A Travellerspoint blog

Kalgoorlie to Albany

...via Hyden and Kulin

sunny 40 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II on SteveJD's travel map.

Our first day in Kal was mainly admin stuff with a bit of exploring. For those who have read our blog about our visit to Yackandandah, the grave we visited there was of Judith's 3x great uncle, Matthew Sharpe Rome, who appears to have been drawn to Australia by the gold fever of the 19th century. One of his sons, Jacob Richardson Rome moved to Kalgoorlie around the time that gold was found here in the 1890s and appears to have spent his life as a prospector. One of his four sons followed in his footsteps and through family history research we had found three addresses at which he had lived. Without giving names, in case of offending anyone, it would appear that his fortunes varied as his first house was quite pleasant but his second house was in what appeared to be a lower socio-economic area. However, his third house was again rather nice but from here he moved to Bunbury for which as yet we have no address. Had we known of his existence when we first came to Perth, we could perhaps have met up as he only died in 1985.

The name Kalgoorlie probably has its origins in the Aboriginal word meaning 'silky pear', a plant which is common in the area (not that we noticed any!). European history really began when a prospector, Paddy Hannan, struck it rich in June 1893. His discovery sparked off a gold rush which brought, among others, Judith's relatives mentioned above. There are still many buildings dating from the period of the gold rush and many more which sprung up as a result of successive discoveries in the area. There are several corner pubs or hotels which must have been made on a production line as the style is found all over Australia. Hay Street is notorious for its prostitutes but when we drove through during the day it was disappointingly respectable!

Palace Hotel

Palace Hotel

York Hotel

York Hotel

Exchange Hotel

Exchange Hotel

Replica of statue of Paddy Hannan, now a water fountain

Replica of statue of Paddy Hannan, now a water fountain

With wide streets and lovely old buildings, the city is quite attractive with a number of green parks but it is almost unbearably hot in the summer to the extent that we didn't think we would care to live there - the heat of Perth in summer was more than enough!

The following day we were delighted to meet up with Lisa, one of Judith's relatives (not related to the Romes above) and her daughter Grace who was enjoying her 4th birthday. We also enjoyed some of her cake! After relaxing and chatting, we all went into the city and had a lovely lunch at the York Hotel, sitting out on the balcony. Little Grace took some of our photos!

Lisa and Grace at the York Hotel

Lisa and Grace at the York Hotel

ff353e30-b9c7-11e8-82b1-5fac205b352e.jpgPortraits of Judith and Steve by Grace

Portraits of Judith and Steve by Grace

I wonder where she learnt that?

I wonder where she learnt that?

View from our lunch table

View from our lunch table

Interior of the York Hotel

Interior of the York Hotel

Having had a family day we then visited some of the parks in Kalgoorlie. We had been interested to hear about the Kokoda Trail panels in Centennial Park but there were only a couple of these in a scrubby area and the park was not especially exciting although it is probably good for parties and some concerts as it has a nice music bowl. The next stop was Hammond park which is more 'manicured' and is probably a great place to take children. From preference I would see birds in the wild and I find it a bit distressing to see fairly common birds locked up in cages but I suppose each to their own taste and maybe even caged birds will start that bubble of interest in nature in the young children who visit.

There is also a fascinating miniature Bavarian castle which is said to be decorated with over 40,000 gemstones - I didn't count but there were certainly many.

The Bavarian Castle

The Bavarian Castle

More to our taste was the Arboretum just down the road where there were some pleasant walk trails among trees, many of which were labelled for identification. Not surprisingly there were quite a few birds there.

Another Red Wattlebird

Another Red Wattlebird

Australian Ringneck parrot (better known to us as a 28)

Australian Ringneck parrot (better known to us as a 28)

We then made our way to the Super Pit for the daily blast. This was due at 1pm so we stood with cameras poised until our batteries ran out! Luckily we had spares with us and were able to get them in just in time for the blast at 1:55pm. The pit is enormous and the people and vehicles in the bottom before and after the blast looked like ants and Dinky Toys respectively. We found the variations in colour of the different strata that had been revealed as excavations wore their way down very attractive.

View over the Super Pit

View over the Super Pit

Trucks at the bottom of the hole

Trucks at the bottom of the hole

Terraces cut into the side of the pit

Terraces cut into the side of the pit

The blast - bigger than it looks!

The blast - bigger than it looks!

In the evening, we had a meal at the hotel and were delighted to find that their cellar included Piano Gully wines. A former colleague of mine in Perth took a share in Piano Gully Winery in the Pemberton area some years ago. When we met up in Perth on our return we heard that he had sold out of the vineyard but retained the rights to the name and had the wines made independently - this was, to us, an unusual arrangement but the wine still tasted great.

Before leaving Kalgoorlie, we visited Lisa and her family and met the rest of the brood - delightful, it is such a pity we live so far away. We left them and headed west on the Great Eastern Highway, stopping for lunch at Boorabbin Rest Area where several adult and immature pied butcherbirds besieged us while we ate.

Steve with Lisa and her family

Steve with Lisa and her family

20180318_P1140908.jpgAdult and immature Pied Butcherbirds

Adult and immature Pied Butcherbirds

Steve being made to feel guilty!

Steve being made to feel guilty!

The Ambush Line

The Ambush Line

Before reaching Southern Cross, we turned off the highway onto about 150km of unsealed road known as the Emu Fence Road. The fence is also know, less picturesquely, as the State Vermin Fence which was a not entirely successful attempt to keep rabbits, kangaroos and even emus east of Western Australia's agricultural areas.

