A Travellerspoint blog

February 2017

Day 30 Queensland to Western Australia

Ellendale Pool to Mingenew

Today was one of our lazy days as we knew we weren't travelling far.
We had a good night's sleep at Ellendale pool, so I was up and on my pushbike cycling alongside the Greenough river. It was so peaceful in the morning, just the twitter of birds breaking the silence and the smell of campfires and cooked breakfast.

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Beside Greenough River

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Australian Ring Necked Parrot

When I returned to camp, I went walking amongst the shrubs trying to find some more orchids and the smaller birds that frequent this area. I did find some of both and a Ring Necked Parrot too. This took me to the upper part of the campground where our friends were camping, so I stopped for a chat and said good-bye to them. It was late morning by then, so I did my part of packing up the caravan and we were soon on our way to Coalseam Conservation Park.

As it happened, we were on the wrong road, the one we were on was the Depot Hill road to Mingenew. Oh well, we decided we would stay at Mingenew tonight and drive the 12kms back to Coalseam tomorrow.

It was along Depot Hill road where we saw the Brown tourist sign for Depot Hill. Lucky there was plenty of room to pull off the road with our car and caravan.
At the parking area there is an interpretive board that tells of the Gregory Brothers finding this place in 1846 and burying their supplies here. Depot hill was used by explorers and coal prospectors and was an important stock grazing area as it had year round water from the Irwin river.

During World War 2, it became an important Army Firing Range, now there is a 1.5 km return trail for the public to walk to the old historic Firing Range. It is a fairly easy walk, you may see mounds used for exercises before reaching the firing range. Local residents tell of seeing Tanks embedded in the earth on Depot Hill! There were plenty of armoured vehicles here and this was the location where extensive training exercises took place between 1942 - 1944.

Before I walked the trail, I took a look at the rusty steel cut-out and read the board about what went on here.

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The heading read....

"Come on - look smart you fellows! Gerry's not going to give you all day to get a bead on him. And keep your damn silly head's down or you'll get hem shot off...
By crikey - I knew they were sending me a raw bunch but I imagined you might have known how to reload by now! Take that long in a scrap and you'll be in real strife."

The cut-out shows the Sergeant bellowing out these orders to his young Soldiers. Usually the Officers were older men who may have served during WWI. They pushed the young Soldiers hard and demanded discipline, finally turning them into excellent Soldiers.

It was time for the walk, only 30mins to the old firing range.

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Everlasting Daisies

This area was covered in 1000's of Pink Everlasting Daisies, what a picture they made! Along the trail were quite a few garden seats, these were appreciated on a warm day. I was extremely happy to find my first Cats Paw here, a brightly coloured dwarf Kangaroo Paw.

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Dwarf Kangaroo Paws

There was more to see, like the stunning blue Dampiera, some Cowslip orchids, pretty Thryptomene and others I need to identify some-time in the future. The floral emblem of Mingenew is the Bird Beak Hakea which grows wild here along with many species of Orchids.

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On arrival at the Mingenew Spring council operated Caravan Park, we found nobody at the office, so we chose our own site as we were told to do by the notice on the door.
We were happy there were plenty of gum trees for shade and nice green lawns as the weather was quite warm, even though it was August and Winter. The caravan park is located next to the original Mingenew Spring which is now dry.
The Park was smallish, clean and tidy with 35 powered bitumen sites and non-powered caravan & camping sites. If you haven't your own accommodation, there are en-suite self contained units, semi-self contained rooms, a double cabin with en-suite and on-site caravans. and several self contained units.
There is a camp kitchen, BBQ area, small Laundry with 2 washing machines and one Dryer, costing $4 for a wash in 2014. There were a couple of outdoor clothes-lines. There are amenities for disabled people. The Showers and Toilets were clean, but the shower area and drying area was so small, I couldn't dry myself in there, not good! A large person would find this small space extremely difficult. I had to have the hot water on full to be able to have hot water!
The park did advertise meals which would have been nice only I think the days were Friday, Saturday & Sunday nights only.
If the shower block was upgraded, then this would be a really good park, as it is, even though everything else was good, because of the showers I

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Murals at Mingenew

The area where Mingenew is situated was first explored in 1847 by brothers Augustus and Thomas Gregory when they were looking for some good grazing land for their cattle. Settlement was in the 1850's then the Midland Railway opened in 1891. It took until 1906 before Mingenew became a town.

Mingenew was named after Mingenew Spring, an Aboriginal word meaning either Minganu "the place of many ants" or Mininoo "the place of many waters, today it's known for sheep farming and growing of wheat and lupins. As Mingenew is known as "The Grain Centre," I wasn't at all surprised to find prominent features of wheat around the town. The Mingenew Co-operative Bulk Handling is the largest inland grower receival site facility in the Southern Hemisphere, with a holding capacity of 403,000 tons.

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Tourist Information Centre

We went for a drive around town, first beginning at the Tourist Information centre located in the historic old Post Office building & residence built in 1894. As this centre is run by volunteers, it is only open limited hours, and some days it is shut. I was lucky to find it open and to have a chat with the friendly local lady who was only too happy to fill me on where the wildflowers were and to give me a map. This isn't a large centre, but it still has all the info you need for exploring Mingenew and area. There was a small section of souvenirs and arts and crafts and jams the local people had made. I even picked up some free magazines from here that local people had donated for giving away to tourists.

Wheat sculpture ( Big Ears)

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A short walk from the centre was the giant wheat stalk in Cecil Newton park, no prizes for guessing what the locals call it "Big Ears!"

Our next stop was at " Drover's Rest" located at the base of the hill that is the town look-out.

