Goldfields Road

The Goldfields Road must be one of Western Australia’s most undersold, under hyped, under promoted and least appreciated journeys.

This 500 kilometre Track follows the York to Goldfields Heritage Trail.. ..not to be confused with the Golden Pipeline Trail which is a 650 kilometre trail from Mundaring Weir to Kalgoorlie.

The start of the Goldfields Road is six kilometres out of York along the Northam-York Road, however,  it is worthwhile to call into the Information Bay on the Great Southern Highway 1.2 km west of York where there is extensive information about the route.

And while this Road Trip did not slavishly follow the Goldfields Road, it covered enough of it to get an appreciation of its value.

From an initial 20 potential starters, we left El Caballo, 50 kilometres east of Perth, at 4.30 p.m. with 12 people in eight vehicles.

It was starting to get cold when we arrived at Mindebooka Hill and set up camp. And the forecast was for zero and below.

Yep, the forecast was correct! Next morning it was good to get into the vehicle and away.

First task for the day was to refurbish Burracoppin Well.

Steam Train Historic Site

After we were satisfied with the job at the well we headed to an historical site, two kilometres north-west of Burracoppin. It appears to have been a water supply for the railways when steam trains were in use.

Immediately on arrival we did some testing of approach and departure angles.

We found another, steeper embankment and Jon negotiated the Patrol over it and the associated gutter.

Ephemeral, Unnamed Lake

Even after testing approach and departure angles, investigating the ruins of an historic building, and a dam there was still a huge chunk of time to fill in so we headed north towards Lake Campion. Along the way we tried a shortcut through the Conservation Reserve and came across an ephemeral lake – now nearly full.

We returned to Lake Campion Road and headed north, intent on having lunch at the site of the Chandler Potash/Gypsum Works that were in operation from 1942 to 1952. It took me some time to locate it – it had been radically altered from when we were there last only 12 months earlier.

Chandler

It would appear that the intent in ‘cleaning up’ the site was the removal of steel/iron. And, while the site has been cleaned up, it is very short sighted that such heritage items have been removed. The site was so different that I did not at first recognise it as I drove past and consequently spent 30 plus minutes looking for it. And then those who had not been there before were wondering what all the fuss was about. On the evidence presented to them – nothing.

At cents in the dollar for scrap steel versus the heritage value of the site it makes one wonder at decisions made.

Mindebooka

After lunch we drove into Merredin to refuel and then took the Bruce Rock road south to Totadgin Well. Along the way we stopped at a Main Roads WA Network Performance Site.

Jon explained to the group how NPS works. We moved a few kilometres south to Totadgin Reserve for our second well refurbishment project.

Job completed, back to  camp. Views of Baandee Lakes along the way.

Joe prepared and cooked a damper that he shared with the group. Excellent.

Metchering Well

We packed and left our camp at Mindebooka early on Sunday morning and drove to nearby Metchering Well. It is on private property and I had already contacted the owner and received permission to enter the property.

Doodlakine Well Clean Up

From Metchering we headed north to Doodlakine Well to clean it up. The well is located in a Reserve, where ‘Old Doodlakine’ was located on what is now Goldfields Road.

After cleaning up Doodlakine Well we headed west on Goldfields Road and stopped at the incongruously-named Shark Mouth Rock. More like a goanna. Or a tortoise. Or a dolphin. Or a dozen other forms of animal life that come to mind before a shark.

The wattle trees were blooming.

Just down the road is Marranobbing Well.

Leaving the Goldfields Road we drove through Kellerberrin and continued south towards Kokerbin Rock. Jon left us at this point for an appointment in York.

The scenic route around the eastern base of Mount Stirling is a very interesting drive.

Kokerbin Rock

Kokerbin Rock is the third largest monolith in Australia – after Ayers Rock and Walga Rock (although that is disputed).

On the south-western side of the rock is a fine example of a dry rock pioneer well.

From Kokerbin we returned home through Pantapin, Quairading, and York.

 

 

© Kim Epton 2016-2024
901 words, 44 photographs.

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