Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Monday, 22 April 2013

Exploring the Western Australian wheatbelt

Every year and sometimes two or three times a year, we take a trip east to the Western Australian wheat-belt - to Bruce Rock to be precise - in the central wheat-belt. My sister's family farm a cropping property there. Our visit has been an annual family trip at Easter for years. Both my father and mother came from the wheatbelt although they moved to the city before my sister and I were born. My sister marrying a Bruce Rock farmer over thirty years ago brought our family back to the wheat-belt. I love its beautiful salmon gum and gimlet trees and its wide open spaces and when I visit I feel in some ways that a part of me is coming home.

 Over the last few trips I have convinced my family that we should travel up by different routes to look at different places along the way, instead of going our usual route - Bunbury, Collie, Williams, Narrogin, Wickepin, Yealearing, Corrigin, Bilbarin, Bruce Rock - a four hour drive. Of course going a different way takes longer, but the journey is what is important don't you think?

This year we toured via York and the Old Goldfields Road.  The York to Goldfields Heritage Trail commences at York, 97km east of Perth and follows as closely as possible the route to the Coolgardie goldfields established by explorer Charles Cooke Hunt. It features some of his dams and wells which Hunt and his party constructed while cutting the trail during four expeditions between 1864 and 1866. For the thousands of gold seekers who trekked to the goldfields, Hunt's track and wells provided an invaluable lifelife. 

Since reading about Hunt a few years ago, I have been fascinated by this man and his work, and over the last few years we have visited a number of his wells. Travelling the Old Goldfields Road would add to my knowledge. (Writing about Hunt will be another story coming soon!)

From Williams we headed north on the Williams to York Road. Near Dryandra Conservation Reserve we found this little fellow - an young echidna - crossing the road.  He tucked his head under himself and bristled his quills. The hard gravel road surface was not providing a hiding place! I took a few quick shots and then let him trundle on his way. 

We stopped for a quick lunch in historic York. Established in 1836, York is now a popular weekend destination and also an alternative community for Perth workers who are happy to commute. There are many historic buildings. In the collage below you can see the Town Hall, the old flour mill, the convent school build in 1873 and the York main street. York could easily take up a whole story on it's own....another time.....

And onto the Old Goldfields Road. In the mosaic below you can see Youndegin Inn - first established as a police outpost in 1866. With the discovery of the Yilgarn goldfields it became the Youndegin Arms Inn and later a staging post for Cobb & Co coaches, declining in the 1890s after the establishment of the railway line 15km to the north. 
Nearby is one of Hunt's wells, constructed between 1864 and 1866. 
You can also see below one of the historical information boards which can be found along the trail, and the picnic area near Hunt's well at Doodlakine.

We continued on to Merredin before turning south to Bruce Rock. Just south of Merredin is another of Hunt's wells at Totadgin Rock.  From the top of the rock you have views over the wheatbelt and there is a marked trail with information panels making it an interesting place for a walk in autumn or spring when it is not too hot. There are gnama holes (natural depressions) on the rock that collect water during rain and which were an important source of water for animals, early residents and explorers. Hunt's well at Totadgin is a good example of dry stone well construction. There are granite rocks like Totadgin scattered all over the wheatbelt.

Bruce Rock is a progressive neat town. They have recently held their Centennial Celebrations and installed a mosaic walk along the main street containing mosaic tiles made by families and groups within their community. The mosaics are a creative, colourful and interesting addition to the town. My sister's mosaic can be seen here in the bottom left hand corner - Shearing & Co.

The farm of course is the highlight for us, for our boys, and now our grandsons. What a great way to spend a morning or late afternoon walking over the paddocks and the big rock at the back of the home-block farm house. When our boys were younger they used to take off with their all-boy cousins and we would only see them at meal times!

 Up on the rock is their collection of old farm equipment - don't you just love rust! The old scarifier made a great climbing frame!

and how about an improvised drum kit for a young man - you can make as much noise as you like out here! I've processed this in Elements to give it a raw rock star look.