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This area is known as Drover's Rest, as it was here the Drovers stopped with there stock to give them a well earned drink from the water troughs. The water was piped from Mingenew spring to here. A Rain-water tank at the rest stop has a good collection of old work boots strung around it, looks like anybody can add a boot if they wanted. A few pieces of old farm machinery and a cut-out cow made from corrugated iron are at the site, as well as a Picnic shelter and picnic bench. There is plenty of room to pull up with a car and caravan. You can walk a track to the top of the hill, or drive your car which is what we did.

Mingenew hill was discovered by the Gregory Brothers in 1846 who described it "as a remarkable ironstone Hill." In 1901, it was made into a reserve.

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View from Mingenew Hill

Even though Mingenew hill isn't that high, it's high enough for good views over the surrounding plains where fields of wheat were growing. We could see the road we came into town quite easily and also the town and some industries. Some yellow Everlasting daisies were flowering, evidently it gets quite pretty when they are all out! Quite good for viewing the countryside!

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Old Railway station.

The old Railway Station, built to service the new Midland Railway line that opened to rail traffic in 1894, was an important station and the main depot on the line for the Midland Railway. The Railway Station and residence were built of stone, had a iron roof with a breeze-way between the buildings. Barracks, Station master's house, small signals shed, goods shed, timber yards and trucking yards were all built. The 'Goods shed" was where the engine could be parked for maintenance by the team of men from Walkaway. Many of these buildings have been demolished.
Since 1975, when the last passenger train went through, the building has been leased to the Shire and the Arts Council and now is used by the Mingenew Art & Craft group.

As with many of these small country towns, they are trying to attract the tourist $'s by making the town more attractive. I think they are doing quite a good job.

I read Mingenew had 5 murals, all part of the "Painted Road" trail. The "Painted Road” trail is a series of murals along Midlands Road, I missed a couple but saw some extras, so I think there may be more than five. The idea of the Murals is to capture part of the local scenery & history.

The first one I saw was "The Droving Scene," which takes you back to the early 1900's. It shows a Drover taking his herd of Longhorn cattle to the Lockier River for a drink, another was the Centenary mural painted by local school children & members of the community. A good one on the wall of the machinery shed in the Museum, is " Hope’s Wheelwrights Shop Mural." Samuel Hope & Sons operated a wheelwright & blacksmiths shop near the Mingenew Spring. They were such excellent wheelwrights, that teamsters always came back to them for wagon repairs. The Westrail bus shelter in the Main street has local scenes of wildflowers, gum trees & windmills, but the one I liked the bestl was "the Emus" painted on the Toilet wall at the Tennis club.

There is a story about the mural that goes something like this.....

Long ago, there were a lot of Emu's that frequented the Tennis courts in Mingenew, enjoying a game of tennis on the lush green grass. No tennis racquets, not a problem as they used mallee sticks as tennis racquets. The Emu's haven't been seen for ages, but ghostly forms have been seen where the Tennis club now stands.

It was decided to paint this fun mural in honour of those Emus! Now they stand guard forever and oversee the goings on at the Tennis courts.

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The Emus

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Located at the western and eastern ends of Mingenew, the local Shire has erected banner display paintings which represents many of the important events and landscapes seen in and around Mingenew. They include landscapes of wildflower scenes, sporting events such as the Races & Polocrosse Carnival, Expo, historic churches and the Universal Space Network which gives access to children all around the world to space programs.

I just had to stop and take some photos of these, at the same idea thinking this was a go-ahead town!

That completed another good day of touring.

It was time to settle down and make plans for our stay at the Coalseam National Park tomorrow.

Posted by balhannahrise 21:14 Archived in Australia Tagged birds walking australia murals western trails wildflowers Comments (0)

Day 31 Queensland to Western Australia

Coalseam National Park

Today is a short drive to Coalseam National Park, no getting lost today as I have a map from the Mingenew visitor centre to follow. We had no trouble finding the park today.

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Driving through Coalseam National Park

Campsite

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I had read about Coalseam Conservation park and all the wildflowers and was thinking at the same time how nice it would be to camp there. To get a site it was first in best dressed and if the Miner's campground was full, then you could stay at the Breakaway Campground.
We were only coming from Mingenew, approx. a 30minute drive away, so we knew we would be fairly early and likely to get a good site.

Volunteer Rangers greeted us and booked us in, as we were early we could choose our own site and tell them the number later. Already campers were here, the lucky ones had stunning river views!

We chose one amongst the wildflowers, a nice flat area with room to sit outside the Caravan. Most of the sites were taken by the end of the day.

This is bush camping where both caravans and tents are permitted. Sites were dirt and set overlooking the river or in-between the wildflowers which is where our site was. There were toilets, bbqs and picnic tables, but no drinking water, not a problem as we always carry drinking water.
It wasn't crowded, but on weekends it's extremely busy in wildflower season, and a 3 night stay limit is in force between late July and October.

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Picnic area @ campground and Galah

What a stunningly beautiful area to stay, so peaceful, the quietness only broken by the Galahs squawking as it was their nesting season!
I rode my bike to some places, others were close to the camp so I walked, and some sites were further away, so we drove to them.

River Irwin and Fossil cliffs

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Thousands of fossils can still be found at the fossil site. We drove to this site, then walked down into the sandy, pebbly River Irwin. There was only a little water running in the river, although enough to make it difficult to cross without getting wet feet. A short walk and we found a crossing that led us to the high cliffs on the other side of the river. It is in these cliffs where the marine fossils are embedded, left-over from the Permian sea that once covered this area. The fossils are small and can be found, actually quite easily once you have found one and have an idea what to look for.

