16 May 2014
Pete is dwarfed by the massive Wave Rock
Today we travelled about 166 kms from Merredin to Wave Rock, via Bruce Rock and Narembeen. There were a few more photos I wanted to take in Merredin, then we headed off for our first stop at Bruce Rock.
Unlike Wave Rock, there is no “rock” at Bruce Rock, unless you count the huge rock in the “welcome” sign at the entry to the town, and another huge rock on the sign at the opposite entry to this quiet country town. There is a lovely old pub, and a museum housed in a renovated bank building. We walked through the Federation Amphitheatre and Sculpture Park and were interested in an old time capsule that is not to be opened until 2021.
The garden is quaint with its metal sculptures, and the banksia was out in full bloom, matching the beautiful banksia we had seen along the road the previous day. The Federation Amphitheatre is impressive with its memorials to our men and women who fought for our country in the various wars.
The welcome to Bruce Rock (left) and the impressive Bruce Rock pub (right)
Our next stop was at the farming town of Narembeen, possibly the only town in Australia that came into existence solely so that a pub could be built. Narembeen had been merely a railway siding for the larger town of Emu Hill. The inhabitants of Emu Hill, when confronted with the possibility of building a hotel opposed the plan and suggested instead a coffee palace or temperance hotel. The idea of creating a hotel at the siding of Narembeen was the brainchild of a prominent Perth lawyer, Henry Hale, and a Perth publican Paddy Connolly. When the teetotal community of Emu Hill created problems, they purchased 30 acres of land at Narembeen, and managed to gain approval to build a pub, which still stands today. The rest of the land was sold off to prospective residents of their “private town”. The pub was all that was required to overwhelm the struggling nearby settlements and become the centre for the whole area.
The Narembeen Hotel that created the town of Narembeen (left) and the pretty pink Bank of New South Wales building (right)
Narembeen is the home of the Grain Discovery Centre. This modern, interpretive centre focusing on grain production in Western Australia demonstrates the changes and progress made in the growing, storage and marketing of wheat, and other grains such as canola, lupin and barley in the towns of the wheatbelt, and what life was like in the early days.
Country cottage model including copper and tubs
The entry to the Grain Discovery Centre (left) and the original way of storage of wheat in jute bags
Our destination for today was Wave Rock, and we arrived just after 1pm, time to settle in and decide what we wanted to see first. The forecast is looking good for the next few days, so we decided to first see Wave Rock as the sun mightbe in a good spot for some good photographs. It is only a 4km drive to Wave Rock, we purchased our ticket ($10 per vehicle), found a park, and walked to the Rock. It is a very impressive granite rock that had formed 60 million years ago, until it finally surfaced, and it has been a spectacle of great interest for hundreds of sightseers every year. The colours of the Rock are amazing, the structure is 15m tall (taller than a 3-storey building) and 100 metres long. Apparently it only became a national attraction when a photograph of it won the 1963/1964 Kodak International Colour Picture Competition at the New York International Fair.
The afternoon sun on the Wave Rock granite (left) and the steps to the top of the Rock (right)
The Hyden Dam (up on the rocky outcrop) was a major component of the town’s water supply right through until 2000. You can climb to the top of the Rock for 360 degree views of the surrounding country and salt lakes (which we passed on the drive in). We were getting a bit hungry and realised that we had forgotten to have lunch! The Wildflowers Cafe was a welcome sight that provided a coffee and vanilla slice to keep us going! The interior ceiling of the cafe is covered with dried wildflowers and is quite a sight! Part of the same complex is the Wildlife Park, the Tin Soldiers Museum, the largest lace collection in Australia, and a Pioneer Museum.We will explore these tomorrow, together with Mulka’s Cave where there are indigenous paintings….lots to do in quiet Wave Rock!
There are very few restaurants in Hyden, in fact the hotel where we are staying seems to be the only one! Our dining experience was a novel one. A very nice salad bar/hot vegetable bar is available, so after choosing the meat/chicken/burger you prefer, you cook it yourself on the hot plate/bar-b-que inside the very large dining area. Bread rolls are also available, so it is help yourself. It was really a very enjoyable and relaxing meal.