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Day 29 - Queensland to Western Australia

Chapman Valley - Greenough - Walkaway - Ellendale Pool

Even though we had a good nights sleep at our campsite, it was time to move on again.
The Chapman Valley is a rich sheep farming and crop growing area, we saw both. The fields were full of bright yellow Canola as far as the eye could see.



We didn't stop at Geraldton on our return visit, instead we passed it by on our way to Greenough, a historic settlement located 25kms south of Geraldton.
I had picked up the free Greenough/Walkaway Heritage trail," a 57km car trail to follow that took us to the settlement of Greenough and around the back roads where over 30 sites were marked to see.

We began following the trail from Greenough Pioneer Museum on Phillips Road off Brand Highway, then looked for the signs bearing the Heritage Trails Network symbol.


The Museum was once known as Home Cottage when built by convicts from Port Gregory in 1862. It was John Maley, his wife and family of 14 children who lived in the homestead between 1862 and 1880. His wife was the daughter of the first German migrants who came and settled in Western Australia, in fact, this area is where all the first migrants came and settled in Western Australia.

A cottage garden and a large old Pepper tree were in the front garden of the 11 room homestead. The Pepper tree is not an Australian native, it comes from an arid zone in South America. Pepper trees were obviously brought to Australia by the early settlers who settled in the eastern states of Australia in the 1870s. This Pepper tree was brought here 1876 by Baron Von Muelier who was a friend of John Maley. It's thought this may possibly be the 1st Pepper tree in Western Australia.

Home Cottage

We entered through the front door to where some volunteers were working, they were happy to have a chat to us and about the history of the house before setting us in the right direction with a fact sheet of what we would see.
This house has many original furnishings, musical instruments, clothing, toys, hand made lace work and the every day items used in running the homestead. Outside are sheds where farm machinery and other old pieces are on display and we could go down the cellar.
It was interesting what I saw, but in my opinion, nowhere near as interesting as many I have seen. At least it wasn't expensive, so for what we paid it was worth it!


Maley's Mill was a big old stone building built between 1860 - 1863 and used as a flour mill and general store. When this was first established, there were many other buildings near this mill, all of those have long gone. The Mill operated until 1891, now it is used as a shearing shed. The Olive trees that were planted over 100 years ago are still alive and doing well. It wasn't open to the public.


All along this coast experiences a lot of wind, but just how much wind?
We passed by trees that were blown over badly by the super strong and salty southerly winds that come in off the Indian Ocean and burn off the growth on the windward side and cause the tree trunks to grow horizontal to the ground. It was an amazing sight!

At last we were at the Greenough historical village where the buildings are the remains of the once thriving village of Greenough, which in the 1860's had a population of 1,000 people.

Those early settlers had a hard life. Natural disasters, floods, heavy rains, hail storms and drought led to many crop failures resulting in the settlers finding it hard to pay their lease rent. If that wasn't bad enough, a cyclone passed through causing enormous damage to homes and crops. Many farmers deserted Greenough to try their luck in the newly discovered goldfields of Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie.
In the 1900's, the few farmers that remained here began producing chaff for feed. By the 1930's all the mills had closed and the town eventually fell into ruins nearly becoming a ghost town.

Now all that remains is the few buildings in the historical village and some other deserted stone buildings along the country roads in Greenough.

Paying our entrance fee at the Greenough Cafe & Visitor Centre, we began our walk through the village of 11 stone buildings, each can be looked through, each has some original furniture.

Buildings in the village were St. Peters Catholic Church and some old convent buildings and the Presbytery built in 1900 for the local catholic priest who lived here for 30 years. Monsignor John Hawes, whose Churches I had been seeing was the architect.


The Police Station and Gaol would be the largest building left standing in the Greenough Historic settlement.


This white limestone building once housed the court house, constructed in 1867, the police station and gaol built in 1870 and the Telegraph & Post office built in 1873. Lucky the building was huge as it was used as a place to stay by the visiting Doctor, the School teacher, the Police Sergeant and the Magistrates. It had a kitchen where meals were prepared for the Prisoners. I found their cell blocks and read with interest, whites and blacks were kept apart. Four cells were for the "white" prisoners, either one or two people to a cell, and the Aboriginals were put in the larger 5th cell where they were chained to an iron bar. A small enclosed yard was where the prisoners exercised.


Out the back I found quite a large area where the horses would have been stabled and an old well and some Tamarisk trees. The high stone wall surrounded the whole house and the stables. This building was used for quite a number of years as Government offices.


Goodwin's Cottage
There were a few old cottages, one of them was "Goodwins" cottage. a four roomed stone building with a front verandah built by the Catholic church as a home for retired Policeman, "Ned Goodwin." He and his wife lived here until Ned died in 1912, then the Church took over the building again and converted it to a school where the Presentation Nuns schooled the children.


Hackett's Cottage

Another Cottage is known as "Hackett's" cottage. This cottage dates to 1888 and has been extended several times. There was once an adjoining store which Ned ran, this has long since gone. Ned was a very busy man, as not only was he running the store, but he was the community Undertaker, Carpenter, Blacksmith and Cobbler, he sure could multi-task!

There are some other cottages, all which you are able to enter and have a look around. Some have more furniture than others, all have a sign beside each with the history on each home.