Views from Irwin Lookout

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On the same road was Irwin Lookout which had an off road car-park and a track to the cliff edge where we had magnificent views of Breakaways and over the cliff edge to the Irwin river below.

After enjoying these views, we followed the 560 metre loop trail to another area for more great views, and then back to the car park, via a track through the bush where I found some wildflowers. An interpretive board informed me Peregrine and the majestic Wedge Eagles are seen soaring around here, none were around at the time.

Wildflowers

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Across the river from our campground was the Johnson mine shaft and viewing platform, located along the Miners walking trail. The old mine shaft is fenced off for safety reasons, but you still can see way down the shaft and take photos through the wire.
Signs tell me the shaft was sunk in 1917, and that if I looked hard, I should be able to see some of the coal seam at the bottom of the shaft. The shaft once had timbered sides that went down the mine for 15 metres. Above, was a tall wooden headframe. Good coal was found here, but the seams were too thin to be mined economically!
I believe this is WA’s first coalmine.
The Miner's walking trail is 700 metres return and is estimated to take 30 minutes.

Irwin River walk

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On my bicycle was how I reached River Bend. Leaving my bike by the ford, I was able to walk along the nearly dry river bed to River Bend on the Irwin River. I loved the cliffs along here, the colours in them and the shapes carved by the wind. It was interesting seeing what type of flora could manage to grow out of them and survive!

Irwin river & cliffs

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Along here, the rock layers are exposed. I could see quite a large volume of water came down this river at various times because of the way the trees had been swept and the rubbish caught in them. This is how people get caught out, and then washed away.

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I knew no rain was expected anywhere, so it was ok. If you know storms are around or in nearby areas where the River Irwin runs through, do not walk along the river bed.

A lot of the wildlife at Coalseam is nocturnal, so is only seen at night. Animals that live here are Echidna, Euro and Red Kangaroo. Reptiles found are Stumpies or Bobtails, Sand Goannas, Western Blue Tongue lizard, Western netted Dragon, Mulga snake and a few others. How-ever, I found the birdlife to be plentiful and readily seen. It was the Galahs who were most prevalent. Coalseam has a lot of dead trees which many hollows from where branches have fallen. This is the perfect place for a Galah to nest, which is what they were doing at this time of the year.
Mum, Dad and baby Galah could be seen sitting on the dead trees, and sometimes a head was poking out from one of the hollows.

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If you couldn't see them, just head towards where the squawking was coming from. Honey-eaters love the wildflowers and I saw many of these, too hard for a photo though! Red Robins, Ringnecks, swallows, cuckoo shrikes, bronze winged Pigeons and many other birds are found here.

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Coal seams in the Irwin River

A walk alongside the Riverbed near our campground was different to the one I did at River Bend. Once again there are plenty of interesting shapes and rock, but it is the cliffs that have changed. Here, they are not the red/orange colour, but a dark brown with plenty of coal seams that can be easily seen. This rock strata includes glacial rocks which were laid down during the Permian Ice age, estimated to be 250 million years ago. During the ice age, glaciers carried huge blocks of rock gouged out by the ice and deposited them hundreds of miles away.

Irwin River

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It was another interesting walk that was worth doing.

This is one of the top places to find wildflowers in Western Australia, but the ones that put on the biggest and best show, are the Everlasting Daisies.

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These are everywhere, and are so attractive that I had to stop myself from taking too many photos. Tracks weave their way through them, a carpet of pink, gold, cream and white everlastings transforming this area to one of exceptional beauty! Look out where your walking, just in case you run into a snake!

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This Conservation Park, is among the most botanically diverse areas in the northern Wheatbelt region of Western Australia. Woody heath plants flower profusely in spring along with the spectacular everlastings. (dependent on rainfall to how good they flower).

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After a full day of walks I was ready to sit outside the caravan and enjoy the colour. This was a wonderful National Park, really, it had a little bit of everything!

Tomorrow, we are heading to Perenjori to see more wildflowers

Posted by balhannahrise 21:14 Archived in Australia Tagged animals birds cliffs park walking australia national camping western trails fossils Comments (2)

Day 32 Queensland to Western Australia

Coalseam N/Park - Perenjori - Lake Indoon

The temperature dropped overnight at Coalseam National park, this meant we didn't really feel like getting out of bed this morning! We had to, as today we were moving on, hoping to see some different wildflowers as Perenjori is known as 'The Heart of the Wildflower country.' In the Aboriginal language, its name is "Perangery", meaning water hole

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Perenjori is a small delightful town in the heart of Western Australia's wildflower country. Come wildflower season to see it at its very best. Between July - October, the countryside is a blaze of pink, yellow and white Everlasting Daisy flowers, but If you want to see the rare Wreath Leschenaultia in flower, I think a flower not to be missed, then come here between September and October. Perenjori is also known for its wide variety of rare native spring orchids.

Perenjori township was established prior to WWI, when the land in the region was opened for selection. Life was very hard for the farmers, many struggling to survive, then the railway came along in 1915 and cropping methods improved, this helped the Farmer to make a go of living on the land. It's a typical wheatbelt town, where you find Wheat Silo's, a railway line, Hotel, Churches and some shops. The town has a lovely main street, complemented by large stands of gum trees, and one of Monsignor Hawes famous churches.
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The Perenjori area wasn't settled until gold was discovered at Rothsay in 1894. Rothsay, is located 70kms from Perenjori and is a true gold mining ghost town with some deserted buildings including the mine manager¹s house, the battery foundations and a few old Miner's graves.