Although you might scare off the Pink & Grey Galahs! 

The paddocks may be bare now, but after we left seeding went into full swing, and next time we visit the paddocks will be green growing crops of wheat, barley and canola. 

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed reading a little about the central Western Australian wheatbelt.  I look forward to hearing from you.
Is there a place you visit often - do you travel different ways? 

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday and Our World Tuesday and Travel Photo Thursday.  Please click on the links to see posts from other contributors around the world. 

You might also like to read more about the wheatbelt by clicking on a couple of my other posts here -

Western Australian central wheatbelt
Wheatbelt Central - Bruce Rock Caravan Park Camp food - Western Australian wheatbelt granite outcrops
Drayandra woodland in the early morning light


  1. Lovely country Jill with lots of wide open countryside. When I take a trip I like to go one way and come back another just to have a different view. Valerie

  2. I really loved this post Jill.... Bill and I grew up in Eastern Washington State US, which is big wheat-growing country. Some of this reminds me of that. (But not the gullahs ;>)!) Just beautiful pictures and you are lucky to get to "go home again." Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks for taking us along on the trip. I love seeing places I haven't visited before (and perhaps never will). It is so dry compared to here in Ontario, and such lovely trees.

    In Canada there aren't always alternate roads to places - it is sometimes like they said on the Simpsons, "Follow the road. Follow the only road." There are two routes to our cottage and we do take them both and I enjoy the variety.

  4. Beautiful scenic shots, Jill! I love the top shot of the road with the trees. And the critter is cute and the Galahs are beautiful. Thanks for sharing your trip, wonderful photos. Have a happy week!

  5. A wonderful story you tell and a mesmeric picture you paint with your photography. I was truly transported to another place, and a different space with a glimpse into another life. Loved the pic of the Echidna - so cute!

  6. Wow! Beautiful photos of your part of the world. I especially love the roads and paths through the umbrella of trees.

  7. What a marvellous series of photos! I love the Australian outback. Galahs are one of my fave Aussie birds. I had a pet one (rescued) when I lived there.

  8. Magnificent scenery and great photos. I love the feeling of wide open spaces you get in so much of outback Australia.

  9. incredible scenery. thanks for the tour.

  10. These are amazing. The open space is outstanding and the red of the earth. You just don't see that in the UK AT ALL


  11. Beautiful area!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  12. I thoroughly enjoyed your post. 46 years ago I went to Perth by train in springtime when the desert was a Persian carpet of wildflowers. Another time we motored out to New Norcia where a friend of ours had spent a year translating a religious text. We have also stayed on a 1,000,000 near the Victoria desert. I would dearly love to see a lot more of WA. Thank you for your lovely post. There is nothing like staying on a farm. I particularly liked your shots of the dirt road and the treasure trove of old farm machinery.

  13. It is such vastly different terrain than where I am, basically in a rain forest! I liked how you could see for miles, how wonderful that would be!

  14. Love the rusty collection collage. I bet your boys loved visiting the farm. A great idea trying different routes. I have been to York and agree it is wonderful, don't fancy the commute :)

  15. Loved the 3rd shot: reminds me of the African savanna :) definitely a contrast from green, mountainous Puerto Rico!

    - Maria Alexandra

  16. Loved your tour of the Western Australia Wheatbelt! I had never heard of an echidna - reminds me a bit of our porcupine. The pink and grey galahs look lovely!

  17. Hi Jill, I agree that it's the journey that matters and those photos along your journey are spectacular!

  18. I really like that mosaic walk. What a wonderful way to get the community involved! My boys would lvoe that drumset, too.

  19. What a great trip! Hubby usually surprises me with 'alternate' routes for a change of scenery when we are out and about.

  20. How adorable are echidnas?! I saw a stuffed one of those in the Natural History Museum this weekend. Not quite the same as seeing them alive in the wild though. Do they have them in eastern Australia too? I'll be moving there soon!

    1. yes they do have echidnas in eastern Australia. I hope you see one! happy travels.


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