Victoria. It must have been taken a while ago because the lake doesn't look like that now. I was there last week and the water level has dropped considerably, as you can see in the third photo. Presumably the drought/climate change is having an effect there as well.

Lake Surprise, Mt Eccles

Lake Surprise, Mt Eccles

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