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Archive for the ‘Western Australia’ Category

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Dawn in the beautiful Boranup Karri forest in Margaret River.

 

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_EBT8723As humans we like to think we’re pretty clever, after all we build things, we invent things, we control the environment around us, we are masters of all we survey.  So why is it that we are so awed when a wild thing accepts us into its domain without reservation?  It’s irrelevant what the animal is, a whale, a dolphin, a lion, a sea-lion it makes not a dot of difference, our superior bearing and arrogance evaporates and we are left in child like wonder and infatuation.

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We have just spent the better part of the last week at Hamelin Bay in the Margaret River region of southwest WA.  A stunning area in its own right but even more notable for its resident population of large bull rays and eagle rays that frequent its shoreline.

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Time and time again we saw the awe and delight that these friendly goliaths of the deep instilled in those who came to see them.  As they glided gently past, completely unfazed or perturbed by the attention, faces, both young and old alike,  lit up with each close encounter.

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At the turn of the 19th century, the Hill 50 gold mine near Mt Magnet in Western Australia was the dominant mine in the area. It was regarded as a mine which would last forever. Through good times and bad, depressions and boom, its fortunes ebbed and waned. From it decline during the war years it raised itself back up to be Australia’s most profitable mine in the late 1950s.

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When Hill 50 closed in 1976, it had produced 1.4 million ounces of gold from 3.6 million tonnes of ore for a value of A$700 million.

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The once proud head frame stood silent witness as a procession of new owners tried their fortune.

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The years have seen the surrounding landscape torn apart in the relentless quest for gold until only a small island of what once was, remained.

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When the moon was full it was sometimes possible to glimpse the phantom miners as they started their shift and hear the strained protests of the old winder as it hauled it’s ghostly ore from the dark recesses below.

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Truly a piece of Australian mining history and a testament to the dogged determination and pioneering spirit of those that came before us.

So today……..

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    We blew it up!

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_EBT4769I spent a couple of nights up at Nanga Brook near Dwellingup (about an hour and a half south of Perth).  Tall trees, cool night air and solitude right on the banks of the Murray River.

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Nanga Brook runs throught the old township and in the late afternoon the chorus of birds and light playing off the water makes it a wonderfully peaceful place.

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One day of gorgeous weather this week and I spent it out exploring the off shore islands.  Sometimes the days just aren’t long enough.

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