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The Perenjori Tourist Information centre, was in 1925, the branch of the Bank of New South Wales. Now, it is a Pioneer Museum, the Info centre and the Wildflower Way Tea Rooms. On the side wall, I found a big mural depicting the area and some old farm implements.

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This centre is run by volunteers and is open in wildflower season, not sure about the rest of the year. The local lady was very helpful, giving us a mud-map of where to find wildflowers locally, including the Wreath Flower.
There is a small range of gifts, souvenirs and local crafts, I bought a Calendar of wildflower photos put together by the local people. We also enjoyed a very nice Devonshire morning tea at the centre.

As we have been travelling around Western Australia, we have come across many rusty steel cut-outs describing the history of towns and areas. At Perenjori, we were greeted by some of these beautiful signs as we entered the main street.

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At either end of the street are four signs, each with a different cut-out showing what Penjori is known for.

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The other cut-outs were erected for the 2012 Centenary Celebrations. Perenjori Shire asked if a Peoples Pathway, consisting of 22 steel cut outs could be constructed, their wish was granted!

I was able to pick up a Peoples Pathway route map at the Tourist Information centre that was numbered and had quotations about each. The signs provide a way of stepping back in time, meeting some of the town's characters, seeing the jobs they did and the how they led their lives over the past 100 years. These signs are interesting and informative and are sure to put a smile on your face, they did for me!

The Perenjori Peoples Pathway is all along both sides of the main street, an easy flat walk to do of 1.4 kms.

'Late for School'

I am at the beginning of the main street and at no 1, which is titled "Late for School." The cut-out shows a brother and sister dinkying.
The girl is saying
"Sit still Billy - if you keep wobbling around we'll fall off! We're already late for school because you were outside mucking around with the dog again!"
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This interpretive sign tells of the first school opening in Perenjori in 1912. A school for 13 children who were taught by a teacher who came out from England. The Perenjori area is quite warm in winter, hot in Summer. Just have a think about those 13 children trying to learn in a school made from hessian, trying to study in extreme heat and with lack of air and wet when it rained, these were the terrible conditions they had to contend with each day.
Eventually, a second school was opened in 1914, then a third and current one was built and still is being used today.

"Off to work!"

If you have read some of my other reviews on Western Australia, you would have come across Monsignor John Hawes.
Father Hawes has built one of his Churches here in Perenjori. This steel cut-out shows Father Hawes with his dog, Dominee.
Father Hawes is saying "Come on Dominee - we need to get these tools over to Mr. Crothers in a hurry. And maybe we'll have time to lend a hand - I do love the actual building work!"
Later on, when I reached the other end of the street, I came across St. Joseph's Church that Father Hawes built in Perenjori in 1936. At the time, he was 60 years of age, still working hard like a young man, actively involved in all the construction work of the Church. When the Church was finished, some locals called it "a cross between a flour mill and a shearing shed," not a kind comment to make!

"The CWA and the Silverchain ladies."

This cut-out is about the ladies of the CWA. The CWA is a large women's organisation in Australia, whose aim is to improve the conditions for country women and children and make it a better life for their families. You find CWA's in rural & remote areas mainly, as it's in these areas where these women become isolated, many work as hard as their "man" on the land. The CWA is involved in local projects, festivals and other community events.

"It's our pleasure Sister - we do appreciate the work your doing in town, and we'll do our best to put together some more care packages for you next week."
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"A crusty, warm, one pound white!' - Looking at this cut-out, I know straight away this is about the town Baker.

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"Ah, good morning Mrs. Jones! Would you like your one pound crusty white straight from the oven? And oh, that heavenly smell - even after all these years I still love it!"

I have to agree, the enticing smell of freshly baked bread is enough to make you walk into any Bakery! Well, it was back in 1926 when Dick Pugh opened the Bakery in Perenjori. They went through 10 Bakers, so I don't know what was wrong!. In-between times, when awaiting the services of a new Baker, local lady "Mrs. Watters," had to take over the baking! The Bakery only closed down in 1996.[/centre]

'Leg of lamb coming right up!' - A man holding a meat cleaver, this must be the Butcher! It sure was!

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One leg of lamb coming right up! What else can I get you on this lovely afternoon? I've just made some of my special fat pork sausages...."

It was on this vacant spot that the Town's Butchery once stood. This was one of a few operating in Perenjori. This one was thought to have been built some time between 1920 - 1930, another Butcher's shop was built near the Hotel around the same time.
The most "interesting" Butcher at Perenjori, was Joe O'Dea, who in 1912 succeeded in winning the right to supply the railway construction teams with meat. He had a mobile slaughterhouse, not what you may be thinking of.....It was a strong branch of a tree where he could hang the beast from and then cut it up into quarters. Evidently he was quite a character and quite liked by the people of Perenjori.

"Pass the Piggy Bank" - The Teller and his tiny customer.

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"Well now, what have you got there, young Miss Mary? Is that your piggy bank I see? And how long have you been saving to fill that up with your pennies I wonder?"
I guess most of us remember putting some coins in a Piggy Bank and wondering how much was in there when the Bank Teller was counting the coins.
Perenjori's old Bank is still standing and is the Tourist Information Centre now. The opening of the Rothsay gold mine is what prompted a Bank to be built in Perenjori. In 1935, the Bank of New South Wales opened its doors in this building, it had been operating as a branch in another building in Perenjori since 1925.

'Passing time' Smoko at Craske's Garage

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I dunno Frank - the town's been awful quiet these last few days. Good thing we've got old Mr. Smith's Ford to work on, and usually there's more folk buying petrol toward the end of the week.."
This empty site was where Frank Craske's garage stood for decades! Frank was a bloke who loved a yarn, so many a time, a local would join Frank on a seat outside his garage to listen to one of his yarns. His garage wasn't the first in town, that was further along the main street, Franks was the first to have plans submitted to the Road Board before it could be built. Evidently, this caused quite a discussion between the locals, something never heard of in a small town like Perenjori!