Jet Set and Bobbie hanging in there as we barrel along the road

Jet Set and Bobbie hanging in there as we barrel along the road

The Emu Fence Road

The Emu Fence Road

Wildflowers beside the road

Wildflowers beside the road

At the end of this long stretch, we came on Hyden where a comfortable cabin awaited us in the caravan park. I'm not sure whether there is anywhere else to stay in Hyden so it was fortunate that the park itself was very good, the cabin was slightly rustic but well-equipped and comfortable and very close to Wave Rock. We quickly settled in and then went off for a walk along the very impressive Wave Rock and then on to the top where we saw several ornate dragons, very attractive little creatures, and had good views over the (very flat) countryside.

Wave Rock

Wave Rock

Steve walking very carefully along sloping rock above Wave Rock

Steve walking very carefully along sloping rock above Wave Rock

20180318_P1140921.jpgTwo Ornate Dragons

Two Ornate Dragons

View from the top over Wave Rock

View from the top over Wave Rock

When we returned to ground level we went along to Hippo's Yawn which again is an impressive chunk of rock but not easy to photograph, particularly in the afternoon light.

Steve bracing himself for the hippo

Steve bracing himself for the hippo

20180318_P1140933.jpgTwo views of the Hippo's Yawn

Two views of the Hippo's Yawn

Inside the Yawn

Inside the Yawn

Friendly Galah

Friendly Galah

Our 'rustic' accommodation

Our 'rustic' accommodation

It seems Hyden gained its name from a German prospector, Karl Heyden although there seems to be no certainty but rather supposition based on the knowledge of the man and the fact that Heydens live today in York which is not that far away.

The following day, we revisited Hippo's Yawn and had slightly better light but got some lovely light (but duff photos!) on the salmon gums which formed most of the woodland through which we walked.

The morning Yawn

The morning Yawn

Just outside Hyden is another rocky area called The Humps, of which Mulka's Cave is the most significant feature. Inside the cave there are some Aboriginal linear drawings and many hand stencils. The story of Mulka is that as he was illegitimate, he was cursed with cross-eyes and an extremely tall build. As a result of being cross-eyed he could not aim a spear and took to eating children (as you would!). In the cave it s said that his handprints can be seen much higher than anyone else could reach. His mother objected to his behaviour so he killed her. The local Aboriginal people were not all that impressed so took off after him and speared him near Dumbleyung, about 156km south-west of Hyden. As he did not deserve a proper burial, they left his body to be eaten by the ants - a grim warning!

Salmon gums along the road

Salmon gums along the road

Entrance to Mullka's Cave

Entrance to Mullka's Cave

49ea18e0-bb4b-11e8-a2af-a5a2e8c2e7f4.jpgExamples of the hand stencils

Examples of the hand stencils

By now we were 'rocked out' and headed west to Kondinin and then south to Kulin where we had coffee in a lovely little park. When leaving the town, we saw a sign stating that we were on Tin Horse Highway which sounded a bit odd but then we started spotting tin horses in a variety of guises. It was all very bizarre but apparently the Kulin Bush Race runs down this highway and some bright spark had the good idea of recycling tins of various sizes to make the figures that we saw along the road until the course of the bush race turned off to one side. I lost count of the figures but they were sufficient to delay us quite considerably!

The start of the Tin Horse Highway

The start of the Tin Horse Highway

A collage of some of the tin horses

A collage of some of the tin horses

A horsetronaut!

A horsetronaut!

Tin Horse Highway Patrol Random Breast Testing Station

Tin Horse Highway Patrol Random Breast Testing Station

Kulin was originally called Jilikin (or Jilakin) but was later changed to Kulin, when the railway reached the town. reportedly as the Aborigines who showed Surveyor John Septimus Roe the Kulin Soak referred it it as "coolin". No one is sure what the original "coolin" meant although it was probably the name for the Kulin Soak. There is also an interpretation which says Kulin comes from a Nyoongar word "koori-iny" meaning "coming and going". (Acknowledgements to Aussie Towns for most of that bit of information).

Rather later than planned, we reached Lake Grace, a bit further south, just in time to have our picnic lunch along with a super abundance of flies! The salt lakes here were very interesting but we could not now dally all that long.

Again, referring to Aussie Towns, I learned the following: "In 1909 the district surveyor, Marshall Fox, named the lake after Grace Brockman, the wife of the Surveyor-General, Frederick S. Brockman. Grace Brockman later became Grace Bussell and achieved fame in 1876 when she and a stockman, Sam Isaacs, rescued people from a shipwreck at the mouth of the Margaret River."

The salt lake spreads to the horizon

The salt lake spreads to the horizon

A Lonely tree by the lake's edge

A Lonely tree by the lake's edge

A few sparse gum trees by the lake

A few sparse gum trees by the lake

The next stop was again to refuel our inner selves with coffee and cakes at Bluff Knoll Cafe before continuing on to Albany via a longish detour through the Stirling Ranges National Park, which was a bit dumb on my part as we didn't have time to stop if we wanted to get in before nightfall. I just find it irrestible! We eventually arrived at the Ace Motel where parking was a bit tight but the room was very comfortable and the place itself is very convenient.

Posted by SteveJD 11:05 Archived in Australia Tagged western_australia albany wave_rock hyden kalgoorlie super_pit

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