A Travellerspoint blog

September 2021

Kulin Bush Races - The trip there

After a delicious coffee at home we packed up, hooked up, and headed off through some long weekend traffic for the first stage of our trip. Passing through Donnybrook, we stopped at our favourite fruit & vegetable store on the farmers property. On the menu today were delicious crisp pink lady apples, avocados & a small butternut pumpkin. Stopping for fuel at Arthur River we had a decadant box of hot chips. Late afternoon we arrived at Kukerin Caravan Park. We took a stroll down town but, being a long weekend, everything was closed bar the pub, so as you see we just had to go in. Unusual for a Monday night the pub was busy & noisy. We discovered the crowd were the volunteers that helped clean up after the annual Kukerin WA Creek Bed championships & Burnout competition. Apparently it was a fun filled weekend with over 1500 campers. Like the Kulin bush races this event is the major fund-raiser for Kukerin for the year.
Kukerin Caravan Park fees are $15 per night, per van & includes power, water & an ablution block. Both nights we have had only one neighbour, different one each night.

A late start saw us taking a relaxed walk around the town. This is a very quiet town. The 2016 census showed just over 60 people in the townsite. Today there would be a few less than that number. Many others living on farms surrounding the town. The town does have a few facilities that you would normally find such as a Primary School with 3 teachers & 47 students, only 2 children are from town the others come in on the school bus from the farms. There is also a Town Hall, a General Store/Post Office, 1 Pub & even a library. The children have a bouncy pillow, and a children's playground provided through Federal Government funding.

Lucky Lynne, Ian's Sister received a call when we passed a Telstra phone booth in town, this time she picked up & they had a natter.

We took a drive to the Yabby Farm, unfortunately it was closed. The Yabby owners have gone on holidays. We reached the entrance and shortly after 2 motor homes turned up wanting to enter, then to our surprise a fuel tanker stopped. The tanker wanted to deliver fuel but as the gate was locked he too was turned away.

We took the opportunity to take a drive into Dumbleyung. We walked around town and found the hairdresses open, a small memorial garden, a lovely little shop with local & eco friendly goods. We popped into the Shire offices & Deborah offered some suggestions for improvements at the Kukerin Caravan Park & Townsite. We walked through the lovely Community Gardens & into the Community Resource Centre looking for Wildflower information. With info in hand we headed down the Katanning Road until we found some flowers.

Back at the ranch, and because it was International Beer Day, we headed for a walk to the Kukerin Hotel for a pint & shandy to celebrate. We strolled home before the sunset. Tomorrow we head to Kulin.

Posted by iandeborah 05:07 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Goldfields and Wildflowers - Day 17 @ Homeward bound

Day 17
As the sun rays streamed in from the window we realised, that although we were very comfortable laying in bed, we really had to make some moves & pack up the camp-site. We farewelled York & headed South. Ian decided he would try & find an information centre in Brookton but he had no luck. What he did spy at the CWA was a Kings Park Fashion pop up shop. Deborah jumped at the chance to sample some fashion & a fashion show.
A little further down the road we passed through Pingelly & just had to take a photo of one of the shops in town, a reminder of the old days.

Our morning tea stop was a little town called Popanyinning. The name means water hole in the local Noongar language. The town some was gazetted & became a trading post along the railway line. The station was established in 1894 but the current building is from 1913. It has some lovely cast iron air vents in the shape of a steam train.
The local general store opened in 1908 & is still open for business today.
The Railway Station Masters house was established in 1910. Now a private residence it is looking a tad unloved, but still cute.
Ian found another Telstra phone box, this time he called his Brother Neil to have a chat.

We passed through Cuballing, Narrogin, and we stopped by the roadside for a picnic lunch at Williams, then drove on to Collie where we noticed smoke in the distance where there was a prescribed burn off.

We drove through Donnybrook, Mumbie & stopped our usual fruit & veg stall to pick up some fresh produce.
Onwards we drove through Boyanup & stopped to visit Ian's Sister in Capel. Unfortunately she was out at the time, so we travelled home to Busselton. Safe travels everyone and please stay safe! Until our next adventure we say cheerio for now.

