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Day 21 Queensland to Western Australia continued

Continuation from Mt. Magnet to Mullewa. 2nd August

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Mount Magnet had some wonderful scenery and excellent tourist drives to follow. We did them and now are making our way to wildflower country by heading to the small town of Yalgoo.

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Carpet of wild Daisies

Gold was discovered around Yalgoo in the early 1890s, and by 1895 there were diggings and buildings being erected. In January 1896, this area became the town of Yalgoo. There wasn't any big gold rush here, I don't know why, but only 650 Miners came to Yalgoo. World War II came and went and so did the people, so what is left is a very small town in this semi-arid climate with hot summers and mild to cool winters.

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Yalgoo has a historic tourist trail to follow, so we followed it but found some of the buildings were missing and all that remained was an information board with description and photo.
Some of the other old buildings were the Courthouse Museum with displays of old photographs, lots of gold rush history and the usual displays of old domestic items and some Aboriginal artifacts from the local area.
Next to the Courthouse is the restored old Yalgoo police station and jail. These were built in 1896, replacing the stick and chain method previously used.

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Dominican Chapel of St Hyacinth

When heading to the Yalgoo look-out, we passed by a gorgeous Dominican Chapel of St Hyacinth, quite famous as Monsignor John Hawes, the Architect Priest who came from Europe to Western Australia, designed the wood and stone Dominican Chapel of St Hyacinth for the Dominican Sisters who were working in Yalgoo in 1920. Not only did Hawes design the building, but he regularly travelled by horseback from Mullewa to oversee the construction and to work as a labourer for the local builder.

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Dominican Chapel of St Hyacinth

The Chapel of St Hyacinth forms part of the Monsignor John Hawes Heritage Trail, which is a self-drive four day tour including 15 houses of worship created by Monsignor Hawes.

After viewing the Chapel, we continued along the dirt road to Yalgoo Look-out, where the views were over the small town and the countryside, nothing outstanding, but it does give you an idea where mines are located and what the land looks like.

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Wildflowers

Wildflowers abound in wildflower season around here. We were here at the correct time, but as the rain hadn't hadn't come until late, this meant the flowering season was later, hence the wildflowers were just starting to cover the red earth in colour, another week and it would have been a spectacular sight!

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Wildflowers

From here, it is back on the main road (123) and to the town of Mullewa where we will stay for several nights.

Posted by balhannahrise 03:04 Archived in Australia Tagged travel australia outback scenic western wildflowers Comments (0)

Day 28 Queensland to Western Australia

Kalbarri National Park to Chapman Valley near Geraldton

Time to pack up and start heading to Perth, but I wasn't in any hurry to leave this lovely spot.

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Pelican feeding

I had spotted a notice that Pelican feeding takes place daily at 8.45am and is run by volunteers who feed the Pelicans fish. All you have to do is wait near that sign for the wild Pelicans to waddle up from the water to be fed. A small crowd of people had gathered, unfortunately the Pelican group was small too, only five! A couple were rather nervous and flew back to the water, later they plucked up courage to come closer again. If you have never seen an Australian Pelican up close, then this is a great chance to see one, and there are plenty of photo opportunities. For me, it was disappointing that more Pelicans hadn't zoomed in on the free feeding like they have done elsewhere in Australia.

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Kalbarri

I decided to take one last stroll along the esplanade. Feeling lazy, I dawdled along taking in the pretty scene, the deserted picnic area, a fisherman and a couple kayaking. So quiet now, later it would be a lot busier, but still not too busy as many people go to the Kalbarri National Park.
The Esplanade parklands is such a nice area to sit back with a book, do some reading and to watch life go by. No wonder this is a popular winter time destination. The weather is warm and perfect then!

Caravan packed and hooked up, we were going to head south to Perth, but along the way would be making many stops.

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Murchison river entrance

Our day began in Kalbarri, at Chinaman's Rock Look-out from where we had views of the Murchison River mouth entering the Indian Ocean. The Murchison River flows for 820kms, making it the second longest river in Western Australia. At the free car park, trails led to view points, Chinaman's Beach and to Chinaman's Rock, other trails led to sheltered picnic areas. We sat here for quite a while watching the waves and looking for Dolphins, no luck with the Dolphins, then I went for a walk along the trail, not right to Chinaman's Rock look-out as I was feeling tired after a day of walking in the heat, but I did walk far enough to see and enjoy watching the rolling surf hitting the sandbar at the River entrance.

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Kalbarri coastline

Back on the road again, this time leave Kalbarri and follow the coastal road (Red Bluff Road), noticing tourist signs along the way. We begin at the first and follow everyone we see.

The first tourist sign is to Blue Holes, an area which is part of the inshore coastal limestone reef system, parts are permanently submerged by the ocean and others are exposed and have rock pools at low tide - I love exploring these. This area is a fish sanctuary, so fishing wasn't allowed, this meant an abundance of sea creatures.

