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.
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.
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Monday, 20 July 2015

Murchison River camping at Wooleen Station, Western Australia

We have just returned in the last few days from our latest camping trip through Western Australia's midwest. 


We stayed for a few days at a river front bush campsite at Wooleen Station just south of the Murchison Settlement, 690kms north east of our capital city Perth.

We had heard about Wooleen when we travelled through Murchison last year, and were keen to experience their station stay. Covering over a quarter of a million acres of picturesque outback, Wooleen Station is a cattle station that is playing a leading role in preserving and sustaining the unique ecology of the region.

Located in mulga shrub land, Wooleen Station was founded in 1886 when James Sharpe bought the lease of about 90,000 acres.  The Pollock family bought the lease of the property in 1989 and is today managed by David Pollock and his partner Frances Jones. 

As well as cattle grazing, David and Frances run an eco-tourism business on their property. 

We loved the private river frontage bush camping on the Murchison River at Wooleen Station with absolute quiet and a million stars overhead at night.


There are 4 riverside campsites - Bagaa (white-faced heron), Birdiny (water chooky). Gurulhu (Black swan) and Warrbi (fish).  Below are two pics of our camp with views over the Murchison River. Gurulhu means "Black Swan" in the local indigenous dialect.   
There are also bush camps near a rocky outcrop and under some Gidgee trees. These are all unpowered sites with no facilities other than a long drop toilet and a firepit. You are required to bring your own composting toilet for camping at the Gidgee tree. There are also unpowered campsites at the homestead where you have access to a basic camp kitchen, toilet and showers. Frances says there are plans to do some upgrades on the homestead campsites.

Or you can book to stay in one of their self-contained guest houses or stay at the beautiful Wooleen homestead.  Please book in advance.




sunrise from our camp



sunset along the river



It can be very dry out here. Wooleen's managers David Pollock and Frances Jones are carrying out a radical plan to regenerate Wooleen's landscape and bring it back from years of over-grazing. The Pollocks say that the rangelands are a renewable resource, but only if the land is managed so it is able to renew itself and is healthy enough to withstand the normal cycles of climate.


In 2007 they completely destocked the entire property for 4 years, and started a program of re-establishing vegetation. Their second stage for sustainability is to discover a way to run stock in a way that does not start the landscape back into a downward spiral.
To achieve this they periodically rest the landscape to allow it to recover from grazing, especially during dry times and now only run cattle for around 8 months of the year during the wetter months.  The Pollocks say this is working well ecologically but is very tough financially as we are not realising the full economic potential of our herds. 

A bold and economically costly plan - you can only admire their commitment to regenerating and preserving the land. 




Wooleen is home to hundreds of different plants and animals unique to the outback. We were a little early for the wildflower season but there were still wildflowers to photograph.





Below are some of my favourite Mulla Mulla family of wildflowers. The one in the top LH corner is a variety I had not seen before. From my research at Flora Base I think it is Ptilotus beardii Benl - Low Mulla Mulla.  Flora Base is a great online resource if you want to identify wildflowers.
 


A river to wander along - amazingly there were even black swans. I never expected to see black swans on the Murchison. The Swan River in Perth is well known for them, and we see them other places in the south west too, but I was amazed to see them up here.

This is Gradagullya Pool which was only a few kilometres from our camp and a great place to wander along the river. I just love those twisted river gums.





My husband likes to take bird photos. Below you can see clockwise from Left Top corner - a Little Falcon, Kingfisher, Pink & Grey Galahs (they were nesting in one of the river gums), a nest (probably a hawk nest), a Crested Pigeon, and Black Swans.


This one is for you Redz Australia (Aussie Loos with Views) - the amenities might be basic at the bush camps - but this "long drop" had a polished wood seat and a mirror! Luxury!



a loo with a view - 



 with a river front like this and the beautiful quiet peacefulness I wasn't complaining about the lack of facilities at the river side bush campsite




If bush camping is not your style you can stay in the beautiful Wooleen homestead, built in 1918 from handmade bricks, and listed by the Australian National Trust.  Or stay in one of their self-contained rammed earth guesthouses.




 Other things to do at Wooleen are visit the Bowerbird museum, go out to the site of the Wooleen woolshed that was blown away in a "cockeyed bob" (the cooks quarters (which you can see below on the left) and bunkhouses remain - but that's another story), visit Wooleen Lake which only fills once every 10 years (this year was the year), visit the Sharpe family cairn, and take in the views from Cow paddock Mill hill.  

There are also morning, sunset, and walking tours that can be arranged. And hiking and mountain bike trails. Or you can kayak in the river.



We were sorry that our visit to Wooleen hadn't been longer.  If you would like to know more about Wooleen Station as a place to stay or to read more about their history and their regeneration and conservation plans, please visit their website - www.wooleen.com.au

Wooleen Station is located 690kmns north east of Perth, Western Australia, and 37kmns south of Murchison Settlement.  Access is via bitumen and gravel roads. 4WD recommended. Fuel available at Murchison. Wooleen is open for camping and accommodation from 1 April to 31 October. Bookings are recommended.




Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed this visit to Wooleen Station. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. 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

Image-in-ing
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Agent Mystery Case
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday




45 comments:

  1. Very beautiful scenery...I really love those river shots with the swans and those interesting trees! ;)

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  2. Hello Jill, what a beautiful spot for camping. The views of the river and sunset are gorgeous. I love the pretty wildflowers and the Black Swans are beautiful. Gorgeous images and post. Have a happy day and new week ahead!

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  3. Wow, that landscape is so harsh and yet filled with amazing beauty and lovely wildflowers. I would love to explore this area and do the same thing some day Jill - your flower images are stunning.