Posted by iandeborah 12:14 Comments (1)

Goldfields and Wildflowers - Day 15 & 16 @ York

Day 15
We packed up & hit the road by 9am headed in the direction of York. We stopped down town at Perenjori on our way through town to see the cut out metal artwork.

Driving past he entrance to Ballidu townsite we had to stop to take a photo of this sculpture.

Passing through Konnongorring was reminisced about attending our friend Annette's daughters wedding at the local farm with the reception at this very hall (Colleen married David). The wedding can be found on our blog it is called A wedding country style.
It holds special memories in our heart. It was such a lovely wedding by the hay bales on Davids parents farm. Beautiful memories.

There were many vans on the roads today travelling & very few other traffic.

We chanced our luck at the Travellers Rest Caravan Park at York & are set up for 2 nights. Th sites are all drive through. Ian has checked the weather the report stated it would be 0 overnight. We are not too worried as we have our donnas & a heater if required. A sunny 20 degree day is also forecast.

We have met a few of the locals which includes a nesting wattlebird with 2 babies at our site (hard to photograph, sorry) & a nesting Tawny Frogmouth 2 doors down a Sue & Stuart's site.
We also had a very friendly butterfly visit us at afternoon tea time.
We are enjoying a quiet night in tonight with a glass or two of wine.

Day 16
A leisurely start to the day & then we headed to the York information centre, the Town Hall, which also has the Library inside. We are in search of Wildflower sighting locations. We checked out the two suggested locations, the York Golf Course, known as the we Oswald Sargent Reserve & the Orchid Reserve.
Wildflower sightings.

Back into town for lunch at the local bakery & a walk down the main street. A must do in York is a visit to "The Sock Shop." Where you can buy Australian & New Zealand made wool products & some are even made locally in York. We each bought some locally made woollen socks. Whilst checking out the new and the old free camping caravan spots we found some local straw artworks part of the Wara Art Trail. This is a Japanese technique of turning surplus straw into sculptures. The artworks included a Bilby & a Turtle.

We also found the old pharmacy building, originally used by Oswald Sargent who the Golf Course reserve is named after. Oswald came to Australia as a 6 year old in the late 1880's and trained and became a pharmacist in York. His passion was botany and native orchids in particular. A local flowering gum is named after him.

Deborah found a delightful shop called Patchwork on Avon & just had to go inside & look around. The shop closed at 2 and we arrived just after. The owner noticed my curiosity in the shop peeking through the window & kindly invited her in. Needless to say as she is a fabricologist, Deborah saw the potential and purchased some material, very special material to add to her collection for future use.Deborah also found a unique pin cushion to put to use in the future.

Tonight's menu, Tasmanian Salmon, jacket potato & steamed vegetables.

Posted by iandeborah 14:19 Comments (2)

Goldfields and Wildflowers - Day 12, 13 & 14 @ Perenjori

Day 12
Hit the road from Muka early this morning. Following Garfield's instructions on the GPS. Things seem to be heading in the right direction. A bit further down the track Ian started to think, we might be slightly off track. Especially as the car said we were traveling SW. Once we reached Wongan Hills suspicions were confirmed.

As we passed through Koorda we stopped so Deborah could take the opportunity to say hello to a few friendly locals.

Taking everything in our stride we stopped for a late morning tea at 'Cafe of Note' (Highly Recommend) & a quick shop through town at Kanyana, the second hand shop.

We took a short break for a late lunch on the side of the road at Maya, named after a nearby spring with he indigenous name Pocanmaya. As with many farming towns the residents were Jack & Jill's of all trades with one local adapting an old Army Tank into a ploughing tractor.
Whilst at lunch we heard a toot toot. It was Shaz & Chaz from the New Age Caravan social club flying past in there blue Landrover Discovery towing there New Age Jewel. We met up with them & other members of the social club upon arrival. Soon after set up it was 5pm Happy Hour with drinks & nibbles followed by soup & crusty bread for dinner around the camp-fire.

