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.
Focussing mainly on Western Australia and Australia, I am seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Monday 24 July 2017

For love of the Mulla Mulla - Western Australian wildflower

I fell in love with the Mulla Mulla years ago on our first trip through the Western Australian Pilbara to the Kimberley in 1986. Now whenever we head north I look out for my first sight of the Mulla Mulla flowering as it tells me that we have arrived in the Pilbara.

 Little did I realise until a couple of weeks ago that there is a variety of Mulla Mulla that grows in the Western Australian wheatbelt - the Green Mulla Mulla - Ptilotus polystachyus.  We had seen it in the north, and in the midwest and east of Hyden, but I don't recall ever seeing it in the wheatbelt. But there it was growing near Dumbleyung, and along the roadside northwards through the wheatbelt, and actually on my brother-in-law and nephew's property in Bruce Rock! I was astounded as I don't remember ever having seen it flower there - but perhaps I had never visited at flowering time before. I was in raptures. From my reading since I see that the Green Mulla Mulla grows in woodland and plains in sand from Halls Creek down to Exmouth, Jerramungup in the south and Giles in the far east. 

Sunday 16 July 2017

Lake Dumbleyung - Western Australia - once in 20 year phenomenon

266 kilometres south east of Perth in the heart of Western Australia's southern wheatbelt is the town of Dumbleyung and a lake - Lake Dumbleyung.  Typical of many lakes in the wheatbelt it is a salt lake.  This year the town is encouraging visitors to come and see the lake - why? - because the lake has flooded.  What is so unusual about that? - because it is a "once in twenty years phenomenon".  Usually a virtually dry salt lake, Lake Dumbleyung has only overflowed four times in the past one hundred years, the most recent being in 1983, and now this year 2017.

The flooding of Lake Dumbleyung is a sight not to be missed. If you don't see it this year you may have to wait another 20 years to see it again.  The lake was only a slight "detour" from our route on the way to visit my family's farm in Bruce Rock, so to Lake Dumbleyung we went.

This is what the lake looked liked when we last visited in October 2011. Yes some water, but not full. Probably only a foot or so deep. 

And the view last week. It is easy to see why when the lake is in flood it becomes a focal point for the community, birds and wildlife flourish, and the Dumbleyung Ski Club and Sailing Club spring back to life. 

And the reason for the flooding this year? - in February the region received summer rains in excess of 160mm. 

Realising the economic benefits from tourism and their lake, Dumbleyung is encouraging people to visit. “Initially the flooding ruined stock feed, caused erosion and damaged fences, but as the rain continued and the filling of Lake Dumbleyung began, we realised this was a rain that could change our community.” Gordon Davidson, Dumbleyung Shire President.

After taking in the views we decided to have our lunch in the shelter of the Lake Dumbleyung Sailing Club building as the wind was bitterly cold. The building looked fairly new, so I wasn't surprised to read that it was recently rebuilt after the original building was blown down during storms in February. No doubt there has been a resurgence of sailing club activities this year with the flooding of the lake.

Thought to be derived from the Aboriginal word Dambeling meaning large lake or sea, the lake historically has been a seasonal hunting area and meeting place for Aboriginal family groups. 

The 52 square kilometre lake is the largest natural body of inland water in Western Australia - 13 kilometres long and 6.5km wide. It sprung into world focus on 31 December 1964 when Donald Campbell broke the world water speed record on Lake Dumbleyung in his jet propelled hydroplane boat, 'Bluebird K7', in which he reached the speed of 444.66 km/h - 276.3 m/h.

Campbell had already broken the world land speed record on Lake Eyre in South Australia on 17 July 1964 (648.73 km/h, 403.10 m/h) and by breaking the world water speed record on Lake Dumbleyung he became the only person to have ever broken both speed records in one year.  Donald had achieved his dream. 

The best place to view the lake is from Pussycat Hill (don't you love the name). Here you will find interpretive signage and a memorial celebrating Campbell's achievements. 

