Monday, November 24, 2014

The Northern Goldfields of WA. Part 1

Our original intention was to travel South from Kalgoorlie and visit the Southern Regions of WA through Esperance and Albany and then meander through the Southern Wheatbelt. Unfortunately the temperatures in those areas were far too cold for us Queenslanders. A quick discission was reached to travel North through the, now small, Historic Towns of The Northern Goldfields. There is an abundance of Australian History in these parts and the weather has been extremely kind to us.

Our first stopover was the town of Menzies situated on The Goldfields Highway. The town caters for the RV Traveller with an excellent Camp Park in the centre of town. This is their Town Hall. There are four faces to the tower clock but it took 100 years before one was purchased and installed. This occurred as late as 1994. Unusually, for Town Hall Clocks, the time is correct.

This is The Menzies Hotel.

There is a Roadhouse Premises in town but it is only operating as a 24 hour Card Only Fuel Outlet. Notice on the wall states that it is for sale, "Interested". Also note that all the exterior walls are covered in Vehicle Registration Plates from all States.

There are many of these steel silhouette cutouts around the town. This one depicts the first motorcycle in town. This was owned by the Mines Warden.

Alongside the Highway is this Static Display of some of the machinery used in the early days of Menzies.

About 50 km West of Menzies there is a Salt Lake named Lake Ballard. This lake was chosen as the site for an Artistic Display Titled "Inside Australia" by Anthony Gormley, a British Sculptor. There are 51 cast iron Statues representing 51 of the original inhabitants of Menzies. These statues, for reasons best known to the artist, are strewn over an area of 10 square kilometres. It would take 7 hours to walk around the exhibition on a desiccating dry salt lake. It is suggested you take 5 litres of water per person on the trip! Why it couldn't be compressed and circulated in two hours beats me? If you look closely you maybe able to see the nearer figures out on the lake. (Double Click the image for larger version)

We spent less than two hours out on Lake Ballard and only passed about a dozen of these figures. Jude with her male friend.

Jude thought the Lady needed a sunhat for this shot.

The Wall of Niagara Dam, with resident caretaker. It wasn't happy about us walking over.

The dam was constructed to obtain a water supply for the passing Steam Trains. Trains still pass by but of course they are diesel powered nowadays. You can spot our camp up on the bank on the far side.

A steel Debris Trap was positioned along the main entry point of the water flow.

Near the bottom end of the dam looking back to the wall. There is a 1.4 km walk around the circumference of the dam.

Caldwell Blackbutt trees thrive in this locality. They have a lovely bronze sheen to their trunks and bright shiny leaves.

There is an additional walk of 1.7 km from the camp area that takes in this geological formation known as the Breakaways. The Goldfields area is one of the oldest in "Geological Terms" in Australia and this very hard rock Mesa is being undermined by erosion and allowing the hard cap rock to fall, hence the term "The Breakaways. There are several other examples of this formation in The Goldfields area.

Next port of call "Kookynie" (pronounced Koo-ki-nee) is only 13 km from Niagara Dam, equal to anther short day drive we did sometime ago. Welcoming information board and rest area.

Kookynie is a Ghost Town now but still has a population of 9 people and one horse. You could say that this is a 'One Horse Town'. This was one of the Hotels that flourished long ago.

Discarded Relics are scattered everywhere.

The Grand Hotel is the last remaining business in Kookynie. We parked our caravan out the back yard of the hotel and were the guests of Kevin and Margaret. We had a great night and were served two of the biggest Porterhouse Steaks imaginable and they were grilled to perfection.

Because we had a 'tail breeze' we decided to travel over to Laverton. (pronounced Laver-ton, like Rocket Rod Laver). This cactus in flower was the ONLY thing in town worth pointing the camera at. The Caravan Park is very neat, clean and friendly but other than Prospecting there is absolutely Zero to do here. Laverton is a place one passes through to get somewhere else.