A Travellerspoint blog

18 The Goldfields of W.A.

sunny 19 °C

24th August
We got up early planning to drive the 40Km Great Ocean Drive around Esperance, however, we were very cross that we again had a leak in the food cupboard so we invested the morning in getting some technical advice then some better equipment with which to seal off the whole area adjacent to the leakage. Hopefully that will take care of this issue once and for all. At least we retrieved all the food in time to ensure that we can still use it.

After lunch we headed off into a windy afternoon (nothing new about that in this area of WA) and managed to get some photos of new wildflowers, followed by spectacular windy seascapes along several Kms of cliff and beach. We visited the so-called Pink Lake on the return portion of the trip. It is called Pink because, in certain climatic conditions the particular algae in the lake turns pink! Elementary my dear Watson – I guess.

On our return we found more chatty neighbours had arrived and so shared useful travel intelligence with them. We managed to get some order into Mary’s hundreds of photos so that she could get her hard-copy photo album under way.

25th August
I was awoken early by the most severe leg cramps that I can recall. They were so painful on ongoing that I felt nauseous, however, I finally managed to get rid of them so that we could start the day.

Mary managed to get all our washing done in threatening windy and overcast weather while I cleaned up some problems with the van’s rear lighting. After lunch we headed off into town to take a few photos and to get more of Mary’s photos developed for her album, however, some did not look too great from those machines resulting in looking to get better copies made in Kalgoorlie.
After getting petrol we had an evening of TV.

26th August
Under threatening skies we packed up and headed out just after 0800 heading for our planned stopover at Norseman. The road was generally quite good, but with a few bumpy patches. The rolling hills and changing flora made for a pleasant journey to Salmon Gums (small village by that name) where we stopped for morning tea. What a pleasant surprise greeted us for there were brand new toilets adjacent to a small historical park with small shelter for setting out the cuppa. Inside this shelter were a range of stories and photos of the pioneering families who had come into virgin territory as Government backed settlers many years ago.

The whole complex shows what a difference a few dedicated and resourceful people can make to travellers and locals alike! Met an older couple who were returning to their orchard in NSW and we shared a nice chat-time with them as they headed back for knee and hip surgery in the near future – to be followed by an even more adventurous trip next year.

Arrived in Norseman (named after a horse of that name that apparently located a large gold deposit!) and got some information sheets from the Visitor Information Centre, then had lunch in the adjacent park. We were soon joined by about 30+ other caravaners who arrived from various other points and intending to go to the four corners of the globe after eating!

We decided that as we were feeling quite fresh that we should drive the extra 180 Km to Kalgoorlie Boulder City and arrive a day early. Booked the Park and headed north through increasingly desolate territory, reminiscent of the Pilbara region. Stopped at the Widgiemooltha Road House for a break, and because of some very intriguing photo opportunities!! A statute commemorating a 16 year old lad finding a gold nugget. Nothing particularly interesting about that except, this nugget weighed 32Kgs!! Valued at 11,000 pounds in 1931, but worth millions nowadays.
We arrived at the Top Tourist CP a few moments after Brian and Maureen had arrived from Coolgardie, and they were very surprised to see us.
Checked in and found a very nice park with lots of room and good facilities.

27 August
Kalgoorlie Boulder City
We went to the Visitor Information centre in Kalgoorlie to get updated information on the area, then headed to Boulder to check out the various sights. Sadly a 5+ earthquake had caused serious damage a few of the historical buildings in the CBD. Scaffolding on many properties, however, the repairs were rather slow as the Heritage people, insurers, council and the property owners all haggled over who would pay for what and so on. Very sad.

The rail museum we found to be closed off and repairs to various parts were obvious. Mary found the local international lolly shop and managed to stock up on her choice lollies! They did serve very large icecreams though!
Brian phoned from the Visitor Centre to advise that there was a free concert there in 20 minutes, so, we jumped in the car and headed back to enjoy a concert by various local artists, including an excellent poet. We returned to Boulder to complete our tour of the area then headed home for a quick shower before we all went back to Kalgoorlie to celebrate Maureen’s birthday at the local Dome restaurant. We arrived just after 1800 to see the staff locking up! Brian was not happy as he had asked about dining there that evening and wasn’t told of the Friday closing time.
We soon tracked down Paddy’s Pale Ale restaurant at a nearby pub. Sadly, for an Irish pub/restaurant, they couldn’t spell potatoes correctly!! Never mind, we enjoyed and excellent buffet and finally headed home for a sleep.

28th August
Brian, Mary and I started the day with a Kokoda Track walk that was nearby. An excellent concept, however, the information on where to start, how long the walk was in time and distance, and the heaps of broken bottles and other litter along the track, plus the graffiti on many displays. Otherwise it was an excellent time on a pleasant morning, with sad stories of heroism and disaster.
After lunch Mary, Maureen and Brian went on the Super Pit Tour, and they enjoyed it very much. I went shopping until I was accosted several times by three local drunks, so I sat in the car reading the paper until the others returned.
After the dinner of the previous night we decided on a light tea and then caught up on some of the paperwork before heading to bed.

29th August
Cooked pancakes for breakfast and then got ready for church.
Attended Kalgoorlie Baptist Church had a sizeable group of young people there, and the ‘music’ appeared to reflect their taste! However, the message from Pastor Allan was excellent as he based the message on relationships ancient and modern and touched on the Ten Commandments and the need to honour not only our parents but each other today, and for our children tomorrow. Actually, quite a brave message in this day of permissiveness and the ‘me’ generation! More power to him if this tone continues.

Mary & I then visited the West Australian Museum. It was very interesting because Kalgoorlie Boulder is, after more than a hundred years, still based on their gold mines. In contrast to the prices in the Visitor Information office the items here were very reasonably priced although we resisted the temptation to buy up on gold at US$1320 at today’s prices!

We drove up Mt Charlotte Lookout on the edge of town, the site of the end of the 600+ Kms of pipeline carrying fresh water all the way from Perth to Kalgoorlie, Boulder, Coolgardie and other centres in the Goldfields region. The story of the Engineer-in-Charge, C Y O’Connor, who made history around 1900 when this massive project was completed successfully, is a tribute to his skill as an engineer, and his persuasive powers and vision. Sadly, at the official opening by Mr Forrest, Premier of WA, O’Connor had died just months before that momentous event. For its time it was the world’s longest piped water project in the world. See internet for full details).
Mary & I then experienced the full force of the local economy when we went to buy up fresh bread and some other foodstuffs for the journey across the Nullarbor! Even I could notice the massive differences between capital city supermarkets and here.

Then the clouds thickened and light rain started to fall. Not a good omen for tomorrow’s long journey down to Norseman and on to Fraser Range Station at the edge of the famous Nullarbor. Along the way I have the next three golf holes to play in what may be unpleasant weather – but that is another chapter!

Posted by psstevo 01:20 Archived in Australia

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Hi Dave,
Glad to hear of all the interesting and beautiful touring. Sorry to hear of the cramps. Don't know if this is any help, but I find that my over-night cramps disappear completely if I drink Powerade or Staminade or one of those things for a few nights before retiring.
Blessings, Don.

by eutyxus

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