Trip Leader: John ‘Stamps’
When: 24th – 27th September, 2010
Location: Southern Cross, Yellowdine area.
Participants: Sam & Pasc Vasile, Trevor, Rachel, Jamie and Lewis Theunissen, Richard King, Bob and Bridget McPherson, Paul, Louise, Matt and Sam Ryan, Glenn Bignell, Bruce and Judith Brinkley, Keith Parker, Rick and Nancy Ellis.
A Letter from our Volunteer Tour Guides: Kay and ‘Runger’
John and Viv, having just moved to Southern Cross and being members of the Mitsubishi Club, invited them to Karalee for the long weekend in September. You know, the same weekend that Footy diehards live to be humiliated or exonerated – only in this case, they have to go back again, next weekend.
Runger had been talking to John about the Yilgarn was asked if we would like to join them.
Is the Pope Catholic? Are we keen???
The Mitsi Mob arrived on Friday night, and we couldn’t get there until the Saturday afternoon, but that’s OK. We set up our camper amongst all the others when we did arrive – all 11 of them, at the eastern end of Karalee dam. Over at the toilet end, it was rapidly filling up with other campers. All up, there were 12 campers where we were; 12 campers/vans, 2 tents and 5 bikes at the western end; 1 camper at the northern end; 2 campers in the bush at the southern end. Most of these vehicles we had seen in Southern Cross on Saturday morning at the Service Stations, or parked up the main street.
We thought we might go and meet the travellers at Yellowdine, as they had taken a trip in to Weowannie via Duladgin, and figured they would coming back around the road, and not through the bush to Karalee from Weowannie – the Australian Safari had gone that way, but the scrub is still too close to the duco for most vehicles.
We all wandered back to Karalee and to the fire. The men were cooking tea. In fact they cooked tea each night – it was funny seeing 10/11 camp ovens sitting around the big fire and the men with little hooks taking off the lids, checking out their culinary masterpieces.
John, who will be for now on called Jacques, the Mighty Master chef, had a feast organized for us. A roast, out there in the bush. He had a beaut little roasting pot, that cooked everything to perfection. Roast chicken, spuds, and gravy. Just yum!!
It was great sitting around the fire listening to the stories and teasing from people who are comfortable with each other and being made feel very welcome.
At about 10.30 I wandered off to bed in our little camper. We had even erected the annex, and I was dreading putting it away, because it was such a pain at Christmas. Still, it kept out the flies next morning, and they weren’t small. Where do blowies come from, out there in the bush?
Our aim was Mount Palmer to see the ruins and gold mine, and a bit of detecting, maybe. At Mount Palmer, there were 2 lots of campers in the bush with 5 vehicles between them. Now is the best time to go bush in the Yilgarn, because it is still cool enough to explore, the flies aren’t that bad, and who want to go to the beach to be blown away and frozen??
We had lunch overlooking the lake, and the intrepid ones, went down to the open cut for a look-see. The more indolent ones, stayed up at the cars chatting and swapping stories. It was great seeing kids having a go, in fact the kids were great all weekend. Mums and dads, you are to be commended.
On the way back to camp, we came across the only water barrier for the day- the pothole on the fire access road. John the Tour Leader powered through the bog in his blue V8 beast, and as we were behind, and not to be outdone, Runger, stopped, put the hubs in, got back in and powered through as well. Only trouble was he had forgotten to change to 4×4 and I thought there for a sec, that he would need a little tug, but the wonderful Mitui (lost a few more letters) came through wonderfully.
All the rest, except one vehicle, took the Chicken track.
What a disappointment!!! I wanted a photo to write home about.
Sunday night saw us having another great feast, this time Rogan Josh, a beautiful curry made with beef and whatever Jacques the Mighty Master Chef could find. Runger doesn’t like tomatoes, so he was cooked a beautiful chicken breast and vegies. Talk about spoilt. He does the cooking at home, so it was a novelty for him.
By 9.30, we were all knackered, so one by one; we all fell off our perches and toddled to our respective beds.
Thank you to John and Viv for inviting us to join you all for the weekend.
We have met some wonderful people, and staying in touch with them would not be a hardship, such was the camaraderie and hospitality. They are very conscious of doing the right thing in the bush, cleaning up their campsites, taking rubbish away, so I, for one, invite them back again. The only downside was coming home along Great Eastern Rubbish Tip. What a disgusting mess. If everyone was as conscious as the Mitsubishi Club about hygiene, then we would not have millions of kilometres of plastic containers, aluminium cans, paper, tyres, oil containers and anything else you can imagine, anywhere on our roads. Maybe if there was a refund on plastics and cans, there may not be as many on the roads? Maybe if there was a payment for all the truck tyres in the bush, they may be disposed of correctly?? Maybe if all the abusers took responsibility for their actions, we might have a nice, clean highway?? One can only hope.
Saturday..11 cars set off from the Karalee campsite at 10a.m.
We drove via Yellowdine Roadhouse, north up a wide dirt road, then a few km along, stopped beside this innocuous mound on the right hand side of the road.
No signs, no secure covering, just a hole in the ground and a tree beside. Old timber shoring still holding water. Thousands of people must drive past this old Government Well and know it only as a dot on a map and not actually realise where it is. We would have also without Kaye.
A km away further into the bush is the lone gravesite of Thomas Davidson. Born 26/6/1850 in Scotland. Thomas was a water borer who shot himself with a revolver on 28/5/1895.
We moved on to Weowanie Rock (Latitude: 31° 7′ 60 S, Longitude: 119° 45′ 0 E) ….where we met up with Malcolm & his Gus Luck Trip group. They’d camped there the previous night. We swatted flies, had lunch, chatted and some of us actually walked over the rock.
Did anyone know that when they walked near the western pool, they were walking near ‘numerous conspicuous black cladoceran’ ? Commonly called water fleas!!..all females apparently!!
So..? Were they conspicuous???
Apparently Weowanie Rock is one of the colonies. How about that.!! Weowanie Rock has fleas!!
Next stop .. the old Pump Station 6 at Ghouli. Most of the pump stations were steam driven hence the large weighing platform to measure the dray deliveries for payment for cut wood. Our men discovered the scales still worked ! Another big boys toy ?
The Pump Station Architecture reflects the elaborate decoration that functional buildings were given back then. Round windows, archways, elaborate woodwork..and the equipment is still in place within the building.
We drove back along the pipeline, then via Yellowdine Roadhouse, icecreams and flushing toilets, we returned to Karalee to get our culinary delights happening in our camp ovens.
Although many sat around the campfire talking .. many also quietly slipped away for an early night.
Come Sunday we’re off on a pub crawl to Mt Palmer Hotel..or what’s left of it.
And Lunch at an old Gold Mine and quarry.
See the photos.