Maley's Bridge was built by John Maley whose cottage we had previously visited. Built in 1864, it supports were made from the local limestone by "ticket of leave convicts." These were convicts who were allowed out to do work like this as their behaviour was good in prison. The bridge was being repaired when I was there.
Near the bridge, was a stone barn, also thought to be built by "ticket of leave convict labour" around the same time. This building has been used since then for horse stables and as a shearing shed. As with all the properties in this area and on the heritage trail, they are all classified by the National trust.

Another church on the trail was Wesley chapel, built in 1867 by "ticket of leave convict labour." Near the Chapel was Gray's Store, located on a cross -road, I imagine this was a pretty busy intersection in the 1800's when horse and drays plied the roads with settlers coming here for their supplies. The heritage listed store was another constructed by "ticket of leave Convict labour," and another that has stood the test of time.


Hampton Arms Inn

The Hampton Arms Inn is a two-storey stone and iron building with single-storey wings each side of the main section and a stone stable block. As it's an excellent example of the Victorian Regency style, it's listed on the National Trust heritage register. The Hotel was named after John Hampton, the Governor at that time.

It is one of a few buildings from the village of Hampton which has survived. The village was established in 1862 and the Hotel opened in 1863. It was the district's first hotel, so of course it was very popular, somewhere for a Beer after a hard days work, a chance for the ladies to dress up to attend a social gathering or Ball being held here, and place where important meetings were held. Fun in those days was very different to today!
In 1868, a ploughing match was held adjacent to the hotel and for several decades it was a centre of social life. The 1870s, and this area experienced a series of droughts, floods and fires causing a decline in patronage at the Hampton Arms Inn.
The Hotel closed in the 1890s and was used as a farmhouse until it was bought in 1978 by Judy and Brian Turnock, who over 16 years have been restoring it. A restaurant was opened and the ballroom completed and now you can come to this Pub and enjoy a meal, a beer or wine, afternoon or morning tea and even stay the night in their accommodation.


Around here, the paddocks were growing something we hadn't seen before. On having a closer look, I found they were Lupins, the first I have seen growing this way instead of in a cottage garden., I have grown them in my garden and I have seen them growing wild in Europe and the U.S.A, but I had never seen them being cultivated!
Evidently, Lupins grow extremely well in the sandy Western Australian soils, in fact so well, that Western Australia produces about 80% of world production and is the world’s leading lupin producer.
The Lupin is part of the legume family that includes soy beans, peas and lentils etc. Lupins are the world’s richest natural source of protein (40%) and fibre (37%). The Lupin has a lot of wonderful benefits including being cholesterol free and are a great alternative for people with Coeliac disease or following a gluten-free diet

Clinch's Mill was on the route, another on private property that we could only view from the road. When this Mill was first built in 1858, it was only a single storey building built from local sandstone. Originally the Mill was owned by Edward Whitfield who in 1869, sold it to Thomas Clinch, who quickly went about renovating the Mill, eventually making it a massive three stories high. He added rooms and then built a home for himself and cottages nearby for his workmen. He then began producing flour using a horse driven mill stone.


Still following the heritage trail, we came to the small town of Walkaway where a big wind turbine was beside the road for people to view. Having seen these windfarms in the distance, it was a great opportunity to see just how large the blades are.

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The nearby wind farm provides clean energy from 54 of the worlds largest wind turbines, each are 80 metres high and each have three blades stretching 41 metres. When running at full capacity, the Alinta Wind Farm can generate 90 megawatts of electricity which is enough to supply about 60,000 homes. Internal computers monitor the wind's direction and speed. The electricity is produced and fed directly into Western Australia's electricity grid.

Ellendale Pool

Near the end of the day we had reached the Ellendale Pool, our final destination on the Heritage trail.
Ellendale Pool is a stunning naturally formed water hole in the Greenough River about 45km south of Geraldton on Ellendale Road, via Walkaway.

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On one side is the day use area & Campground set amidst gum trees, and on the other side is a sheer cliff made up of beautiful colours. The cliff changed colour through-out the day, it was especially beautiful for a few seconds at sunset.

I was lucky to be quick enough to catch the sunset, what a beauty it was!

I went walking and found some orchids and heard and saw lots of small birds that love hiding in the fairly dense bush, plus some Parrots feed on the grass seeds.
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At Ellendale Pool is a lovely rusty cut-out of Bimarra the Serpent, who created the Greenough River and came to live in Ellendale pool. This is one of the connections the Aboriginal people have with Ellendale pool, a place they think is a lovely as the surrounding countryside. They would come to Ellendale Pool and camp for a month as food was in abundance here and easy to catch. They caught freshwater Perch, Eels and Mussels in the pool, plus Echidna , Kangaroos and lizards on the land. It was here they sat around the fire and told their dreamtime stories that kept their culture alive.


Stories about the Serpent is one of their dreamtime stories that you will find in their paintings all around Australia. The story goes- Bimarra was born from a large rock in the Greenough River and was supposed to live in a big cave in the cliff face, but hasn't been seen for a long time. If you hear a splash, you will know it is Bimarra telling you he is still here!
The Aboriginals come here these days and throw sand into the water as a sign of respect and to let Bimarra know they are still there.

It was such a nice campsite that we decided to stay the night.


Toilet and barbecue facilities, picnic benches, rubbish bins, fire-places and cold showers are all available for a mere $5.00 per night per site and it's limited to three day stay. An honesty box has been provided, so we were more than happy to put our $5 in the envelope provided and into the box. You would be a pretty mean person if you didn't do this!