'A trip to town' - A day out for Mrs. Farmer.
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Come on Tommy - hurry up! The car is just over the road, and I don't want to be late for the meeting down at the C.W.A. I do love these trips to town each Thursday afternoon!"

I think by the time you have reached Perenjori, you will have realized that homes/farms are well spread out. Think back to earlier days, when there wasn't much way of communicating, nor good transport or roads, how lonely it must have been for the wife/mother living on the land.
No wonder, the weekly trip into town was a real highlight for many of the farmer's wives, what else did they have? Nothing really! Their men worked from daylight to dark and were tired by the time they came home. It was long days for them, so they didn't want to deal with the children, it was up to her to see they were quiet and not annoying their father after a long, hard day.
A trip into town for supplies of fresh fruit, vegetables and groceries gave her a chance to chat to the store-keepers and who-ever else was in town. It was a much needed break!

'Another Pot please' - A beer spill at the Bar

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"It's alright Clarry - don't you be fussing about your spilled Beer. Here's another for you, on the house. But goodness me, you don't need to be so nervous around me - I won't bite you!"

This cut-out was out the front of the Perenjori Hotel that was built in 1919, using second hand material transported from a demolished hotel at Greenbushes. When first built, it didn't have many rooms, but it did have an underground cellar for keeping the Beer cold, and an underground tank for water supply. In 1920, a full-size billiard table was added for some entertainment. The hotel was extended in the 1930's and is a good size now. The Perenjori Hotel has Hotel & Motel rooms, meals 7 nights a week, dine in or takeaway.
I bet Clarry isn't the only one to spill his Beer at the Bar!

'Short back and side' - The Barber at work.
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"Strewth Con, you're a hopeless case!That is a mighty fine bunch of carrots indeed - a credit to your shop. But for goodness sake don't make me laugh or I'll slit poor Joe's throat!"

The Barber didn't have his own shop, only a room at one end of the Hotel. A man by the name of "Ernie Duthie" was the Barber for many years, and the local SP (starting price) Bookmaker! I think business may have been VERY GOOD, as the men of the town loved a bet on the horses and he was the man to see, highly illegal of-course!! The local shop-keepers came here for their hair-cuts, probably parting with more than a few dollars required for the hair-cut!

'Next man in' - Late for Cricket.
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Wait! Wait for us - we're coming as fast as we can! Couldn't find my jolly pads - the damn dog had dragged them off the verandah. Come on, run Fred, or they'll start without us!"

Cricket is a sport which groups of children can get together and have a lot of fun, back then and today! It wasn't until 1930's that sport took off in Perenjori. Cricket was played at the recreation grounds and became so serious at one stage, that the town became divided!
The two teams were the "old Brigade," made up of Adults only. As the young men weren't allowed to join, they formed their own team, named the "Reklaws," named after their captain "Stuart Walker," only spelt backwards. Both teams played against other towns, but would never play against each other until 1938 - Peace was restored in Perenjori!

'Washing day' - The Ganger's wife at work

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"Oh bother, the wind is getting up again - if it blows any harder all my clean washing will get dusty again! And your father does like his work trousers to be just right..."

This cut-out is about the days when many railway houses that were quite basic and without many "creature" comforts were positioned between the main street and the railway lin. The story tells how hard it was for the woman of the house, as without electricity, the washing was done in a copper, usually full of boiling water in which the clothes were put and swirled around with a wooden pole. Beneath the copper was an area where a fire was burning to keep the water hot. A hot job to be done in hot weather at Perenjori, as well as the cooking, cleaning and looking after the children! The last thing the woman of the house needed, was for her clean washing to become the colour of the red dirt and needing to be re-washed!

'Give us a smooch!' - Look who has left the dance early!
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Come on Mollie - give us a smooch! Your father can't see us out here - he's still inside at the Dance. And you know, I think your pretty special....."

Perenjori was just like any other small country town in Australia, where the social life revolved around going to a Dance or a Concert. It wasn't until the 1960's that television came along and the Dance attendances fell.
Before the Dance could be held, the local teenagers would decorate the hall with crepe paper, the girls cut the paper and the boys hung it from the ceiling. Lastly, the floor had to be waxed or have saw dust thrown over it, then the hall was ready for the fun to begin!
Back home they went and changed into their "good" clothes to attend the dance where a talented local would provide the music and singing for the evening. The Charleston, the Military two step, Barn dance would have been a few the young ones would have danced to. Many couples slipped out during the evening, hoping to go un-noticed, just like Mollie and her admirer.

'Down the line' - Taking the Trolley to work

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Keep at it Merv - just a couple of miles to town now, and I can smell that first beer at the pub! Strewth, but it's been hot out there today - and hard yakka too!"
The railway line opened in Perenjori in 1915, giving a much needed boost to the area. Goods could be brought into Perenjori quicker, and farmers could send there produce to markets in Geraldton or Perth. The Railway line needed looking after, so any maintenance needed doing was done by the two men on the Trolley.

'Pass the spanner please' Repairs at Maurice's Machinery
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Hey Wally - Pass me the big shifter will you? I think I can reach that darn bolt from in here, but I'm kinda stuck and I know old George wants his truck back by lunchtime."

As years passed by, Horses were replaced by machinery, this meant more garages and machinery dealerships were established in Perenjori. The first Tractor in the district was in 1915, and the first car, a T Model Ford arrived in the 1920's. Then along came a Reo truck, the owner giving the children rides around town in his new truck, imagine what a thrill that would have been! Eventually the young lads bought Motorbikes, finally putting an end to the days of Horse & Cart.

