A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Toot'speak

Out in the outback - Days 9 & 10

Commuting bush style

View Pilbara 2018 on Toot'speak's travel map.

Day 9
A travelling day today going from one bush camp to another via the Kumarina roadhouse. We were up and off in time and were able to pass our regular supermarket of junk without stopping so that we could to stop for morning tea near the remains of an old town site Peak Hill. We did make one last call to check out the old pit and the sites where the further processing of the ore took place. Amongst large dried out areas surrounded by earth walls and the huge pit area where machinery stood aside a large pond of cobalt blue water, all that remains are broken down fences and signs blowing about in the wind. This is obviously not the current mine, but it sure leaves a sour taste to think that mining companies can just up and leave this mess behind.22651ee0-9bad-11e8-86b8-27846ee271f0.jpg20180703_122501.jpg20180703_121946.jpg
We didn't get to see the old ghost site of Peak Hill, but ended up instead at the remains of an old mine site which we think was named Jubilee. The old office was a caravan, resplendent with the shopfront sign of some more well known mine alongside the remains of the house and outside toilet. A shed nearby with assorted mining remains made up the remainder of the site. Again fossicking became the prominent sport as we all fanned out to find treasures amongst the remnants of the home, vegie garden and sheds. All treasures were sorted and secreted into small spaces in the car.750316b0-9d3e-11e8-ba58-1f814cba09fa.jpg74cfaaa0-9d3e-11e8-bd9d-35b0cb5b1324.jpg73d8ee90-9d3e-11e8-8446-85e01b8bb259.jpg738f3b60-9d3e-11e8-8446-85e01b8bb259.jpg7341deb0-9d3e-11e8-8446-85e01b8bb259.jpgWalls.jpg
We left on time to head to Kumarina roadhouse to have a much needed shower, connect to the world and stock up on essentials. Forgot washing hair in bore water results in tar textured mayhem but it was piping hot so small price to pay. Feeling human we braved the shop and succumbed to a chicko roll for Mark and the special of the day for me - chicken n chips. Mark very happy with his choice but mine was diabolical; the chicken was covered in something like paprika to mask the age of the greasy, reheated, offending mess and the chips were from a previous period in time - floppy and disinterested in presentation! Yukl While parked at the roadhouse we had the pleasure of the Pee Wees (magpie-lark) who manage to mangle our mirrors in an attempt to savage the corresponding offender, and even they passed up on the chips! I guess we could have been done by the RSPCA for attempting to kill the wild life! Still the roadhouse provided us with a break from the bush and a shower that worked!
Formalities over and we set off to camp on Weelarrana station where we had permission to camp on their property for a couple of days. By the time we got there the sun had set and we were putting up camp in the dark on a stony plain. The wind was howling, the night sky was clear and the temp was dropping .

Day 10
Next day was down time as we made ourselves at home ; the dunny went up discretely under some trees a and we bravely faced the howling winds and put up our annex and shower.
One of the Nat Club's duties was to set up some machines with which to capture the possible sounds of the rare ground parrot. At two different sites we duly set out to place a recorder in a tree and a camera to capture movement. We did see evidence of camels but nothing else to report. While the station does not permit the shooting of their camels, they were still touchy when we pulled up and the the male quickly herded his harem away from us. We were to pick up the machines when we left.b29ae930-9d3e-11e8-ba58-1f814cba09fa.jpg
In pursuit of bird life we then set out to the station out-station where there was a bore with small waterhole. On arrival, not a bird to be seen - the earlier rains have provided them with many waterholes to visit. We spent time wandering the out - station, although it had a current campsite, provided us with an old but profitable tip. I was able to collect some old 1920 cigarette tins and match boxes and, for a change, rocks weren't on the menu. there was also a run down caravan obviously not in use, but it did provide us with memories and memorabilia of the 1960s n 70s. da891ec0-9d3f-11e8-af7b-130593ea5abd.jpgc5d6a880-9d3f-11e8-af7b-130593ea5abd.jpgc447f230-9d3f-11e8-af7b-130593ea5abd.jpg
Back at base we then wandered around the campsite climbing several hills and break-aways. One rather bare hill was capped by a black rock cap which resembled stromatolites, giving one the impression that this may have once been an inland sea where these primitive organisms grew. We duly photographed flora, fauna, old mud birds' nests and golden-bottomed ants and, of course, brought back more rocks..10dac280-9d40-11e8-af7b-130593ea5abd.jpgec60fdc0-9d3f-11e8-af7b-130593ea5abd.jpg
That night was again star lit, clear and cold. We both tried again for a warm shower, and while I was rewarded with a couple of warm bursts the rest was icy cold. I'm having cat washes for the rest of the trip. We did also do some scientific investigations with the collected rocks and popped a couple in the fire to get the most beautiful bluish-green flame, probably from the assorted minerals they contained. We also shone UV light on several to check out their fluorescence and were delighted to find many "glowing in the light". Suitably educated we hit the sack at about 8!

