Contrary to first impressions there is much to see just a short distance from the bitumen on the section of Great Eastern Highway from Yellowdine to Woolgangie. This moment in time is 2019.
The National Heritage-listed Karalee Rock and Dam is always worth a visit. The turnoff is signposted although it is not a very large sign. The track into Karalee is at 31°16’40.9″S 119°51’3.1″E
At Karalee a small rock dam has been built across a watercourse. Further up this gully is a rock well similar in construction to Hunt’s wells. It is most likely a PWD construction from the gold rush era.
When C.C. Hunt’s team built the well here it was referred to as Quardanoolagin and later as Quardagin. Later work developed a water harvesting system and reservoir.
Remains of the Southern Cross to Coolgardie Railway
The rails have have been removed and most of the ballast has also gone. In a few places the route of the railway is obvious. Dog spikes litter the ground and fittings from the telegraph line that followed the railway lay along the route.
About 16 kilometres before Boorabbin, on the northern side of the pipeline is the remains of well in times past. It is now merely an uninteresting depression littered with rusty cans and other artefacts.
The Goldfields Water Supply Scheme Pipeline
Further on is a hermit’s hut tucked away in the bush.
While it is impossible to be certain, the state in which the hut has been left very clearly indicates that no attempt was made to pack up and take items away. One obvious conjecture is that the occupant went off to seek medical attention or enter hospital and never returned. Or perhaps he died a lonely death in the bush and his memorial is a deteriorating bush hut frozen in time.
Little is known of this WWII airstrip at Boorabbin. It won’t be too long before the bush obliterates it completely.
Modern day Boorabbin Airstrip nearby is a typical, rudimentary bush strip, ostensibly built to fly in Police to control people protesting about the construction of a nuclear waste (low level) facility at Mount Walton, 50 kilometres north.
Boorabbin Rock, Quarry and Dams
Boorabbin Rock and the nearby massive water harvesting system that leads to a huge water storage reservoir was part of the water supply system for the now-forgotten steam railway network to Kalgoorlie and beyond.
Boorabbin was settled in 1895 and flourished for the three months it was the railhead. It boasted a post office, pubs and stores. Within a day of Woolgangie, 24 kilometres to the east, becoming the railhead, Boorabbin was deserted. In December 1895 sheds and shops were dismantled and re-erected at the new railhead. Both Boorabbin and Woolgangie became important stops because of their huge water catchment systems – important for men, horses, camels and trains.
Boondi Reservoir was built to supply water for the trains on the Southern Cross-Coogardie Railway.
C.C. Hunt’s Wargangering is current day Woolgangie. Current day Wargangering is five kilometres to the south-west and does not have a well associated with it. The rock is 100 metres south-west of Great Eastern Highway and a track leads into it at 31°11’8.6″S 120°31’16″E.
The water harvesting scheme at Woolgangie is one of the finest on the route of the Hunt Track.
© Kim Epton 2019
803 words, 41 photographs.
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