'Wheat for the world' - Bag by brutal bag

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"Blimey, I can't wait for this new bulk handling business to get going properly, these blooming bags don't get any lighter! And watch-out for that darn Carpet Python again!"

I bet those sacks of wheat were heavy, these days with "workplace health and safety," the bags are much, much lighter and easier on your backs. The men in the early 1900's were strong and worked hard in the heat, first bagging the grain in the paddock, and then loading the bags onto the back of a Dray, or truck with elevators coming later on in time. Each bag weighed 80kg, a back- breaking job! I wonder how many have suffered with bad backs? Thank-goodness, in 1936, the first bulk wheat silos' were constructed next to the railway line in Perenjori. The farmers put corrugated iron sides to their trucks so the wheat could be taken from their farms in bulk to the Silos. It wasn't plain sailing though, trouble was finding a way to get the grain from the truck into the silo! Eventually it happened and now we have modern Silos and large Road-trains delivering wheat to Silo's today.

'That's a funny hat you've got on young fella - won't keep the sun outta your eyes too well!'
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It was gold that people came to Perenjori to mine in 1894, much later in the 20th century, iron ore was found and the huge Karara mine located 60kms from Perenjori was established. As it was a remote area, miners were 'fly in - fly out.'

The farmer with his trusty dog used to round up the sheep

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These rusty-iron cut-outs have made people stop and spend some time in Perenjori. I really loved them here and the many other places I have found them.

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Back on the road again, we travel to Three Springs, another small town in the area. A stop at the park and then to the Tourist Information centre to find out we have missed the Wildflower show by a week!

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Talc Mine near Three Springs

At least we found out about Australia's first Talc Mine, located around 10kms away. As neither of us had been to one, we made our way there and up the lookout where we could view the entire open cut mine where talc is mined and exported for use in the paper, paint, ceramic industries,cosmetics, agriculture use and carving blocks. 360° views were over the lush farmland and the Pink Lakes, a series of salt lakes located 8km east of Three Springs. During the spring season, the entire lakes turn crystal pink in colour.

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Time was getting on, so we made our way towards Eneabba, stopping at Dookanooka Reserve to look for more wildflowers.

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The road from Three Springs to Eneabba was one of the best for finding all types of wildflowers roadside. This is where I saw my first Blue Leschenaultia, a pretty light blue flower I really loved! The area is very good for seeing Banksias in the wild, lucky us, they were in flower and looked fantastic!

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Stopping the car must have scared a small flock of Carnaby's Cockatoos, now classified in WA as ‘rare or likely to become extinct’ and federally listed as an endangered species. In the past 50 years there has been a 50% decline in the population of these birds. These Cockatoos are only found in Australia, found no where else in the world.
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Eneabba didn't appeal to us, so we went onto Lake Indoon to see what the FREE camping area was like. We liked what we saw, now all we had to do was find a good site, of which there were plenty.

Lake Indoon
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We like to be on our own a bit, as we run a generator, you need to be fully self-sufficient when camping here.
We had views of the lake, Birds in the tree beside us and it was very quiet! We were the only one camped this side of the main entrance, most campers had stayed near the Toilet block which has showers too, only you needed to be the first in to get hot water. There were picnic shelters and free bbq's and a Rainwater tank and rubbish bins. It was a great camp spot, one I would have happily stayed longer

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At Lake Indoon

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Endangered Flooded Gum & Stilt (water bird)
Gum trees are found all around Australia, but some of the trees near the Toilet block, a sub-species Eucalyptus Rudis or Flooded Gum, is only found at Lake Indoon.

Tomorrow we head for the coast

Posted by balhannahrise 21:14 Archived in Australia Tagged churches birds sculptures australia camping western drive wildflowers Comments (5)

Day 33 Queensland to Western Australia

Lake Indoon - Green Head - Jurien Bay

We were camped at Lake Indoon, a quiet spot where we saw lots of birdlife, including Water hen, Ducks, Swans and Stilts. This morning was beautiful, fine and sunny with nice lake reflections. After a leisurely breakfast, we packed up and drove to the scenic Indian Ocean Drive, our starting point for heading south towards Perth.
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Lake Indoon

The start was quite boring scenery, just low lying bush and not much else. After stopping for fuel at Leeman, we found roads leading into seaside communities, the first was Green Head. There are several roads into the coastal town of Green Head, the one we took passed by the whitest of whitest sand hills I think you could ever see! They were beautiful!
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Just a short 5 minute drive from Green Head is Point Louise, the main surf break, but its also a good spot for snorkelling as the water is very clear and a reef is close by. Point Louise has a car-park and look-out, and a track that leads down to the point, which is an interesting formation made of calcarenite, a form of limestone. This juts out into the sea like a finger. I really liked it here as I like clambering over the rocks and finding rock pools, or just sitting on rock trying to see a fish in the crystal clear water. Well, I didn't see a fish, but my husband saw a Sea lion from the look-out!
The Leeuwin Current that comes here, brings with it tropical sea life as the water is warm, corals and sponges cover the limestone reefs. This is a very healthy area for sea-life to live, so come for a snorkel and see it for yourself.

Point Louise
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Green Head is the home of a million-dollar rock lobster industry!
Fisherman's Island, near Green Head, is an Australian Sea Lion breeding colony you can visit on a Sea Lion viewing tour.

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Either side of Dynamite Bay

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Dynamite Bay @ Green Head

We thought Green Head was a pleasant place for a beachside holiday, with nice lawned parks, free Toilets, picnic areas and look-outs.

