Glenn Blunt led 13 Batemans Bay bushwalkers down a forested track, along a mostly dry creek bed and up the rocky side of a gully near Nelligen on a 6.5-kilometre circuit to Billy's Hut.
The occupant of Billy's Hut was William McCarthy who emigrated from Ireland in his late 20's and became known locally as "Black Flat Billy". Living alone in the dry stone walled hut that he constructed according to the traditions of his homeland, he was a true bush character, an illiterate bachelor whose only company was that of his dog, pig and a diamond python.
The hut is now almost invisible amongst the trees & brush, a few metres from the creek he used for water and quarry that was the centre of Billy's small world.
Prospectors began making gold strikes around Nelligan in 1860 but it wasn't until 1890 that the Mines department kept a more systematic record of mine shafts.
It is a testament to those early prospectors that they could detect a site and sink a shaft that would yield "liveable" amounts of gold.
The group of bushwalkers fell silent, contemplating the reality of such an isolated, simple life that held none of the comforts of a modern world. The hike took walkers through the forest and into a bygone era.