Posted by Toot'speak 01:49 Archived in Australia Tagged station mine roadhouse jubliee kumarina weelarranna Comments (0)

Manganese, Gold and the odd Snake - Day 8

More time at Honeymoon Pool

View Pilbara 2018 on Toot'speak's travel map.

Today we spent wandering around a disused manganese mine. We have got into the pattern or packing up morning tea/lunch and off fossicking. Anytime a car stops for a look, all are out with g-picks and cameras and we all congregate around a find whether it be plant, mineral or animal. One fellow camper has the expertise of macro-photography and is duly called when a cricket, snake or flower needs her extra photographic attention. As a result going 10ks can take a while. Aside from checking out the mine we had an appointment with the supermarket to pick up some articles that had been sprayed for easier removal.37674650-9bae-11e8-86b8-27846ee271f0.jpg0bc90ba0-9bae-11e8-86b8-27846ee271f0.jpg0b2aa8c0-9bae-11e8-86b8-27846ee271f0.jpg
We went through serious geology country and plenty of time was spent gathering the right specimens with some of us resisting the bulging pockets and discarding as we found better ones. Others just filled up the back of cars with promises to cull back at camp. We spent time checking out the flora and serious photography meant that we all were able to get "that" magic photo of some plant which had grabbed our attention. We were also very fortunate to come across a beautiful, well fed, around 2 metres long, black headed python. While yours truly admired the colouring and agility of the snake from the safety of 20 metres, remaining admirers produced cameras and got 'in your face' shots, allowing said animal to wander at large over their shoes or between their legs. One could only hope that their recognition skills were spot on. 24e97fd0-9bad-11e8-86b8-27846ee271f0.jpg24509b30-9bad-11e8-86b8-27846ee271f0.jpgffee07f0-9bac-11e8-94dc-010d63744186.jpg
Morning tea was spent alongside what could best be described as a mesa -something out of the Mexican desert - sparse flora and fauna but plenty of rocks. 52419f80-9bad-11e8-86b8-27846ee271f0.jpg
We finally arrived at the old, currently mothballed manganese mine where the owners had rehabilitated the surrounding site far more successfully than the previous Horseshoe Light gold mine. However the remaining buildings contained much machinery and the like, obviously too expensive to remove, and those interested in this specialty wandered over it checking out the cogs and like. Not being an expert in the processing of manganese, I know that the soil is sorted, with the first process removing the larger rocks which are deposited onto a very large hill at the back of the plant. This hill was rich in many different type of rocks and minerals which meant that the climb over it took at least an hour. We all oogh and ahhed as we selected assorted specimens and only halted our endeavors because we had no more pockets, bags or hands to carry the load. This provided the machinery crowd with the extra time they needed to further investigate the machinery around the site. 53f62d50-9bad-11e8-94dc-010d63744186.jpg52995c70-9bad-11e8-94dc-010d63744186.jpg524485b0-9bad-11e8-94dc-010d63744186.jpg
Our next stop was another mine site along the same range but not developed to the same extent. We were able to see where they had been dynamiting the hillside to provide the ore and the rock hunters were rewarded with specific specimens that were pocketed or carted back to the cars. More weight!
On our return back to camp we stopped off one more time at the supermarket of all things rusty, to pick up some old wheels which Mark had WD40. Gawd bless this stuff as Mark was able to remove the wheels that had been sitting out here in the elements for at least 30 years. We take recycling seriously!20180703_102547.jpg
Back to camp for the evening ritual and our first bath for a few days. Shower time and Mark tried his hand at the creek crossing and bravely bucketed the freezing water. I decided to try out the camper shower and between turning on hot and cold taps with Mark igniting the gas and the water pump waking up the ancestral spirits, I too ended up with a freezing shower! More work to be done to that machine.
That night we had the pleasure of the company of a couple of pensioners who come over from Victoria every year for around 5 months to go and revisit their various gold sites for more gold. They generously showed us their spoils and we learnt about tiddlers, screamers, howlers and sunbakers. They had the honour of finding many years before, a very large specimen which they had sold on and is currently in America. Like all good gold hunters they kept locations and sites etc close to their chests, but did leave us armed with information as to the best detectors that we have to buy. As they have been "living off their finds" for over many years, they inspired several of the group to reassess the idea of gold prospecting as an alternative occupation.

