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In 1892, when goldfields were discovered in Coolgardie, a stream of diggers and prospectors took the track from Perth to the fields. The procession of laden men and animal-drawn wagons moved on from one waterhole to the next. One such waterhole was Merredin Peak. In 1893 the railway to the Goldfields reached Merredin and it passed through the valley in which the present town now lies, about 3km south of Merredin Peak.
The first pastoral settlers arrived in the area in the 1870's and took up their leases to run sheep. Wheat fanning began by 1910 and stock was added after 1928, when reliable water supplies became available.
The district has many interesting historical and natural features including the gnamma hole at the site of the Wattoning Homestead, where there are also three historical graves. Among the noteworthy rock outcrops are Barbalin Rock, Bebringbooding Rock and Be-eranning Hill.
Perth, city (1991 pop. 1,018,702), capital of Western Australia, SW Australia, on the Swan River estuary. Fremantle is Perth's port. Perth is a communications and transportation center and the state's financial, commercial, and cultural hub. The suburbs of Fremantle, Kwinana, and Welshpool have heavy industries. Perth was founded in 1829 but did not gain importance until the Coolgardie gold rush (1890s), the development of the port at Fremantle, and the construction of rail lines (early 20th cent.). Perth evolved into a modern metropolis in the late 20th cent. and saw much new construction. The Univ. of Western Australia and Murdoch Univ. are there. It is also the seat of Roman Catholic and Anglican archbishops. Perth is very isolated; Adelaide, the closest major city, is nearly 2,000 mi (3,219 km) away.
The area surrounding Pemberton is famous for its Karri forests, the Warren National Park having some of the best accessible virgin Karri trees some as high as 89m. Albany has spectacular coastal scenery and excellent fishing and two nearby National Parks. Esperance with its brilliant blue waters is home to the renowned Pink Lake.
Hinterlands National Parks
Dryandra State Forest
Dryandra State Forest covers 27,000 hectares on the western edge of the Central Southern Wheatbelt. The Forest, which consists of a number of discontinuous blocks, is an important area for nature conservation. Many endangered species survive there including mammals such as Western Australia's fauna emblem, the Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus).
Dryandra is a remnant of the open eucalypt woodlands which covered much of the wheatbelt. As these woodlands generally grow on more fertile soils, they have now largely been cleared to create farmland. Land clearing in the wheatbelt began in the late 1890's, and native vegetation is now restricted to reserves, including road sides, rock outcrops and salt lake fringes where land is unsuitable for agriculture.
Dryandra contains at least twenty species of native mammals and over 100 species of birds. Spring is the best time to view the many wildflowers.
Camping is not permitted in the forest, but the Dryandra Village, or the nearby town of Narrogin, provide a base for you to stay.
See Wave Rock an overhanging rock over 100m long which has been sculptured and coloured by natures chemicals over 2 700 million years to take on its wave-like character. Or visit Dyrandra State Forest with its many endangered species including the Numbat Western Australia's fauna emblem.
The first explorer through the area was J. S. Roe in 1848 when he named Mt. Madden, a huge granite outcrop. Lake Grace was named in 1909 after the shallow salt lake 9km west of the town. As settlers cleared land, they established the towns of Newdegate in 1924, and Varley and Lake King in 1928.
Margaret River Area National Parks
Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park
Located off Naturaliste Terrace, out of Dunsborough, the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Natural Park is home to Sugarloaf Rock, the impressive formation that dominates the coastline.
From the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse you can gaze out over the expanse Of the Indian Ocean. Refreshments and souvenirs available. Several walk trails around this area, including a whale lookout. Tours available.
Telephone: (097) 553 955
Cape Leeuwin National Park
This park covers the Cape which is the land's end of the South West and the junction of the Indian and Southern Oceans.The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse was named after the Dutch ship Leeuwin which passed this point in 1622.
During the building of the lighthouse, a spring was tapped to provide fresh water for the workers. This system was used until 1928. Since then, deposits of carbonates have encased the wheel in stone.
Beedelup National Park
Beedelup Falls are situated off Vasse Highway. They are set in beautiful forest surroundings, and feature a short walk crossing Beedelup Brook on a footbridge built from a Karri log. The "Walk Through Karri" is also situated in the Beedelup National Park. This giant 400 year- old Karri with a 3m x 4m hole took 10 hours to cut by chain saw. You can stand in the hole with over 151 tonnes of tree above you.
Warren National Park
Some of the best accessible virgin Karri forest, and the biggest (89m) of the Karri trees, can be found here.