Jake's Point was our next stop. It turned out Jake's Point beach was a national Surfing Reserve. As I am not a surfer, all I can tell you is what I read ....." Jake's Point is home to the iconic left-hander. Jakes breaks from two foot and up are best ridden by experienced surfers only."
Lots of the locals are surfers and people come here as it is one of Western Australia's remotest surfing breaks. Bottlenose dolphins are frequently seen playing in the water, once again, I didn't see any!

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Red Bluff

A little further along Red Bluff road was the turn-off to Red Bluff Beach. A short drive and we were at the carpark, and once again in Kalbarri National Park. Red Bluff beach is located in a small cove, with brilliant deep red rocks and cliffs surrounding it, the flat rocks in the ocean are the same colour, stunning scenery!
Above the beach is the actual "Red Bluff" which you can walk to from the beach, be warned, it is a steep and rocky climb of 1.8km return. I took the easy way and drove to the Bluff.

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Red Bluff Look-out

From the Red Bluff parking area I walked to Red Bluff Look-out. At the start of the paved footpath was an interpretive board with a map, details about Red Bluff and how to be safe, as these high cliffs have undercut edges and can be unstable, so you must keep to the track and always watch your children, its a long way to the bottom!

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Kalbarri coastline

Halfway along was more interpretive signage and an amazing view of the high cliffs along the coastline - What a dramatic coastline, no wonder there were so many shipwrecks!

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Kalbarri coastline

The red rock landscape of Red Bluff is something I cannot get enough of, the colour is amazing and even more amazing is its been around for 400 million years. These cliffs were discovered by Dutch Explorer, "Willem de Vlamingh" in 1697 and run along the coastline of the Kalbarri National park for 13 km. The Dutch named it "Roode Hooge." when translated meant "red high" an important landmark for early Explorers to use as their guide.

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Kalbarri coastline

From the look-out I could see for miles, including many of the beaches we had called into on our way here. Looking to the north was Wittecarra Creek believed to be the site of the first "permanent" landing of Europeans in Australia. The 100metre high cliffs would make it easy to spot a Humpback Whale in the ocean below.

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Wildflowers

Even though the top of the cliffs have a harsh sandstone & limestone surface, 71 native plants have been found. That was a lot, so I walked slowly and looked carefully for flowers but didn't find many, one of the prettiest was a Thryptomene in flower.

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Next, we pulled into the Mushroom Rock Trail car-park where an Interpretive sign told me it was 1.5km trail or 3km loop that would take me to Rainbow Valley, approx. 2hours to do. The Australian classification for this trail was a Class 4 which means it is one of the more difficult to do. My husband left me here and went to the other end to pick me up - That made life easy!

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Mushroom rock trail

Beginning from the car-park was the easy part, walking along a dirt track and in amongst some different wildflowers, all I had to look for were the white posts, really didn't need them as here I was on a well worn pathway. It was different when I reached the rocky gorge where I had to walk along the rocks, cross the gorge and do the same on the other side, eventually clambering to the top and out of the gorge. This is where I saw Mushroom rock, a rock so windswept it looks like a Mushroom. I saw plenty of unusual rock creations formed by the strong winds and water erosion around here.

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Mushroom Rock

I sat there for a while watching the crashing waves making their way onto the brilliant dark red rocks, I felt like I was in the middle of nowhere, it was lovely. If you come here, and your fit, do this walk as it's an excellent one!

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Rainbow Valley

I continued along the trail from Mushroom rock to Rainbow Valley and was blown away by what I saw!

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Rainbow Valley

What attracted me first, was the colours of minerals that had compacted and weathered to make a rainbow formation in the stone, although this apparently isn't why it's named Rainbow Valley, it's the Rainbows seen in the mist is where the name comes from.
I marveled at the amazing colours in Rainbow Valley, lucky there was an information board nearby to give me some information.

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Rainbow Valley

The formations along this part of the coast are made of Tumblagooda Sandstone, deposited here approx. 420 million years ago during the Silurian period when the Earth underwent considerable changes. As a result, layers of silt, sand and minerals have compacted and formed layer upon layer of different colours. It is an amazing sight to see, one I had only previously seen at Natures Window in the Kalbarri National Park

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Rainbow Valley

I went closer for a look and felt wet sand beneath my feet. Wondering where the water came from as I was quite a distance from the sea, I looked up to find a rocky overhang where water was dripping over making what looked like small Stalactites forming. I guess there is a proper name for these, but this is best I can do for description.

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Rainbow Valley

They were wet and dripping just like Stalactites in Caves, and on the ground where the drip landed, a small formation like a Stalagmite was beginning to form. This and the colours were amazing!
This would be one of the most beautiful and different natural sites I have ever seen.

