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.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it. And in many ways it is my journal of everyday life. If you click on the Index you can see my posts under various topic headings.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
Most recently I have been enjoying exploring other art genres, including Eco-printing with Australian leaves onto cloth and paper.
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Sunday, 19 January 2014

Return to Wedge - Indian Ocean Drive, Western Australia

It is summer here in Western Australia - and the beach is a big part of our culture for those who live near the coast. So I thought I would take you back a few years before taking you along the Indian Ocean Drive.

In the mid 1970s newly married and before children, we all climbed into our friend’s old Land Rover after work one Friday and headed north along a 4WD dirt track to Wedge Island relying on our mate’s memory of how to get there.  We arrived around 11 o’clock at night and stumbled around the squatters' and fishermens' shacks looking for ‘Mill’s Mansion’. 

 Typical of all the beach shacks it was made from whatever was at hand, washed up timber and corrugated iron. A water-tank, gas camp stove, camp stretchers, louvre windows, a bucket of water to throw down the outside loo, fishing nets strung up and everything covered with a thin layer of beach sand, completed the picture.  

It all looked better in the morning, and we felt like kings in our ‘mansion’ as we cooked bacon and eggs, sand boarded down the sand hills on bits of scavenged cardboard, caught fish off the beach, collected shells and went 4WD beach driving in the Landie. I remember sitting in the Landie’s back ‘seat’ when the seat came to an abrupt end when we hit a washaway on the beach. Those were the days. 

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Years later when we moved house, we discovered that our new neighbour was the owner of Mill’s Mansion and we reminisced about those days – what a small world. 

Who would have thought that years later this old photo I took back in the 1970s would end up in a national travel magazine - but it did - Go Camping & 4WD Adventures October-November 2013 edition.  

A couple of years ago went back to Wedge via the new Indian Ocean Road that runs along the coast from Perth to Geraldton. A few things had changed. The shacks were still there but are now leasehold. There was even a ‘Welcome to Wedge’ sign, a shop and a list of ‘Easter Events’. An old-timer who looked like he had had of lot of years in the sun and salt air was walking along the track. He asked what we were looking for. No he hadn’t heard of Mill’s Mansion. I rather envied his shack existence away from the pressures of city life.

The Indian Ocean Road has opened up the coastal communities between Perth and Geraldton. Previously you travelled inland up the Brand Highway to Geraldton with road trains for company. The new route, which officially opened in September 2010, slices half an hour off the trip and takes you along the coast with views of the ocean away from the road trains. You can visit more easily the small seaside townships of Guilderton, Seabird, Ledge Point, Lancelin, Cervantes, Jurien, Sandy Cape, Greenhead and Leeman. Previously these seemed so isolated and were to some like me only names on a road sign.  I am sure the residents of Wedge preferred it that way. But that’s progress for you. 

Dongara  and Port Denison   -

The main reason people come to Dongara-Denison is the beach – and there are plenty of ways to enjoy it – swimming, sailing, surfing, fishing, wind surfing, para-sailing and kite-boarding. The Port Denison jetty was built in 1867 and now Denison boasts one of WA’s biggest marinas, home to a rock lobster fishing fleet. The jetty is a great place to take children fishing. Our grandchildren only caught a few ‘tiddlers’ but they had a great time doing it - fishing with Pop.
This part of the coastline can be very windy and it is easy to see why the beaches from Geraldton through to Leeman, Greenhead and Cervantes are listed amongst the ten top windsurfing spots in Western Australia. Go down to the beach at almost any time along this stretch of coast and you will see wind-surfers and kite-boarders riding the waves. The wind was also very good for our children’s bubble wands! 

There is also a historical trail and the huge Morton Bay Fig Trees in the main street are an icon of Dongara. 

Jurien - 

After our few days at Dongara we trundled down the coast calling into Leeman, Greenhead and Grigson Lookout before arriving at Jurien where we found the holiday mood continuing. The sun was shining and the jetty appeared to be very popular with both locals and visitors for fishing or just taking a stroll and catching up with friends, and there was a group of teenagers jumping off the floating pontoon. A caravan park is conveniently located adjacent to the jetty and there is an extensive beach-front park with picnic tables and shelters if you are just want somewhere to stop for lunch.

Jurien Bay presents itself as a progressive town that has obviously been growing over recent years. Sheltered by a string of islands and reefs ensures that fishing, snorkelling, diving, boating and windsurfing are on top of the list of activities. Jurien is the home to a multi-million dollar cray fishing and rock lobster industry and for boaties there is a concrete boat ramp at the marina. You can join a cruise to see seals, sea lions and dolphins as well as whales during their migration.

If you like beach camping there is minimal cost beachfront campsites at Sandy Cape Recreation Park just north of Jurien.

Pinnacles - Cervantes 

Our next overnight stop on our way south was Cervantes. The main attraction of this relaxed fishing and family holiday town, aside from beach activities, is the Pinnacles in the Nambung National Park. We arrived in Cervantes mid-afternoon and after setting up our camp at the beachfront caravan park we drove out to the Pinnacles Desert only twenty kilometres from town.  Sunrise and sunset is the best time to view these huge ancient limestone pillars which rise dramatically out of the yellow sand dunes up to four-metres high. You can walk to some of the pillars from the lookout and there is also a four-kilometre 4WD drive trail. As several of our group had cameras we took quite a while to get around the drive trail, stopping numerous times to photograph the pillars in the late afternoon sunlight.