Visiting Pemberton at anytime of the year is a delight. The area has lush green Karri, Jarrah and Marri trees towering over dense undergrowth. Rainbow Trout in nearby brooks, streams and dams attract many fishermen too. There are also wineries, with a flavour of their own and some of the finest woodcraft in the State.
Kalgoorlie , town (1991 pop. 25,016), Western Australia, SW Australia. It is the chief mining town of the state and the center of the East Coolgardie Goldfield. Gold was found at nearby Coolgardie in 1892; nickel is also mined. The Western Australia School of Mines (1902) was transferred (1903) from Coolgardie to Kalgoorlie.
Albany , town (1996 pop. 14,590), Western Australia, SW Australia. It is a port on Princess Royal Harbour of King George Sound. The town has woolen mills and fish canneries. Founded in 1826 as a penal colony, Albany is the oldest settlement in the state of Western Australia
East Coolgardie Goldfield , Western Australia, SW Australia. It is the richest gold field in Australia. The chief mining center is the town of Kalgoorlie. Coolgardie, of little importance today, was the first gold-rush town in the area. Gold was discovered there in 1892.
Westonia district owes its origin to gold mining. By 1915 two mines were in operation and in 1917, Westonia had a population in excess of 2,000. This number quickly diminished when mining operations ceased in 1919. The mine was reopened in 1935 and continued operation until 1948 when it was once again closed.
Fremantle , city (1996 pop. 24,276), Western Australia, SW Australia, a suburb of Perth, on the Indian Ocean at the mouth of the Swan River. It is the terminus of the Trans-Australian RR and the chief commercial port of the state. The chief exports are wheat, wool, fruit, and flour; oil, steel, and phosphates are imported. The 1987 America's Cup challenge was held here.
AREA: 2,525,500 sq. km., POPULATION: 1,600,000
CAPITAL: Perth (1,200,000)
The majority of Western Australians live in the capital, Perth, in the south western corner of the state at Lat. 31° 57' south and Long. 115° 51' east. Straddling the Swan River and situated on the golden beaches of the Indian Ocean, Perth is a spacious, modern and easy-going city and claims to be the world's most remote capital city, Adelaide is 2,200 kilometres east.
Early world exploration saw Dirk Hartog land on its coastline in 1616. Western Australia was settled at Perth in 1829 and the early settlers faced harsh times. Floods and droughts were common and it was not until the 1850's when convict labour was introduced to the colony that an infrastructure of bridges and roads began to develop in earnest. Off the coast of Perth is Rottnest Island, a 2,000 hectare island accessed by plane or ferry from Perth or Fremantle.
Western Australia has a varied and interesting geography. The fertile south west corner is a rich rural and agricultural centre producing most crops and dairy products, and the wineries around the Margaret River are among Australia's finest. The far north east, near the Northern Teritory border around Kununnurra, was developed some 25 years ago as a vast irrigation area using the dammed lake for the production of rice crops and other agricultural products. The scheme didn't work at the time, but new interest is being generated and the project looks like being successful in the near future. The north west contains vast mineral wealth and the iron deposits there are among the worlds largest. Commercial diamonds are being mined at the Argyle Diamond mine, and the North West Shelf off the coast has vast oil and gas reserves which are now recognised as Australia's largest. Gold is still mined at Kalgoorlie in the east of the state and many major mining companies have investments in the state. Some pearling is still carried out from Broome on the northern coastline and the rest of the state is made up of vast cattle stations which provide much of the nations beef.
Western Australia is remote from the rest of the country but its capital is recognised as the most beautiful in Australia and it works hard at competing with the eastern states with much success. The international airport in Perth is a popular entry point for visitors to Australia and the state is a good starting point for your Australian holiday. The state emblem is a Black Swan and its floral emblem is the Kangaroo Paw.
Lake Dumbleyung is one of the largest semi-permanent stretches of inland water in Western Australia. Approximately 13km long, 6.5km wide, it is famous as the site of the late Donald Campbell's historic World Water speed record set on 31st December 1964, in "The Bluebird".
Margaret River Region
The jewel of the South-West, the area surrounding Margaret River is alive with natural wonders and attractions. The region is famous for its wine with over 40 wineries open for tastings. Margaret River is also famous for its surfing and windsurfing with some of the most powerful waves in Australia. Natural wonders include magic limestone caves and the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park.