Day 13
As usual, and not knowing how long we would be away from the camp we packed up the thermos & biscuits & went in search of Wildflowers. Using the map 'Perenjori's self drive trails' (available at all good tourist centres & the knowledgeable caravan park staff) we set off in search of Wildflowers. We decided to follow the Back Bowgada Road which was just before the railway crossing heading North West out of Perenjori. We thought we would have to drive for a few kilometres whilst keeping a look out for pink streamers attached to stakes or trees but alas a few hundred metres up the road there was a big sign saying, Wreath Flowers (Lechenaultia Macrantha). We duly followed the arrow into a gravel pit & found a lovely carpet of wreath flowers. How spectacular they were indeed.

Leaving the wreaths we headed down a few backroads, Norrish & Solomon on a very slow drive admiring the Wildflowers both sides of the road as we drove by.

Our morning tea destination was 'The Salmons' with some lovely wildflowers as we drove in. Before we stopped though we encountered some of the wild looking residents who didn't seem keen to hang around to entertain us. We stopped & immersed ourselves in the field of colours. It was a quiet & peaceful stop.

We returned to camp for a quick lunch before heading South the first stop Bunjil Rocks. This was a little difficult to find but eventually we located the turn off 2km South of the wheat bins. This does appear to be a free camping area as well.
Second afternoon stop was Caron Dam. A reminder of the golden age of a steam locomotives. It is a large corrugated iron covered dam originally built to provide water to the steam trains. It is still used for local irrigation. Here we went for a walk in the bush over hill & dale & found these lovely orchids & flowers.

Day 14
With picnic basket & thermos at the ready we headed to our first stop for the day Orchid Ridge. We followed our written directions which said 500 metres up a sand track, next to the wheat field on the right there should be wreath flowers. We saw one, stopped the car to get out & have a look. Feeling a little disappointed that we might only see one we looked upwards into the bush to be pleasantly surprised. In front of us dotted throughout the bush interspersed with other wildflowers was an amazing abundance of wreath flowers.

Our second stop 1.5km up the track was Orchid Ridge. Although it was a lovely Wildflower carpeted area the orchids were very shy & we only saw a few.

Third stop for the day was Camel Soak where we enjoyed a pleasant morning tea & home made fruit cake. This is a great spot to go free camping, it even has a toilet. This large granite catchment was sunk as a watering point for men & their camel teams working on No.2 Rabbit Proof Fence between 1903 & 1905. The pools of water attract fauna & bird life plus huge arse tadpoles. Again the orchids were shy but we did find 2 groups of specimens of Donkey Orchids.

Our final destination for the day was a little different as it wasn't primarily for Wildflower. We drove to Morawa to see the Museum which featured many windmills. It was a very neat & tidy exhibition of historical artefacts from the district ranging from wedding dresses & clothing, household goods & equipment, machinery & tractors. Militaria & personal items from local residents plus 1 shed devoted entirely to windmills. This museum is a must see & only $5 per person for entry.

Our final night with the New Age Caravan Club we all walked down into town to the Perenjori pub for dinner. The organisation was planned some time ago. The pub had not seen so many people for some time. We all arrived at 5pm onwards & ordered our meals. Our group consisted of 20 + vans. The meals came out quickly as they had there normal 6pm dinner seating for the locals that followed our group.

Posted by iandeborah 09:57 Comments (2)

Goldfields and Wildflowers - Day 11 @ Mukinbudin

Day 11
The Busselton Naturalists were headed for an Opal fossicking trip today.
This is where we part ways. Today we head towards Mukinbudin our destination for the night.

The roads were very quiet early on, a few caravans travelling, but traffic built up as the morning went on. A bit more of a head wind than in previous days so fuel economy was a bit higher but you can't control the weather.

We had a coffee break at Boorabbin Rest Area and had a friend fly in for morning tea & a drink of water.
Back on the road we reached Southern Cross & then turned North towards Bullfinch. What can we say about Bullfinch? It has lots of old houses unoccupied & falling apart & even the pub was closed & boarded up. The driveways & lane ways were all littered with derelict cars. A car renovators heaven.

On the Post Office noticeboard it does mention there is a caravan park in town. Good on Telstra, Ian found a phone box & phoned his Sister Lynne in Capel.