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  4. What a great camping trip. Such beautiful scenery!!

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  5. Another wonderful place for camping and I would have been disappointed if I didn't get to see the loo. :-) The wildflowers are pretty and I believe black swans are a rarity, aren't they?
    Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday Jill, enjoy your vacation.

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  6. What beautiful scenes you have shown us. I love seeing what the countryside looks like in other countries... the flowers are lovely and I've never seen black swans before - are they common?
    I'll be back to see more of your travels...

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  7. The campsite is gorgeous, especially with the river and the beautiful surroundings.
    Your photos are very good. I loved seeing flowers I have never seen before through your lens.
    Thank you!
    Have a Great Week!!
    Peace :)

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  8. Great photos. The wildflowers are very beautiful. I love the wide vistas your photos show. It is definitely a big country. BTW we sometimes see Black Swans swimming out on the waters of Sandy Strait.

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  9. Jill does the Murchison River flow out to sea at Kalbarri? If it is the same river it flows through the Kalbarri National Park through deep gorges and it was one of the most scenic stops of our trip. As you know I have a soft spot for river gums, black swans and the wildflowers are gorgeous. You must have enjoyed this trip immensely.

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    1. yes Kathy, the Murchison River does flow through the Kalbarri gorges and then out to the sea. We visited Kalbarri on this trip before getting to Wooleen.

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  10. great series of beautiful images. love the reflections in the river and that sunset...wow.

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  11. Ha, an outhouse with a view! Great photography.

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  12. I love seeing the black swans!

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  13. You beat me to it!! I was just about to start a round of visits when I saw your comment on my blog - and now I find another AWESOME scenic loo!! Corrugated iron makes the BEST building material - especially for photos, which we all know are much more important than other factors like weatherproofing :D I hope I get to see this one for real one day! I'm always amazed at how many wildflowers there are even when it's not 'wildflower season' - but I could live without any at all as long as there were millions of mulla mullas!! Have a great week, my friend!

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  14. The first of the twisted river gum in the collage is so perfect. I am hearing and seeing so much from Western Australia, I am very tempted to come on over!

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  15. My favorite was the windmill and water tank. I just love those when we are out on road trips!!

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  16. Wonderful series of photography ~ favorites are the sunrise and sunset ~ gorgeous colors!
    Happy Week to you,
    artmusedog and carol

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  17. My it is a paradise there....such beauty...and I loved the loo shots too!

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  18. Wow it looks so beautiful there. Arid but just so serene. Loved your shot of the swans ... also serene :)

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  19. Absolutely stunning photos!
    Please come by to link up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/07/bug-eyes.html

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  20. Beautiful, stunning photos. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

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  21. Amazing variety of things shared, and then pulling together your recent outing. It looks like an outstanding place to roam around and take photographs and I must say, they are all just wonderful. I am not much of a camper, never was, mainly because all evenings are uncomfortable for me and very little sleeping, but you make it look like a dreamy experience. Hugs~

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  22. Gorgeous photos. We've only just started to get back into camping but now we are in Perth we have no friends (that have all the equipment) to go with, so we are needing to do organised camps which isn't so adventurous or exciting while we build up everything we need.

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  23. Wow and amazing place and great captures of it. It must be spectacular when the wildflowers are in full bloom. I will have to put this on the list. I love the loo with a view, and a polished seat. Luxury. We aren't that set up for camping and tend to camp out of the back of my vehicle but we have fun.

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  24. I love the way all of the swans have their heads up and the way you have captured the light on the heads of wheat? in the last photo.

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  25. I love the way all of the swans have their heads up and the way you have captured the light on the heads of wheat? in the last photo.

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    1. Hi Jan - no the last pic is of native grasses against the late afternoon sunlight

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  26. What a gorgeous and scenic locale. I imagine camping to be quite relaxing at Wooleen.

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  27. Awww, beautiful pics - I´d so love to go on another Aussie-trip! Especially since I haven´t been there yet. "Just" Perth these days.
    The last trip was back in 1999... I so miss it.

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  28. You really found the beauty in the Australian Outback.Great photos!

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  29. This place is spectacular. The scenery is great and on top of that, you have all those bird species around. The balck swans and the galahs are my favorites.

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  30. Australia is beautiful and you have captured both the light and the native flowers beautifully

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  31. thanks so much for your amazing blog post! Its fantastic. So many people have commented on it!
    Love all your photos, you've taken some amazing shots.

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  32. Hi Jill! I am losing it. I could have sworn that I commented on your lovely post, but nope, just a figment of my imagination! Beautiful photography, as always, and this looks like a gorgeous bit of Australia to explore. Maybe I will get back to Australia again one of these days. Thanks for linking up! #TPThursday

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  33. Fantastic post Jill. I am new to your blog, but this won't be the last time I visit. I loved your wild flower images, and the river and trees, Amazing!! My wife and I are currently staying on Nambung Station, but will be heading north again soon. This sounds a perfect spot. Thank you.

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    1. Hi Steve, thanks for making contact. I am happy to hear that you have enjoyed my blog. We loved Wooleen Station and would recommend it if you are up that way.

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  34. What an amazing collection of photos! Really makes you love this country even more

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  35. Always love to hear about your Station. This is a great tribute to all your very hard work, the photos are amazing

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  36. Wow, what an amazing place, beautiful, beautiful photos and will add this to my bucket list!! Just Wow.!!!

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  37. Great blog Jill!

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  38. Great article and fully agree with it having had the opportunity to stay at Wooleen in 2014.

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I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.