Posted by balhannahrise 21:13 Archived in Australia Tagged animals birds walking australia village sunsets heritage scenic western drive historic area 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.


Driving through Coalseam National Park



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.


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


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


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.




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


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

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.


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.


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


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.


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!


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).


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 35 Queensland to Western Australia

Moora - New Norcia - Gingin

After a good stay at Jurien Bay it was time to leave. Instead of taking the coastal route, we decided to head inland to Moora, another town located in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt, on the banks of the Moore River, about two hours’ drive north of Perth.
This area was once only known for wheat and sheep farming, now different types of grain are grown and people come to see wildflowers.


Moora was a town I was pleasantly surprised with. As with many of these wheatbelt towns, they now are catering to bring tourists to their town.

Here they had 'The Carnaby Cockatoo Interpretive Walking Trail,' an easy flat walk of 3.5 kms one way, starting at Apex Park and following the banks of the Moore River where the Carnaby Cockatoo lives, I was lucky enough to see a flock of them. Interpretive signs are along the trail.

Moora had a town walk I followed, beginning at the Moora Town Clock that had been refurbished with beautiful stained glass panels, replacing the original clock tower from the late 1950s. It had interpretive boards on each side explaining what each stained glass panel represented.


The northern side displayed "a country theme with sunshine and music as its base, depicted by a didgeridoo, guitars, music notes, country style hats, stars and a abstracted sun."

The eastern side is made up of "local Aboriginal icons, which includes turtles, fish and kangaroos set into the shape of a water bird standing-stock still, as in camouflage. The clasped hands appear below an abstract tree."

The Southern Panel represents a "family unit made up of father, mother and three children in negative flat steel form surrounded by a stained glass design depicting garden flower."

Some-how, I missed the western Panel, probably because the sun was in the wrong direction. It is lit at night, although I wasn't here to see it, I read the panels stand out at night better than in the day time.

The Drover's Inn

My next stop was at the Drover's Inn, a typical Australian hotel built with spacious verandahs to give respite from the hot sun.
Mr. FWG Liebe who constructed His Majesty's Theatre in Perth was the builder of this Hotel too, as such, there are some similarities to "His Majesty's Theatre,", like the polished staircase, domed lounge hall , finely carved oak mantles, polished cedar bars and marble tiles. The exterior was built from local freestone and machine made bricks.


Across the road was the old Post Office which was still being used today. It was a very strong looking building with white stone walls and a gabled roof. A colonial Architect created the style.

A favorite with me on the town walk was Federation Park, created in 2001 to celebrate the centenary of Federation.
The three sculptures in the park are all to do with working on the land.

The first is the Australian Draught horse. There's a beaut sculpture of this massive horse that was brought to Western Australia in the late 1830s, up till then, the heavy draught work was done by Bullock teams. When the agricultural industry took off after the gold rushes, these draught horses were needed. They were known as the gentle giants, and were very important in opening the land up for rural use.

Beside the Draught horse, is the Kelpie, an Australian sheep dog, used for mustering and droving sheep with little or no guidance.
It's master (farmer) whistles and the dog knows what the whistle means and obeys! These dogs were a lot of help to the early settlers.

Lastly, is the beautiful mural on the wall showing Draught horses standing while the cart they are pulling is loaded with hay.
Federation Park is all about remembering the hard work these animals did in opening up the area for settlement and commemorates Moora's agricultural heritage.

I crossed the road as I had noticed a mural on the Moora Shire council office building that faces the park.
Shire council mural

This one tells the story of how the water tables have risen, as a result, the land has become salty and is no good for anything. We saw a lot of this and many salt lakes in Western Australia. When the land was cleared, not a tree was left standing, later they found out his was a big mistake! Now they are trying to reverse the damage by planting many trees, this you can see in the mural.

Moora Shire 100 years old

Also in the park is the 100th Anniversary sculpture commemorating Moora Shire celebrating 100 years in 2009. The sculpture depicts the culture and heritage of the local community, complete with an indigenous painting.


Only a short walk from the Murals was the Victorian gothic, St. James Church. Up until 1911, church services were held at the Moora police station, then this delightful little church was built. It really had an English feel to it, I loved the stone work and its English appearance. I read it was built similar to the one at Stoneyfield in England, the birthplace of Walter Padbury, who bequeathed a large amount of money for its construction. I had just been walking along Padbury street.

Another mural close by really surprised me, as it showed Moora devastated by floodwaters in 1999, when a one in 300 year flood occurred! Walking around on a hot day on dry and dusty dirt made this hard to imagine.


This happened in the early hours of March 21st, 1999, catching the town by surprise. If you have ever witnessed flood waters, you will know how fast and furious they travel, this is what happened here, not helped by the early hours either.
The mural shows the town and the depth of the water, it was deep!
Once again, people rallied around, helping to sandbag the town, give help and support, a shoulder to cry on, and gave donations of food, clothing and money. This was country people at their best.!

1999 must have been a bad year, as another two floods came through the town, one in May and the other in August.


My walk took me through a nice garden where a sculpture was of a leaf, then over the railway line to the sculpture 'Scrap Iron.'

During WWII, Army training camps were located at Moora. It is estimated 50,000 men went through these camps. Once again, the people of Moora supported these men. The ladies of the Red Cross knitted socks, balaclavas and scarves and did other helpful tasks for troops stationed in the area, and for those in Perth hospitals and overseas.


