My article about the Dundas heritage trail - "The Old Coach Road" - was published in On the Road magazine's June 2012 edition. We visited Dundas last October on our way north from Esperance. It was certainly worth the side trip and an interesting insight into life on the gold fields in the 1800s.
Please click on the link to see a quick preview - On the Road Magazine
|The opening page to my article|
Here is a short excerpt from the article............
Travelling along a bush track amongst Eucalypt scrub on the goldfields we didn’t expect to see a cricket pitch. It was cracked and worn, but remains as a tangible reminder of a long past community life. We found the pitch along the 25 kilometre Dundas Coach Road Heritage Trail just south of Norseman and we wished we had some cricket gear with us.
|The old cricket pitch laid in 1895 near the old Break O'Day minesite. The fortnightly cricket matches were the centre of social and sporting activities for the miners and their families.|
If you are travelling across the Nullarbor to Western Australia, or from Kalgoorlie to Esperance, you will reach Norseman at the end of the Eyre Highway. Instead of rocketing along the highway in your quest to reach Esperance and the coast, I suggest you take a break by turning off the highway and explore the hidden treasure that is the old Dundas goldfields.
Each site is well-signposted, and the route is easy to follow. Some sites have picnic tables or walk trails along the well-formed sand-gravel track which is suitable for 4WD, or 2WD in dry conditions.
Gold was first discovered around Dundas in 1890 by pastoralist William Moir, followed by prospectors Mawson and Kirkpatrick, who rode overland on horseback to Southern Cross to register the first claim, “Mawson’s Reward”, in 1892. A townsite was laid out near Noganyer Soak in 1893, not far from the original Mawson’s Reward lease. However Dundas’s fortunes were short-lived when richer gold finds were found near present day Norseman when Laurie Sinclair’s horse, Hardy Norseman, uncovered a gold nugget in 1894. Norseman boomed and the town of Dundas disappeared.
|The old Dundas dam, built on a rock outcrop with stone walls to channel and hold rain.|
At the site of the Dundas town near Dundas Rocks you can see a map of the old townsite. We read that Dundas was a ramshackle place of mainly tents and rough bush timber huts. Many of the town’s inhabitants disembarked into their new world at ports on the south coast, walking to Dundas with their wagons of belongings along rough tracks. As you wander about the abandoned townsite you can only imagine the struggling existence of the miners and their families. Many were ill prepared for the heat and their basic living and working conditions, but strong bonds were formed as they learnt to reply on each other in their new harsh environment.
|Quandongs were an important food for the Ngadju aboriginal people and settlers. The thin layer of fruit wraps around the knobbly kernel which can also be eaten or ground to make flour.|
To read more about the Dundas heritage trail please see the June edition of On the Road magazine, or visit the Shire of Dundas website by clicking here - Dundas -
The click on "tourism" and "attractions" to find a downloadable pdf map of the trail.