Posted by Toot'speak 01:30 Archived in Australia Tagged black mine python headed magnese Comments (0)

Mining Delights - Day 7

Natural Supermarket for rocks and rusty collectables

View Pilbara 2018 on Toot'speak's travel map.

Morning starts to the sounds of birds and, having had a comparably warm night compared to earlier nights, we rose to another fine day with the possibility of rain later in the day. This meant for plan changes as the road in would change to a quagmire and we would have problems getting back to the other side of the lagoon. We also had time to take in our glamping style of toilet as we were provided with an outhouse of elegant proportions. The oldstyle, but new, thunderbox was enclosed in its own annex, decorated with pink ribbon so we could find our way across the gibble plain. 32514990-9ba4-11e8-9faf-751f23e67551.jpg
We spent the morning checking out the Horseshoe Lights mine site, fossicking through the tailing mountains that have been left to the natural forces. As these heaps have not been restored, not a twig has grown on the sides and a very large collection of stark, barren hills stands as a reminder to the earlier days of mining without responsibility of our lands. Needless to say the geos in the group attacked the huge assortment of rocks, completely overwhelmed by the choice.
Following this supermarket of rocks, we then set out for some serious shopping at the tip! Aside from the huge amount of plastic rubbish that clogged the entrance way, we were invited into a magnificent smorgasbord of rusty bits and pieces, ladders from a swimming pool, a concoction of engine parts, old signs along with huge amounts of mining materials that the company had chucked away. Despite the size of choice, our lads were remarkably restrained and only a few bits were souvenired. Unfortunately we were yet to pass the other tip site where articles of machinery were piled up neatly for removal and 40 odd years later were still waiting for the truck! A bit more serious damage was done here where we all got into the helpful state of finding more rubbish for Mark to bring home! After much chipping and hammering we got a couple of wheels to leave their other parts and join us in the car. We now have more weight than we started!20180703_102547.jpg
In between shopping we walked up the hill to look down into the huge disused open pit mine with its circular road winding down to a very copper blue lake below. Although not as large as Kalgoorlie's open pit, it still makes a mark. We drove up to look at the processing plant where the colours of the surrounds indicate mercury and the wind blew sweet smells of sulphur. The surrounding heaps of land fill hadn't been properly treated or contained and you could see where the contaminated remains were seeping out into the countryside. I hope my beef doesn't come from there!20180703_122002.jpg30fd9ba0-998f-11e8-971d-f3b2c3f60993.jpg20180703_112823.jpg20180703_112245.jpg
Back to camp for lunch followed by an amble down stream to check out the river course. We came across a couple of small ponds and a cluster of magnificent river gums with their trunks laden with the debris of the last flood that passed their way. We also came across the tracks of what could be a dingo or wild dog family that had come down to water.20180704_094220.jpg20180703_152945.jpg20180703_152525.jpg
That night was spent under an ever increasing layer of rain bearing clouds. We woke to the sound of rain, snug in the knowledge that the camper had been out in the rain for nearly a week before we left n we should have no leaks! We were blessed.

Posted by Toot'speak 09:11 Archived in Australia Tagged lights horseshoe Comments (0)

This is the end - Day 6

We start afresh

View Pilbara 2018 on Toot'speak's travel map.