It was here the war memorial stood and the tin soldier known as 'Scrap Iron', made by local artists as a tribute to the servicemen in the Moora area during WW I 1939 - 45. Across the road was a Mural depicting an Army scene.


I was wondering why there were so many murals, then I found out Moora is a town on the Painted Road trail, which if you follow, you will find more towns with murals.

After doing plenty of walking in Moora, I was glad to sit in the car and rest my feet before our next stop at New Norcia.
We hadn't gone far and we were pulled over by the Police as a wide load was coming through and completely taking up the whole road, quite a sight to see machinery this huge and one with so many wheels!

I had read quite a bit about our next town - New Norcia - Australia's only Spanish town and only Monastic town.
"The town was named "New Norcia" in memory of the spot the founder was born."

Since 1847, it has been run and owned by a group of Roman Catholic Monks. Designed in the style of a Spanish Benedictine village, New Norcia has grandiose buildings standing in amongst the Australian landscape. It takes your breath away when you first set eyes on it!
Did I see a Monk? No, I think they were hiding inside the Monastery. Monks here are independent of others and promise to remain in the Monastery for the rest of their lives, they are known as‘Benedictines’

"All monks should greet anyone who arrives at their monastery gates as "if it were God Himself who had knocked."

New Norcia

It all began in 1846, when some Benedictine monks arrived here to establish a Mission for the area's Aboriginals. It was here I read all about their journey, how their first building was a Bush Chapel, and how New Norcia grew to what I was viewing today.

I followed the heritage trail past most of the buildings. Every building has a interpretive board so I knew what I was seeing.


Located 132 kms from Perth, it's an easy day trip, so no wonder more than 700,000 people come to see the town every year!
Don't expect lots of souvenir shops or anything like that, it isn't touristy at all! You can buy a few things at the Art Museum & gift shop as the monks produce Olive Oil, Beer, and Nut Cake to sell.


Unfortunately I found the interior of many of the buildings had to be done on a day tour, as I hadn't allowed time for this, I missed seeing the interiors.


One building was St. Gertrudes, built in 1908 as a Convent College for the girls who were cared for by the Josephite Sisters. Today it is used by Monks who educate visiting catholic children. Another is St. Ildephonsus, once the Boy's college at New Norcia. The building is no longer a college, but is used for large groups who can come and stay here.

I found a small Flour Mill and another larger one, this was because the original mill became too small to handle all the wheat being grown in the area that was leased by the Mission. The Mill produced enough flour to sustain New Norcia. Bread, Macaroni and Spaghetti was made from the flour.
Small Flour Mill

In the 1850's, this original Flour Mill used to be surrounded by shearing sheds, stables and other buildings, now it sits alone! It is one of the oldest surviving buildings in New Norcia

The Large Flour Mill

Bread is now baked in the Monastery's New Bakehouse daily in a wood-fired oven to a century old Benedictine technique.
Opposite the old original Flour Mill, is the old Police station. The building was built with similar features to the rest of the town. .

Mission cottage and the Old Police Station

Mission Cottage was an old white-washed house built as a two room cottages for Aboriginal couples in the 1850s.
The cottage in my photo was one of these cottages, built in 1860 as a worker's house, slightly longer than the other cottages as it had 3 rooms.

Benedictine Monastery

The Monastery is located where the original Mission building from 1847 was once located. The Monks once had 55 people working for them, today, there are still about 50 people working for the 26 Monks, who live the simple life within the Monastery.

Benedictine Monastery

The Monastery has some beautiful wrought iron gates, brought out from England in 1903. Just inside the gates, is a statue of St. Benedict of Nursia, regarded as the father of Western Monasticism.

Monastery Gates

You can be forgiven for thinking you may be in Spain, as the Abbey Church really looks like a Spanish Church. It was constructed from bush stones and held together with mud plaster and tree trunks. This rather plain Georgian church opened its doors in 1861, since then additons have been made, one of them is the appealing Italian Renaissance influenced façade and Bell Tower. The newest section was built in 1920, especially to house a massive church organ brought back from Germany, only one of two in Australia.

Abbey Church

It was the 1870's and the town of New Norcia was growing. Some new buildings were needed to house those who came here to begin their monastic life, so the Novitiate was built and used for that purpose. Most of the building is how it was, only the original shingle roof has been covered with corrugated iron. Look for the sundial on the north wall.


It was still too early to call it a day, so we continued on our way to the town of Gin Gin, a smallish agricultural town surrounded in pretty scenery.
This area was discovered in 1836, by explorer George Fletcher Moore, who used the Aboriginal name of "Jinjin" as his record. In 1841, Gingin station was established, then in 1883, Gingin was declared a township.

Gin Gin

At just 92 kms north of Perth and on a weekend, we found it very hard finding a park and the Hotel full and over-flowing! Beside the Hotel was a nice large park in which Gingin Brook was running through. Located here was a replica waterwheel of one that was situated on Gingin Brook at Cheriton Farm used to drive the flour mill.

A picturesque small Church and graveyard caught my eye as I was walking around the park. As it's historic, I was able to learn about it from the information board located at the Church.

St. Lukes Church

Back in 1859, when the land at Gingin was surveyed, 12 acres was allocated to the Church of England. Local residents rallied and managed to raise £160, then the colonial Government chipped in with another £25, enabling St. Luke’s Church to be erected in 1860 and officially opened in 1861. The Church has been in continuous use since then.
It is built from locally quarried Casuarina stone in what is known as vernacular style of architecture which has gothic elements and relates to the English style of Churches.

