18 May 2014
One of the many tin horse creations on the way into Kulin
A reasonably early start this morning as we have a long drive from Hyden to Bunbury. Our first small town, settled in the early 1920s, was Karlgarin, sleepy on a Sunday morning. It is adjacent to huge wheat silos, and a quaint mosaic showing interesting features of the town. As we were driving, we noticed a heavy mist on the horizon, not heavy enough to restrict our view when we drove through it, but it looked very eerie in the early morning.
The mosaic at Karlgarin (left) and one of the huge wheat storage silos adjacent to the railway line (right)
The Tin Horse Highway is the famous entry to the town of Kulin, the tin creations line the roadway for about 15 kilometres leading into the town. They are as famous as the Kulin Bush Races held in October each year.
Two of the quirky tin horse statues on Tin Horse Highway
Albert Facey is the favourite son of the small town of Wikipin, our next stop. Albert (Bert) Facey (31 August 1894 – 11 February 1982) was an Australian writer and World War I veteran, whose main work was his autobiography, “A Fortunate Life”, now considered a classic in Australan History. Facey’s small farm house has been relocated to the main street of Wikipin and is open for inspection each day. Local volunteers are on hand to show visitors through the cottage, we were lucky to have Doug Gardener a delightful elderly gentleman to show us through. A beautiful garden surrounds the house and I photographed the spectacular proteas that were in bloom, and attracting an army of bees!
The relocated home of Albert Facey (left) and beautiful proteas in the garden (right)
The next town, Narrogen looked promising for a lunch break, but try as we may, no open cafe, restaurant or pub could be found. When I photographed the recently renovated town hall I spoke to a young man going for a walk with his two small daughters. He told me it would be almost impossible to find anything open in Narrogen on a Sunday, that he had lived and worked in the town (largely inhabited by those in the wheat and grain industry) for two years, and most people and businesses were struggling financially.
The beautifully restored Town Hall in Narrogen
Hoping to find somewhere to eat soon, we pressed on to Williams and fortunately found a cafe where we could have some pumpkin and pea and ham soup with chunky bread – just what the doctor ordered!
A welcome oasis for lunch at Williams
As we made our way toward Collie, our last stop before our destination of Bunbury, we noticed the landscape changing from the wheat fields and the sheep. The trees became more prominent, we even had some bends in the road after kilometres of roads that were completely straight. Collie is quite a large town, nestled in the Darling Ranges. It describes itself as an adventure playground with walking trails, adventure sports etc. However on a partly cloudy Sunday afternoon the football was obviously the big attraction. We found the pretty Finlay Park with a plaque honoring the gardener who had been employed from 1959 to 1973.
The Collie post office (left) now for lease, and autumn trees in Finlay Park
We were now on the home run to Bunbury and coming into heavier traffic as the weekend was drawing to a close and people were making their way home. Also went through some rain, unfortunately not enough to clean some of the red dust from the car! Soon we were settled into the Bunbury Mantra and had time to walk along the waterfront close to the hotel, and choose a restaurant for dinner. “Mash” filled the bill and we later had a very nice dinner to finish off a busy but enjoyable day.
The Mantra is part of an apartment building that is cleverly converted from wheat silos (left) and the waterfront alongside the complex (right)
Tomorrow we will start to explore the area south of Bunbury including the scenic Margaret River and surrounds.