Well this day starts well with flat battery again! Given this car has spent more time at the mechanics than on the road gives one the pips! Luckily we're with mates and a u- beaut gizmo is produced which jump starts the ranger and allows us to head to Meekathara to buy, along with groceries, fried chicken, petrol and a fancy battery for $210! This of course delayed our expected departure to Honeymoon Pool for lunch. I could only hope it was someone else's turn to have car problems!
We started the off road to a local watering hole cum camping place - Bunyiah Pool - which provided the local cattle with a place to huddle and eat. While the water was a tad brown, we were provided with a frenzied collection of birds - honey eaters, grebes, ducks, heron, galahs and parrots; no fish. Lunch done under tall white river gums we set off for our final resting point for the next few days. ac9112e0-998c-11e8-a894-4780aaba62c1.jpgSharing.jpg
We passed a "legacy" gold or copper mine - Horseshoe Lights - which was active back in the 1970s and 80s and the owners up and left the place without any environmental restoration. This was not a requirement in the 1970s and any form of restoration or environmental protection, is well and truly defunct now and chemicals leach out into the surrounding countryside which still holds cattle. It is an ugly, environmentally unsafe and unhealthy place and a disgrace to the mining industry. When you see the restoration efforts put into the mine sites by mining industry today, this must be an embarrassment. 3e46c920-902b-11e8-ad47-f12c37ee2697.jpg3f08b990-902b-11e8-ad47-f12c37ee2697.jpg3e4d7fe0-902b-11e8-bdf3-2f8e9d79c3e7.jpg20180703_094138.jpgbd7b3680-998c-11e8-a894-4780aaba62c1.jpg
Passing this sad piece of history which we will be revisiting, we forded a crossing, and parked for the next 3 days beside a large lagoon flanked by many river gums along side the water line and a large gibble plane which was a sure ankle breaker. Our leader has named it Honeymoon Pool. We expertly put our camper up in the daylight, joined the rest for a champagne at twilight and knocked off a curry that I had vacuum-packed. Easy! We also had the pleasure of a beautiful clear night sky and one of our fellow travelers, whose expertise is astronomy, gave us the benefit of his knowledge along with the ubiquitous green laser light! Many planes and satellites were recorded and maybe we saw the night lab cruising past.bc2f2e80-998c-11e8-a894-4780aaba62c1.jpg

Posted by Toot'speak 08:17 Archived in Australia Tagged lights mt pool horseshoe bunyiah Comments (0)

Many Ghosts of the Gold Country - Days 4 & 5

Roaming around Cue

View Pilbara 2018 on Toot'speak's travel map.

Waking up in Charles Darwin Reserve to the sounds of birds arguing and people moving about made us up and at it by 7.30. We had a warmer night than previous; about 3 degrees. Packed up and ready to go the car started without a hiccup and we took off to Cue stopping off at the old gold rush place of Paynes Find, where we had hoped to show our eastern state members the town's gold battery and museum which houses the only remaining working gold battery in WA . Unfortunately it was closed for the holidays but we were able to give them a quick 30 sec guided tour of the remaining buildings.
Next stop was the another gold mining town of Mt Magnet where we waited over an hour for petrol and lunch mainly because of a lack of staff. I recall this being a problem over 5 years ago when we passed through. After a terrible lunch we visited their museum which has a great photography display and plenty of rusty machinery outside. We were very strong and didn't succumb to buying anything.
Before heading to Cue we decided to drive around Mt Magnet and did the Tourist Trail which took us up to the hill - Warramboo Hill - overlooking the town site. 847c5930-902d-11e8-b758-d537f1ef2695.jpg One can't really say this was a beautiful view but it does show one what harsh environments these outback places can be. The Trail took us to the area’s magnificent granite rock formations, including a natural amphitheatre, which is the remnant of an ancient waterfall, and cave and the Granites which hold significant cultural Aboriginal history.Granites.jpg3f120e30-9988-11e8-b8ca-bd9875104d06.jpg The Trail also takes one past the ruins or remains of the ghost town Lennonville and we checked out the cemetery. Along the way we visited the lonely grave of a mother and child who died of plague and are buried along way from anywhere. 578eb8b0-932e-11e8-aed1-05d6503f5728.jpg3e0517e0-932e-11e8-aed1-05d6503f5728.jpg
That night we camped at the tourist Park in Cue which is a great little Council run park with the best facilities we've come across over the years. We popped down to the local pub - The Murchison - and joined the tourists and locals to have a monstrous dinner and a neat bottle of Far-Cue SB. We were subjected to a very windy night and our fly over the camper must have kept all nearby awake. It made the most horrendous noise and we spent the night waiting for that ripppp sound as it took off. Fortunately for us we woke to another cool morning with our fly intact..

