Walga Rock

Walga Rock (Walgahna) is the second largest monolith (single rock) in Australia after Uluru, although that is sometimes disputed. It is a 1.8 kilometre long, granite ‘whaleback’ about 50 kilometres south-west of Cue.

There is an extensive gallery of Indigenous art at Walga Rock.

A painting of what may appear at first glance to be a sailing ship is superimposed over some of the earlier works. Underneath the painting are lines of writing that resemble Cyrillic or Arabic script, however, they have not been accurately identified.

There has been a great deal of speculation about the painting, especially considering it is located 325 kilometres from the coast. It has been postulated that it was drawn by survivors of the heavily armed three-masted Dutch East India (VOC) ships Batavia or Zuytdorp; or that it represents a ‘contact painting’ by indigenous Australians who saw a ship on the coast and then moved inland.

While there are many examples of Indigenous art depicting vessels on the Western Australian coast, including others showing what appears to be the SS Xantho and possibly another steamer at Inthanoona Station east of Cossack, the Walga Rock painting is one of the most inland examples.

A visit to the rock created further discussion of the possibilities.

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Ballinyoo Bridge

Ballinyoo Bridge is 80 kilometres south of the Murchison Settlement on the Carnarvon Mullewa Road. Construction started in 1929 and the bridge was completed in 1930. It was the second concrete bridge to be built in Western Australia and, until replaced, it was the oldest concrete bridge in WA. (Bridge No. 837).

A free camping area extends along both banks of the Murchison River just off the Carnarvon Mullewa Road. Bush camp are available on both sides of the road and on both banks, although the north side is probably preferred. Please take all your rubbish with you when you leave.

The opening of a new, longer, higher, parallel, $5.5M bridge built by BG&E Engineering of Perth was celebrated by a long table lunch on 10 September 2016. A span of the original cement bridge was retained to commemorate its place in the history of the community.

Early drovers crossed the Murchison at Ballinue, however, when surveyor Harry F. Johnston was operating in the area in 1876 he recorded the name as Ballinyoo. The importance of this crossing continued after construction of the concrete bridge and this was an important factor in consideration of its replacement.

The bridge was a focal point on a number of pioneering boating expeditions along the Murchison River in the 1990s.

Kim Epton