Donald Campbell made a number of speed records during his life. Sadly he died trying to break his own record in Bluebird K7 on Coniston Water in Cumbria, England on 4 January 1967.  You can read more information about Donald Campbell here - Australian Land Speed Racing

Below here you can see the memorial on Pussycat Hill unveiled by his daughter, Gina Campell.

In Dumbleyung itself you can see a full scale replica of Bluebird K7, the result of thousands of dollars of community fundraising, volunteer hours and shire contributions. It was completed in time for the 50th anniversary of Campbell's historic run on 31st December, 2014.

Not far from the Bluebird replica is the old railway station where you can see a collection of fascinating photos from the past. 

Where is it?: travel south from Perth to Wagin on the Great Southern Highway, then east along the Wagin Dumbleyung Road. Access to Lake Dumbleyung is signposted on the road. 

Please be aware that you are partly on private property and partly within the Lake Dumbleyung Nature Reserve. Camping, open fires, pets and firearms are not permitted. 

Bird watching - Lake Dumbleyung is a wetland of national and international significance, supporting many kinds of birds following good rains, including migratory species from the northern hemisphere. 

The town of Dumbleyung is 8 km further east where there are a variety of accommodation options.  Please go to their web site for more information, including downloadable maps and brochures: Visit Dumbleyung Shire
or on FacebookDumbleyung Shire

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this visit to Lake Dumbleyung. 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!
Life in Reflection

Hello there! I love reading your comments. Just click down here to comment too! 

Sunday 9 July 2017

The Quince - symbol of love in ancient Greece and Rome

I have had a love affair with quinces since I was introduced to them a few years ago, so I wasn't surprised to read that in Ancient Greece and Rome, the quince was a symbol of love and fertility.

According to -  ABC's Gardening Australia - Quinces originated from Persia, now Iran, and then spread throughout the Mediterranean. (click on the ABC link to read their informative facts sheet and learn more about the quince)

They are a hard fruit which you cannot eat raw, but oh my, the gorgeous aroma of them cooking and their flavour nearly leaves me swooning. Have you tasted them? If you haven't I encourage you to do so.

Quinces seem to be an old-fashioned fruit that you might only see in an old orchard. The quince grows on a small deciduous tree, a member of the apple and pear family. Here you can see a tree and the fruit on the tree.

This tree below is in the Balingup Tree Park was planted in 1982. See how it has had to be propped up? But despite this it seems to be doing well. (please click on the link to read my latest blog about the Park).

I always look for quinces this time of year and I was able to buy some a couple of weekends ago at the Boyanup markets.  I cooked them today in preparation for making a tart tomorrow.  You can just poach them in a saucepan with a little sugar and water, but below here is the simple, yet delicious recipe I used (if you have a little more time for the preparation - or do this the day before making the tart). 

 For about 4-5 quinces - peel, core and quarter the quinces (or thinner slices if large quinces). 

Put in an oven-proof dish, with juice and zest of 2 lemons and 1 orange (although I found that just one lemon was enough)
1 or 2 cinnamon sticks  (1 is enough for this quantity)
1 and a quarter cups of raw sugar
and about 500 mls water, enough to cover the fruit. (quantity dependent on the number and size of the quinces you have).

Cover with a piece of damp baking paper. Bake at 160-170 C for about 2 and a half hours. Turn off oven, and leave them in the oven till cool. The longer you cook the fruit the pinker they become, or sometimes not....

You can just serve them like this with a dollop of cream or icecream or make a pie.  

 Do you remember the poem by Edward Lear - "The Owl and the Pussy-Cat' -
   "They dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon,
   And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,  They danced by the light of the moon"....

  The recipe for the tart I found in "Spice" magazine a few years ago. Everyone loves it. 

Quince and Browned Butter Tart

3 quinces, poached in sugar syrup until cooked and rosy pink
1 x 26cm unbaked tart shell
2 eggs
half cup of sugar
50g flour
125g butter, cooked until golden brown and then cooled. (though I don't really do this - I just melt the butter and simmer for a few minutes)

Drain the quinces and lay them in the tart shell. Beat the eggs and the sugar until light and fluffy, fold in the flour and lastly the browned butter. Put over the quinces and bake in a 1280C oven until golden brown and set - about forty minutes. 