St. Lukes historic cemetery

Surrounding the Church is a very old cemetery which dates from 1853-1903. It's in this cemetery where graves of the first European settlers of the Gingin district can be found. I think the old style graves are quite lovely as many have intricate iron-work surrounding the plot. In modern times, this never happens.

Finally, our day was coming to an end. We chose to stay at Willowbrook Farm caravan park that had very good reviews, unfortunately, it didn't live up to them.

Posted by balhannahrise 21:14 Archived in Australia Tagged animals Comments (0)

Day 36 Queensland to Western Australia

Gingin - Yanchep National Park - Perth

A violent storm whipped up during the night of our stay at Gingin, Waking up to water sogged ground, my heart went out to those in tents who were up and about trying to dry things. Today we were heading to Perth.

Two Rocks

Our first detour was into Two Rocks, a seaside town named after the two prominent rocks offshore from Wreck Point. We went for a drive to see the Two Rocks Marina and found it was a good place to get a view of the giant ‘King Neptune’ limestone sculpture who has been a landmark for many years.


When driving around town, we noticed the streets were named after yachts from the America's Cup Challenge.

Our next stop was Yanchep National Park. We happened to arrive on a very wet and quite cool day, so our opinions are a little different to the many I read. We didn't get to see the caves and do the walks as it was just too wet.

I could see it would be lovely on a fine and sunny day as there is plenty to do and lots of area for picnics. Yanchep National park is located 50kms north of Perth, we had to show our Parks Pass to get in, then the Ranger gave us a brochure of the Park.
With Umbrella up, I quickly made my way along the paved pathway to where Ness house was located. I was glad I had my walking shoes on which had plenty of grip on the slippery surface!

Ness House

Ness House was a sturdy stone building, built in the 1880s as a two-room stone hut, and then later converted into hostel accommodation in 1932. Thank-goodness it had a good porch area where we could wait in the dry until the rain eased.
Inside was a good display of Australian souvenirs, handicrafts and gifts, also information on Yanchep and the surrounding area.
It's here you book for the Crystal Cave, a limestone cave with many formations of stalagmites, helictites, columns and shawls. On bad weather days, like I struck, the tours do not run.

Loch McNess (once named Yanchep Lake) is a freshwater lake, one of a chain of lakes in Yanchep National Park.
This lake is an important part of Aboriginal tradition. The Aboriginal myth is "the lake is inhabited by a Waugal (rainbow serpent) and the activities of the Waugal ensure that the springs that feed the lake continue to flow."
The Aboriginal people used to dig out the tubers of the bulrush from Lake and eat it them, hence the name "Yanchep Lake", means 'place of the bulrush'.

Western Grey Kangaroo with Joey in pouch

It was too wet for me to do the Wetlands trail where many waterbirds including grebes, swans, pelicans, cormorants, egrets and Kingfishers, and birds in the surrounding bush, parrots, wrens and honeyeaters, to name a few are found. A few Western grey kangaroos were out and about.

Even though I have seen many Koalas, I still walked the specially built 240-metre long boardwalk through the Koala display. As Koalas are nocturnal, you will probably only see them curled up in a ball asleep, that is, unless they are moving to another tree for a nap.

Sleeping Koala @ Yanchep National Park

This colony of koalas were originally brought to the Perth Zoo from Victoria, how-ever, they couldn't find enough food to feed them so they were re-located to Yanchep in 1938. The National Park planted thousands of eucalypt trees to provide the koalas with suitable food. A new colony of koalas was established at Yanchep in 1948, unfortunately, the horrible disease, (Clamydia), which decimated the Koalas in the Eastern states, found its way here, therefore the Koalas became infertile. In 1992, a number of koalas were brought from Kangaroo Island in South Australia to here, to establish a disease-free colony. This has worked and they have been breeding since 1994.

We arrived at Karrinyup Waters Caravan park situated on the north side of Perth which suited us fine. Public transport was a short walk away.
It was a big park with 5 Amenitie blocks, some better than others. I liked the block of ensuite amenities where every shower & toilet was in a separate room with own door. In the same block was the laundry with brand new washers and dryers. Other facilities were a heated Spa, heated Lap Pool with children's area, swimming pool, 2 Camper's kitchens, Jumbo Jumping Pillow, 2 Playgrounds. Dump point for caravan and campervans.
This Caravan Park is well maintained and cared for and was quiet because of a strict 10pm quiet time They even have huge pet Rabbits running wild in the Park and friendly Ducks. We would definitely return here.

As we had arrived early and had plenty of time to spare, we decided to check out Sorrento and Hilary's Boat Harbour.

Sorrento Quay and Hillarys Boat Harbour

Hillarys Boat Harbour is a marina and tourist area, one we thought was very nice. We enjoyed coffee and cake in one of the Restaurants overlooking the water, then had a look at the shops and surrounding area before heading back to our caravan park.

Tomorrow, we will explore Perth.

Posted by balhannahrise 21:14 Archived in Australia Tagged beaches animals birds park walking australia national western boating Comments (4)

Day 39 Queensland to Western Australia

PERTH Kings Park and the Perth Mint

Today we made the decision to go to the Perth Mint

The Perth Mint

On arrival, we noticed a very real looking bronze sculpture known as "The Strike." This sculpture is about the two men - William Ford and Arthur Bayley who are credited with finding the first major gold find in Western Australia. This happened back in 1892 near the town of Coolgardie where I had previously been.