State (1991 pop. 1,409,965), 975,920 sq mi (2,527,633 sq km), Australia, comprising the entire western part of the continent. It is bounded on the N, W, and S by the Indian Ocean. Perth is the capital. Other important cities are Kalgoorlie, a gold-mining center; Fremantle, the chief port; and Bunbury, a port S of Perth. Western Australia is the largest state of the commonwealth, but only its southwest corner is fertile and substantially settled; the rest is arid and scarcely habitable. Half the population lives in the Perth metropolitan area. Western Australia's population of Australian aborigines numbers about 25,000. State-owned goldfields cover much of Western Australia, and there is a vast central desert. The King Leopold, Hamersley, and Stirling ranges are actually high plateaus. The large lakes in the interior are usually dry, and the northern rivers (the Fortescue, Fitzroy, and Ashburton) are intermittent; the only important river is the Swan in the southwest. The climate is tropical in the north and temperate in the southwest. Agriculture is confined primarily to the southwest and around Perth. About one half of the cultivated land is in wheat. Sheep graze in the north and southwest, and wool is a major product. Meat, dairy products, and timber are also important. The mining of iron, gold, and bauxite has played a major role in the state's economy for many years. Industry expanded significantly during the 1960s; industrial metals, machinery, and transportation equipment are the main manufactures. Dirck Hartog, a Dutchman who arrived in 1616, was the first white man known to have visited the coast. A penal colony was founded at Albany in 1826, and the first free settlement was established in the Perth-Fremantle area in 1829. During the 1850s, Britain sent some 10,000 convicts to aid the settlers, most of whom had migrated from E Australia. In the 1860s the first livestock farmers arrived in the northwest. Gold was discovered in the 1880s. Governed at first by New South Wales, Western Australia received its own governor in 1831 and a full constitution as a separate colony in 1890. In 1901 it became a state of the Commonwealth of Australia. The state government consists of a premier, a cabinet, and a bicameral parliament. The nominal chief executive is the governor, appointed by the British crown on advice of the cabinet.
South Coast W.A. Attractions
The Peel Inlet
The quiet inland waterways cover an area. of 155 sq km perfect for small boat cruising with sailing boats, canoes, surfcafs and house boats available for hire from various points along the estuary.
Hotham Valley Tourist Railway
Steam train journeys can be taken from Dwellingup to the forest in the preserved, original 1913 railway line.
A 3km walk up Marrinup Brook from Scarp Road. There are a series of small cascades and pleasant rest spots.
Stirlings Cottage Situated behind the Harvey Tourist Centre. Modelled on a cottage on Governor Stirling Harvey Estate in the mid 1800s The cottage was home to creator of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie , May Gibb in the 1880s. Features a room on May Gibbs, a room on local history, May Gibbs gift shop, landscaped gardens and the 'Stirling Cottage Kitchen for morning and afternoon teas including light lunches. Free entry.
Harvey Internment Camp
Memorial Shrine built by internees held at the Harvey camp during World War II. The Shrine is listed with the National Trust and is believed to be the only one of its kind in Australia. Key from Tourist Bureau.
Big Swamp Wildlife Park
Located on Prince Philip Drive Bunburry, the wildlife park features Kangaroos, wallabies, snakes, fruit bats, koalas and a large walk in aviary containing a variety of birds.
Barbecue facilities available.
Bunbury Art Galleries
The Bunbury City and Regional Galleries are located in the Bunbury Arts Complex, formerly the convent of Mercy built in the late 1860s. Open daily, except Tuesday.
King Cottage Museum
Located in Forest Avenue, Bunbury, is a home built about 1870 with bricks made from clay obtained on the property. The Bunbury Historical Society has finished the house with items from the 1870 -1920 period and is open from 2am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, school holidays and public holidays.
Historical and Mining Museum
Located in Collie. The original Roads Board building now houses interesting memoirs of Collie's pioneering days. The museum is also the home of a 3000 piece doll collection.
Steam Locomotive Museum
At the western entrance to Collie, at the junction of the Coalields Highway and Atkinson Street. Here you'll see many of the trains that were the last to use coal in Western Australia.
White sandy beaches, protected from the Indian Ocean by outer reefs, make this coastline great for swimming, windsurfing and fishing. The Serpentine National Park is a great place for camping and bushwalking with forest tracks passing stunning waterfalls and swimming holes.
Kimberley, geographical area, c.139,000 sq mi (360,010 sq km), Western Australia, NW Australia. The Kimberley Goldfield was the site (1882) of the first major Western Australian gold strike. Cattle and sheep raising are important industries and the region contains four national parks.