A Cumberland River returning visitor's view

Over 50+ years, I've accumulated a fair bit of time at Cumbo, to the point it has become so ingrained in my life that I have Cumbo thoughts and media scattered around the internet, plus much more not yet online. Initially this site can serve as somewhere to keep track of much of that and to share some of the things I'm picking up with respect to dealing with various authorities whose responsibility for Cumbo can seem the least of their concerns. But at my age I'm also hoping this site might become something of wider ongoing use to the Cumbo visitor community. I'll say a bit more about immediate motivations below a few priority links.

Tony Smith, March 2013, updated February 2014 & videos added March 2015

Cumbo visitors survey

Talks with officialdom make more progress armed with data. If you haven't already please take this fairly basic Survey Monkey survey and feel free to pass it on.

Facebook group(s)

I don't use Facebook for anything much else, but the Friends of Cumberland River group has become my one exception.

Cumbo Cabaret 2015, 2014 and 2013 videos

In recent early new years, inspired by efforts of resident poet Myron Lysenko, kids of all ages at Cumberland River Holiday Park have put on what we before this year called our Cabaret.

LIGHT & DARK is also split at interval, but one which was pushed back a bit to serve as a rain break. One of the regular acts is the Choir of Desire who reform and rehearse in the days leading up. Their performance of camper Darren's adaptation of This Land Is Your Land is a keeper. The unanticipated lack of a sound system prevented four young acts being picked up well enough by camera microphones, so we reluctantly cut them to brief acknowledgements. THE LIGHT concludes with my presentation on Cumbo Tracks which incorporates the slideshow that served as notes.

Resuming after rain break/interval, twilight almost gone and illumination by a single flood. THE DARK's more experienced acts include Josh & Joel Meadows with two tracks from their band, The Steinbecks' new album. The acts interplay with more surrounding context of the special place that is Cumberland River Holiday Park, from snatches of wildlife to the New Year fireworks provided by some of our campers.

ENCORE: Cumbo Cabaret 2014 (part one). An edited compilation of video taken of the 2014 Cumbo Cabaret before intermission.

ENCORE: Cumbo Cabaret 2014 (part two). An edited compilation of video taken of the 2014 Cumbo Cabaret after intermission.

The 2014 Cumbo Cabaret also gave opportunity to the clientele to express our appreciation of the work of the managers of the last four summers, which it made more sense to pull out with some history and current interpretation into a separate video as they will definitely be a Hard Act to Follow.

This last is an edited compilation of video taken of the 2013 Cumbo Cabaret combined with some audio recorded after it got too dark to video and some of my then recent and archival images to help illustrate our special place.

Meetup Group

I organise a couple of other Meetup Groups, so could add Cumbo Away without much pain. It's now up to other Cumbo people what we do with it, so please at least sign up and get that discussion started.

Why me? Why now?

As I got closer to nominal retirement, my life up town became more engaged with community groups and their ever more complicated dealings with authority, so was happy to take up positions on Community Reference Groups for the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) who are the crown land authority for the Holiday Park site, at one end of GORCC's range of coastal sites which extend east to Point Impossible beyond Torquay. Hopefully my long history and many friendships at Cumbo allow me to do a reasonable job representing our collective interests, but in the absence of even a loose structure for maintaining communication between visitors with diverse interests and no time overlap, any individual's best efforts must remain idiosyncratic. Hence the survey above and the videos which might demand a bit more explanation.

In 2012 the suggestion of a safe link under the Ocean Road bridge to the main track to the beach was our top request and is still on the agenda which I should be able to add more about here soon. But by January 2013 I'd become convinced that the neglect of the traditional track to Castle Rock hits hardest, not that there aren't a few more things which could be improved without changing anything in ways that would detract from the unique attraction of Cumbo. I had nothing to do ahead of time with the Cabaret performers and performances, just shot and recorded what I could and edited it to my own taste, especially to emphasise the special place Cumbo holds in many hearts. In 2014, these efforts were boosted by having some new toys to play with, more about which when I can.


After the January 2013 auction of Little Sheoak, I broke all my own safety rules but survived an attempt to find our old Castle Rock track from above and posted my track log and pics. Four days later I tripped over my own feet doing up shoelaces in my bedroom and did myself a real injury. Before the following summer, I invested in an emergency beacon, then discovered Vodafone coverage is now quite good up Cumberland Track as you get close to the first Mt Defiance "summit" which has become my main safe enough walking territory, no longer being confident to cross rocks at a useful speed.

Very old postcard pic of Cumbo held in the State Library which I'm betting is from a lot earlier than the 1920 suggested.

Across more than a decade since lucking into site 98 for Christmas-New Year I've been somewhat focused of exploring the area above the big falls on what I have long called Rocky Gully, especially after I established and marked an easy entry point not far up Cumberland Track. Before Christmas 2006, I incorporated photos from preceding explorations into a guide to those hopes, or was it more for any rescuers that might be needed?

Still a favorite among the several Cumbo pics which I cropped to 1920x1200 to serve as desktop images for a 24 inch iMac.

As is looked in the late 1960s from a track long since overgrown
Our direct track to Castle Rock is clearly visible, especially just left of centre, in this pic from the more easterly face of Langdale Pike taken in the late 1960s.

A bigger update to cumbo.info should happen fairly soon!