Friday, 27 September 2019

Holland Track Trip – Day 6

Those high winds during the night (which I slept through) were the leading edge of a major storm potentially heading in our direction.  Bob had been listening to the radio weather forecast and alerted us to the possibility of some serious rain.  Did we want to continue camping in miserable weather and would a heavy rainfall make extracting ourselves on the dirt tracks rather difficult.  We decided to move north away from the storm front.

40km north of us was Burra Rock.  Yes another rock!  This location proved to be rather interesting.  After walking up the first part of the hill I was surprised to discover a large body of water.  You can see in this next photo that Europeans have constructed a stone wall around the circumference of the rock to capture the rainfall.  This is very similar to Wave Rock at Hyden


What I hadn’t anticipated was the volume of water that had been collected.


The rocks have the same rain and wind weathered shapes as I saw at Elchabutting Rock. 


What was more interesting was the rusting farm machinery.  Why would someone drag this old machinery to such a remote location?  Well the answer is in the early 1960’s a family attempted to establish a farm here raising grain crops.  They used the water from the reservoir on the rock to irrigate the crops.   It must have been a hard and remote life and the venture must have eventually failed


Ken thought the hill in the next photo was Cave Hill Rock but I suspect it’s too close


We continued north towards Coolgardie.  No need for the sand flag so I took the lead leaving Ken and Bob to eat my dust for a change.  Suddenly I noticed a few wild flowers on the side of the road and stopped for a quick photo.  The wild flower season is very brief occurring after the spring rains.  One day I must make a specific trip to see the more impressive wild flower displays


Coolgardie was established in 1892, a year before John Holland blazed his track.  The goldfields in the east of Australia were almost exhausted when gold was discovered in the Coolgardie area.  Thousands of miners flocked to the region in a new gold rush.  By 1898 Coolgardie was the third largest city in western Australia.  Today it’s a tourist attraction and ghost mining town! 

In the early 1890’s the only way to reach Coolgardie was either on horse or by foot.  Most of the miners walked pushing a wheelbarrow of supplies.  In march 1894 "’Afghan’ cameleers successfully crossed the deserts from central Australia with 46 camels.  These were used to transport supplies Coolgardie.  Eventually the cameleers numbered around 300 and the town had a number of mosques.  However there were no muslim women and no marriages, births or burials.  With the arrival of the railway from Perth most of the cameleers moved to Perth.

The sudden increase in wealth meant there were funds to build some large, ornate and interesting buildings in the town.  I managed to take a passing photo of part of the Goldfields Exhibition and Museum. 


This used to be the courthouse for the goldfields mining warden.

What I particularly wanted to find was John Holland’s grave.  I’d read it was located in the old settlers cemetery in Coolgardie.  Whilst we were refuelling at the Caltex service station I noticed a road sign pointing to the old cemetery.  We followed the sign eventually turning onto a dirt track which took us to the cemetery.  It looked rather abandoned.


There were only two headstones with the rest being unmarked graves.  The headstone in the far left corner was John Holland’s grave.



Bob & Ken


Bob & Tom.   Yes I have been eating well!

I was saddened to read John’s wife, Agnes died in 1894 a year after be blazed the track.  John live until November 1935 aged 80.


Now we face a 560km drive back to Perth.

No comments :