Serve at room temperature with a dollop of cream. 
You could also make this recipe with other fruits ie apples, pears, peaches, apricots.

This is my tart photo from a couple of years ago. As you can see the fruit is quite red-pink colour. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't, but however it looks it still tastes and smells divine! 

 I seem to blog about quinces every couple of years, so you might also like:
And slices of quince which they ate with a runcible spoon
Autumn arrives in Western Australia

Thank you so much for stopping by. Have you ever tried quinces? Do you have a favourite quince recipe? Perhaps you'd like to share in the comments. 
 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!

Life in Reflection

Hello there! I love reading your comments. Just click down here to comment too! 

Sunday 2 July 2017

The Wool Wagon Pathway, Murchison, Western Australia

The Wool Wagon Pathway is one of three self-drive outback pathways in Western Australia's Gascoyne-Murchison area. The other two outback pathways which can be explored are the Kingsford Smith Mail Run and the Miners Pathway. 

During July a couple of years ago we explored part of the 1248 kilometre Wool Wagon Pathway which takes travellers through the Murchison and Gascoyne's outback and pastoral country.

I recently had my article about the Wool Wagon Pathway published in On The Road magazine, and so I thought I would share some of the fascinating history and the stories of the pioneers, graziers, blade shearers, horsemen, drovers, fencers and well sinkers, and the remarkable men and women who pioneered this country which supplied quality wool to London, which you can learn about at the interpretive sites along the way.

The official start of the pathway is at Geraldton on the coast, but of course you can join it at other points along the way. 

Our first stop, 100 kilometres from Geraldton was Mullewa which was one of the first Murchison townships. Mullewa’s main attraction is Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, built in the 1920s by the architect-priest Monsignor John Hawes, and one of fifteen churches built by Hawes between 1915 and 1939, which can be explored on the Monsignor Hawes Heritage Trail. Built in Romanesque style typical of Italian or Spanish village churches, the church was built with help from local farmers carting stone from a nearby quarry. You can also visit the former home of Monsignor Hawes, now the Priest House museum.
Our next stop is the tiny township Pindar, 30 kilometres from Mullewa. Visitors flock to this area in spring to see the carpets of everlasting wildflowers and the unique wreath flower, Leschenaultia macrantha, which can be seen in yellow sandy areas around ten kilometres north. 

Paper Lily-Laxmannia grandiflora

From Pindar we travelled north, stopping at various sites before arriving at the remains of the Wooleen Woolshed, # 6 on the trail.  Once listed by the National Trust of Australia (WA), it was unfortunately blown away by 150 kilometre winds in 2004. Built in 1922 by Alf Couch, its outstanding feature was the self-supporting curved 80 by 25 metre corrugated iron roof, a technique perfected by Couch because timber was in short supply.  This barrel-vaulted roofline became characteristic of sheds in the Murchison area and can be seen at the adjacent cookhouse. 

 Below you can see the remains of the woolshed, an old image of the woolshed, the cookhouse, and an image of the inside ceiling of the cookhouse. 

In the Murchison area you have three choices of accommodation, nearby at Wooleen Station which offers seasonal bush camping and station stays, the Murchison Oasis Caravan Park, or free camping at Errabiddy Bluff just north of Murchison. 

Below you can see some of Wooleen Station. We were lucky to be able to secure a riverside camp.  For more information about Wooleen and the amazing work they are doing regenerating the land, you can go to my previous post here - Murchison River Camping at Wooleen Station

One of the Mulla Mulla varieties

Murchison Settlement is a convenient overnight stopping place, particularly if you require power and want a hot shower.  There are powered and unpowered sites, as well as motel units. You can buy fuel, a few basic supplies and meals at the roadhouse. The second weekend in July is the highlight of their calendar, the Murchison Polocrosse tournament, a weekend of fast action and teamwork between riders and horses. 