These full sized statues were sculpted by Greg James, who is famous for many sculptures found in Perth. They certainly are realistic!

[The plaque reads
"This sculpture depicts the gold strike near Coolgardie by
prospectors William Ford and Arthur Bayley in 1892 which
unleashed the gold rushes that secured the future of the
struggling colony of Western Australia. Established one of the
State's most successful and enduring industries and led to the
foundation of the Perth Mint in 1899."

Visiting the garden was free and it was the only place photos are allowed.

The Perth Mint is a leading tourist attraction in Perth. We have been to the Mint in Canberra which mints Australia's currency, but this one is where the nation's official bullion and commemorative coins are made, also bars of gold for investors and other precious metal products.

We booked our tour when we arrived, then had a look in the shop as we had 15minutes to wait for our tour to begin. Our guide was one of the workers who was a knowledgable, pleasant and humorous young man.

We began in the garden as there was replica of the Golden Eagle nugget, wow! it was huge! Next we were taken inside the building where our guide began taking us on an interesting journey through time, from the early gold rush days when heaps of prospectors spent years working in backbreaking conditions in outback Australia in search of gold nuggets.

Replica of Golden Eagle Nugget.

Inside we saw many natural gold nuggets including Newmont's Normandy Nugget, the second largest gold nugget in existence. Weight - 25.5 kilograms

What was amazing, was seeing the largest gold coin ever made. There it was before our very eyes, the Australian Kangaroo One tonne Gold Coin, the largest and most valuable coin in the world. The coin is 99.99% pure gold, it measures nearly 80cm wide and is more than 12cm deep. The value of this coin - More than $50 million! Now that was impressive and well worth seeing!

Our guide let us view the end section of the tour by ourselves, but was on hand to answer any questions we had. We looked through glass windows to watch the workers making coins, unfortunately there was only one person working.

Next we were taken to the Gold Pour room. This is Perth Mint's original melting house which is embedded with gold dust accumulated over many years of refining. We sat on a small stand and listened to a new guide continue the story of gold. He heated pure gold to molten temperatures, then quickly took the liquid gold and poured it into an empty mould. Hey, presto, we had just seen a gold bar made!

This was the last stop of the tour. We could go back and have another look, which we did, and we weighed ourselves on the scales. The scales spit out a print out of how much your worth in gold at the price it was that day! Quite interesting, and for once, any larger sized person was worth the most money!

For a souvenir, you can put a message on an aluminium bronze, gold plated, 99.9% pure silver or 99.99% pure gold medallion. From $17, these medallions are ready to take away with you by the time you have finished the tour.

This was an excellent tour and one we both enjoyed.

Kings Park lay-out

Next, if was off to Kings Park, one of the world’s largest parks, and in my eyes, one of the most beautiful in Australia, especially for seeing Australian native plants. Even if your not into gardening, flowers and the likes, Kings Park is still worth coming to for the wonderful views it has over Perth.

It was a miserable showery day when we arrived at the free car-park in Kings Park located next to the Information centre, the Cafes and Toilets. With umbrellas up, we made our way to the Information centre where we picked up a free map and guide to the park.

What to do in the wet? There were a couple of options. We decided an early lunch was the best idea thinking the rain may have cleared by the time we had finished. We had a couple of options to choose from . One was the rather expensive fine dining experience at Fraser's Restaurant and the other was the Botanical Café which didn't have any vacant tables.
Just around the corner from the Botanical Café, was the Kings Park Kiosk where we bought some take-away food, then had a problem of finding somewhere to eat it as all the seats underneath the umbrellas were wet! Eventually we found some shelter and enjoyed our take-away food.


By this time, the showers had gone for the time being and the sun was shining. We could see Perth, and what a wonderful sight it was from Kings Park!

Before heading off on one of the many walks in the park, I decided to have a look in the couple of shops in this area.

"Aspects of Kings Park"

"Aspects of Kings Park" gallery shop has beautiful expensive pieces of quality arts and crafts for sale, well, it was worth a look and a dream!
All profits made by sales in the shop, are reinvested directly back into the park, a great idea!
Next was the Aboriginal Art Gallery which had displays of Indigenous art, books, unique gifts and souvenirs available to buy.

It was a shame the day was wet, as I had planned on spending a large part of the day in Kings Park. The park is large and well set out, meaning that you can quite easily do this. Unfortunately, rain and wind put an end to my plans. It wasn't much fun walking around, but I did as I wanted to see as much as I could.

Where to begin in a large park like this?


Located near the shops and Cafes is a paved pathway with a mosaic of a Banksia and the writing, "Kings Park botanical garden." Further along was another beautiful mosaic depicting Western Australia’s floral emblem, the red & green flowered Mangles Kangaroo Paw, Anigozanthos manglesii.


This is the start of the humungous Botanical garden in Kings Park, where every individual flower, shrub and tree has its botanical and common name written on a sign in English.


Quite a few plants were in flower, but we were told we were just a fraction early to see the park at its best. Timing depends on how much rain has fallen previously and what the climate is like for seeing the flowers at their best, this makes it quite hard to plan ahead.