From Cervantes it is only a few hours drive to Perth, but we managed to make a day of it calling into Lancelin and the tiny towns of Seabird and Ledge Point before arriving at Guilderton in time for lunch.

There is so much to see and do along the Indian Ocean Road you can easily spend a relaxed week or two exploring the coast under the Western Australian sun without breaking the bank to get there.  

Oh yes - and there are wildflowers - this is the Tailflower - just one of the 900 species of wildflowers to be found in the Kwongan heathlands of the Lesueur National Park and along the Indian Ocean Drive.

I hope you enjoyed this short extract from my article printed in  Go Camping & 4WD Adventures magazine - October-November 2013 edition.  

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Thanks for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you.

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photos Monday, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, Travel Photo Thursday, What's It Wednesday, and Oh the Places I've Been. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World  
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday
 Oh The Places I've Been


  1. That is fantastic on your retro pic being printed in the travel magazine, Jill! I enjoyed the story from years back too. The Pinnacles have an almost "graveyard" look about them. As always the beach looks so inviting. Another fantastic post :)

  2. How beautiful it all is - makes me want to get into our CRV and head up-Island to some of our similar beaches.
    I am always after The Great Dane to take a trip to Australia - especially at this time of year - to escape our winter greys and to soak up some of your sun. You can be sure that your blog posts will be an essential part of planning for that day!

    1. oh don't come to Australia in summer - far too hot! Spring - Septemberish - when the wildflowers are out is much better.

  3. Love those trips that take you back in time. A fabulous post and a wonderful armchair adventure for a Sunday morning.

  4. I like the phrase "Life's a beach". Wonderful post and photos. Thanks for taking me along, I'd love a warm sunny beach this week.

    Enjoy your week ahead!

  5. Hi Jill: I always enjoy reading your posts. They are full of interesting information and great photos. How about that having your 70s photo resurrected into a new mag. That is timeless. Valerie

    1. Who would have thought when I took that photo back in the 70s - not me! I guess it pays not to throw out photos!

  6. I love the way you've mixed the past with the present and was hooked into your story about Mill's Mansion. How well the old pic contrasts with your more recent photos, and shines the light on a past we can all well remember when life was simpler, and we had less expectation (I think). Well done on being featured again in a wonderful travel magazine. Your descriptions of Dongara brought so much back to me of our short stop there on a trip to Monkey Mia a couple of years ago.

  7. No matter where you are in the world, nothing is quite as wonderful as the beach and the ocean. I have been thinking of you with the record breaking hot temps you have been having. I hope you've been able to stay cool this summer!

    1. such a contrast - hot summers and raging bushfires down here - and polar vortexes up there!
      Air-con at work helps!

  8. Jill your images sure tell the story as well as your narrative. All so well done and a pleasure for me to see.
    Have a wonderful week.

  9. Hi Jill
    I love the story of you arriving in the dead of night in the landie to Mill's Mansion! Wonderful photos of the region. I hope to visit one day.
    Wren x

  10. Those are some wonderful photos. Congrats on being published!

  11. fantastic photos as always Jill and great article - makes me just feel like jumping in a Landie and going off exploring ...

  12. What lovely memories and great shots!

  13. As snowflakes tumble to the ground and the Winter blahs are trying to take hold of me, this post was what I needed this early morning. A sweet bit of charm and nostalgia, along with what the modern world has brought to places changes over the decades. What a beautiful place! Pinnacles Desert looks amazing. Always delightful to catch up Jill. Enjoy the remainder of your week. I think we will be taking the dogs out into the snow later, and yep, I will have camera in hand~

  14. I hope 2014 proves to be a good year for you and yours!

  15. What a shame you did not find the old shack. Things change

  16. Oh fantastic scenery! I never made it to the Pinnacles, when I lived in Australia. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Lots of neat shots ~ Love the first one ~ very creative and has a 'zen' like quality to it ~ carol, xxx

  18. Superb photos of WA. I miss the carefree days in an old sandy shack. Here in SA most of them have gone through government interference. We used to have access to one on the Coorong which the gov. bulldozed.

  19. Nice photos Jill. Looks like an interesting place to visit. It is indeed a small world.

  20. I love the look of your National Park and find it interesting to learn about all sorts of beach towns I'd never heard of before. What a lovely way to be spending January - and great beach scenery to boot.

  21. Another fabulous tour of our coast Jill and lovely reminisces about the good ole days at Ledge! Most people head south in summer so it's great to have a perspective on heading north!

  22. I wish it were summer here already!

  23. I didn't realize that new coast road opened in 2010. Marty and I have a long held dream to return to W.A. and we talk about it a lot lately. I know we will do it - it is just a question of when. Jurien sounds like it has changed a lot. We haven't been there for more than 30 years so I expect a lot has changed. The beach still looks the same though.:)

  24. Fantastic photo for the cover! What a great way to spend a holiday.

  25. Nice collection of your travel pictures! sounds a perfect spot to get enjoy of holidays..

  26. It does sound like your trip in the 1970s versus now is quite different. Perhaps a Pinnacle Desert photo from this trip will end up published somewhere a few decades from now. It certainly looks like and intriguing place to visit. The beach towns look fun, too.

  27. I've only visited Australia once, and that was to the city of Sydney, but I'd love to gio back one day to see Perth and more of the countryside. Your photos are beautiful and show the diversity of the land.


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