If you prefer a free quiet overnight camp, the turnoff to Errabiddy Bluff is only one kilometre north of the Murchison Settlement on the Carnarvon-Mullewa Road, then about twelve kilometres via a sandy-gravel track to the Bluff, 4-wheel-drive recommended, care needed during wet weather. There is plenty of room to set up camp on the flat cleared area within walking distance of the Bluff, but very little shade. There are no facilities and no marked path up the Bluff, but it couldn’t be more peaceful camped under the huge canopy of stars. 

On the way, stop at Errabiddy Outcamp and read the remarkable story of Mary and James Watson who lived at this isolated outstation in the 1920s. # 7 on the pathway. 
Continuing north, Number 10 site on the Pathway is Murchison Gate. Cattle grids are common across outback roads today, but in the early days of pastoralism grids did not exist and travellers were forced to continually open and close gates. 

With nearly 100 gates on the road between Mullewa and Gascoyne Junction, this was a tiresome job, so truck drivers worked in convoy. The first driver would stop and open the gate, the trucks passed through, the lead truck closed the gate and joined the back of the convoy. The new lead truck would open the next gate, and so on. At this site, you can read the fascinating story of Peter Gurache and his gate opener Emperor Hamlet. 

Site 11 is Stock Route Well # 19.  Restored in June 2007, the well is one of 52 wells dug in 1895 along the dry remote Mullewa to De Grey Stock Route, along which thousands of cattle and sheep were driven. Lined with stone, and equipped with troughs, buckets and a windlass or whip lever to raise the water, these wells were capable of watering 3000 sheep or 300 cattle at one time.  Wooden fences were erected around the wells to protect them from being trampled by thirsty stock.  

Approximately 150 kilometres north of the Murchison Settlement is Bilung Pool, part of a tributary of the Wooramel River. Known as Birlungardi by the Wajarri Aboriginal people, this natural water feature holds water year round. These water courses were important for early inhabitants, animals, and drovers on the De Grey Stock Route. This is a pretty place to stop for lunch. 

Gascoyne Junction lies in the heart of the Upper Gascoyne Shire, 282 kilometres from Murchison, at the junction of the Lyons and Gascoyne Rivers. Established in 1897, Gascoyne Junction is a centre for mining, pastoral and merino wool industries and is good place to stock up with supplies. The Gascoyne Junction Pub & Tourist Park offers cabins, powered and unpowered sites. Roads in this region can flood during heavy rain, stranding motorists and Gascoyne Junction has been virtually washed away by huge river floods several times, most recently in 2010. 

Our next stop was Site 16, the Cobbled Road. In the early 1920s all transport through the region was with camel or horse drawn wagons on rough dirt tracks pushed through the scrub.  It was an arduous process and carters were often bogged, sometimes for weeks beside the track.  In the 1930s Great Depression, labour intensive public works programs were created using sustenance labour. Men were given work depending on the number of dependent children – for instance four children equalled four weeks work.  The road between Carnarvon and Bangemall was ungraded using locally sourced white rocks creating a cobbled road. 

Thirty kilometres north was our next destination, the magnificent Kennedy Ranges. Twelve kilometres in, the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DEPAW) campground is nestled beneath the 100 metre red rock ramparts soaring above the surrounding Lyons River valley plains.  Campsites and amenities may be basic – long drop toilet, no power or showers, and bring your own everything, including water – but this is more than compensated by the setting.  I recommend a two or three day stay. 

The Kennedy Ranges runs north south for 75 kilometres and up to 25 kilometres wide. The southern and eastern sides have eroded over millennia to form spectacular cliffs, cut through by a maze of steep-sided canyons, surrounded by dry red sand country dominated by spinifex, supporting 400 plant species including 80 species of annual wildflowers which flourish in August and September after good rains.

There are several walk trails. Please check the information boards at the start of the walk trails for distances and degree of difficulty. Most of the trails have only basic trail markers. Some follow creek lines and are quite rocky requiring a fair amount of clambering so walkers need to be aware of their own capabilities and the approximate time to allow.

