Friday, June 18, 2010

Week 25/52 - Camel Soak & John Forrest Lookout - in the steps of explorers & fence builders

Hi everyone and welcome to week 25 of my 52 week tour Downunder Western Australia. We are still in the mid west wildflower region as we continue to travel northwards from out last stop at White Wells.

North of White Wells we turned west off the Great Northern Highway just past Mount Gibson onto Wanarra East Road, a well maintained graded dirt road along which the everlastings were giving way to Pink Velleia.

The road passes through Charles Darwin Reserve, formerly White Wells sheep station, purchased in 2003 by Bush Heritage Australia with money partly donated by Chris Darwin, Charles Darwin’s great-great-grandson. The Reserve protects remnant woodlands and the native animals and plants that depend on them. Closed to tourists, volunteers are involved in the Reserve’s conservation and management.

Our camp for the night is Camel Soak, located 30 kilometres east of Perenjori. The Number 1 Rabbit Proof Fence, built to stop rabbits invading the West, stretches 1,837 kilometres from Cape Keraudren on the North West coast to Starvation Harbour on the South coast. The men constructing the 1166 kilometre long Number 2 Fence between 1903 and 1906 camped at Camel Soak as the gnamma holes on the granite outcrop provided water for the men and their camels. Gnamma holes are natural depressions in the rock. When it rains the water collects in these depressions. Gnamma holes were used by Aboriginals and later explorers as a source of water. The aboriginals would visit favoured holes and keep them clean.

This is a view from the rock at camel soak, showing gnamma holes.

From Life Images by Jill
Nestled at the base of the rock under shady trees, Camel Soak is a pleasant place for an overnight camp. The surrounding bushland was covered in wildflowers, so as soon as our tents were pitched we went walking with our cameras.

There were wildflowers all around our camp. I spent quite a while wandering around the area near our camp taking photos of the different types of wildflowers.

From Life Images by Jill
This is the road into Camel Soak lined by a carpet of the wildflower Velleia.

From Life Images by Jill
Here is a close up of the Velleia.

From Wildflowers
some more wildflowers. This is the Silver Cassia.

From Wildflowers
And one of the varieties of Mulla Mulla - you see great swaths of Mulla Mulla all over the Pilbara.

From Wildflowers

This is the rabbit proof fence - or now called "the vermin proof fence" The Rabbit Proof Fence,was built in the early 1900s to stop rabbits invading the West from the Eastern states of Australia. It stretches 1,837 kilometres from Cape Keraudren on the North West coast to Starvation Harbour on the South coast. (unfortunately the fence was unsuccessful in stopping the rabbits!)

From Life Images by Jill

Further east we come to John Forrest Lookout from where the spectacular panoramic of the surrounding station country reaches to the horizon in an undulating sea of scrubland splashed with the colours of spring.

The Lookout forms part of the Damperwah Hills which Sir John Forrest (explorer and later WA’s first premier) discovered and named in 1869 when searching for missing German explorer Ludwig Leichhardt, and used as survey point during his expedition to Cue and Day Dawn in 1897. Granite outcrops like these were often used by early explorers as survey points and lookouts, camp sites, and for watering their horses.

Here is the view from the top. The 750 metre walk up to the Lookout is not difficult and the dry scrubland was covered in wildflowers. There is a shady picnic area at the base of the hill, which would make a good overnight camp.

From Life Images by Jill
Thanks for looking everyone. I hope you have enjoyed these few extra photos, I look forward to hearing from you, and continuing further north with you on our journey. __________________

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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.