Archive | June, 2013
28 June 2013

Yorke on

We left Gorge Rock Pool (near Hyden) to head back to Perth and decided to pass through Yorke on the way. Couldn’t just pass through, ended up overnighting.

A very old town, established in 1831 just two years after Perth and it shows. Some lovely old buildings, one of which houses a great private motor museum.

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(one in there for John). Took the heritage drive round town and, whilst interesting, not a lot different to many similar older towns  around the country. Nothing that we could say was outstanding but we did have some exception with the sentiment expressed on the above shop front.

Headed back to our new home with Ina and George in Midland. Still lots to see in Perth and we think we’ve covered the best of the south of WA so we’re here till the end of the month.

Back to Fremantle to pick up where we left off a few weeks ago. Got to the prison. Didn’t leave. A very interesting guided tour took us through most of the afternoon. Not sure why the prison closed in 1991 but the guide put it down to sanitary conditions. Apparently the state government decided that slops buckets in all the cells was too primitive and unsanitary for the prisoners and that no television in the small cells was all to much to bear for these pillars of society. 1000 prisoners here, mostly two to a cell. As it should be!

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Unfortunately the last flogging on the triangle was before our visit (about 70 years before) but we nearly caught the last of 44 hangings (only 49 years ago). We’re told that hanging is humane! – compared to what? The open doors above and the lit cell are the solitary confinement block but the hammock is a home away from home for the best behaved.

Anyway after a day in prison Ina decided we needed to feel the love of an Alpaca so she demonstrated what a carrot would bribe them to do…

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but when I tried this one just smiled at me. Gee, I thought if the Quokka hurt why would I want to love up an Alpaca….









Fellow travellers Eddie and Joyce called a final farewell for Saturday as they set off for parts further north and on summons we headed for the “Lucky Shag” for a last drink. Being near the Bell Tower at Barrack St Pier IMGP2681 IMGP2684 IMGP2686



IMGP2703we took advantage of the half price Saturday deal and inspected the works. Beautiful piece of architecture (yes Jane and Justin I did say that). We were impressed and what a great view of the city……












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Eddie and Joyce introduced us to the city’s free bus service so we went for a ride with them. Went back into town a few days later by TRAIN and then caught free buses to tour the city. Parliament house question time was the best comic relief for the day, but there were a few other highlights..

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(Old London Arcade 1937, Town Hall 1867, Parliament House new part 1962, beautiful lacework 1890’s, The Perth Mint 1862 and local bounty)

Old folks tickets on train for both of us, $8.80, $2.00 to park the car at station for the day and free buses and free comedy show in the public gallery made for a very enlightening, entertaining, inexpensive day out. Whats more, the weather continues to be good.


We’ll see what the next few days bring but by and large I think we are ready to move on.


17 June 2013

Wave goodbye to Lake Grace

If the Stirling Ranges were majestic, Lake Grace was not. Because it looked good on the map and it was generally within the ‘zag’ zone we went there. You’ve gotta cross things off the list – well Lake Grace would be off ours forever. Same as it turns out for Lake King. Didn’t even bother to take photos of Lake King cos you can just substitute those for Lake Grace……..PICT1697

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but they were on the way to Hyden.

Hyden is of course the township closest to the well known “Wave Rock”. The rock is actually named the Hyden Rock – the “wave” is just one face of a bigger bit.PICT1729 PICT1727







but for those who expect to see wave rock here it is…..IMGP2567 PICT1714 PICT1712






and other shots of the rock over the top. Note the lone sandalwood tree and the low wall for directing water run-off to the nearby dam over the top of the wave.

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Then there’s Mulkas Cave supposedly a sacred site covered in hand stencils. A bit hard to interpret..

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but interesting nonetheless. By this time we have walked/climbed about 300 miles when we realized we had missed “Hippos Yawn”. So back track we do… it’s just around the rock from the wave and the sign says 1.4km round trip but they meant ’round there’ and then the same round back.