We turned West towards Muka along the road and to our delight we kept on spotting Bobtail after Bobtail waddling across the road. Deborah spied what she thought was an Echidna on the side of the road, it was Kenny.

Further along the road in the distance Ian noticed a blob waddling across the road. Ian sped up to catch a closer glimpse. It was Rogers, a second Echidna. It waddled quickly off the road and up a hill at the side of the road and, as it reached the top of the side of the hill, it stopped. As if Rogers was saying " if I don't move they won't see me." Deborah leant her camera in for a close up picture, said "Geday" and left him to waddle off when he felt safe to do so. as we continued our travels.

Our journey today took past plenty of patches of colour. It wasn't easy to stop but we reached a sign about 20km from Muka for Weira Reserve. We managed to stop & take a couple of lovely colourful pictures of the sprays of Wildflowers. This reserve boasts a picturesque limestone breakaway. There is a BBQ, picnic, & free camping facilities & a toilet. Native flora & fauna abound. You can also take a sort bush walk to discover the large gnamma hole.

Arriving at the Mukinbudin caravan park after phoning as we drove along with no response. Note to self, in the Covid day & age. It's better to book way ahead of time. Bottom line, no sites available but we were able to stay in the overflow area & use the ablution block for $15. Once set up for the night we took a walk into town & a beer at the pub. Yes the publican knew how to pour a shandy for Deb, bonus.
Deborah likes visiting butchers in small towns and that we did. We came out with T-bones in hand. Ian had a look through the window into the bookstore in town as it was closed when we arrived. He did have a grin from ear to ear.
Scrubbed up back at camp & headed to a family friends house for a lovely roast pork dinner. Thanks Bron & Matt for your hospitality. Your boys are certainly getting taller very quickly. Love the spacious home you have had built. It was great catching up.

Posted by iandeborah 12:10 Comments (4)

Goldfields and Wildflowers - Day 9 & 10 @ Kalgoorlie

Day 9
Another lovely clear blue sky a brilliant start to the day. The usual 9am start onto the road in convoy towards Kalgoorlie. We stop along the way at Cometvale mine site in search of Australian Jade then a further kilometre down the road at another mine site and picked up some gemstones.

A little further down the road we stopped at Goongarrie, previously known as 90 mile as it was roughly 90 miles NE from Coolgardie. It was established in 1893 when gold was discovered. Within 2 years a small town had been established with shops, a telegraph office & 2 Hotels. Now this is what remains on the site, a run down house.

We each drove onto to the Gold Miner's Caravan Park in Kalgoorlie to set up camp, get refreshments and prepare for a Happy Hour gathering.

Day 10
Today we each followed our own path. Ian & I drove into Kalgoorlie to the information centre to learn about some suitable places for us to explore. We took a gentle stroll up Hannan Street in Kalgoorlie and went into a shop that sold & hired Gold metal detectors & other mining bits & bobs. Entered the Natural Gold Nuggets & Jewellery store to look at some precious items. They buy gold from prospectors & sell to the public.

We took a tour of the Boulder Town Hall @ 10.30. The local historian Tim, was our guide. He tells mighty fine tales about the history behind the Town Hall.

Boulder Town Hall
The building was open for business in 1908. It has been popular for meetings, ceremonies, concerts, film nights & dances. In 1975 there was even a performance by ACDC. Built in the classical Federation Free style it features original pressed metal ceilings & wrap around upstairs gallery. The centrepiece of the stage is the Goatcher curtain, one of only 2 surviving examples of this artists stage craft in the world. As such it is considered priceless.

The clock in the tower is still wound once a week by the caretaker.

We took a walk along the main street of Boulder.

After a coffee with Reg & Merryl we drove up to the Superpit lookout for an explosive event scheduled at 1pm. What a blast!
This bucket scoop hold 70 tonnes of material, and takes just 4 scoops to fill one of the huge ore trucks.

We drove to have a gander at the Kalgoorlie Arts Centre which has very little usage considering the cost of the build. They have 2 performances a month by tribute bands. Such a waste of rate payers funds.

We took a drive to the local Arboretum then took a stroll around the lake & had a quiet moment of reflection from a wooden seat by the lake.