Please click here to read my previous post about the Kennedy Ranges - Exploring the Kennedy Ranges

From here you continue north from Kennedy Ranges via Ullawarra Road following the Pathway signage. You cross over the Tropic of Capricorn and reach the North West Coastal Highway and the bitumen at Barradale rest-stop, which is a good free overnight stop. 

Alternatively you can stay at Emu Creek Station which offers flat, shady, unpowered campsites 20 kilometres from the highway. Here you can visit the old Nyang shearing shed, # 21 on the trail. 

From Barradale it is 205 kilometres to Exmouth, all on bitumen. Skirting the bottom of Exmouth Gulf, via Burkett Road, you turn onto the Minilya Exmouth Road which runs parallel to the rugged Cape Range. Interesting stops include a termite mound, the Krait Z-Force and Potshot memorials, and Charles Knife Canyon with views over Exmouth Gulf.

Exmouth has all facilities and accommodation you would expect, as well as being gateway to the amazing coral gardens of the Ningaloo Reef and the dramatic gorges of the Cape Range National Park.  

Here is a pic of North West Cape with the Ningaloo Reef beyond.  


The Wool Wagon Pathway is just one of three outback pathways in the Gascoyne-Murchison area. Also to be explored are the Kingsford Smith Mail Run and the Miners Pathway. 

The Pathway can be driven in either direction, starting at Geraldton in the south, through Mullewa, the Murchison Settlement, Gascoyne Junction and the Kennedy Ranges to Exmouth, or start at Exmouth and travel south.  The roads are mostly good unsealed gravel but 4-wheel-drive is recommended particularly if there has been rain. I suggest allowing one to two weeks. 

WHERE IS IT? :  The trail starts at Geraldton, 417km north of Perth, Exmouth is 1,270km from Perth.

DISTANCES: Geraldton to Mullewa: 98km, Mullewa to Pindar: 30km, Pindar to Murchison Settlement: 227km, Murchison to Gascoyne Junction: 298km, Gascoyne Junction to Kennedy Ranges: 42km, Kennedy Ranges to Exmouth: 471km

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL:  June to September, to coincide with wildflower season. Avoid summer months as temperatures can reach over 40 degrees

Following the trail is easy with distinctive Wool Wagon Pathway signs at main road intersections and interpretative signage at the main places of interest.

This is remote travel, so please make adequate preparations. The pathway is mostly along unsealed good gravel roads with some minor sections of corrugations if not recently graded. 4-wheel-drive is recommended. There are no services between Gascoyne Junction and Exmouth.  Supplies and services are limited and road conditions can vary, so plan ahead, stock up on food, water and fuel, make sure tyres are in good condition and contact local visitor centres for up-to-date track information. This is unfenced grazing land, so please be aware of possible stock or wildlife on the road.
Mulla Mulla

Please take note of signage and be aware of your own physical ability. Avoid walking in the hottest part of the day, don’t walk alone, carry plenty of water and food, wear a hat, sunscreen and good walking boots. Even on a cool day it can become very hot particularly with radiated heat bouncing off the rocks.   


WA Department of Parks and Wildlife:  Department of Parks and Wildlife
Outback Self Drive Routes - Australia's Golden Outback – then search for Wool Wagon Pathway under Outback Drive Routes
Tourism Western Australia: Western Australia.com – then search for Wool Wagon Pathway
Shire of Murchison: Murchison

Colour Guide to Spring Wildflowers of Western Australia by Eddy Wajon -  Wajon Publishing
Gascoyne Murchison Outback Pathways by Samille Mitchell – Mid West Development Commission

Everlastings along the Wool Wagon Pathway
Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this little look at the Wool Wagon Pathway.  It is cold and wintery at the moment where I live in the south west, and I enjoyed going back over my warmer travels for this blog post. I hope you did too. 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 had a lot of trouble with the font in this post and had to revert to writing it into a word document and then posting it into the blog. Frustrating. Have you ever had that problem? Perhaps I should just do that next time to save my sanity!  Anyway, enjoy!

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!

Life in Reflection

Hello there! I love reading your comments. Just click down here to comment too!