Well needless to say we slept well this night even though when we arrived at our next stop we found Ed and Joyce from Armadale and Ed and Barbara from somewhere else. Yes, two Eds but what do they say – ‘two eds are……….’. Ed and Joyce are in a 77 International Scout towing what I’m guessing is an even older van but they were very entertaining and great company and with Ed and Barb we had a lovely round fire conference. Hope to catch up again soon.PICT1761







We think we’ve zigged and zagged our way across, up and down the south of WA. The south east is largely characterised as “The Wheatbelt” and it is quite flat and relatively uninteresting with huge huge paddocks but some try to add interest to an otherwise boring landscape…









On our way back to Perth via Yorke. Still think there’s much to see in the big smoke.

17 June 2013

Back Up

We miss Griffin Coal &  Mining. Don’t worry Ian I’m not getting sentimental.

We passed through Collie on the way to the start of the last post, Collie being the home of Griffin Coal & Mining, an ex employer of both Ian Geddes and me. Pleased I am to report that there was no sign of Rick Stowe, but the locals remember him as the person who sold Collie to the Indians and do not hold him in great stead. Collie is the coal capital of WA and we are told the major producer of electricity for the state. Quite an historical town. Near the information centre are a few mine-rail relics, just a few of the 53 locomotives that were originally parked up here when they became redundant……..IMGP2529








The mines are a scar on the landscape








but there is hope of eventual reclamation as these arty farty shots of Stockton Lake, apparently an old mine, show…….PICT1590




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We overnighted on the shores of this most picturesque mine site……….








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We were quite surprised that the tourist shovel didn’t chase us but it might have been because the extension cable had been disconnected. Yes, this shovel ran from a lead – 850 tonnes of digger at the end of a 6600 volt power cord.

Anyway, on to Wagin as previously reported.

15 June 2013

On a Hyden to nuthin’

Well doesn’t the time slip by. Last post was on the 10th but that only took us up to the 6th or 7th of June. From Augusta we went back to Margaret River where we eventually found the farm stay we’ed been told of. Well of course we entered the roadway from the wrong end – we were coming from the south and the instructions in the book directed only from the north. Anyway we had our trusty sat-nav didn’t we? It found the right road just from the wrong direction so about 7/8 of the way up the road as it got narrower and muddier I overrode the stupid thing and yelled at it to take us back. After negotiating a turn-around through eleventy leven feet of filthy muddy water we headed back to follow the directions in the book. By the time we got into the farm we looked like most farmers tractors – s..t up to the door handles. Anyway on arrival at Big Valley Farmstay we found a familiar vehicle – “The Bakers Den”, a very large silver and blue Denning coach conversion. We had crossed paths with this vehicle without spying its occupants all the way across the Nullarbor and then into Esperance. They bumped into Maggie Laytons friend Glenys Ferguson in Donnybrook who thought it was us but once put right was informed that they had seen us along the way. Well we finally met the Bakers – Margaret and Tony over drinks the next night. The story gets weirder – another couple from Victoria, Harvey and Sue joined us for drinks (as did Keith and Helen) only to discover that Margaret  and Sue did their time as nurses together in training (a long way back), had retained mutual friends but hadn’t seen each other in 30 or so years. Life gets funny sometimes don’t it!









L – R: Harvey, Jude, Keith, Helen, Margaret, Tony and Sue (and me out of the picture – again).

Farmstay was OK but not quite as expected, but then I’m not quite sure what was expected anyway. Its really just a caravan park in a farm – probably great for Kiwis…………








and goats and birds….PICT1576







But, we weren’t there all the time and we didn’t get a dog or pussy nor did we actually see any of the lambs come into the world but we did finally go to Busselton on a nice wet cold windy day to find the longest pier and the underwater observatory closed cos of the weather. I took some shots anyway cos this wouldn’t be our blog without them (as I’m sure you’ve come to expect)…..

