Saturday, 13 April 2019

The Fishing Week – Part 1

It was a simple plan, we would drive the 387km from Perth to Windy Harbour on the southwest corner of Australia and fish for Australian Salmon which hare making their annual migration from the Southern Ocean up the west coast. 

The latter part of the 4.5 hour drive was through State National Parks which are mostly former logging areas.  This south western corner of Australia is where valuable Karri hardwood was logged and milled before being exported to locations as diverse as London and India.   Karri is one of the tallest hardwoods in the world and was much sought after.  The forests were heavily exploited and as a result there is little Karri of any consequence left.  The millers went on to exploit the Jarrah which is also now in short supply.

There were four of us making the trip in two Isuzu MUX 4x4’s.  Ken was towing his caravan whilst I took our off road trailer on its trial trip.  Four hours into the journey we stopped at Northcliffe for supplies and fuel.  The price of diesel was quite a shock with it costing an extra 20 cents per litre.  The service station is also the general store, and it’s a general store in the true sense of the word selling everything from food to fishing gear and clothing to nuts and bolts.

General Store


I gained the impression the community was slowly dying.  The timber mills have closed and there is little alternative industry to retain the population.  A number of the old timber clad two bedroom saw millers cottages were for sale.  I thought they might be worth around $40K but after looking on line the asking price was $150K.  Somehow I doubt there will be many interested potential purchasers.

The was a small outdoor museum beside the former timber company offices

old timber company offices

 An old steam traction engine used to provide power to move logs

 Ooh a Lister engine

an all steel skidder used to drag logs out of the forest

The forest is left behind when you depart Northcliffe for Windy Harbour.  The prevailing wind is from the south (Antarctica) resulting in low vegetation resembling salt bush.  

It was on this road that I first noticed the profusion of wild orange petal flowers.

We stopped to investigate only to discover the flower didn't have petals in the conventional sense.

They are almost 'hairy'.  

Whilst local Aboriginals have been visiting Windy Harbour for thousands of years it wasn't until after WW2 that a semi permanent settlement was established.  European forestry workers started to build small holiday cottages here with designs based on their own forest huts.  Today there are virtually no permanent residents apart from the camping ground caretaker and his wife.

The community doesn't appear to be connected to the national electrical grid.  The caretaker has a small wind turbine and the communications towers are all powered by solar panels.  One assumes the holiday cottage owners either use solar, generators or rely on gas.

We found our booked campsites and started establishing a camp.  Ken has a european manufactured caravan.

It's very well appointed inside but you wouldn't consider taking it off the bitumen.  This next photo is of an Australian made outback caravan in the same camping ground.

You can immediately see the difference.

After a long drive we were all keen to establish camp.

Ken's caravan annex proved to be very useful when  sheltering from the wind

I erected the trailer 'batwing' awning for the first time.  It proved to be a 'three man' task so I will need to rethink my technique.  I'm not sleeping in the trailer but have instead opted to sleep in the stretcher tent which I placed under the awning for additional shelter.

All for now.... more tomorrow.


Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

I like the Oz outback caravan, Tom - I have driven on some roads here in NZ with the motorhome where I have wished for more ground clearance ...

And some of that windswept territiory is reminiscent of parts of the West Coast and the southern parts of the Catlins.

Cheers, Marilyn

Ade said...

Like it Tom interesting stuff.
Strange to see a European caravan down under!