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A popular picnic spot for D’Aguilar National Park visitors, the Gantry is not only picturesque in its bush setting, but is a significant historical site in the Moreton Bay Region. Best of all, unlike other attractions in the Mount Mee section of the park, Gantry is easily accessible by two-wheel-drive vehicles, being only 150 meters from the sealed Sellin Road.
The Gantry was in fact an active sawmill producing timbers which were used in the Moreton Bay Region, including the Hornibrook Highway which connected Sandgate and Clontarf, a distance of 2,686 metres, making it Australia’s longest bridge at the time.
When you drive around D'Aguilar National Park, you get a real appreciation for how difficult it would have been in the early days of sawmill operations. The only reminder of those industrial times is the skeleton of the huge shed, erected in the 1950’s by Hancock’s Sawmill to house the overhead gantry crane.
A gantry, by definition, is a crane with hoists, fitted to a trolley for parallel movement. If you ‘look up’ inside the skeletal remains of the gantry shed, you can see what remains of the gantry system used by the sawmill for over 30 years.
The Gantry Day Use Area is a popular picnic spot, with grassy areas under the shade of gumtrees, for those that enjoy a sit down blanket lunch, or alternatively there are a number of picnic tables and shelters available for you to use. There are also BBQ’s onsite along with toilets and water. Please note with tap water, it must be treated before drinking, so it’s a good idea to bring along your own supply. The picnic area has ample parking if you’re looking to bring along some friends, with an area specifically for bus parking.
If you’re looking to stretch those legs and enjoy everything Mount Mee has to offer, there are two excellent walks from the Gantry you should look at.
For those looking to get their step count and heart rate up, Somerset Trail is considered a Class 4 Track by Australia Standards. Beginning opposite the Gantry, this track passes through scribbly gum forests, rainforest and dry open forest. About halfway along you can enjoy views overlooking Somerset Dam and Lake Wivenhoe to the west. You will need to ensure you are wearing appropriate shoes and walking gear for this trail and remember to bring water, as there is no drinking water available along the trail. Energy snacks, a hat and sunscreen are also recommended.
Classified a Class 2 walk by Australian Standards and only a one kilometre loop, Piccabeen Walk is a delightful relaxing stroll. You will enjoy the rainforest setting and grove of piccabeen palms, whilst also learning more about Mount Mee from the information signs along the path. Walk usually take 20-30 minutes and is perfect for families with small children. If you’re just visiting the Gantry to enjoy a day of bushwalking, there is a separate car park from the primary Gantry picnic area on the left hand side of the road, after the main Gantry picnic area turn off.