Western Australia has half of Australia’s 25,000 plant species, and as I found out, many are unique and found nowhere else on earth. It is fascinating seeing where they flower, some directly out of the ground, the shapes of their leaves and the beautiful colours and the unusual shapes of the many flowers, I had never seen anything like it before! Nature is extremely clever!

First, I decided to do some of the Memorial Walking Trail which covered a distance of 1.7km, estimated time - 1 hour.

As the rain has passed for the time being, I began at the Information centre and made my way down the steps to the State War Memorial Precinct.

What an impressive sight was laid out before me! The path stretched down to the Cenotaph from where I had excellent views over Perth,, but in-between was the Flame of Remembrance and the Pool of Reflection located in the well laid out "Court of Contemplation."

Flame of Remembrance

The Flame of Remembrance never goes out. On looking, I could see four torches, each one represents one of these forces - Navy, Airforce, Army and Womens services. It is a place to come and stand in silence, remembering the Western Australians who served in the wars and lost their lives. Around the walls are the names of all the major battlefields and there are plaques with the names of the Victorian Cross and George cross recipients from Western Australia.

The Cenotaph

The Cenotaph is an impressive 18 metre high block of granite commemorating the Australians who gave up their lives serving Australia.
A walk down some steps on either side, lead to a chamber where the names of 7000 Western Australians are listed, either dying by the hand of the enemy or from illness in WW I. Bronze plaques line the outside walls of the chamber, with the names of those who lost their lives in WW II.
Names have been added here from other conflicts.


On the front of the Cenotaph, is the ANZAC Commemorative Plaque dedicated to the 2500 men of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, (ANZACS), who lost their live during the Gallipoli campaign of 1915.

If you have been to Gallipoli, perhaps you would like to compare the site of Anzac Bluff with there, as it is said to resemble the area where the first soldiers landed in Gallipoli.

A bit of trivia - Kings Park and Botanic Gardens has more memorials, statues and honour avenues than any other park in Australia.


I had read many times that the best place for a good view of Perth was at Kings Park and after being here, I would have to agree with that.
From the Cenotaph, I walked down to the railing to take in the views of Perth, the Swan River and surrounds. I was very lucky the rain had passed and I was able to take some decent photos.


For me, this was the best look-out

I am still on the Memorial walk and quite enjoying it as there are many different memorials to what I have seen in other parts of Australia. Altogether, there are 13 memorials.
A couple are in memory of Western Australian Premiers. Lord John Forrest, the 1st Premier of Western Australia and the first President of the Kings Park board, named this park "Perth Park," and doubled the size of the reserve and sought funding for the development of the park.

Some different memorials were -
Dr Arnold Cook, who created the wonderful Guide Dogs organization in Australia. Thanks to this man, now the blind are able to have guide dogs that lead them safely around their homes and outdoors.

Bali Memorial, in memory of the 88 Australians, sixteen from Western Australia, who lost their lives in Kuta, Bali, Indonesia during the Bali terrorist attacks in 2002 which targeted Australians. Altogether, 202 people were killed and 209 were injured, most were foreign tourists!

HMS Queen Elizabeth bomb shell. This bomb shell was used as a collection box for donations to keep up the maintenance on the Honour Avenues.
I found Queen Victoria standing proud and tall since 1903. The statue is a replica of another made for the Examination Hall of the Royal College of Surgeons. To make sure it was as accurate as possible, Queen Victoria's robes were given to the sculptor to copy the lace into the Carrara marble, whilst the veil was made to look like the Queen’s wedding veil.

Queen Victoria.

My next walk was along the Bushland Walking trail. Just imagine - We are in the heart of Perth and in Kings Park which has bush that's been there since the year dot! The trail was an easy short walk of 1km, beginning at the free car-park on Forrest Drive, where there's a Mia-Mia (a temporary shelter made of bark, branches, leaves and grass used by Aboriginals) at the entrance.
In the bush, Jarrah and Marri trees were growing, these I learnt about at school, also many varieties of wildflowers including some orchids, birds, but no lizards on the cool and wet day.
My leaflet told me there are more orchid species in Kings Park than in the whole of Europe!

Views over Perth and the Swan River

Another look-out in Kings Park was Dryandra Lookout. It too had fairly good views over a different part of Perth. This is located along Law Walk on the edge of the Mt Eliza Escarpment off Forrest Drive.

The Boodja Gnarning walk can be as short or long as you want, the decision is left up to you! The trail is divided into three parts, I walked the long version of the walk.

The three parts are -
1km walk.....

Then add on the Maarm Track where I saw and learnt about what the Nyoongar men did for tools, shelter, hunting and spiritual purposes.
Then add on the Yorga Track, where I saw what the Nyoongar women’s traditional roles and responsibilities were. This included the gathering of food, tools and medicines from the area now known as the Water Garden.

Kings Park is a sacred place for Aborigines. The Aboriginal Dreamtime story is about the mythical rainbow serpent, the Wagyl, who entered the ground where Parliament House now stands, then made its way through Mount Eliza, emerging at the spring which feeds the Kennedy Fountain in Kings Park. From here, the rainbow serpent continued on its way to the sea, along the way creating the beautiful Swan River. The area at the base of Kings Park is known as Goonininup. This was an important ceremonial and dreaming area for Aboriginal males.
As I walked the trail, I discovered unique West Australian plants that the Aboriginals used for bush food and medicine, and what they used to make tools and to use as shelter for their survival. There is plenty of interpretive signage panels and artworks from the Nyoongar people along the way.