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On this coldest June day we headed back to Margaret River to indulge in Mmmmm..illers  ICE CREAM. Even bought tubs to keep us satisfied over the rest of winter – that’s logical isn’t it!

OK. So we had to start the Zig-Zag – head east old folks was the call, so, back to Wagin. This put us in striking distance of Albany for another session with my personal podiatrist (I know all the staff on first name terms now and they’re following our adventures), a little round trip of some 500km for a 20 minute appointment. This saw Suzi top 10,000km for the trip so far along with 10,000km as well on the truck. Another $220.00 on special shoes to take orthotics and we were back on the road again We stayed in the Wagin showgrounds, a delightful spot with all amenities for just $8.00 per night. Needed to conserve funds with the cost of shoes as they are so we moved on to the Stirling Ranges National Park just 80 km north of Albany and stayed in a forest camp at $10.00 per night. Met Max and Glen from Redland Bay in Qld……..







and Rod and Jenny from Sunshine Coast and Tony and Andrea from NZ and didn’t get their photos cos it was too dark. The Stirlings though are stunning and I’m not sure that these photos do the scenery justice but I’ll inflict them on you dear loyal reader anyway…….

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and once again we commend the state government on its preparedness to make all of natures remarkable sights accessible to us.

Even the camp ground, whilst not featuring showers or potable water was a delightful place to be….









Gotta leave ya there cos we’re on a Hyden to nuthin’ . Now that might leave ya guessin’.



10 June 2013

On the Wagin

Found our way back to the Albany Highway and continued south. Got as far as Arthur River before the day ran out. By this time we were just a couple 100km from Perth but its taken all day and we’ve covered over 300 km. Overnighted on the side of the road and set off before the constable moved us on (yeh, around 10.00am) and found a turnoff to a historic village and giant ram just a bit further down the road. A GIANT RAM!!!!…… WHAT? ….sand gropers trying to out-do the  banana benders?  Yep!!!











Bye the bye it’s Way – Gin as in wagin’ (war). Anyway, this led us to the historic village – a reconstructed township within the showgrounds displaying styles of accommodation and  living conditions from the 1800’s  – really well done by local volunteers over a period of years……IMGP2456

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Wagin is a lovely little provincial township being resurrected by the locals but like all little places the attractions run out. So, on to the big smoke, Albany.

Third stay at the Emu Beach Caravan Park notwithstanding an attempt to get into an alternative for this trip – no one else in Albany could fit us, not because of site availability, just size. Amazing –  I would have thought we were no longer unusual  and other evidence would suggest that is so. Anyway the park is still more than acceptable and we had little intent of being in situ often cos we were here for the RACING.

Historics in Albany – the Albany Classic. Dates back to the 20’s, died in the 30’s, resurrected in the 60’s, died again but came back about 10 years ago. Great event covering hillclimbs, motorkhanas, and regularity circuits around the streets of Albany. The circuit with all of its concrete barriers is set up overnight on Saturday, dismantled overnight Sunday, all by volunteers. Fabulous.

150 entries, limited only because of pit space, it is supposed to cater to pre-80’s but there are a few newer including Georges ’88 Reynard. The hillclimbs are conducted on the Saturday – one for the historics, another for later cars (moderns). Also on the Saturday the Mini Club ran a motorkhana on the foreshore. Didn’t see the moderns and missed the ‘khana and unfortunately a lot of the oldies didn’t attempt the hillclimb preferring to save themselves for Sunday but a good event anyway.PICT1098 (640x426) PICT1101 (640x426) PICT1104 PICT1107 (640x426) PICT1112 (640x426)










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The big day arrived – Sunday – race day. Whoops, regularity day.