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Rainbow Valley

What is the good news, is you don't have to do the whole walk like I did to see this, you can come here from the car park at this end. Don't be discouraged and think nothing is there, as you have to walk down the steps to see the coloured cliffs. Once there you will be blown away with what you see. My photos are ok, but they are nothing compared to seeing this area "in the flesh" so to speak.

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Rainbow Valley

Would you believe there is still more to see in Rainbow Valley and this was something I have never seen elsewhere either.

Have you heard of a Skolithos? Well I hadn't! The rocks in Rainbow valley are riddled with what looks like tubes or straws, once the home of the ancient worm Skolithos. They are everywhere and are in all different shapes and sizes, colours, another interesting amazing formation .

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Eagle Gorge

Still travelling along Red Bluff Road in the Kalbarri National Park, I notice a name change to George Grey Drive. It's on this section of road, where we take another turn off towards the ocean to see Eagle Gorge where wedge-tailed eagles live in the gorge and can often be seen in nests and soaring in the sky on a look-out for food.
From the proper look- out platform, I looked down onto a small beach and at the beautiful coloured rugged cliffs. The beach can be reached by foot, I didn't do this though.

Natural Bridge is a 1.4kms return walk along a proper boardwalk to a viewing platform look-out area from where there a fantastic views. This is one of many Natural Bridge's around Australia and the world.

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Natural Bridge

Here the forces of the ocean, the wind, waves and even salt spray has sculptured these landforms into a Sea-Stack and a Natural Bridge. The cliffs aren't the usual red I had been seeing, instead the beige/cream Tumblagooda coloured sandstone that is 480 million years old. Different colours of sand and silt has formed layers in different colours, then has compacted. The tops of the cliffs are a made of 2 million old white rock made from Tamala limestone. This was made from wind blown sand dunes which later converted to limestone. All of this information I found on interpretive signage at the site

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Castle cove was another 300metre return walk to where there is another proper lookout over Island Rock. It was lovely here, especially seeing it was very quiet and hardly a tourist here.
Between June - November, this is one of the good places to look for some of the 22,000 Hump-back Whales that pass by here.

The Shellhouse and Grandstand are more impressive limestone cliff formations that have been shaped by the wind and the force of the Indian Ocean. It's a short easy 200m walk to each lookout to view them.
I didn't do this, but if you have plenty of time, this area is part of the 8km Birgurda trail we begins or ends at Castle Cove and Eagle Gorge, passing by Island Rock, Grandstand and Shellhouse. The trail is named after the Bigurda kangaroo, one I have never seen, and still never did! It's only found in this region.

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Kalbarri coastline

Wow! The scenery around Kalbarri is some of the best I have seen in Australia.

We have decided to make our next stop at the "Principality of Hutt River" also known as "Hutt River Province."
The Principality of Hutt River at Ogilvie Road West, Yallabatharra was founded in 1970 by Leonard Casley and his family, or should I say "Prince Leonard and his late wife "Princess Shirley."
Hutt River Province is a Mirco nation which is not recognized, even though the principality claims to be become an independent sovereign state in 1970, it remains unrecognised by Australia and other nations.
You can buy a visa and have your passport stamped by Prince Leonard, both for entry and exit at the same time. We didn't have passports with us, he said he would still let us in!
There isn't a lot to see here and it had gone into disrepair, just too much for Prince Leonard to look after.

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Prince Leonard

We met Prince Leonard who told us his story, I was surprised to learn he was a former mathematician and physicist who worked for NASA in the 1950s, and had a star named in his honour.

The Principality of Hutt River has its own stamps, bank notes and coins. There are many postage stamps on display, most of these can be bought unless they are sold out. I bought some for myself, and posted a letter home from here.
If your a stamp or coin collector, then don't miss the Post Office! There is plenty to choose from and it is something different to take home as a souvenir.

The Chapel of Nain in Hutt River Province was officially blessed by the Rector of the Northampton Anglican Church on 29 August 1973.
We were allowed inside and found normal Church pews, religious paintings and many paintings of the Prince. His large chair was their for anybody to sit in and make out they were knighting somebody!

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In Chapel of Nain

As Prince Leonard produces all his power on the farm, we found the lighting quite dull and learnt their are often black-outs because of lack of power.

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Back in the car and heading back to Geraldton, instead we stopped at a free camp outside of Geraldton in the Chapman Valley, a good spot in a rural area with a few facilities, so we left a donation as asked for by the local council.

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Posted by balhannahrise 12:59 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes beaches birds park walking australia sunsets national scenic western wildflowers Comments (0)

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.

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Canola

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.

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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.
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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!

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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.

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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.
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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Orchids

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Wildflowers

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.

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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.

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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)

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