Posted by iandeborah 03:55 Comments (4)

Goldfields and Wildflowers - Day 7 & 8 @ Menzies

Day 7
Leaving Lake Ballard this morning we hitched up & drove the 51km to Menzies. We got some washing out on the line, & headed by car alone to an abandoned Emerald mine that the group visited the previous day, with precise directions in search of tiny green emeralds,aquamarine & opals. With our bums in the air, & faces close to the ground, we searched for the glistening green rocks. No g- picks (geological picks) were required for this outing just a good eye for the coloured stones we were searching for. Deborah found some tiny emerald & aquamarine gem stones & of course we both found some lovely rocks we just had to bring home to add to our ever growing rock basket collections. We enjoyed a picnic lunch in dappled sunshine under the trees by the mine.

Day 8
It was an 8.30am start. We headed to an almost deserted Gwalia town site. Gwalia is still operating as a Gold Mine, however it is well known for the exodus of it's residents when the Sons of Gwalia Mine closed in 1963. The residents abandoned the small houses, some very tiny and over 1,000 people left to work on other mines including the Kalgoorlie Mine. It is now mainly a ghost town with about 15-20 people living locally. The Gwalia Mine site is of international significance as it was recommended to be developed in 1897 by American mining engineer Herbert Hoover who was later to become president of USA.
A very impressive new museum is set up to preserve the early history of the mine & townsite & includes Hoover House built as the Mine Managers house now operating as a Bed & Breakfast, & Cafe, overlooking the old open cut mine that is still operational as an underground mine.
The men only came to the office once a week to collect their pay, and they sure had to make sure it was correct weight.
Although one a few miles between the townsites of Leonora and Gwalia the electric tram ran from 1908 to 1923, a very advanced mode of transport for an out of the way place.

Many of the mine workers houses were tiny & built of materials that were cheaply available such as timber, corrugated iron, hessian walls & either dirt or brick floors.
This example was built by an Italian immigrant in the late 1930's, with basically 2 rooms...one bedroom and the other a kitchen with laundry bathroom the other room.

Mazza's Store
Built around 1910. It was truly a one stop shop selling everything from soap to oil & ammunition.
It also provided free delivery.

Patroni's Guesthome
Many miners were single & stayed at guest houses such as this. It was expensive compared to what they earned as boarders paid £5 for full board with weekly earnings in the 1940's being £7.10. There were around 16 rooms at the Patroni's guesthouse, each housing 2 single men. It did have a large kitchen to provide meals to the boarders and any other singles that might require meals.

The State Hotel
Built by the Government in 1903, partly to lessen the sly-grog trade.

Swimming pool at the mine site.
Built in 1921 for the residents. It was the second public pool built in Western Australia.

After a walk around the ghost town we drove into Leonora to the White House Hotel for a Fathers Day Pizza lunch together. There were some interesting signs on the wall.
And spot the mistakes on this poster.

On the way back to Menzies we took a detour to look in at the Kookynie Hotel & the Niagara Dam. We crossed the Dam wall and around the catchment area. There is free camping, toilets & a dump point around the Dam.
Kookynie is renowned for the horse that stands outside the hotel. Built over 100 years ago the Grand Hotel is now the only building completely left standing, although in its heyday of 1907, the town boasted a population of 3,500, eleven hotels, a turf club, several brass bands its own brewery and two sift drink makers.
Niagara dam was built in 1897 to provide water for the nearby towns. Unfortunately underground water was discovered just after its completion, so the dam was never really fully utilised. It took multiple trips by camel train to bring the resources to build the dam the 100's of kilometres up from Kalgoorlie.

Posted by iandeborah 12:26 Comments (2)

Goldfields and Wildflowers - Day 6 @ Lake Ballard

Day 6
Saw the group split, as the majority headed north towards an old emerald mine and Menzies for 3 nights. Yours truly heading into Menzies for a fuel top up and the onto Lake Ballard for a night with Steve & Leanne Green to capture the lake and its iconic statues at sunset and then sunrise. Our journey took us past Ora Banda where Deborah was able to take advantage of the Telstra phone box, this time calling her younger Sister Maxine. We continued past Broad Arrow Tavern & on tthrough Menzies.