20 events on the program, supposedly 3 runs per category over an expected 5 -6 laps. Well, whilst organization was very good the program was ultimately a bit ambitious. A slow start, several accidents and a few observer incursions created a few unmanageable delays leading to just a familiarisation run of 3 laps for each category followed by just 2 events of just 3 laps for most categories but in the case of race cars, both events were terminated after just one or two laps because of incidents on the circuit. Needless to say George and his cohorts were more than disappointed. But, regularity – hah!!  Don’t tell the competitors cos they were having too much fun challenging their nominated times and each other. We were  jealous!

Others managed more laps and obviously much more fun…….

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This was  a great day of motoring in a really phenomenal setting. The eastern states could learn a lesson in devising an entertaining event. I’m fairly sure the day with lots of other peripheral activities attracted a lot more than motoring buffs —–IMGP2473








The day finished as usual with a night. The night brought on a dinner at  friends of George and Ina’s,  Bernie and Dale, on the far side of Frenchmans Bay with a fabulous view of Albany over the water at night. Also there were other friends Chris and Zac who FLEW in for the event to play pit crew with Bernie. We had a fantastic night, and thanks Dale and Bernie for welcoming two strangers into your home.

Monday was recovery day. Tuesday we headed to Augusta to fill in the gap we missed through the cancellation of the Winnebago Clubs whale watch weekend but on the way we overnighted at Windy Harbour. Windy and wet it was but it is a very picturesque place……

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So, on to Augusta.

We pulled into the first caravan park on the Bussell Highway inbound to Augusta and what did we find? A “Longreach” rally no less. We had seen only four others over the preceding four months and here we bump into another two together. So three Winnie owners spent two days bad mouthing Winnebago and their dealers over a few (!) drinks. God they’re bastards. What a great couple of days and we also actually got to see some whales………IMGP2525


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L – R Chris, Corrie, Ken, Diane, Noel, Marie then some whales.PICT1542






Augusta is quite a surprise. Its not much of a place. I’m not sure what we expected but it was in big print on the map and there are lots of signs pointing to it but it is nothing more than a small seaside old time holiday place, just the meeting point of two oceans and two currents ( not raisins) one warm, one cold – lookemup.

Moved on to a farm stay at Margaret River. Chilling out watching sheep – niiiice!







6 June 2013

Perth still!!!

Don’t know where Tuesday went but late in the day took me off to motor museum at Whiteman Park. Fortunately George rang them before I got there cos they normally close at 4.00pm and it was 3.45 when I arrived so they gave me some extra time. But, still not enough time so I resolved to go back.

Wednesday I set off again and it just happened that the tractor museum at Whiteman Park was also open. It is staffed and maintained by volunteers and I got adopted by some old(er) farts. Got to change wheels on an old Fergie with Willy and got taken through the workshops by George (another one). Ended up getting introduced to most of the tractors personally and gee were they interesting, see…………IMGP2397

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Anyway, some hours later  I managed to get away and whip over to the motor car bit.    Again this is staffed by volunteers and most of the exhibits are privately owned and change over periodically. I think its run by the Vintage Car Club of WA but I could be forgetful about the details. It is nonetheless a fantastic collection of vehicles although somewhat incomplete (WHAT no Sprites!!!!). I was told that they are seeking a grant to double the size of the building to accommodate further vehicles that have been offered. This is just some of what they have on display……….IMGP2360

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Well this takes us to Wednesday of last week. George and Ina left for Albany this morning leaving us to love the animals. We set off Thursday which must be about 30 May. As I seem to behaving technical problems with my fingers I’m going to stop here but before I do………………………………………………………………………..

3 June 2013

Mini-mounts and monks

A bit of a catch up is in order, trouble is I can’t remember where we were up to. Is this CRAFT disease or maybe the after effects of quokka attack?

I don’t remember.

