Friday, July 30, 2010

Week 31/52 - Heating up at Marble Bar

Welcome to Week 31 of my 52 week tour Downunder Western Australia.

In Week 30 we travelled to Millstream and now we are continuing north along dirt roads from Newman to Nullagine and Marble Bar.

Marble Bar was founded in 1893 after alluvial gold was discovered in 1891 and at its peak boasted a population of around 5,000. However the gold rush was short-lived when prospectors were drawn away by gold discoveries around Kalgoorlie and the town now only has a population of around 400.

Marble Bar has been known as ‘the hottest town in Australia” since setting a record in April 1924 for 161 consecutive days of temperatures over 100F (37.8C), and its highest maximum 49.2C. Marble Bar plays on this fact as at the end of the main street is a huge digital board letting you know the current temperature - I know it was hot and I didn't need to know how hot - Aussie humour maybe affected by the heat!

The ‘Bar’ itself, located on the Coongan River just out of town, is a jasper deposit which settlers first thought was marble. Splashing water over the jasper highlights the richness of its colours. The Marble Bar Pool and Chinaman’s Pool (named after Chinese market gardens which were once here) are popular for swimming and picnicking, but cutting jasper from the Bar is illegal. Fossicking is permitted at the nearby Jasper deposit.

Here is a photo of Marble Bar Pool where the "jasper bar" is located.

From Life Images by Jill
And the "bar" with water splashed over it to bring out it's colours.

From Life Images by Jill
We spent several days in Marble Bar and drove out to Glen Herring Gorge, Coppin’s Gap, Doolena Gorge, Coongan Pools and Kitty’s Gap. These gorges are beautiful, and there was water in the first four, a chance to cool off and for our son to have a fish, however Kitty’s is definitely 4 wheel drive only! We saw lots of Spinifex Pigeons darting across the rocky tracks through the gorges. I usually left my husband and son to do some fishing while I wandered off through the Gorges with my camera taking photos.

Fishing in Glen Herring Gorge...

From Life Images by Jill
Coppins Gap...

From Life Images by Jill
No drive around Western Australia would be complete without wildflowers - this is the Sturt Desert Pea - they spread out over the seemingly dry dirt in a riot of colour.

From Wildflowers
And some history - the old State Gold Battery at Marble Bar.....

From Life Images by Jill
In 1895 the Government Offices, now listed by the National Trust, were constructed out of local stone, featuring elaborate stuccoed windows. The size of the buildings reflect the Government’s belief in the future of the Pilbara Goldfields, however the building’s design does not take into consideration the harsh climate.

From Life Images by Jill
The iconic Iron Clad Hotel, with its distinctive corrugated iron sheet cladding is a great place for a cold drink. I can also recommend the fish and chips, wrapped in butchers paper, for dinner. Delicious and very good value.

From Life Images by Jill
The Sturt Desert Pea flowers can be up to 9 centimetres in height from the top of the top pointed petal to the base of the black centre. The flowers grow in groups of 5-6 flowers on one stem. The plant is a low spreading ground cover which can cover up to three metres wide and 30 centimetres high.

The really make a bright splash of colour - here is another photo

From Wildflowers

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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.