Day 5 - Roaming around back of Cue

We were awakened by the normal early morning sounds of a caravan park. There are always those who pack up and leave at the crack of dawn, those who chat loudly on their way to or from the amenities and the odd shush from a worn out mother as she tries to keep the 3 year old quiet, and that crow which follows us around the Pilbara, squawking away to his mates very loudly and regularly - hence we were up and away at a respectable time to roam around the surrounding areas of Cue. Our car started without mishap.
First stop at Walga Rock in the Weld Range about 50 kms from Cue with its very impressive Aboriginal art gallery including a drawing of a sailing boat - why way out here still not ascertained and although various theories abound, so far none of these have been conclusively proven or disproven. This Walga Gallery, dated with radio-carbon tests by archaeologists to about 10,000 years old, has extensive paintings of snakes, emus, kangaroos, footprints, boomerangs and hand motifs. One wonders how long these amazing Aboriginal art works will remained untouched as, to date, there has been no security built protecting this gallery and we were able to wander at large along the wall.
We walked or hiked up over the rock checking out the gamma pools that were filled with fairy, clam and shield shrimps. 17082d90-9977-11e8-b70e-dfeff6280197.jpg20180701_102849.jpgOne of the gang was able to contact a friend who has extensively studied these animals at this site so we were able to confirm specimen collection requirements. A couple of hours were spent absorbed checking out the geology, biology and even scats found on the mount. Lunch was eaten under the mistletoe adorning the trees while we watched the colourful finches swoop around the area.
We then set off to visit the remains of Big Bell township, the magnificent two story brick pub being one of the few remains in the grid-shaped town. da5917f0-9977-11e8-b70e-dfeff6280197.jpgWandering thru the pub, circa 1930, one can see what a lovely place it would have been with the tiled walls, polished floor boards and high ceilings with an elegant fire place in the corner. Several bits of rusty iron were removed to clutter some other abode.
After Big Bell it was off to Poona for emerald fossicking. On the way we stopped off at an abandoned station homestead with shearing shed full of the old machinery, the quarters, a 2-bog outhouse and the most amazing sheep corral made from beautifully old 3 foot high wooden posts tightly wire bound zig zagging around the yard. Definitely a work of art. Also found were a couple of perfectly preserved owls which were bagged by our ornithologist for further analysis. Of course other bits of useless junk were squirreled away in assorted cars.4c7ab490-997a-11e8-a8a3-37873c7a10ed.jpg4b8705c0-997a-11e8-89b8-c7c929240a6f.jpg3123cdd0-997a-11e8-89b8-c7c929240a6f.jpg
At Poona, after couple hours of bottoms up and g-picks swinging, a very modest picking was collected, hardly enough for a nose ring! This mine has an unsuccessful history with huge amounts of cash invested for very little reward. Currently one person appears to have an lease and the rest of the site is discarded mining mess and desecration.e735c240-997a-11e8-89b8-c7c929240a6f.jpg857fdf90-997a-11e8-89b8-c7c929240a6f.jpg855992e0-997a-11e8-a8a3-37873c7a10ed.jpg
Home back to Cue in the dark followed by our first vacuum packed steak with vegetables and a drop of wine. We did wander down the very empty main street to the servo for a icecream and on the way back bumped into fellow travelers who had opted for a night in the Queen of the Murchinson B&B which was one of Cue's old hotels. We joined them for a peak of the lovely old building which has been sympathetically restored and remodeled for its new occupation. The 13 month old owners had participated in a movie "Dust Hunters" which was filmed in Cue this year-
to be seen in Nov at Cannes! We left their company and came back to do a late wash before bed. 9am ish start tomorrow.

Posted by Toot'speak 08:10 Tagged mt rock magnet poona cue walga Comments (0)

(Entries 11 - 15 of 17) « Page 1 2 [3] 4 »