The Buchan Caves Reserve has the largest cave system in Victoria, formed by underground rivers cutting through limestone rock. The story of the limestone caves began some 300-400 million years ago during the Devonian period when the limestone rock was laid down. At this time the sea covered this area of East Gippsland which was alive with shellfish and coral. The remains of the shellfish and coral were compacted to form limestone. As the ocean receded and the earth experienced severe movement the landscape which we now see and experience was formed. Underground rivers carved out the caves over thousands of years to form the chambers and passages of the Buchan Cave system.
I visited the Buchan Caves Reserve with my parents and older sister two decades ago. We were lucky enough to take a tour of the underground caves and learnt about stalactites, stalagmites and the calcite rimmed pools. It was a hot summer and the underground caves offered relief from the dry heat. I remember taking photos of the caves on my mums automatic film camera and marvelling over the prints when we arrived home from our holiday.
A visit to Buchan was not complete without a visit to the Buchan pool, my memory of the pool is something I have never forgotten. The Buchan pool is forged out of bedrock and fed by water from the cave system, rich in natural minerals. Perhaps it was the water temperature that has something to do with my vivid memories of the pool, freezing cold but refreshing on a summers day.
The Buchan Caves system provokes us to think about geological epochs and their role in the formation of natural wonders.
NB: Buchan is recovering from the bushfires earlier this year. Parts of the park were sadly lost in the unprecedented fires, geotechnical assessments show that the caves were fortunately unaffected.
The Buchan Pool was sadly announced closed by Parks Victoria in December of last year following a report that it did not meet the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations.
Bend of Isles acknowledge the Gunaikurnai people as the traditional custodians of the Buchan Caves Reserve and their continuing connection to land, waterways and community. These parks and reserves are cultural landscapes that continue to be part of Gunaikurnai living culture.
Parks Victoria, Buchan Caves Swimming Pool (Buchan (AT) Cave Reserve), Parks Victoria, Viewed 13 September 2020, <https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see/sites/buchan-caves-swimming-pool>
Parks Victoria, Buchan Caves Reserve, Parks Victoria, Viewed 13 September 2020, <https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see/parks/buchan-caves-reserve>
Rose Stereograph Co 1920-1954, The Picturesque Swimming Pool, Buchan, VIC, accessed 13 September 2020, <https://viewer.slv.vic.gov.au/?entity=IE868941&mode=browse>.