Lake Ballard has 51 sculptures scattered over the 10 square kilometres of Lake Ballard. The statues were created by Antony Gormley. The installation is called Inside Australia. 51 volunteers from nearby Menzies had a 3 dimensional scan of their bodies & then the metal statuettes were constructed from local raw metals.

Photo taken by Leanne Green from the top of the eldest Sister Hill. There are seven islands in the Lake, each is one of the Sisters from the Dreaming story for the seven Sisters constellation.

We both found a nice spot along the edge of the camping area overlooking the lake. A very quiet night was had around a small campfire.

When it was time to hit the lake for sunset photos we ventured onto the salt lake hoping the crust was dry, and it was. An early, before 6am, start for sunrise shots was required the next morning...
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Posted by iandeborah 12:42 Comments (4)

Goldfields and Wildflowers - Day 3, 4 & 5 @ Credo Station

View Goldfield & Wildflowers on iandeborah's travel map.

WA has so much to offer. So many destinations to visit.

Day 3
Departing Boorabbin Rest Area heading for Credo Homestead, Ian noted a whiff of smoke just before we entered the highway. Jumped out of the car with his shovel in hand & doused the flames & smoke of another camper who obviously doesn't understand how bush fires start.

An uneventful drive found us at Coolgardie where we met up with the Busselton Naturalist cohort for the next part of the trip. Coolgardie being one of the early Goldfield settlements has a few old buildings some that in a state of disrepair.

Heading north in the convoy of 7 vehicles we stopped at Kunanalling site of the old Premier Hotel. Originally known as the 25 mile, being Kunanalling is 25 miles from Coolgardie. It was a mining town that had over 500 residents in the late 1980s by 1942 it was totally abandoned.

We passed plenty of oversized loads on our journey coming towards us, where we had to slow down & move across to the left.

A short time later we arrived at Credo Homestead & all set up camp. It had a wood fired donkey burner which heated water for the 2 showers & there were two sets of toilets. All in all a very clean & tidy set up. The camp hosts at the time were from Busselton & made us feel very welcome.

We had a camp fire was outside our house on the first & the last nights. The second night was a total fire ban due to high winds.

Day 4
An excursion was planned for the day, first stop Rowles Lagoon. It is a semi permanent water body known for birdlife. We were lucky to see a " Little Eagle," although some thought it might be a *Whistling Kite".
Sightings of Dragonflies, various water fowl & a few flies.

Next stop Ora Banda (band of gold)
We went cross country down a 4 wheel drive track that our leader said would take 10km off the journey, however probably added 20 minutes. But it was the adventure we were all up for. Our destination was Ora Banda Historical Inn, another old mining lease area. The Inn has been abandoned since it was burnt down in 2019. We stopped at the roadside for morning tea. Shortly after we noticed lots of security cameras around the building site, it was fenced off with signs that said, "No Trespassing, trespassers would be prosecuted." Not long after a vehicle drive by & stopped & gave us a stern vocal warning not to enter the building or compound.

It was here we noticed a Telstra phone box & as Telstra has made phones in the phone boxes free to use. Deborah managed to ring her Mum in QLD. What a delightful find.

A convoy headed off for lunch at Broad Arrow Tavern. Great burgers, we had the "Broady burger." No complaints from anyone.

Day 5
After checking in at the Homestead, paying our dues, and getting some background on the history of the over 210,000 hectare station, it was time to take a look at some of the old abandoned equipment and the shearing shed. The station was de-stocked in 2017 when the government bought the station as a nature reserve, which is why the shearing shed was still in such good condition inside. There were however a few wild cattle & their calves wandering around.

Afterwards it was another intrepid excursion into the wilds, looking for another abandoned mine. Of course you always find other abandoned things in the bush.

After a little toing and froing, we finally came across the mini 'superpit'. We fossicked around for gold bearing ore, but the cold and drizzly weather drove everyone back to the cars and the camp ground.

On the edge of the airstrip sits a chair with gumboots and this sign. "He finally caught his plane."

The night was time for, probably, our last fire with the full group on this trip. And what a good one it was.

Posted by iandeborah 10:12 Comments (5)

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