X marks the spot

Frank Bergersen searching for "Tod's Reef" on the slopes of Mt Tennent
Frank Bergersen searching for "Tod's Reef" on the slopes of Mt Tennent Photo: Tim the Yowie Man

It seems that Bushranger John Tennant’s
fabled secret stash of gold (Tennant’s Treasure,
March 17) isn’t the only loot waiting to be
found on Tuggeranong’s Mount Tennent.
During the week, I received a remarkable letter
from Frank Bergersen, of Kambah, the
contents of which, despite the recent landslide are
almost enough to lure me back onto the steep and
slippery slopes of the 1383-metre high mountain –
this time, in search of a naturally-occurring bounty.
In the late 1950s, Frank used to accompany his
dad, Tod, on trips to visit Doug Thomson, of Tennent
Homestead, now a ruin. ‘‘Many of my boyhood years
were spent rabbit shooting at the base of Mount
Tennent,’’ Frank writes.
‘‘Tod was a keen shooter and one day he was hot
on the heels of some wild goats when he encountered
an impressive outcrop of large, clear quartz crystals
sticking up out of the side of the hill like giant fingers
– each about 15 inches long.’’
According to Frank, so intent was his dad on his
quarry that he chose to ignore the crystals and kept
chasing the goats, ‘‘eventually losing them near the
rugged peak’’.
For years, it had always been a point of frustration
for Frank that his dad missed a golden opportunity.
‘‘Several years ago my curiosity got the better of me
and, while Dad was still alive, I asked him to mark
with an X on the map an approximate location of the
outcrop,’’ reveals Frank. ‘‘I’m not sure how good
Dad’s memory was, so I take his X as an approximate
location plus or minus a square kilometre or two!’’
Mount Tennent is now part of Namadgi National
Park, so even if Frank does stumble upon the
proverbial needle in a haystack, he’ll have to leave the
crystals in situ. But this hasn’t deterred the selfconfessed
rock hound, who is reluctant to entertain
the idea that someone else may have found the
crystals in the last 50 years, or even that the recent
landslide might have covered them up. ‘‘It’s all about
the thrill of the chase, I’ve spent countless hours over
the last two years unsuccessfully scouring the slopes
of the mountain, and don’t plan on giving up the
search yet.’’
A bushranger’s hidden cache, a hunter’s lost
crystal reef, what next for Mount Tennent? The final
resting place of Harold Holt?