Friday, May 7, 2010

Week 19/52 - Western Australia's wheatbelt towns and expansive views

So here we are in week 19 of our 52 week tour Downunder Western Australia. This week we continue through the central wheatbelt.

We travel north from Narrogin through Cuballing and then on to Pingelly and Moorumbine.

The tiny township of Cuballing has a number of interesting buildings dating from the early 1900’s. Cuballing slowly died when Narrogin became the centre for the area, but the determination of local farmers and townspeople is symbolised by the Town Hall which was built by voluntary labour on Sundays in an attempt improve the town’s status.

Ten kilometres east of Pingelly is the old townsite of Moorumbine, and its centrepiece the stone and shingle St Patrick’s Anglican Church built in 1872. The only buildings that remain in Moorumbine is the church and a couple of old houses. My father spent some of his early years at Moorumbine and he has family members buried in the church cemetery. The trees you can see in this photo of the church are Olive Trees planted by the Benedictine Monks from New Norcia, where we will go later in our tour.

From Life Images by Jill

We found this old truck parked in a farmers paddock - you can see the green wheatfields through the windows.

From Life Images by Jill

We then drive on to Wickepin, a typical wheatbelt town - with its wide main street, grain silos, railway line and bulk loading facility. Settled in 1868, Wickepin is famous as the home town of Albert Facey, author of the best selling autobiography, “A Fortunate Life”. His house was moved from its original site to the main street of Wickepin in 2000 and gives an insight into the harsh and simple lifestyle of a small 1930’s wheatbelt farmer.

The 86 kilometre Albert Facey Heritage Trail covers the history of the area, its historic buildings and natural landmarks.

This is the Albert Facey cottage in Wickepin.

From Life Images by Jill

And this is the view from Kokerbin Rock north of Wickepin - a granite outcrop from where you have expansive 360 degree views of the wheat belt. Kokerbin Rock is the third largest monolith in Australia. Bush walkers will enjoy this unspoilt area where you can spend hours exploring the rock, caves, and historic sites. It is possible to drive to the top to take in the impressive panoramic views. A great place for a picnic.

From Life Images by Jill

Below is an experimental photo - I don't know much about HDR or post processing - you probably had something more dramatic in mind - What I've done - added sepia, grain, poster edges, dust and scratchers, texturizer and adjusted levels (photoshop elements).

From Life Images by Jill

And now to Bilbarin. This is where my mother spent her early years in a simple wood shack while her father cleared land for farmers and her mother did washing to try and make a bit of extra money. It is a hard life during those years of the depression.

Typical of many small railway siding towns once fed by the railway line and wheat fields, their history can be explored in their remaining scattered town halls and churches. All that remains of Bilbarin is the Town Hall and school house, however the Bilbarin Hall Committee erected in 2004 a historical walk through the town with display boards recording Bilbarin’s past. Walking along the streets and railway line, you can almost hear the shouts of the lumpers as they loaded bags of wheat onto the goods trains.

Here is a photo of what remains of the rail siding at Bilbarin.

From Life Images by Jill
Here is a typical wheatbelt road lined by gum trees.

From Life Images by Jill

This is the wheat-bin at Cumminin where my father's family owned a shop during the war years. The wheat-bin and the hall is all that remains.

From Life Images by Jill
And the view from Roe's Lookout near Cumminin - another granite outcrop.

We are in the central Wheatbelt and the area explored by John Septimus Roe between 1836 to1849. A feature of this whole area are huge granite outcrops providing vantage points for viewing the surrounding countryside. Early explorers took their bearings and selected these rocks as campsites and sources of water and feed for their horses, and later sandalwood cutters used these areas as campsites.

thanks for looking everyone. I hope you are enjoying this part of the tour.

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Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this tour around Western Australia. I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for taking the time to comment.