I parked the car and walked slowly along the Old Ocean Rd photographing the forest with the Linhof Technika 70 on a tripod from the roadside in the late afternoon. There was no traffic along the road which wound its way through rain forest to Glenaire on the Great Ocean Rd.
I didn’t venture off the Old Ocean Rd in search of a walking track through the forest, or venture into the hinterland of the Otways to look for a creek, river or waterfall. My time was limited and I had no maps. I was a day tourist on route to Victor Harbor via the Coorong. The Coorong was where I’d planned to stay for a while to photograph, not the Otways. I only glimpsed the rain forest.
I had forgotten all about these archival photos of the Otway until the FOPG field trip to Lorne came up. Whilst looking at Google maps of the Otways I realised that I didn’t know this national park at all. I had little sense of it.
My only knowledge of the Otway forest came from this brief afternoon walk along the Old Ocean road in 2016. I was on the southwestern edge of the Aire Valley rainforest, but I didn’t understand the significance of this sub-catchment of the Otways–the Aire Valley is the rainforest stronghold of the Otways.
What did surprise me was that though the early settlers cleared much of the land in the Otways and it had been extensively logged, a large part of the cool temperate rain forest thankfully remains. Its preservation from clear fell logging, which only finished in 2008, was due to a long period of community action.