Southern Cross 2011

Trip Leader: John “Stamps” and Vivienne “Viv”

When: Queen’s Birthday Weekend.  28th to 31st October 2011

Location: Southern Cross WA

Participants: Guy and Wendy Lehmann, John and Rosalie King, Richard King, Keith Parker, Glenn Bignell, Paul and Louise, Matt and Sam Ryan, Bruce and Judith Brinkley, Jan and Roger Freegard, Peter and Denise Belcher, Sam and Pasc Vasile, Viv and John Stampalija,  Bob and Bridget McPherson,  Kay and Russell (visitors)

 The site: A huge open area adjacent to the Camping Ground at Karalee Dam and Rock..turn off approx 20km East of Yellowdine along the Great Eastern Highway and now complete with  a new “flushing toilet” .
How?… there is a whole damful of water right next door!
Out came the flynets. Why do flies always aim for your nostrils the moment you breathe in !!

Thursday, the early birds arrived, setup camp and collected heaps of firewood for camp ovens and cold nights. The rest arrived during Friday and having set up, spent the day exploring the Rock and the historical dam…or sleeping, reading, socializing or catching up with our two guests.
Kay is an avid local historian and Russell a keen prospector when they arenʼt running their busy Transport business. Theyʼve lived in the area since 1983. Having these Southern Cross friends of Viv and Stamps join us as guides was a wonderful bonus.

It had been raining prior to the weekend and Stampsʼ last job for the Shire on Thursday was to put up the closed signs. No ifʼs or butʼs about these road closures. So the planned trip to Mount Jackson was cancelled and an alternative excursion devised.
Saturday…In brief, we ranged over sections of Huntʼs track, the Telegraph track, the Powerline track and the Pipeline track. Only got lost once. Along the route we would have been oblivious to most of the overgrown points of interest. Nor would we have known the significance of the ruins or dams we came across.
As Jan said… “Driving through an area like this takes on a different dimension when you have people like Kay and Russell giving running commentary”.

Huntʼs track was pushed through first as he established water supply for both the growing numbers of workers and the early steam trains whose track ran alongside the old Telegraph track. Now running roughly parallel to the old services are the modern powerline, the famous Mundaring – Kalgoorlie water pipeline and the Great
Eastern Highway , which at this time of year is bordered, with masses of wild flowers!!!
But thatʼs another photo.

Of the old telegraph line only broken insulators remain and the section through the salt lake. All usable metal or wood has long been scavenged…the old rail track also. We did our usual stop in Yellowdine for the obligatory icecreams, toilets, and morning tea, then moved on.
Our guides showed us seeming random holes a few metres across which apparently had been dug purposely and werenʼt just geological subsidence. These were ‘soaksʼ  to augment the original wells until the dams were built. The water table would soak up into the bottom. Most now are just innocuous debris-filled depressions.

Lunch was with the flies.

We then wandered around the old Yellowdine Pub ruins, called in to visit a Religious Retreat… but they were ʻin retreatʼ . Next time maybe.
Their group utilize the water from one of the old dams in their revegetation projects. There are no natural water courses in Yilgarn Shire.
Even apiarists cart in drums of water to supply their bee hives when they want to use the local wildflowers.

At another deep reservoir with rock walls directing waterflow, Bridget rescued a suicidal frog. There were many dead in the deep well. Did they jump in for water or start off in there? Anyway, Bridget, with the moral high ground, and the stick, flicked it out to live and breed another day. Back at camp by 4 for showers (Glenn braved the cold dam for his cleanup) though some of us sneaked back to Yellowdine for ours. Happy hour, campfire chatter, ovens and grills. Glenn treated us to samples of kangaroo salami and venison. Sam brought out his homemade hot  salami and David and Tracey their home pickled olives.

Then The Quiz…are the women good or are they GOOD !!!
You can guess which team won.

Sunday some packed up to head home for work next day. Others toured Southern Cross township led by Kay and Russell and went for a ʻ private viewingʼ  of the Museum with Viv. What it is to know people in high places.
On the way back to camp, as a way of thanking the Southern Cross Crew for their hospitality, a typical 4WD Mitsubishi Club rubbish collection was conducted along the highway back to Karalee.
That night a huge fire was lit – compliments of Paul and Craig with the chainsaw. More food… Sam, Pasc and Wendy were trying to fatten us up with even more camp cooking delights. Another great night had by all.

Monday. Usual pack up day and head for home except for John and Rosalie who continued east for a few more days in the bush.
This was a trip with no adrenalin pumping nor our first aid training from previous weekend required, but a lot more learned about this country of ours.

Trip Notes :  Glenn Bignell / Judith Brinkley

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