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After leaving Green Head, we travelled along Indian Ocean drive towards Jurien Bay. Approx 6kms from Jurien Bay, we saw the Brown tourist sign pointing to a road that led to Grigson's Look-out.

Grigson's Lookout is part of Mt Lesueur National Park. At the look-out were notice boards explaining what we were looking at and a stone Cairn built here in 1875. We could see for miles and miles! There was a 45km chain of salt lakes, formed a few thousand years ago when the sea level was much higher and the lakes were lagoons connected to the ocean. In the same area, was Grigson's farm where four generations have lived. The Grigsons bred Draught horses and horses for the Australian 10th Light horse regiment and whom the look-out is named after.

I found more wildflowers and a Quandong tree at the Look-out.

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The Quandong tree is an Australian native that grows in arid and semi-arid regions of all Australian mainland states
If you happen to be lost and starving, this tree would be good to come across as the fruit they produce can be eaten and has good medicinal properties. A Quandong is a native Peach.

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Quandong Tree and Quandong Fruit

Quandong fruit can be peeled and made into jams, chutneys and Quandong pies, or perhaps you would like a cup of Quandong tea to drink as a purgative. The leaves can be crushed and mixed with saliva to produce a topical ointment for skin sores and boils and the tree roots can be ground down and used as an infusion for the treatment of rheumatism.
During times of drought and the depression years when money was short, the Quandong was used as a food source a lot.
The flowers form in late summer, then the fruit forms and is ready for harvest in early spring.
When ripe, the fruit turns scarlet and is about 2cm in diameter and contains one large nut or kernel in the centre.

Quandongs have always been known by the Aboriginals and eaten by them.

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Entrance to Jurien Bay

This was our last stop before driving onto Jurien Bay, a very popular seaside town with families from Perth. We have booked into a Caravan Park for 2 nights, tomorrow we go to see the Pinnacles.

Posted by balhannahrise 21:14 Archived in Australia Tagged lakes beaches birds fishing hiking boating wildflowers Comments (4)

Day 34 Queensland to Western Australia

The Pinnacles and more!

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Jurien Bay
We spent the night at Jurien Bay, a seaside town that has something for everyone - fantastic fishing, great beaches and a good range of accommodation options

From Jurien Bay, we are going to see the Pinnacles located in Nambung National Park and then returning for another night here.

Before leaving, I went for an early morning walk and was surprised to find the seafront Café abuzz with people! The area looked like it had recently been done up. There was a new jetty, seating, interesting ceramic murals and a good children's playground. A shared bicycle/walking wove its way along the Esplanade.

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The old jetty pylons were in the bay as well as Australia’s largest gull, the Pacific Gull.

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Pacific Gull

This is a very big Gull, and quite a clever one, believe me! One stole my brand new fishing rod while on holiday in Tasmania, dropped in the ocean, never to be seen again. They also have worked out how to open shells to get the food inside. This is done by dropping the shell from a great height, picking it up and dropping it again until it breaks open and they can get to the food. Take a look at its massive yellow bill, tipped with scarlet.

Named the Pacific Gull, they are hardly ever found on the Pacific coastline. They are usually found on beaches beside the Southern and Indian Oceans. They breed in colonies on islands from eastern Bass Strait to Shark Bay in Western Australia.

As I walked back to the Caravan Park, I noticed a good selection of Banksias planted beside the Caravan Park fence. We were here in August, this appeared to be a good time to see them in flower.

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Banksias
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The Banksia is native to Australia and has quite a unique flower that lasts a long time as a cut flower, then can be kept for years as a dried flower.
There are 76 species of Banksia, 60 of them only found in south Western Australia.

We decided to go to the Pinnacles first and were glad we made this choice as we arrived at the National Park at opening time, (9.30am), this way we had the park pretty well to ourselves. Nearly 200,000 visitors come here per year from all over the world.
We had to show our Parks Pass to enter, then we were given a brochure and information on what we could do. From here, we made our way to the very modern and informative Visitor centre.
I thought this was a very well set out and a really informative centre that had interpretive displays and multi-media presentations. Not only does it tell you the history of the Pinnacles, but what kind of creatures live in the landscape and you can see them too, even though they are stuffed! In spring, the wildflowers are out, and here you will find out what you will see.

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Visitor Centre

Another interesting piece of information I read, said they were probably only exposed in quite recent times. About 6,000 years ago, Aboriginal artifacts were found. Since then, it is believed they were covered by shifting sands, before being exposed again in the last few hundred years. Even today this action takes place, so I guess the Pinnacles could be completely covered and uncovered again, creating more weird and wonderful shapes over and over again.
It really was a good idea doing this first as it gave us a lot of information on the Pinnacles.

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Quote.....
"The Pinnacles are the eroded remnants of what was once a thick bed of limestone beneath the sand. The raw material for the limestone of The Pinnacles came from sea shells in an earlier epoch rich in marine life. There shells were broken down into lime rich sands which were then carried inland by the wind to form high, mobile dunes. Winter rain leached the lime from the sands, cementing grains of sand together in the lower levels of the dunes. Vegetation became established and stabilised the dunes. At the same time, an acidic layer of soil and humus developed over the remaining quartz sand. This acidic soil accelerated the leaching process, and a hard layer of calcrete formed over the softer limestone below.
Today this calcrete can be seen as a distinct cap on many Pinnacles and has helped protect the softer limestone below. Cracks formed in the calcrete layer and were exploited by plant roots. Water seeped down among these channels to leach away the softer limestone beneath. These channels gradually filled with quartz sand. The subsurface of the erosion continued until only the most resilient columns remained. The Pinnacles as we see them today were exposed by prevailing winds blowing away the overlying quartz sand. The Pinnacles, then, are the eroded remnants of the formerly thick bed of limestone."