Saturday 25th was scrutineering day for entrants to the “round the houses” racing at Albany scheduled for the next weekend. George was entered in his 88 Reynard Formula Libra and also had to get the Ferrari 308 GTS/i inspected for its annual concessional licence renewal (being LHD). I agreed to drive the ute towing the race car to scrutineering thinking it was the wiser choice for me but on return George twisted my arm up my back to force me to drive the Ferrari home. I know why! However scrutineering was an eye-opener – the roads corporation of WA throws open its vehicle inspection facilities for the clubs to use for scrutineering. As there were at least 150 vehicles to be checked and the race is a one day event, time is not lost on race day through scrutineering. Well there were some very desirable vehicles in evidence, although really no different to any eastern state historic event but I am always overawed at any such collection of relics (including most of the owners)

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Two fantastic people, George & Ina Webber, the Reynard, and yes the handbrake warning light is on cos it’s stuck on (bloody cheap Italian cars)

We shared the back yard with Webber live stock, all of which consistently sought human company…IMGP2449




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but unfortunately the livestock wouldn’t co-operate this morning and all stand together for the group shot.


Sunday we set aside for The Pinnacles and New Norcia. George and Ina suggested that we could do both in the day if we got away early but their idea of early was 6.00am when they took off for their weekly fix at the swap meet. That just wasn’t going to happen, but we set off reasonably early to cover the 200ks north to The Pinnacles and assumed that we would also get a look at New Norcia.

Well the Pinnacles delayed us. Despite the advice that it might be interesting but you wouldn’t spend a lot of time there we found it fascinating and ended up spending a lot of time amongst the mini-mounts. Like all WA touristy sites access was easy and well supported. An information centre provided some background but a drive through the pinnacles themselves delivered a real sense of familiarity and awe………PICT0990


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The best part is you can actually drive amongst the pinnacles, stop, get out, touch and feel………IMGP2335













The information centre suggests that the pinnacles are the remains of an ancient forest, petrified trees broken down by the shifting sands but it also offers other explanations like an ancient upsurge in a rocky sub-strata broken down also by the shifting sands of time. Who knows if the experts don’t?

Off to meet the monks of New Norcia (about 150km nor-nor east of Perth and off into the wilds of WA). Well we might have but we were too late, so we went home without our souls being saved. But Monday dawned bright ( but still not early) so we went back and took vespers with the 9 monks of New Norcia in their private chapel. I don’t think we were saved by the experience but we were intrigued. Unfortunately no photography was allowed in this chapel so we can’t share the experience but suffice to say they prayed real good and sang even gooder. Then we took a 2 hour guided tour of the only monastic township in  this country. It is , to say the least, extraordinary.

Started as a mission to the natives in 1847 by two Spanish monks it grew into a centre for education of all, with separate schools for indigenous boys and girls and “white” boys and girls – apartheid was real in Australia well into the 70’s. It lasted as a bastion of education until about 1972 or so and at some point it was home for about 80 monks of the Benedictine order. The fact is that it is a beautiful bit of  architectural and cultural history. Building started around 1849 and continued into the 1960’s. Most of the later buildings are disappointingly utilitarian but some of the older ones are phenomenal……….IMG_0116

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We ended up spending the day here. Also unfortunately no photos were allowed in the museum following a major theft of the most significant works of art  some years ago. The works were selected for theft from photos taken by the thieves and subsequently valued by the end receivers for targeting. The paintings were all, bar one, apparently recovered and continue on display and they are beautiful, stunning, collectable religious  works. There are also some modern religious renditions but they left us cold. The artefacts in this place are priceless.

New Norcia covers some 20,000 acres and includes a productive farm, a vineyard, an olive grove  producing oils and wines and even bread and it raises funds otherwise today through renting out facilities for conferences and  study groups. It is however some millions in debt and the nine remaining monks average 70 years of age so there will come a time when the place cannot be sustained. There are already signs of serious deterioration. The monks are totally responsible for the income, expenses and maintenance of the township. I don’t think prayer will suffice. It will be a shame to see this place lost from our history.

The journey however continues. We’re back in Albany for the long weekend of vintage motorsport but that’s a report for another day.