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.

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Sunday 30 June 2024

Beringbooding Rock Water Tank, eastern wheatbelt, Western Australia

Built by sustenance labour, the largest rock water catchment tank in Australia gives us a glimpse into the past.

Hello everyone. I hope you and yours are doing well. Today I am taking  you away from the coast and up to the north-eastern wheatbelt, to Beringbooding Rock, one of the many granite outcrops found throughout the Western Australian wheatbelt.

Walls hewn from the rock surround the rock channelling the water

Beringbooding is dominated by a ten and a quarter million litre water tank built during 1937-38 for the farming community. It is the largest rock water catchment tank in Australia.  The concrete tank and catchment was built by sustenance labour. This scheme provided employment during the Great Depression. About 100 men were employed at Beringbooding at a cost of 10,000 pounds. One weeks work was given to each man for each child – for example four children equalled four weeks work. Those doing sustenance work had an extra 20 shillings per week added to their Government paid sustenance payment, which was seven shillings a day for up to five children with a maximum of 49 shillings a week.  They were brought by rail to nearby Bonnie Rock from Perth and lived in tents. These men were often unaccustomed to hard manual labour.

You can only marvel at the engineering and manpower that constructed this water catchment, and wonder about the first impressions of these city men when they were deposited in this far corner of the wheatbelt, beyond which lies uninhabited scrubland.

The tank is fed by a seven hectare catchment area. Rock walls hewn from the rock itself encircle the rock and channel the rain water via a concrete aqueduct into the tank. Big fires were lit on the granite and allowed to burn all night making the rock red hot. Water was then poured over the rock and the granite exploded in big layers. These slabs were sledged away, stood on their sides and cemented together to form the rock walls up to a metre high.

Over the years the corrugated iron roof covering the concrete tank started to come adrift through age and strong winds, creating a safety hazard, and has now been removed. However without a covering, water has been evaporating, and due to the significant amount of algae in the tank, the water has been deemed unfit for crop spraying, watering stock, or firefighting. Latest reports indicate the Shire of Mukinbudin has received funding to install a temporary cover and is committed to secure funding for a new permanent tin roof.

Camping area at Beringbooding Rock

The picnic and free camping area is conveniently located at the base of the rock. A 2.3 kilometre walk trail starts at the gate at the base of the tank and takes you over the rock to a variety of natural features

Rock cairn at the highest point, erected by HS King

I suggest you take a photo of the information map and allow a minimum of one and a half hours. The rock cairn at the highest point was erected in 1889 by surveyor and early explorer HS King.  You can enjoy spectacular 360 degree views over grain-growing farmland to the south and west, and virgin bushland to the north and east.

Gnamma hole surrounded by rock wall. The tank can be seen in the background.

Features include a huge balancing boulder that seems to defy gravity, a sheer rock face where the forces of nature have been at work, and gnamma holes: rock depressions which collect water during rain, providing an important water source for early Aboriginal people, settlers and animals. On the north eastern side of the rock you will find the “Kangaroo Hole”, a deep water natural pool. During October and November you will see the red Kunzia pulchella flowering next to the pool. It is amazing how plants can grow in small crevices in the rock.

Balancing rocks

Kangaroo Pool with flowering Kunzia in the foreground

The surrounding bushland includes salmon gums, sandalwood, melaleuca, acacia, grevillea, Ti-tree, hakea, cassia, kunzia, quandongs, and native orchids. Many birds inhabit the area.

Exploring the rock gardens

Clockwise from top left - Kunzia, wild orchids, quandongs, and Waitzia 

Throughout the wheatbelt you can see other similar rock catchment walls and dams. They make great places to stop and explore. You will also find evidence of other sustenance scheme projects throughout Western Australia.

FACTS BOX

Location :  Located 357km from Perth, near the intersection of Beringbooding and Cunderin Roads, about 65 kilometres north east of Mukinbudin and 13 kilometres east of the Bonnie Rock wheat bin in the Western Australian north-eastern wheatbelt. You might get a bit of an idea from this map below. The red dot is Beringbooding Rock, with our capital city Perth on the coast. 

Facilities:

There are several partly shaded compacted gravel hard standing sites suitable for caravans and camper trailers. Facilities include picnic tables, fire pits and an eco flushing toilet.  Non-potable water is available from a 60,000 litre water tank fed with piped water. Please bring your own firewood, and beware of fire restrictions and take away your rubbish.

The 2.3 km walk trail is suitable for those with a moderate level of fitness. Please take the usual bushwalking precautions. The rock can be slippery when wet.

Useful Information: 

Wheatbelt Tourism - https://www.wheatbelttourism.com/granite-outcrops-in-the-wheatbelt/

The Wheatbelt Way - https://wheatbeltway.com.au/

Shire of Mukinbudin - https://www.mukinbudin.wa.gov.au/

Ornate Dragon Lizard

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed learning a little of our history. My article about Beringbooding Rock was published recently in Caravan World magazine, June 2024 edition. 

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!

13 comments:

  1. Wow amazing. Thank you for showing me

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  2. That water tank is looking incredible, though just a slosh of water pool inside it. The whole desert landscape is looking impressive

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    1. Not desert - just untamed wild bushland to the north and east.

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  3. Happy July Jill,
    What an amazing place to visit. The men worked hard building the tank and walls. The wildflowers are beautiful and the kangaroo pool with the Kunzia is a pretty scene. The balancing rocks are cool. Great photos. Have a great day and happy new week!

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  4. ...catching and storing rain water is important in Hawaii too. Water is life. Have a Jolly July, Jill!

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  5. Happy month of July, Jill! Australia has such interesting topography. Water storage is so important in dry climates. We have many reservoirs trying to save our snow and rainfall for the dry spells. There was an interesting guest speaker on our cruise from Australia --he wrote a non fiction book about the doctors who flew to Western Australia back in the days when there was very little medical care foe early settlers.

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  6. This was a fascinating post! Thank you so much for sharing it at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2024/07/a-visit-to-girard-college.html

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  7. Sehr informativer Bericht und ausführliche Erläuterungen über ein Grandioses Bauwerk. Wasserauffangbecken sind sehr wichtig in trockenen Gegenden. Wunderschön wie viele Pflanzen sich dort heimisch fühlen.
    L G Pia

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    1. Translation - Very informative report and detailed explanations about a magnificent building. Water catchment basins are very important in dry areas. It's wonderful how many plants feel at home there.

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  8. This was so neat to read about! Never having been to Australia myself I was unaware of government jobs during the depression-- that is quite an impressive build when you think there was a lot of unskilled labor involved and the tools of the trade weren't anything like they are now.

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  9. Thanks for the nice comment. And I know I'm late again writing this week.

    Here in this post I learned many new things about Australia, the Nature and history. I enjoyed it very much. Because it`s very different from our nature around in Europe. Thanks also for the contribution to MosaicMonday. What a wonderful Post.

    Greetings and hugs from Heidrun

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  10. Quite some wonderful scenery. A lot of work to catch and store the rain water. Thank you for linking up.

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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.