Boab Tree

One of the interesting attractions was the Gija Jumulu (Giant Boab tree), that was transported from Warmun in the east Kimberley, 3200 kms to its new home in Kings Park and Botanic Garden. A 75 tonne truck was used to transport the tree, 22.5 metres in diameter and weighing 37.2 tonne to its new home in Perth. The tree is estimated to be 750 years old, which I thought was very old, I was wrong as this is young for this kind of tree as they can live up to 2000 years old. The Boab is a good tree to find if your dying of thirst, as the inside of the trunk is full of water.
The Boab in Kings Park has been named "Gija Jumulu" by the Indigenous Gija people.

Next to the Boab trees is the Verticordia and Boronia Gardens. Boronias are an evergreen native shrub with cup-like flowers appearing in spring. They are in high demand when flowering as the flowers have a gorgeous perfume. Brown flowered Boronias have a lovely lemon scented perfume.


What I liked about the Botanical gardens was the way they had set areas for set plants. This way you can really see the differences in some species, especially the Wattles (Acacia).


There are over 1200 Wattles in Australia, 560 of them in Western Australia, no wonder it is Australia's floral emblem. The area where the Wattles are located is a dry river bed with granite steps which include marble inlays depicting the leaves and flowers of different Wattles. This was done by artist Stuart Green, who also etched seed pods into individual steps.

The Wattle (Acacia) garden takes you through time, from the primitive species of Brown's wattle which still exists today. Walking up the stairs I looked down and saw mosaic representations of different Wattles.


One of my favourite shrubs I grow in my own garden is the Grevillea. Kings Park has a Grevillea & Hakea Garden where 220 of the 340 species of Grevillea, 190 of which are in the south-west of the state are growing. I love them because they bring birds to my garden, just as they do here! Once again I found some unusual plants, such as the cricket ball hakea, named for it fruits that are like cricket balls and white plume grevillea that smells like old socks mainly at dusk and dawn in order to attract moths to pollinate it.

Roe Gardens is at the end of the park is where the flowering Eucalyptus were, they are a real picture when they're flowering. Some have silver leaves which I think makes a nice contrast to the brightly coloured flowers.

Flowering Eucalyptus

In Roe gardens is a monolith dedicated to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have served since the Boer War. Many lost their lives doing so. There is wall for sitting on and an arbour roof shaped like a gum leaf.
The garden is named after Western Australia's first surveyor-general, John Septimus Roe.

Federation Walkway

The 620metre long Federation Walkway is located near Two Rivers Lookout near the Fraser Avenue roundabout.

It begins at ground level, then gradually goes higher and higher until your up amongst the tree tops, eyeballing ferns and other plants that grow on some trees and getting to see the tall straight trees that grow in Western Australia. I was impressed with this arched bridge with its glass walls from where I could clearly see the forest floor.

Views from the Federation Walkway of the Swan Brewery and Perth

I stopped and enjoyed the views of the Canning & Swan Rivers, Perth and the Swan Brewery, I looked down and found nice Aboriginal artwork done by the local Indigenous people.

Aboriginal patterns along the Federation Walkway

A couple beckoned for me to come over as they had spotted a pair of Tawny Frogmouth owls in the tree. The photo isn't the best because they are grey and blend in well with the tree.

Pair of Tawny Frogmouth Owls

At the top, the walkway descends to an amphitheatre where traditional performances are held during the Kings Park Festival.

I made my way back from the Federation walkway via the Water garden. The pathway at the water garden has 53 brass plaques embedded in it, in recognition of the contribution women's groups have made to Western Australia.


Water gardens I always find peaceful, this one was no exception. In 1999 to mark the centenary of Women's Suffrage in Western Australia, the garden was remodelled to create the Darling Range creek complete with massive granite boulders. I liked the footbridge in the centre from where I could stand and enjoy the peacefulness of this area. Swamp paperbarks which love wet areas were growing well, as were the Irises and sedges. To add to the beauty of this area, were sculptures symbolizing life, growth, strength of heart, renewal and leadership.
In the middle of the lake is the stunning Pioneer Women's Memorial. I was watching the fountain and found it goes through some different sequences.

Kangaroo Paws

If you want to see Kangaroo Paws, then you must come here! Once again, I grow these at home quite well and thought I had quite a few varieties, what I didn't know, was there were many more including a black Kangaroo Paw! This one hadn't opened properly, so I still haven't really seen it. I did see many other impressive colours that I really loved.

I grow Banksias too, so this was another interesting garden for me. Altogether, there are 76 species, 62 are found only in Western Australia. The display garden is really good, it even has nice Banksia designs in the pavement. I was lucky enough to find a lot of them in flower, including a few that flower at ground level.


The Banksia garden has some beautiful artwork created by Philippa O'Brien. On marble, she created five species which grow in the Kings Park bushland - The acorn, bull, holly-leaved, narrow-leaved and Menzies' banksia, whilst the second pavement shows the prostrate banksias. These were lovely and so well done! The seats are made of firewood banksia timber, each has a wrought-iron back with a pattern of the zig-zag leaves of the bull banksia.

Banksia Artwork

Well, that was the end of a most enjoyable time spent in the gardens. If I ever return to Perth, I will definitely be back here for another look around

Posted by balhannahrise 22:57 Archived in Australia Tagged animals birds gardens australia monuments western perth botanic wallking look-out Comments (4)

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