Monthly Archives: October 2014

Kalgoorlie

We are in Kalgoorlie where gold is still being mined on a grand scale.  Paddy Hannan and two of his mates, who are less feted, discovered gold here in June 1893.  In the 1890’s provisions were in short supply, prostitution was rife (many of the women from China & Japan), and housing was a 6×8 hessian tent erected with forked sticks, an oat bag for a mattress and billy cans and kerosene tins to cook with. It must have been a wild, old town. The engineer, CY O’Connor, developed a project to pump water the 600 km from Mundaring Resevoir, in the Perth hills, to Kalgoorlie and the first of the eight pumping stations was officially started, with great pomp and ceremony, in 1903.  This, of course, changed everything, and it is extraordinary to see the pipeline today, often following the road, as you travel between Perth and Kalgoorlie.  Some of the original pipes are still in use although the pumping stations have been replaced.

Kalgoorlie-Boulder has some lovely, old buildings and we have visited a couple of museums and the Arboretum and the Karlkurla Bushland Park.  We also had lunch at the historic Ora Banda pub, which has a colourful history involving arson, bombings, murder and The Gypsy Jokers.  The food wasn’t great! but it is a lovely, little outback pub with a very pleasant beer garden.

We have travelled 12,200 kms in 11 1/2 weeks and tomorrow we head for the Nullabor.  It will take us two days to cross, and we will free camp so, probably, no internet/phone access. Home in two weeks.

Arboretum - Coral Gum

Arboretum – Coral Gum

Arboretum - Coral Gum

Arboretum – Coral Gum

Karlkurla Bushland Park - Silver Gimlet Trees

Karlkurla Bushland Park – Silver Gimlet Trees

Geoff and his mate Paddy - hope some of his luck rubs off!

Geoff and his mate Paddy – hope some of his luck rubs off!

The Super Pit - produces 800,000 ops of gold per year

The Super Pit – produces 800,000 ozs of gold per year

The Super Pit - mine trucks weigh 22 tonnes and carry just under 4,000 l of fuel.

The Super Pit – mine trucks weigh 22 tonnes and carry just under 4,000 l of fuel.

It's Jacaranda Season

It’s Jacaranda Season

View of the town

Charlotte’s Lookout

Charlotte's Loolout

Charlotte’s Lookout

The Super Pit - Face Shovels weigh a mighty 685 tonnes, carry 11,000 l of fuel. Unsurprisingly, max speed is 2.1 km/hr

The Super Pit – Face Shovels weigh a mighty 685 tonnes, carry 11,000 l of fuel. Unsurprisingly, max speed is 2.1 km/hr

Ora Banda Cemetery - someone has been moved to put artificial flowers on the few identifiable graves.  They look quite bizarre.

Ora Banda Cemetery – someone has been moved to put artificial flowers on the few identifiable graves. They look quite bizarre.

Jurien Bay to Kellerberrin

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This is is the extraordinary Eucalyptus Macrocarpa which, as you can see, we are very taken with!  There were just a few trees in flower on the side of the road as we travelled from Jurien Bay to Kellerberrin.  Geoff went clambering around in the bush and collected a bush tick for his pains.

The Pinnacles Desert, Nambung National Park

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These photos were all taken in an extraordinary area of Nambung National Park – The Pinnacles Desert.  Thousands of limestone pillars, which range in size up to 5m tall and 2m thick at the base, rise up out of the sand and heath.  They were formed thousands of years ago when ancient plant roots formed a weak cementation of calcite within the dunes and have been exposed by wind and shifting sands.  It is difficult to convey how dramatic and unexpected this spectacle is.  The stone pillars resemble a stone army on the march – rather like a scene from Lord of The Rings!  They are beautiful and eerie at the same time.

Beautiful Kalbarri

A lovely afternoon in the Kalbarri National Park East of Kalbarri.  These are the inland gorges on the Murchison River with rock formations as old as 400 million years.  The Murchison River starts its journey in the ancient range lands near Meekathara before feeding into the Indian Ocean at Kalbarri.

The Z-Bend Lookout gives views of the 150m plunge to the river below and highlights the red river gums against the striking colours of the Tumblagooda sandstone.  Nature’s Window is a rock arch which frames the section of the river called The Loop.  We didn’t leave the area until after five so had the opportunity to greet a couple of kangaroos on the road on the way back.  Like all of their brethren, they have suicidal tendencies.

The Z-Bend

The Z-Bend

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The Loop

The Loop

Climbing around to Nature's Window

Climbing around to Nature’s Window

Shades of the old Cleo centrefold

Shades of the old Cleo centrefold

Beautiful sandstone formations at The Loop

Beautiful sandstone formations at The Loop

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Nature's Window from the other side

Nature’s Window from the other side

At the Blue Holes. Morning coffee with my feet in the Indian Ocean - what could be better

At the Blue Holes. Morning coffee with my feet in the Indian Ocean – what could be better

Kalbarri

Kalbarri