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It was back to the car to drive the Pinnacles circuit, you can walk around them if you want. Once again I was glad we were early as the road through the Pinnacles was narrow, there are slow moving vehicles meaning if caught behind one, you have to wait until you reach a pull-off, and you will probably want to stop there too! In saying that, this is no place for driving fast, you need to go slow to enjoy the sights. As you can see by my photo, the track is rather sandy, but is solid, so alright for conventional vehicles, just not oversize ones. Another advantage for us doing this early, was when we stopped to take many photos, we weren't holding anybody up, and we did stop many, many times!
I don't know the best time to come, although I have read around sunset is nice as the colours soften and the shapes turn a pinkish colour.

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So, we drove slowly around, marvelling at these strange formations that have been around for 25,000 - 30,000 years! There are literally thousands of huge limestone pillars, quite a contrast to the surrounding low heathlands typical of this area. Some pinnacles are four meters tall, some are jagged, sharp-edged columns, rising to a point, others resemble tombstones, colours can be quite light to golden yellow, no two are the sam

A Galah can be a silly, stupid person, or a Rose Breasted Parrot, it is the latter I am talking about. We were here in August, which coincided with the nesting season of Galahs. We had previously seen many nesting in the hollows of dead trees but never expected to find them in the Pinnacles, after all, there weren't dead trees here so there wasn't anywhere for them to nest, OR was there?

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Unbelievably, there was!

We saw several families of Galahs who had nested in the hollows made by the wind in various Pinnacles. We stopped and watched for a while, a head popped out, it was so cute! These were not silly or stupid Galahs, these were clever ones!

Lake Thetis, located in the Nambung National Park,happens to be one of only a few places in the world where living marine Stromatolites, or 'Living fossils' can be found.

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As I walked the boardwalk to the viewing platform, I saw some Shingle back lizards and birds before reaching the look-out over the water, where upon looking into the lake's water, I could see many Stromatolites. They were nothing spectacular to look at, rather like an old cow pat lying in the shallow water, but it is the age that makes them very important. The drier months when the water level is at its lowest, is the best time to see them, it was like that when I saw them. The walk around the lake was a flat and easy 1.2 kms. Interpretive boards explain what Stromatolites are.

These Stromatolites were around 3.5 billion years ago, and the ones in Lake Thetis are believed to be 3,500 years old!

They are some of the oldest living fossils on earth.

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Stromatolites @ Lake Thetis

Back at Jurien Bay, we took the road to Badgingarra, a nice drive over rolling hills when suddenly the largest Echidna we have ever seen ambled across the road. A car in the opposite direction pulled up the same time as we did, all of us getting out of our cars with a camera in hand.
The Echidna was in a hurry, so not the best of photos! I followed him into the bush where he began digging a hole to bury himself, another 10 mins you would not have known an Echidna was there.

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Echidna

The Echidna is sometimes called the spiny anteater and is native to Australia. It has 2 types of fur - A coat of short, coarse hair which insulates echidnas from the cold, while longer hairs act as spines. These are a creamy colour and are very sharp, rising when a predator comes near them, so don't try and touch one, as to them, your a predator! On a hard surface, they roll into a ball to protect themselves, they are quite safe when they do this, as nobody or anything will come near them then!
We were out in the bush, an ideal home for them as here were plenty of ants, termites, grubs, larvae, and worms that they find and dig out with their pointy snout. Once the echidna finds its food, it uses its long, sharp claws to dig into the soil and expose them, licking them up with its long, sticky tongue. Echidnas do not have teeth. I found it interesting that they can lift objects twice their weight and they can swim. I never knew a baby Echidna was called a "Puggle," and is born blind and hairless! Last of all, they can live to 50 years of age, perhaps this big one was an oldie!

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Badgingarra is a small wheatbelt town with a National park of the same name. We went to a lookout and then I did a Wildflower Walk where I found plenty of new wildflowers.

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The park is home to reptiles, emus, kangaroos and a variety of bird life including bustards and wedge tail eagles. A 2km trail begins next to the Badgingarra Roadhouse. This one has a steep hill with a lookout, so you need to be fit and allow 1.5 hours to complete it.

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Adjacent to the Badgingarra National Park is the Vern Westbrook Trail.
I walked the 3.7km trail, that took me along the Hill River to the top of a breakaway that is named after farmer Vern Westbrook, one of the pioneers of the area.

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This walk was a little different, as along the way are signs and sculptures made from junk. The children of Badgingarra Primary School, with the help of a local Artist, made 12 "junk bug" sculptures out of "found" materials. I thought the walk pretty easy going, although further on, some places are difficult to work out which way to go.

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Every important site is signposted, so I easily found the old stockyards and dam, used by drovers who supplied horses and cattle for the Indian Army. Another interesting find, were trenches dug during World War II to defend the road back to the Moora Hospital from a feared Japanese invasion.

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On reaching the top of the breakaway, it was time for a breather and a drink, at the same time taking in the views of Mt Lesueur and towards The Pinnacles and up the valley towards Moora. Once section of this trail was thick with bushes all flowering in profusion with pink flowers, a wonderful sight.
I found some Spider orchids, but not the purple enamel orchid.
The Vern Westbrook Walk is 3.6km east of Badgingarra on the North West Road to Moora.

Well, that was the end to another good day, particularly for the variety of wildflowers I found.

Tomorrow we go to Moora and New Norcia

Posted by balhannahrise 21:14 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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